Efficient method to distance studying

Author: Véronique C. Plouffe, MBA, CRHA, Professor of Business Administration, La Cité College and Laval University Student

In this text, Véronique C. Plouffe offers a series of strategies aimed at maximizing educational outcomes in the context of distance learning while minimizing the amount of effort that teachers make to reduce the risk of burnout.

The outbreak of COVID-19 caused a massive shift to distance education in the spring of 2020. Originally, it was about maintaining access to education through technology, which is called emergency distance learning.

Although a recent survey in the United States showed that 75% of college (post-secondary) students prefer class or hybrid education, several institutions have nevertheless noticed some benefits of distance learning and plan to keep it at least partially in their educational offer.

In this context, it is important to reflect on some of the challenges posed by online teaching, such as the mental health of the faculty. After switching to distance learning, he may feel exhausted, demotivated, and unable to face a lack of resources or excessive workload.

To reduce the risk of occupational burnout, which is even more difficult to identify when working remotely, we offer a series of strategies aimed at maximizing possible learning outcomes in the context of distance learning while minimizing the amount of effort expended by teachers. . We hope that they will speak as much to those who teach in education as to those who are in higher education.

Introspection is required

First, be aware of the way you think about distance learning. Do you hope that everything will return “as before” or do you think that you are in trouble with technology? Choosing to see distance learning as an opportunity to grow and develop one’s skills would change his perception of the situation.

It is no longer a matter of surviving distance learning, but of surviving in it.

It is no longer a matter of surviving distance learning, but of surviving in it.

We know that every teaching service requires a lot of preparatory work. Start by acknowledging your stress, your beliefs, and the emotional work that distance learning requires. A greater dose of empathy for yourself could relieve you of negative emotions, which would make it difficult to endure the work.

Less is more!

When preparing educational activities, apply rule 3 R: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

First, we reduce by questioning the necessity of this task, which we want to fulfill in order to achieve the goal of learning. Is this hour-long activity necessary? Even the reworked layout?

Then we’ll use it again to see if we can customize existing activities. This is a great time saver when writing instructions, laying out or even evaluating the grid.

Finally, we recycle in collaboration with colleagues and use material that is already available on various sharing platforms (of which there is a directory in English) or through textbook publishers. Then, of course, we pay attention to copyright.

Avoid always wanting to test and use new applications. Philosophy less is more it also has a place in the selection of technological tools. Save time by choosing the solutions that will be most effective for your teaching.

Each new tool takes time to familiarize itself with its components and adds time to support young people using the tool for the first time. Focusing on a small group of well-chosen tools will help you plan and reduce the stress of being new.

Go for the essentials in terms of the information and tasks that need to be performed. It can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting to give a little more to cover all the basics and think about meeting students’ expectations. Knowing that only 20 to 30% of college students would actually read the required resources, an informed choice will avoid overload for all.

Small practical tips

Take advantage of distance learning to reduce the burden of preparing for class. Instead of long presentations (the same length of preparation and more or less listened to by students), use asynchronous training to offer existing readings or videos. In class, you can take the opportunity to discuss and suggest practice activities.

Another idea to reduce preparation time when it comes to presenting theoretical content is to invite a visiting specialist. Welcoming a new person to class has the advantage of energizing the course and often arousing students’ interest for longer, thanks to the effect of novelty and the potential to develop their professional network for older students.

Regular feedback encourages students to invest more in the training needed between lessons and keeps them motivated. Take advantage of your training platform, if possible, schedule the sending of recognition messages in advance when the student completes the task. It will automatically receive your encouraging messages.

At the end…

Just as distance learning requires special skills for students of all ages, distance learning also requires adaptation to new ways of doing things. Although the teacher’s goal remains the same, the resources and working methods available vary. The songs in this article are just a brief overview. It is a sure bet that several other best practices will emerge over time.

Editor’s note: This text was first published on the blog of the Head of the Department of Education (CLÉ) on innovative teaching methods in the digital context – the National Bank. It has been modified for publication on our website.

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