Technology has revolutionized learning. With the advent of the Internet, education found itself a whole new trajectory - the world of E-learning. Now people can even teach Live online classes and recreate the experience of being in a classroom. This is known as synchronous learning more commonly, whereby participants interact in real-time and connect via video conferences.
Over the years, we have seen Live online classes become more popular than asynchronous recorded courses. This is because they help students learn collaboratively without feeling secluded. This is particularly relevant in the context of the pandemic where people have had to live in isolation. But this isn't the only reason. Let's look at some more factors which show why it is better to teach Live online classes.
Why teach Live online classes?
Active community-based learning
A lot of people complain of being tired after taking online classes. Increased screen time and working alone are definitely taking their toll on learners. As a consequence, learners talk about low motivation and decreased work performance. This is where Live online classes come to help. As one gets to interact with people face-to-face, it helps overcome feelings of online learning blues. Besides, it also improves your working performance as you have an entire community to rely on for help - professional and emotional.
Better networking opportunity
When you actively interact with people in any environment, you are bound to form lasting relationships. In a cohort-based learning model, people work and learn in intimate groups of people and get to know each other better than when working in an asynchronous model. Hence, by providing a budding environment for social interaction, live classes also provide better networking opportunities to people.
Longer memory retention
It has been found that Live classes actually improve memory retention than recorded classes. This is because Live classes require more focus and engagement than recorded ones. As one is required to actively interact with their peer, listen to their comments, and respond to the discussion, they tend to go over the learning material in greater detail which in turn helps with improved memory retention.
Broadens your understanding
When people from various different backgrounds interact and exchange their point-of-views, it inadvertently impacts and broadens one's understanding of a subject. For instance, when one studies on their own, they are only able to dissect concepts from their perspective. However, studying collaboratively enables one to see a singular concept multiple views. Therefore, improving their understanding of it. This healthy exchange of ideas also brings people together and fosters tolerance for opposing views.
Among other things, another great benefit of Live classes for instructors is instant feedback. By interacting with people in real-time, you are better able to gauge learners' experience and consequently, improve it right on the spot.
Strategies to teach Live online classes
Choosing a compatible LMS
A Learning management system (LMS) is software for operating and managing learning programs. That's why it is very important to find the right LMS for your Live online courses.
Given the growth in the E-learning industry, creators now have a wide option of LMS to choose from. However, often, having too many options create confusion rather than helping out. A great way of avoiding this confusion is to carefully analyze your course and by being specific. What is it about? How many students do you want to teach? Whether it is the synchronous or mixed course? Etc. Look for LMS specific to cohort-based model e.g. Teachfloor is an LMS exclusively designed to cater to Live online learning.
These questions will help you determine which applications and features you require for operating your course. For example, for a Live course, features like Zoom (video conferencing apps) integrations are vital. Make a list of all the primary features you need along with your budget. Then have a look around and see which of the available LMS fits your requirements the best. Here are some of the factors to keep in mind when choosing an LMS:
- Video conferencing integration
- class scheduling tools
- Student enrollment mechanism
- Community management - discussion forum and chats
- Student activities dashboard
Here is a detailed guide for choosing LMS for Live courses: Best LMS for Cohort-Based Courses.
Prepare your space
Now we come towards the logistics of running a live online class. This is about ensuring that you have all the relevant gadgets and apparatus to host these classes. For instance, some of the key tools for live courses are obviously a quality internet connection, a camera set up, a proper backdrop (aesthetics are also important), and a decent computer. If you have these, half your job is sorted.
Another thing to keep in mind is adaptability, whether you are transitioning from offline to online, or even from asynchronous to Live classes. Every individual teaching method is different from the other and so one must gather adequate training experience for smoother operation. For example, with Live courses, get used to keeping lectures concise so it doesn't drain you or other participants. A good tip is to watch tutorial videos on teaching tips to enhance understanding and familiarity.
One of the challenges of live teaching is timing. People have different schedules and so it can be difficult to get to agree on one specific time. Largely, this depends on your target audience. If your audience is professionals working 9 to 5 normal weekday jobs, then weekends will be better suited to them. Therefore, it is best to consult your learners regarding which timetable suits them.
One of the reasons having the right LMS is important is app integrations that help structure your class schedule e.g. Zoom which you can sync with your Calendar app. Email automation also comes in handy when sending class invites and reminders. Moreover, to be on the safe side, record the sessions and upload them for people who can't attend.
Teach in smaller cohorts
You don't want to overburden yourself as an instructor, therefore, teach in smaller batches. This will help you create a close-knit community, focus better, and manage the live course smoothly. Anyways, the primary goal of Live classes is to foster group engagement which is only possible in smaller student strength. Taking on a bigger class will make it difficult to moderate the sessions and hinder establishing a close student-teacher bond.
Use active learning strategies
What I mean to say by active learning strategies is to devise your course curriculum in a way that suits the requirements of a Live online audience. To keep students interested and focused, gamify your sessions. Rather than feeding the learners passive presentation slides, make the sessions more discussion-oriented. You can also invite guest speakers to shake things up. Host informative webinars once in a while.
Communication is key
Even though these classes are live, there can still be communication lags. This is why it is important to stay connected with students using discussion forums, live chats, communities like Slack groups, etc. The purpose is not only to encourage student interaction but also to provide active feedback.
Good communication is also vital for getting your message across to the audience. That's why make sure that you are clear in your instructions, especially when explaining tasks and assignments. At the same time, be open to listening from your students as well (keep a two-way communication approach). Make notes of their opinions and then improve your course accordingly.
Teaching Live online classes is an art in itself. If not done in the right way, one can fail at it. In this guide, I have listed all the key strategies that one needs to master this art. Although the model of teaching live classes also comes with its set of cons, it has been successful in recreating a typical in-class learning experience and has brought people together in this trying time. Try out these tips and tricks and see whether Live online classes are your thing.