Online Education: Learning

Author: Dr. Ajit R. Thete, Former Joint Director Technical Education and presently working as, Director, Centre for Development of Leadership in Education.

In the contemporary situation, the online education is used predominantly. In earlier days, the learners were used to online learning tools for formal or informal education but it was being used partially and not fully. In the case of formal education, the online education was used as an extension of learning, homework or as a rehearsal. The online education was used as the add-on tool in the education process. The then the online education was the extension of the class room teaching. Now the situation is slightly different. In the current times, the online education is in mainstream of day-to-day course learning. It is being used in addition to the aforesaid learning activities, extension of learning, homework or as a rehearsal. At present, all most all education institutes are using different learning platforms for online education and learners are taught in online mode. Though there is class room like situation but the class room (physical presence) environment is missing. In the class room environment, there is possibility of variety of interaction with learners and that facilitate the learning process. Usually similar situation is not there in online education because of many constraints. It doesn’t mean it is not possible but it is not widely used. In online education, the instructor design and deliver different learning experiences by the use of different learning tools to facilitate the learning process.
As a student/learner, the aim of learning is to gain the knowledge, acquire the skill and develop the attitudes. In online education environment, one can practice different learning strategies to assure that learning happens. These strategies are very similar to those used during attending the class room teaching in the physical presence. This article stress on the steps to be taken by the learners to manage learning (online) similar to that of class room (offline) environment.
The following steps if followed, you may experience the enhancement in the effectiveness and efficiency of online learning.
Step-I: Survey of all courses
Step-II: Comprehend the Teaching Time-table
Step-III: Prepare the self-study schedule synchronizing to the time-table
Step-IV: Implement the self-study schedule
Step-V: Attend the online classes with the knowledge of self-study
Step-VI: Prepare notes after class
Step-VII: Self-assessment
Step-VIII: Feed-back from instructor on test and assignments
Step-IX: Review and upgrade

The detailed activities under each step are described here.

Step-I: Survey of all courses
Once you obtain the books either from market or school, first put covers and arrange them so that you can handle it easily and safely. Remember that, you may have to handle the book a greater number of times than earlier.
The survey of books is to be conducted as stated below.
a. Take the survey of one book at a time.
b. Read the curriculum of each course. Note down the course rationale, course outcomes and the method of learning-teaching and assessment. If the curriculum document is not available with you, either as for it with institute or refer to the text book.
c. In the absence of the detailed curriculum, read and take note of the preface, index, outcomes, number of sections/units/chapters and the nature of the units and chapter (units title, title of chapters).
d. Repeat these stages for all courses as per the curriculum.
e. While jotting down the notes for each course, assess the difficulty level at the stage of survey and note it. The difficulty level may get vary once the teaching begins. This stage will provide you the preliminary idea of the courses.
This step will prepare for you the platform and foundation to comprehend the online education. You will have the better idea of the nature and type of the courses and that will be useful in the interactive sessions.

Step-II: Comprehend the Academic Calendar and Teaching Time-table
The Academic calendar is useful for planning for regular studies, curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and schedule for progressive test and term end examination. The academic calendar act as control on your academics.
The institute prepares the teaching time table based on the curriculum guidelines and the guidelines issued by the higher authorities from time to time. In online learning, one has to be greater attentive. In understanding the time table, one should take the note of course allotted, its weekly frequency and curricular and co-curricular activities related to each course. It helps you to in planning your self-study schedule. You will also get an idea about the treatment (the way course is taught) given to the different courses. The knowledge of the treatment to the course help to plan your studies too.
To summaries, the following data can be obtained from the academic calendar and teaching time-table.
• Schedule for curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities;
• Schedule for progressive test and term end examination;
• Course allocation;
• Weekly frequency;
• Curricular and co-curricular activities related to each course; and
• Treatment (the way course is taught) given to the different courses.

Step-III: Prepare the self-study schedule synchronizing to the institute time-table
The academic calendar and teaching time-table assists in preparing the self-study time-table. In this stage, the guidelines are provided under two broad categories;
(i) Self -study to facilitate effectiveness in online learning; and
(ii) Self-study to prepare for examinations and Learning to attain the course outcomes and program outcomes.
Though the broad phases are same in both the categories of self-study, there is difference in the intention of learning.
Category-I: Self -study to facilitate effective online learning
The following are the suggested stages in the preparation of self-study schedule.
a) Organize/arrange the self-study activities as per the schedule of the teaching time table.
b) If the Social science classes are on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday then the self-study activities shall be plan on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. In case you are provided with the detailed lesson /teaching plan, you may organize study as per the detailed lesson plan provided by the institute.
c) The number of days of course teaching may or may not match depending upon the difficulty level of courses as discussed in Step-I.
d) The self-study schedule should also include the time slot to work on the exercises and assignments given by the instructor as the extension of learning.
e) The self-study activities are discussed under different heading in the subsequent steps.
f) This self-study schedule is to facilitate effective online learning, the additional time slot is required for the regular studies (Category-II).

Category-II: Self-study to prepare for examinations and Learning to attain the course outcomes and program outcomes. The steps under this category will be described under the separate blog titled as, “Self-Study Technique”.

Step-IV: Implement the self-study schedule
(A day before the lesson/lecture/ Prior to instructions on specific chapter/topic)):
i. Take the survey of the entire chapter.
ii. Read title of chapter, the preface/introduction/rationale, outcomes, headings and sub-headings, summary/conclusion and list of questions.
iii. For couple of minutes, think on the theme of the chapter/topic. What is the chapter/topic is all about?
iv. Read the entire chapter/topic at your normal speed. Underline the unknown words/terms with pencil. Mark the paragraph/ sentences that is not understood completely.
v. Refer the dictionary and try to identify and write down the meaning of underlined words/terms.
vi. As few hurdles like, new words, new terms are addresses, read the entire chapter topic again for improved understanding.
vii. Note down the doubts, queries, questions, clarification in the note book for clarification during the online class through the mechanism developed to raise doubts during online class.

Step-V: Attend the online classes with the knowledge of self-study
a) Attend the class with full attention. Listen carefully. As you have already read the chapter/topic before the class, the schema is already developed in your brain. While listening to the class and interacting with the instructor, many of your doubts may get clear.

Step-VI: Prepare notes after class
• On the same day, after returning at home write the notes based on your earlier reading (before class) and the learning experience provided during the online education.
• Once again read the specific taught topic from the book and check for missing link/concept if any.

Step-VII: Self-assessment
• Review the topic/chapter by answering the relevant question(s) at the end of the chapter (if any).

Step-VIII: Feed-back from instructor on test and assignments
• Write the comprehensive note based on your above experience. Maintain the course wise note book for these types of notes.

Step-IX: Review and upgrade
• Repeat the same steps for all courses in accordance with the self-study schedule prepared in the step (c) above.

These are the nine steps that will assist students/learners for effective and efficient learning. 

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