How To Ensure Effective Online Learning

Is your child really learning online? As children are enrolled in #onlinelearning how do we ensure that their learning is effective? What role do parents play in making sure this happens in the home? Teachers and parents are working together at this time. There are some things we do not have control over, however, we will be focusing more on things we have control over to ensure effective online learning.

Yetty Williams, founder @Lagosmums recently had an Instagram live session with Mrs Oluwadamilola, Principal of Corona Secondary School Agbara and she shared some helpful nuggets and tips. Watch the replay here.

Below are a few tips she shared on how to ensure your child is actually learning online.
1 Establish a structure.

The fact that children are at home does not mean they are on an extended holiday. They need a structure that includes when they wake up, have meals, attend classes, play and go to bed. You also need to decide when you want them to have breakfast, should it be before classes start or after? Schedule should also include when the child can have a break. It shouldn’t just be anytime you or the child likes.

2. Children should prepare for online learning.

Note that online learning should not take place on the bed or dining table. The dining table may not be the best place especially if it has things that will distract a child. Another important thing is that children should not learn in nightwear. Your child should be decently dressed to class. This will ensure that they are psychologically prepared for that class. There’s something about being intentionally ready for something one is about to do. No school providing online learning services will say classes start at 7 am, so parents and children can take advantage of this to prepare adequately.

3. Limit screen time.

Online learning does not equal unending screen time. 60 – 70 % of the time, your child is doing something else online like chatting, visiting inappropriate sites etc. You might have parental controls in place but children can find their way around it. There should be other things like chores, games, bonding as a famiy etc that keeps your child occupied during the day.

4. Control the internet provider.

Don’t allow children control their internet provider. They should be connected to an internet provider that an adult controls. This puts the adult in charge and you are able to control how much time your child spends online.

5. Follow up with your child after every learning session.

At the end of every online session, find out what your child learnt. You are investing a lot of resources and time in this process so it is important to make sure that at the end of every class, children say what they learnt. It will also help you know if your child is paying attention. If they are not, you can find out the reason.

Do not ask Yes or No questions, instead ask open ended questions. Ask questions that require in depth answers like “What class did you enjoy most and why? What class did you enjoy better when you were in school or what subject do you think you are not being taught as well as when you were going to school? What was the most interesting thing that you learned in school today?”etc. This way you get them to think about their classes and talk to you about it.

[Read: After School Questions Parents Need To Ask Their Kids]

6. Children should use the video option during live classes.

When your child is having a live class, they have to use the video option. This is because, sometimes when a live class is going on, they join, turn off the video and go on to something else. The audio can be off so that the teacher can teach without interference but the video should be on. And of course the child can’t be indecently dressed. Parents prefer audio classes because video classes consumes more data but the live classes are usually not too long. It’s a necessity so that the child will focus and concentrate.

social distancing / Effective

7. Know your child’s schedule

Know their schedule so you can monitor and ask detailed questions. It will also help you monitor if your child is doing assignments. Due to the current situation of things,  students who don’t do assignments may not face any repercussions because they are not physically submitting them. However, as parents, we can request for the school to give us feedback on a regular basis to keep us updated. We can also ask our children to give reports of some sort on every class, perhaps in a log. So they note attendance and whether they submit their homework.

Some questions and answers from the Q and A session
How can families avoid unnecessary tension at this time?

Parents and children need to come to an agreement on how things are going to be done. Everybody also needs to have their own space or corner dedicated to them so that there will be boundaries. In addition to that, bond and don’t make everything be about academic learning. Go on virtual tours, zumba dance, learn about your family tree ettc

How can low income earners engage their children academically at this time?

There are Radio programmes and TV programmes on education that they can join. Most of this shows cover different topics and they teach new things. Provide your child with the right tools and ensure that they are actually learning with the tips given above. There are also free learning resources online for children. Here are a few learning activities to engage in offline. Education is not only through academics, now that we have our children at home, let us spend time teaching our children real life skills that matter.

What is the biggest adjustment to make at this time?

The biggest adjustment to make is to say to yourself “Today is not the same as yesterday. Change is constant.” 

What about children whose parents don’t have interest in them and they don’t have access to online learning?

Unfortunately, the reality is that some parents have never connected with their children. Parents in this category need to sit up and make the most of the situation. You can’t turn back the hands of time to correct your wrongs but you can start today and make things right. Engage your child gradually, don’t expect things to change overnight. Meditate on the kind of relationship you want to have with your child and act on it. Everybody is at home together indefinitely, you need to do your best to avoid tension for your own good and sanity.

Watch the replay here to get more tips and listen to the full conversation. Finally, remember to be consistent and help your child figure out what works for them.

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