Prior to reading Joksimović et al.’s (2015) review of online learning, I had thought about potential “Instructional Strategies” that I could utilize. However, it is clear to me now that the issue is certainly a lot more complex than I had previously imagined. Instructional strategies play a huge role in the online teaching and learning experience for both the student and the instructor. Long gone are the days where the sole method of teaching was lecture-style; the teacher holding all the information, and the students needing to soak up everything that was said like sponges. This learning experience was further limited by the absence of any student collaboration, reflection, or input on what they might be interested in learning. Joksimović et al (2015) maintain that to support online learners, instructors need to put forth even more effort than in-person settings (Joksimović et al., 2015, p. 114). This fact needs to be taken into consideration when designing an online learning course and also when teaching one.
Having taken several online courses, I agree with Darabi et al. (2013) as cited by Joksimović et al. (2015), who posit “the greatest impact on student performance is gained through pedagogically rich strategies that include instructor participation, interaction with students, and facilitation of student collaboration as well as continuous monitoring and moderating discussions” (Joksimović et al., 2015, p. 118). Without these components, a student can feel isolated, unsupported, and left with an unfulfilling experience overall.
Another important element mentioned in the article deals with “timely, summative, and individualized feedback” from the instructor (Joksimović et al., 2015, p. 113). The significance of quality feedback cannot be overstated; it is crucial for keeping students on track and guiding them in areas they need improvement.
Lastly, I was pleasantly surprised to see the inclusion of the institution’s role as one of the significant factors that frame educational experience in online learning settings. With online learning and teaching still being relatively new, technical, financial, and infrastructural support from institutions is crucial, along with assistance for instructors as they work to develop ever-improving courses.
Without question, the future is bright for online learning, as results from Joksimović et al.’s (2015) report demonstrate: “distance education, when properly planned, designed, and supported by the appropriate mix of technology and pedagogy, is equivalent to, or in certain scenarios more effective than, traditional face-to-face classroom instruction” (Joksimović et al., 2015, p. 11).
Joksimovic, Srecko & Kovanovic, Vitomir & Gasevic, Dragan & Dawson, Shane & Siemens, George. (2015). The history and state of online learning. 93-132. Preparing for the Digital University: A Review of the History and Current State of Distance, Online, and Blended Learning . Retrieved from “http://linkresearchlab.org/PreparingDigitalUniversity.pdf”