Tag: online learning

17 Dec 2020
how to make online learning more effective

Tips for designing an effective online learning course

Online learning has become a major goal for every company.

Organizations have become quite cautious about the quality of the online learning delivered by them. There are many factors which decide how good is online learning delivered by companies. You can note down the following factors which are important for online training:

    • Team up with an elearning solutions provider– You should collaborate with an elearning solutions provider whose LMS you are able to trust. If you are going to use a new LMS, make sure that trials have been done on it. This LMS will be used by employees to log in and then view the content. Hence it has to be perfect.


    • You can get content online-Sometimes, companies don’t have elearning solutions provider. Then, in that case, they can get the content available online. This is good for saving costs. You can use this content along with your own content created by a content writer to cover some of your learning objectives.


    • Staff support– Although Captivate and Storyline are powerful tools, an organization must have the budget to use them. If it does not have the budget, then there are other alternatives available. These alternatives are Nearpod, Powtoon and Thinglink. These tools are available free of cost. You can also get the license for authoring tools for creating the main learning objectives.

There is a need for staff support to be able to use these content authoring tools. The choice of such tools depends on the regularity in the interactivities like drop-downs and scenarios created by you. Also, the activities that you desire in an online learning course must be supported by such a tool. Then, the IT person won’t have to work on many tools.

    • Knowledge about the tools-Although the employees can be allowed to use tools, they already know, this can result in the creation of poor quality content not effective for learning and training. The aim of an organization should be to use content authoring tools that meet their requirements for reliable training materials.


    • Branding is also important– Branding is important in the distance learning strategy of the company. This can only get the desired participation from employees. The employees when they see the brand in the online training material feel joyous and know that the material will meet their learning objectives. The branding in the online content should be the same as the branding used in your website.


    • Deciding about the activities in online learning– It’s important to check whether the online activities are in sync with the profile of the learners. You have to check beforehand whether the learners are low level or high level. For example, branching scenarios can’t be used for low-level learners. Hence for these learners, there should be video clips and then questions which will engage them. Bloom’s taxonomy can be used to create questions and interactivities for the learners.  As per the levels of this taxonomy, which are knowledge, understanding, applying, analyzing, creating and evaluating, learners can be divided into different groups.


    • Existing online resources-You will need to decide what is the worth of existing online resources. These resources are there on the intranet of the office. They are pdf files. So, whether you need to redesign them for the purpose of online learning or they can be used as it is, depends on your learning goals


  • Ease of access-There are some other requirements of a course about which you must be clear. They are what should be the word limit on a page, how one will browse through the course, the language, whether it should be English or the native language, the style of writing, and size of text and colours etc. The styles of headings also matter a lot for the learner.

So, these are the few objectives for organizations that want online learning courses.

20 Nov 2020
online learning

National Education Policy 2020 to boost online learning

Online learning in Indian education is about to receive a major boost with the (National Education Policy)NEP 2020.

This policy has replaced the national education policy of 1986. The major changes suggested under this education policy are as follows:

No other activity for Indian teachers: The teachers will be deployed for teaching only and no other service such as elections. The responsibility for the quality of education lies with teachers. There will be 1 teacher for every 30 students in school. However, the teacher-student ratio is not so favourable in Delhi. There is a single teacher for every 35 students. In Bihar, the situation is even worse where there are 32 students for every single teacher. Apart from public schools, the government will also improve the situation in private schools because there are 40-50 students in every class and a single teacher is catering to them. 

More schools by the affluent: Government plans to open more schools through rich people. Apart from that, it wants to delegate auditors for supervising such schools. The government will approve the schools set by such affluent people. The government will make sure that rich people just act as benefactors of such schools. 

Regional language education: Students till the 5th grade will be taught in the regional language. 

Higher investment of GDP: There will be a higher investment in education by the government. The central government and the state governments could increase the investment in the education sector to 6% of GDP. 

Build up online learning: As far as digital education is concerned, there will be efforts to strengthen the same. This implies that the National Education Technology Forum will be established. 

