Are you trying to make a success of your school’s elearning efforts, but students are just not taking to it? Here’s what you may be doing wrong.
I have a colleague who works at an educational institute that recently decided to go the elearning route.
They installed a Moodle Learning Management System (LMS), uploaded some study guides (in PDF format), and then made a call to each student, informing them about the LMS.
Two months later, my colleague sent me this note:
“Hey Bilal! We are in a desperate situation: only around 50 out of 5000 students have accessed the LMS. These numbers are pathetic – about 1% of the student population! We can’t say the students don’t know about it – we made a personal call to every single one of them. What went wrong? Please advise!”
What went wrong?
What went wrong is this: students were not engaging with the LMS because they were not receiving any additional value on the LMS.
To get students using the LMS, the school has to do better than PDF documents. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell them to use the LMS. They simply will not use it unless there is something worth going online for.
This is not a unique situation. Most educational institutes initially have the same challenge: students do not engage with the online content. As a result, their efforts at going elearning fail.
6 Simple tips to increase student engagement with the LMS
The following are 5 easy steps to increase student engagement that any institute can apply.
- Start small: Start with a pilot rollout. Offer a single course online.
- Get teacher buy-in: If the teachers are not comfortable with the new technology, the students will never be. Give teachers all the support, guidance and training they need to get comfortable with technology.
- Provide value: Provide content that will actually provide value to the students. Provide a lot of videos, graphics, infographics, animations and the like. Students will love it. The best part is there are tonnes of content available online for free.
- Encourage interaction: Teachers need to create engagement through interaction. They need to provide opportunities for students to interact with the LMS and with each other. They can use forums, quizzes, chats and group tasks. Here’s a tip: answer all student questions on the forums.
- Continuous improvement: Identify student challenges, and find solutions, continuously improve.
- Scale up: gradually take more and more courses online.
Implementing elearning at schools will undoubtedly provide a lot of benefits to students as well as teachers, but it can get tricky.
In essence, it is digital transformation, and digital transformation is not a simple and trivial process. It takes time, effort and resources.
What makes this situation more challenging at schools, is that the transformation needs to take place on two levels: at the institutional level, and at student level.
The good news is, using a strategic and phased approach, we can achieve it. We just need to remember a simple, golden rule:
Start small, scale up