Online learning has evolved into the preferred delivery system for most working adults. For this reason, universities and colleges report e-learning programs are critical to their long-term strategy. Despite wide acceptance, however, online programs present challenges that impact student performance and retention rate. Evidence-based strategies offer valuable insights using online tools to increase student engagement and equip faculty members.

Impact of Evidenced-Based e-Learning Strategies

Evidence-based strategies are best practices produced through formal studies and quality research. These strategies are foundation implements used to produce results and improve outcomes.

Although e-learning programs are the primary format in distance education, traditional on-campus delivery system continues to define higher education and shape its curriculum. In response, evidence-based e-learning strategies have emerged as guiding principles to redefine the student-institution relationship.

Over the years, evidence-based strategies have enjoyed measured success. Higher-education programs adapt to principles that uphold their standards and meet student needs.

Technology Improvements in Recent Years

E-learning systems have improved in recent years, providing better delivery tools to enrich each student’s encounter. Noteworthy improvements include:

  • User-friendly hand-held tools and apps promote ongoing exchange of ideas and increased contact between e-learners and instructors.
  • Important support services: registration, testing, advising, library resource have integrated with college systems to allow qualified users ready access.
  • Upgraded software permits student access to complex data: clean technical visuals, precision images and virtual enhancements of various kinds.
  • Social networking programs spur distance learners to participate in both formal and informal settings..

These software enhancements serve to optimize the classroom experience at a distance. Adding evidence-based strategies to the equation, online students gain practical solutions on par with time-honored models.

Three Evidence-Based Strategies to Master the eLearning Curriculum

1. Create Connections to Build Community

Everyone needs to belong to a specific community. It is critical that e-learning programs honor this universal need. Therefore, online instructions must frame student insights toward goal commitment.

A good example of successful virtual clubs are social media platforms. These platforms use emotive strategies to encourage sharing among people of common interests. Users have access to suitable tools to build connections and stay connected.

To create a successful e-learning setting, motivate students to participate in real-time chats with peers and instructors. Use specialized software that permits live interaction among members. For maximal learning, provide instant response to students’ course questions.

2. Apply Relevant Online Tools for Optimal Student Engagement

To resolve the problem of lowered student engagement, use relevant, simple tools that students find effective. These online tools can improve learning outcomes as students exchange perspectives among classmates, critical in an online course.

Curriculum design should focus on building successful peer groups advanced through evidence-based methods. Therefore, it is important for online instructors to know a variety of discussion tools. Popular ones are: chat boxes, voice threads and discussion forums to help foster engagement and enhance learning.

3. Timely Feedback on Student Progress and Performance

Online learners need ongoing feedback to judge personal progress and performance. To strengthen the feeling of inclusion, give students clear instructions on course objectives and grading systems for successful outcomes.

Offer advice on how to navigate the curriculum giving constructive feedback on student progress. Use virtual meeting rooms and other useful online tools to give detailed feedback on performance in real time.

Source: http://jode.ncu.edu/sites/default/files/sites/all/default/Articles/Six_Instructional_Best_Practices_for_Online_Engagement_and_Retention_Poll_Widen_Weller_2.pdf