Elearning platforms like Swayam will be extended: The Swayam portal has courses for students in different fields such as Architecture and Planning, Education, Engineering and Technology, Humanities and Arts and Law etc. This portal contains content on subjects in courses taught from class 9th to the level of post-graduation. So, any student in these classes can log on to this portal and view video lectures on the subject of his choice. They don’t have to pay any kind of fees for accessing the course. Apart from that, they can also access the quizzes hosted on this portal. There is also an online discussion forum where students can get their doubts cleared. 
For getting a certificate from this portal, the students will have to appear in person at the specified centres for appearing in exams. The UGC has already granted the credit framework for online learning courses through Swayam. Under this, the universities have to recognize those courses where they can grant credit to students for courses they have done through this portal.

To monitor the quality of content on this MOOC portal, 9 organisations have been delegated. These organizations include AICTE, IGNOU, NCERT, IIMB, UGC etc. Students can pursue courses of different durations of 4,6,8,12,15,16 and 24 weeks from this MOOC portal.

Teachers will be trained to use these platforms. 

Virtual labs will be established

This is how National Education policy will have an impact on students.

19 Nov 2020
Servers of educational institutions in online learning

Are servers of educational institutions really safe?

Online learning is the new concept for colleges and schools ever since Covid 19 pandemic took centerstage.

But its security is also important. During the months July, August and September, there have been 1000 phishing attacks on servers hosting educational websites. These are websites of educational institutions. This figure of cyber attacks was found out by Barracuda Networks. In August this year, the Institute of Open and Distance Learning in the University of Mumbai had to cancel exams after its server was attacked by cybercriminals. The same was the experience of Manipal Academy of Higher Education whose exam software contained malware. It infected the systems of students who opened it. The hacking of student’s computers is a serious concern for students. Students who are looking to learn online are quite perturbed with such attacks. This is seriously shocking news for proponents of distance learning.

Now, let’s learn what’s a phishing attack through an email?

In this case, the phishing emails were sent using the .edu domain due to which clearing all the spam filters on a student’s email account was quite easy. So, when a server with .edu domain name is hacked, you can get access to a lot of emails with a domain name ending in .edu. The search by Barracuda Networks also found that almost 3/4ths of phishing emails sent to students were from accounts of those associated with the educational institutions.

Phishing is an attack through an email where the recipient is lured into opening an email. When you open the email, malware is installed on your system, and it pilfers sensitive information from the system.
Indeed, the security parameters in India on the school and college servers are not as good as those on corporate servers. There can be two disadvantages when an educational server used for online learning is hacked:

  • It contains sensitive information: Since the student’s attendance and personal identification information in such courses is stored online in servers, such information theft can prove to be dangerous. Nefarious people can use such information to get ransom from parents of students.
  • Cheating becomes easy: It can also happen that the information about exam papers is leaked in the cyber world where students can easily access them.

So, the providers of distance learning courses are now concerned with making the systems safe for students. Hence they are asking the elearning solution providers what are the steps taken by them for data security. This includes the servers on which the data is stored, data audit and whether such companies have hired data security professionals to keep the data safe. Most of such companies are using ERP systems for hosting the company data.

Now apart from elearning solution providers, educational institutions providing online learning courses are also taking steps to ensure that the data is safe. For example, the BML Munjal University is trying to implement data security across all users of the distance learning system including teachers, students, and staff in management. The attacks could happen across all these end-users and hence it is necessary to filter their access.

So, it is best to make servers of online learning systems safe to protect confidential student and parent information.

19 Nov 2020
online learning in US

Schools moving to online learning all over the world

Schools in Colorado to be shut down from November 30

Online Learning is getting adopted very fast in the world due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, there is news that the US has already started adopting distance learning.
The Academy District 20 region in Colorado will make a move to this form of education. This is because already 10 elementary schools in this district are on elearning mode. In fact, since 14% of the teacher-student population is experiencing quarantine, it’s no longer feasible to run schools. There are not many teachers left to teach. Transitioning to elearning is also considered beneficial with the hope that since students will be studying from home, it will lower the spread of Covid-19. Apart from the break caused due to elearning, the district will also experience the break due to Thanksgiving Holidays and Christmas Holidays. This transition to elearning will happen from November, 30th right after Thanksgiving Holidays to 18th December, covering 3 weeks.
As per Tom Gregory who is the Superintendent of Schools, this move requires a lot of supervision of children by parents to see whether they are attending online classes or not. He is quite hopeful that since society is taking all the precautions, the learning will soon return to school-based learning. He expects the students to follow all precautions during this quarantine like wearing safety masks and washing hands. They must also follow social distancing measures.
Western Schools Corporation sends letter to parents
In another similar move, schools in Indiana will also be shut down. The Western Schools Corporation has sent a letter to parents informing them, that between 15th November and 26th November, education will be imparted in an elearning mode.

