How effective can online learning be?


Here’s a fresh must-read from my favourite Learning Scientists: a post where Megan Sumeracki lists six strategies for effective learning and explains how they can be realised in the virtual classroom. They can be used by teachers in lessons and by learners for self-study, and have been proved efficient by many researchers. Here’s the list, with a few suggestions from me of what it could look like in ELT, both online and offline:

1) Spacing (spread out study sessions over a week, cover one topic in several lessons)

2) Interleaving (integrating several skills in one lesson; projects that require the use of many concepts and areas of knowledge; review questions in online discussions)

3) Retrieval practice (a lot of low-stakes online quizzes, mindmapping)

4) Concrete examples (all kinds of personalisation – works exactly the same as face-to-face)

5) Elaboration (asking ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions – these could be, for example, our guided discovery activities)

6) Dual coding (use visuals, not just speech)

Megan also says that these strategies are difficult and are supposed to be difficult; the results may not be as easy to see, but they work long-term. There’s a lot more there, so do check out the original post!


One thought on “How effective can online learning be?

  1. Pingback: There’s always a story | Sandy Millin

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