Before you can start creating a digital learning environment for students, you first have to know what it consists of. There are a few factors that could greatly affect the efficiency of the environment. These factors are:
- The students’ possibility to make decisions about what they want to learn and being able to shape their own learning path.
- The possibility for students and instructors to come together in order to discuss certain topics and give feedback.
- The learning environment should make learning easier or at least more effective.
How do you create an environment with these factors?
In order to successfully create a digital learning environment that works and consists of all these factors, you need to collect the right information and tools. Preferably in one place, system or website. But that is easier said than done, so how do you make sure all these individual factors are present? That’s what we wanted to find out.
Getting students to be autonomous
It will make the life of an instructor way easier if the students are motivated enough to learn by themselves. However, the short attention span everyone seems to be dealing with, this could be one of the hardest challenges known to any instructor or teacher. In order to have success with your digital environment, you need to make sure your students are autonomous.
Why is having students make their own decision important?
You might ask: “why is this such a big deal?” Well, because you wouldn’t want to spend every second of your day chasing after students, would you? Not only will having a good learning environment make your life as an instructor easier. It will also empower them to make their own decisions and learn about what they want, in the way they prefer it. While it is almost impossible for young generations to focus on a book or school board, they don’t mind looking at a screen for hours. Time to combine education with what they actually like doing.
How can you make students more autonomous?
There are a few steps in making a student more autonomous.
- Let them identify what they want to learn.
- Have them set up targets/goals in order to get there.
- Let them decide what they need in order to learn it.
- Let them start learning the topic they want.
- Evaluate afterwards if it was successful and what can be improved upon.
Your digital learning environment will take care of how and where the student will learn. It is mainly up to them to decide what they want to learn and up to student and instructor to evaluate the outcome.
Have students and instructors come together in the learning environment
When a learning environment shifts from “classic” education to digital education, you can instantly see an aspect that will go missing. The contact between students and instructors will get less or will be impersonal. This is something you have to address in order to keep guiding your students successfully. You need a solution to make up for lost face-to-face time with students.
What do you need in order for students and instructors to work together?
In order to have students and instructors work together in a digital learning environment, you need to have a means of communication. Thankfully the never-stopping rise of the internet has given us plenty of means in which to communicate with others. When it comes to e-learning, communication will mainly focus on study progress, results and such. You need the means of communication that works well with both parties. Good examples are:
- Forums (in order for everyone to share files, texts and other information).
- Automated e-mails (in order to keep updated with progress or to send information).
- Comment sections (in order to quickly ask questions so progress isn’t hindered).
- Reviews (in order for students to let the instructor know what could be improved upon).
How can these digital classrooms help both students and instructor?
These digital environments can be transformed into efficient digital classrooms when you use the technology correctly. The most important reason physical classrooms still exist is that the connection between teacher and student is extremely valuable. This connection can, to a certain extent, be recreated in a digital learning environment. Especially with technology like live streams and other digital tools for e-learning.
Make learning easier or more effective
Learning can be fun and it should be. However, not every student will enjoy it as much as we do, which is why it is necessary to make it easier. Learning should be made easier by both teacher and student. There are certain ways that an instructor can help. But you can also give students the tools they need in order to learn more effectively.
What do you need in order to make learning easier for students?
Every student has a preferred way of learning. Which is why you should make an effort to get multiple ways of learning available. You could, for instance, think about using video, audio, texts, images or assignments in your learning environment to get your messages across.
“think about using video, audio, texts, images or assignments to get your messages across”
Do you know what we do when we do not understand something completely? We ask questions, which is something your students need to be able to do as well. As many as possible, without limitations.
What impact does a digital learning environment make on learning?
Of course, having the right content is one, but what impact do “digital factors” make on education? One thing is for sure, technology helps to make learning more accessible. You can learn pretty much anywhere and anytime you want. Which is good, because you don’t have to travel in order to hear something you could’ve seen online. Technology makes having a digital learning environment possible, which in turn keeps students accountable, motivated and autonomous. Could be worse right?