E-Learning modules are synchronous and asynchronous software programs that allow learners to interact with their facilitator and other learners within a web-based learning environment. Synchronous modules allow learners to communicate with their classmates and facilitator in real-time. Asynchronous modules allow learners to interact with their classmates, facilitator, or course material at a time convenient for them. The benefits of employing e-Learning modules are learners can participate in class activities at a time, place, and method convenient for them. The difficulty for most facilitators teaching first-time e-learners is getting these learners to engage using e-Learning modules.
Based on my dissertation research and my experience teaching adult e-learners for over ten years, I would like to share a few tips I have employed to motivate e-learners to complete their assignments. This blog will be the first in a series of blogs that provides tips for web-based educators wanting information about how to motivate adult e-learners to complete their courses...
Invite your e-learners to live chats. Send an e-mail to e-learners inviting them to their live chat. Post an invitation to the live chat in the announcement area of the classroom. Also, post an invitation to the chat on the classroom discussion board. Within the e-mail, announcement, and post; state the date, time, and where to find the link to the live chat. Tell them how long the chat will last. Let them know what topics will be discussed and why this information is important for them to know. Adult learners are busy people with many demands in their lives. So, let them know why each chat is necessary to their successfully completing the course.
Use audio, video, slides, files, polls, whiteboards and other tools your chat software have available to engage e-learners during the chat. However, put the e-learners first. Start the meeting by greeting everyone. Let them know that they can greet each other, too. The tone of your voice should indicate you care about each e-learner. Find out their needs and address their questions before providing your information. Let them know that the live chat is a discussion and they can raise their hand to ask a question anytime during the chat.
E-learners are individuals within a group. Some of them will want to talk using a microphone. Some of them will want to talk by typing in the chat module. Some of them will only want to listen. Make sure you also let them know if they do not want to share their questions during the chat or think of questions after the chat that they can e-mail questions to you or post those questions on the discussion board. Also, remind them that the chat is being recorded and they can return to listen to the chat as many times as they want.
All e-learners will not be able to attend live or synchronous chats. Some e-learners prefer listening to recorded chats. If you are conducting a live chat with one or less e-learner in that chat, do not make the assumption that other students do not want to listen to that recorded chat. Some e-learners never attend live chats because they prefer to listen to recorded chats. So, when conducting the live chat, talk to these e-learners as well. Tell them during the recorded chat that you know they are listening. Tell them to e-mail you any questions they have about information discussed during the chat.
Record all live chats. After the live chat is over, send an e-mail to e-learners who did not attend the live chat. Tell them what was discussed and how they can access the recorded chat. Give e-learners control of when and how they learn. They can attend real-time chats or attend the recorded chat at a time convenient for them. If they decide to attend the recorded chat, invite them to post their questions and comments about what was discussed during the chat on the classroom discussion board. Also, let them know times you are available for instant messaging and that they can always contact you via e-mail with their questions and comments.