It goes without saying that remote learning is not easy despite popular belief. Many students around the world have expressed the view that, despite the use of technology in education, they’re still finding it harder and harder to keep up with their lessons online and receive the quality education they used to experience in a traditional classroom setting.
Much like them, teachers are also having a hard time leading classes and delivering lessons and assessments and, with so many factors subtracted from the usual equation in the classroom, we’re all now seeking ways to better run classes online.
This is where Moodle comes into play.
Today we look back at a series of tips that instructional designer Michelle Lomman (South West TAFE) shared with teachers at MoodleMoot Global 2020 to create better Moodle courses for their learners – focusing especially on consistency and variety.
Teaching with consistency
“If your courses are consistent, your learners will be able to focus on what they’re learning rather than trying to figure out where to find things and how to do things,” Michelle said.
So, how can you make sure that your courses remain consistent?
- Use naming conventions for all your sections, folders activities and resources, so that it’s intuitive for your learners to know where they’re at in your course, or what activity you’re exactly referring to. Organising your blocks and layout consistently will also help your learners intuitively find what they’re looking for.
- Provide clear and consistent instructions for Quizzes and Assignments so that your learners can easily understand what they need to do. Write completion criteria so they know how they will get the green tick: do they need to achieve a certain grade, do they only need to submit an assignment, do they need to reply to a Forum post?
- Be visually consistent. Text styles available in Moodle’s Atto text editor allow you to easily organise information using headings and subheadings, which also makes your content more accessible. Choose images and icons with a similar style to make your course look more professional and clean.
- Use access restrictions, groupings and overrides to organise how and when your learners will get to certain sections in your course.
- Show your learners the course completion requirements. Display them on the Dashboard and throughout the Moodle course to let students know where they’re at. Use categories within the grader report, for example separating Activities and Assessments and hide items that will not get a formal grade so that they don’t show up in what learners see.
Adding variety to increase engagement
According to Michelle, you can further improve your Moodle courses by adding a touch of variety in them, such as creating different types of activities that best suit the needs of your students.
Moodle comes with a variety of tools that enable you to create many kinds of content and engage with learners in many different ways – here are some of Michelle’s favourite tips to make the most out of our open source LMS:
- Give personalised feedback to your learners with a short video or audio, which you can easily record from within each text editor spot in Moodle. You can also record video or audio instructions to support activities and assessments.
- Encourage learners to collaborate sharing images, uploading files to showcase their work and posting video messages in Forums to learn from each other. In times of Covid-19 and school closures, fostering relationships and camaraderie between learners like they used to experience in the classroom can help students feel less isolated too!
- Use video content to engage students. Organise your videos in Books or in a Glossary, or embed them in Activities like a Quiz or a Questionnaire. Create interactive video activities with H5P, for example, with self-marking questions for learners to follow up with.
- Interact with learners in a live chat, which is a great low-bandwidth option for collaboration. Add a chat to any of the sections in your course so students can talk to you and to each other, or set up ‘office hours’ to let them know when you’ll be available to chat.
All in all, Moodle enables you to create great online courses that meet your learners’ needs, as well as increase their engagement in a remote learning environment.
This blog is based on a MoodleMootGlobal Online 2020 presentation by instructional designer Michelle Lomman (South West TAFE).
Watch Michelle Lomman’s presentation with even more Moodle tips and strategies to create better courses here: