When we read the events of 30, the pandemic, the Coronavirus and the effects and changes it has imposed or generated in the way we work, study and communicate in 2020 years, what would we like to find?
It is immediate to think that the emergency had the effect of making digital and online communication a necessity, but also an opportunity to be seized. Whether it is for work, school, or even just to communicate with distant relatives or to purchase necessary products, we have all experienced the immediacy of digital media.
This enthusiasm, however, was also accompanied by not entirely positive experiences, for example tiredness due to the need to reorganize the work in spaces, times and methods very different from those we are used to. But there have also been difficulty in carrying consolidated teaching methods online in the daily school relationship, or even simply delays in online deliveries. These situations in the interior of our homes led to a sense of frustration, because it was evident that these practical obstacles prevented us from make the best use of real digital opportunities.
In the face of these ambivalent experiences, the undeniable centrality has been that of the element “communication”, Which has become fundamental to overcome the sense of isolation, and has become the effective means of interaction with the outside world. Even children and young people, generations of digital natives, albeit ready and willing to experiment and do, have found in this mediated communication lights and shadows, necessarily linked to the fact that we had to suddenly "rethink" the teaching, and learning to manage learning in different and partially new ways.
But as we know, history is written every day.
Let's try a balance of what we have learned, and to summarize how the online lesson can be made more effective.
Let's not forget that when a teacher, trainer or teacher goes online there are two possible ones risks:
- replicate teaching models that work in the classroom / classroom (same type of communication, materials used, times, etc.);
- to drift towards a lecture in the sense of a one-way theoretical exposition.
Physical isolation of the teacher in a space separate from the students it imposes some fence to the type lesson:
- Technological: all participants and the teacher have adequate tools to connect?
- Informative: Do all participants have knowledge of the organization of an online lesson? When to connect, minimum equipment, knowledge of tools?
- Classroom dynamics: teacher and participants manage to respect the system of rules of behavior adopted for the lesson? Respect for word shifts, respect for times?
- Didactic organization: during the lesson is the educational organization given by everyone respected? Is the level of participation adequate to allow the effective development of the activities? Are the teaching objectives achieved? Are learning verified?
To value the distance and overcome the barrier by creating meaningful learning, it is essential to reflect on three aspects.
DISTANCE REQUIRES MORE PARTICIPATION
DISTANCE SETS SHORT BUT INTENSIVE TIMES
ATTENTION AND COGNITIVE EFFORT ARE DIFFERENT IN THE CLASSROOM AND AT A DISTANCE
The paradox of our times is the "migration" of lessons in the presence of distance lessons (with examples of entire 8-hour days, or learning groups of 15 connected people).
The simple transposition essentially leads to two factors: excessive fatigue for the participant (need for various breaks) and unidirectionality of the training moment (participant's passivity).
The founding rule of an online lesson is RESILIENCE. A trainer or teacher can also use his basic teaching skills online. Tools impose a change of approach, but the skills to stimulate learning remain fundamental.
Since an effective online event can have an average duration of 2 hours (maximum 2 and a half hours) it is necessary to remember that online the winning factors are: FOCUS - PARTICIPATION - FEEDBACK
- Focusing: each online lesson must deal with a specific, self-consistent topic within a wider didactic program;
- Participation: through methods that promote the co-construction of learning, it is possible to enhance the contribution of each one, within the context of a collective result;
- Feedback: ensure a return of information on the result of the group and the individual.
How to do:
- Organize a schedule with times and contents of each didactic slot and share it with the participants).
- Monitor progress during the course (also by reminding him of goals). Respect for time becomes a co-responsibility between teacher and participants.
- Monitor the participation levels of the participants
- Keep the natural digressions under control and bring them back within the objectives of the lesson.
Because it is important: a good teacher naturally knows how to do all these things with a consolidated automatism. But online, with the reduction of behavioral feedback because mediated by the computer, there is the risk of accentuating the dimension of control towards longer dissertation times or towards rigid participation mechanisms (show of hands, chat, etc.). Have one intervention grid leaves more space in the context of the stop to a collaborative and shared management.
Online is not just a matter of sharing your screen or slides to project.
The materials, precisely because they form a large part of the learning dimension, must be properly cared for. It is not just an aesthetic question. The material (generally in full screen ... therefore very relevant during the lesson), assumes a guiding role in the lesson.
The dimension curation it must be understood as the planning of those didactic ideas, practical input, moments of circularity that help the teacher to build a collaborative lesson, not guided only by the narrative voice.
For this reason, the materials must be "incomplete", that is, prepared in such a way that the participants contribute to the construction of meaning, and must contain examples, metaphors, models to be commented on.
Because it is important: through an inductive approach, the participant makes knowledge his own through participation in its realization (also graphic-visual).
major from the theoretical center of the lesson. An assertive, motivating conduct that knows how to measure the levels of seriousness and irony, with short and agile times, a "warm and welcoming" communication, with reinforcements to participation, favors the creation of a group atmosphere conducive to learning.
Because it is important: if the group is motivated, the proper management allows to maximize the results and to enrich the training moment.
Circularity of information, monitoring of learning can take place through simple tools (instant surveys, checks in chat, emoji,) as well as in audio. Verification of learning should be continuous throughout the lesson's teaching slots. The continuous collection of the state of participation and understanding of the group's activities allows everyone to improve the level of participation in the educational event.
Because it is important: It represents a kind of semaphore for the teacher to access the next slot.
Getting involved means adopting a management style different from that of the teacher, towards the theme of facilitation. The assertive, agile and relational conduct must not forget the need to motivate, for example by supporting the participant with different strategies: from the rewarding of direct feedback, to the assignment of a micro-task (e.g. recap), or to micro-conducting of a moment of course. The rule is that the more shy a participant is, the more he needs inclusion strategies appropriate to the perceived discomfort.
Because it is important: the more the learning outcomes will be shared in the group, the more over time the participants will be able to cooperate better in the functioning of the lesson.
At the opening and closing of the didactic event it is necessary to "anchor" the experience to the personal experience, to the professional role, to the school path, to allow a reading key that allows to perceive effectively the effort made in the lesson.
Because it is important: giving meaning and meaning allows people to better perceive the results achieved. Ritualizing the sharing of meaning allows you to create a learning story by getting people used to enhancing their commitment to increasing skills.
We thank DANIELA PELLEGRINI for the contribution