This letter which was sent to parents on November 15th stated that 6 members from the student, teacher and management population have been found positive for Corona Virus and hence it’s imperative to shut the school. Since these members must self-isolate, it was not possible to open the school. As per the letter, the staff had been shuffled in the last few weeks so that no shortage was experienced, but now the problem had escalated. When there is no schooling happening, the 6 isolated members won’t have to come to school and hence spread the disease.
In Dubai also, 83% of schools are imparting education in an online mode, whereas 17% of schools are running on a classroom basis. The teachers here are finding the move to elearning quite effective because it has brought new technology on the table for them. They can learn devices like Ipad.
In schools, blended learning is being followed, where distance education is combined with classroom education sometimes in a week. So, this is where education is headed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

17 Nov 2020
Online learning challenges

Challenges in online learning: How to overcome them?

All over the world elearning and online learning have taken over a big way in education.

However, teachers and students both are coping with the challenge. There is a big difference between elearning and online learning. Although both of them require web-based access, elearning requires someone to log in to a portal and complete online assessments and watch prerecorded lectures. On the other hand, in online learning, students and teachers are present at the same time although at different places and connected through a webcam. The teachers deliver lectures to students through special software. So, elearning is independent learning i.e. learning at own flexibility for a student.

Online learning requires some hard work from the student’s side. The students can feel less motivated because there is no communication with peers in such courses. So, they cannot feel the urge to complete the module. This issue can be resolved by making them go to schools at least once in a fortnight. To be successful in online learning, it’s better to encourage interactions among classmates.

Effects on students

    • Lack of time management: In elearning students also get the desire to perform because they don’t compete with anybody. Also, there is no time management needed if the classes are not conducted on time. In schools, online learning classes are taken on time. So, students are motivated to do things on time. But in elearning courses, this is not where students have to listen to prerecorded videos. There is also no extra pressure on students. So, students should build up self-motivation to have proper time management and complete the assessments and classes as per schedule in elearning courses.


    • Social isolation: It is one of the most important effects of elearning. Students don’t have any interaction with the teachers.


    • Slow feedback: Students also don’t get a simultaneous response to their answers, unlike a classroom in elearning. When they post their query on a chat messenger the teacher might not be online and respond with some delay.
      Moreover, although elearning modules have assessments built within them, they lack personalized answers given by humans. The solution to this problem is that professors can video chat with students during their office hours.


    • Lack of communication: Lack of communication may also manifest itself in other forms in online learning. The students since they don’t get a chance to interact much with other students and teachers, might not develop team skills also. In the future, such students might develop as graduates who have theoretical knowledge but can’t communicate well face-to-face. The solution to this problem is that students must be encouraged to give online lectures during such online learning and elearning to boost their communication skills.


    • Cheating during online tests: The students have a lot of options to cheat during their assessment. In classroom assessments, the teachers can monitor the students or there is a video feed but on online assessments, the students can access google. Although a webcam may be used to verify the student’s identity, sometimes, the students might turn the webcam off during the test and make someone else take the test on their behalf. So, checking students through online assessments is quite tough.

      There are measures built-in online learning tools which can prevent such cheating. Online proctoring is the ideal solution. In this technique, the student is verified before the test through the webcam where artificial intelligence is used to match his face with that given on ID. He can’t turn the webcam off during the test. The screen feeds of the students are shared. Even the audio and video activities are recorded and any background noise is treated as a red flag. Any unwanted objects captured in the video recording are also indicated as a red flag. This method also restricts candidates log in to their device through a specific IP address. It also makes sure that candidates are not able to switch windows during the test.

      So, this is how online learning is advancing despite its shortcomings.


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