Virtual Training Techniques — for Our Coordinators & Students

Posted 08/19/2020 | By HealthCorps

Like all things, HealthCorps’ annual Summer Professional Development for Coordinators looked differently this year as we had to come together virtually. A silver lining: conducting our training virtually allowed the team to practice and model good digital learning techniques which are essentially as we head into fall where much of our programming with be delivered on-line.

Vice President of Programs & Evaluation, Sarah Martin, has developed these three tips that are at the core of our efforts as we come to better understand the differences between online learning and classroom learning:

  1. Collaboration is key. A famous study by Uri Treisman demonstrated that students, especially minority students, excel in complicated courses when encouraged to collaborate rather than work through the content alone. This study conducted in the 1970s is still a gold-standard today called the Uri Treisman model. During this time of isolation, we know that providing opportunities for students to work collaboratively is essential. This, combined with the emotional toll social isolation is having on our teens, is even more reason to find opportunities to promote interactivity even while learning from home.
  2. Frequent and specific feedback is critical. While learning from home, students need to feel the presence of their educator. Online learning systems now provide many ways to provide rich and immediate feedback to students. Educators are encouraged to utilize the technology available on their online learning platforms including automated rubrics/feedback mechanisms, assignment mark-up tools, and recording of audio clips to ensure students know that their teacher is still invested in their learning.
  3. Combine asynchronous with synchronous learning for a well-rounded course. We know from experts in the field that online learners need a combination of asynchronous self-directed work and synchronous engagement to maximize their experience. The asynchronous time allows learners to work at their own pace, practice techniques and review complicated concepts. The synchronous time allows learners to collaborate and engage with their peers, especially critical during this time of social isolation.

Most importantly, be flexible: You won’t have it all figured out day one and it is ok to make changes as you go. Just be honest with your students, listen to their feedback and make sure you have a clear communication flow so that any modifications that are made are easily passed on to your students.

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