Last month, we presented how you can strengthen your lecturers’ competence in using a Learning Management System (LMS). The article is a product of our experience with lecturers in Nigeria. If you have not read it, catch up before beginning this read. This article continues our focus on digital competence and efficient teaching with ARGVLE LMS. It focuses on teacher-student relationships when using a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
Just like physical interaction, virtual relationships grow from constant experience and participation. To help kick start your virtual relationship as a teacher/lecturer, here are a few tips for forming connections in your virtual/hybrid learning spaces:
- Have a sound value system: No matter the good intentions the developer of technology has for its use. Proper use of the technology depends on the user’s value system. Technology simply imitates, improves and amplifies what exists; so does an LMS. This may sound simple, but introduce and maintain a learning environment with these values: mutual respect, trust, and support for every stakeholder in the classroom or learning space.
- Be personal: Personalisation is so essential when connecting with people. It provides the connection needed to earn trust. When designing your course materials on an LMS, strive to replicate concepts and things that leave room for personal touch either from you or your student. It can be as simple as sharing hobbies, personal reflections, or small and sincere gestures. Do not view the students as another number in the total number of attendees. Being personal can go a long way in relating to students and knocking down barriers or hesitancies. Most LMS have analytics that provides data on performance and competencies and use this to personalise students’ learning opportunities and outcome.
- Be helpful: Acts of kindness can be basic blocks for enabling virtual relationships. For digital space, this can involve re-tweeting, reposting, or engaging with a student’s post to boost confidence or using thoughtful approaches and words while instructing. Be helpful, but also be sincere to your learners/students. You may ask, how can I do this when I deliver lectures to over 100 students, make use of LMS with automated features where set rules that will be triggered based on what you want. For you to automate the process shows you care.
- Keep it Simple and be consistent: Use simple approaches and systems. Your online persona cannot be all things to all people. Honesty and transparency will be appreciated in your learning space if simplified. Be consistent and help your learners’ to be consistent by using tools that remind and encourage them to be familiar with their virtual environment.
- Be intentional and interactive: Use a rich media mix in your lessons and course programs. For example, using pictures and videos instead of just text. It can increase teachers’ emotional connection with their audience. The more you showcase scenarios with graphic images, the more in-depth you can be with the students. Let your students know that you are willing to learn from them. It builds trust and motivates them to read other materials for an engaging lesson.
- Engage with the Virtual Space: Chatrooms, social networks, and online communities lay the groundwork for a relationship to be built. Interact with your network on a direct and individual level. Try not to engage in only general messages; use video calls, observe your students and their thread of opinions and thoughts, and get involved in their space.
One way to address the Higher education crisis in Nigeria is to help teachers become proficient in education-related technology. It takes more than purchasing an LMS and mandating lecturers to use it. It requires training, coaching and one-to-one dedicated support. It is a long-term effort that requires a cultural shift from teacher-led to student-led learning.
ARGVLE LMS is an all-in-one LMS focused on student employability and the best-dedicated support for lecturers to create commercially successful courses. Interested?
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