Online learning was thrust into the spotlight in 2020. With the world shut down, everything from school to business training shifted to being conducted online. However, not all programs are created equal, so online learning has been met with varying degrees of success.
To find out what makes online learning successful, I spoke with Cyrus Moradian and Dante Phillips, Cofounders of WizePrep. WizePrep is an online learning and tutoring platform designed to make learning simpler, more personalized, and more collaborative. Through on-demand learning and live tutoring sessions, WizePrep has helped nearly 100,000 students achieve success.
Here’s what they had to say about enhancing the online learning experience, and what’s made their platform so successful.
Learning needs to be personalized.
There’s no one size fits all approach to learning. Every student is different, from the way they learn to their strengths and weaknesses. This is true for both school students and adult learners alike. Moradian and Phillips believe that learning needs to be personalized, customized, and tailored in order to best meet the needs of learners as individuals.
To personalize learning, students begin by taking a quiz to test their level of knowledge. Based on the results, they’re given a recommendation of courses they can take to improve their skills. Some of those courses might include remedial materials to address any gaps in their education, and others will provide foundational knowledge.
It’s not just the content that needs to be personalized, the delivery of the content is an important part of tailoring the learning experience as well.
Provide on-demand access.
“One problem in a traditional classroom is that the teacher can only teach at one pace. Moving online provides a fundamental shift where students can learn anytime, anywhere, and at their own pace,” explains Phillips. On-demand learning means students can move quickly through concepts they find easier, and spend more time on the ones they find more challenging.
Break content down into manageable pieces.
A long lesson can feel overwhelming for a learner. Rather than having one single lecture explaining a concept, that content needs to be broken down into a series of short segments. This applies for all types of content and is especially important for video and audio.
Content that’s broken down into segments gives learners the option to finish everything in one sitting, or do it piece by piece over a few sessions. It also allows learners to go back and review a specific piece of content without having to sort through a long video or pages of text.
When content is delivered in manageable pieces, learners are more likely to watch an entire video or go through the entire lesson. WizePrep found that the average duration of a learner’s session was 25 minutes, and that learners stopped watching videos after the five-minute mark.
Use gamification to keep learners engaged.
Gamification is the process of adding features commonly found in games such as earning points and badges, progress tracking, and receiving rewards. Not only do these additions make learning feel more fun, they help learners stay motivated as well.
A progress bar helps students visualize their progress, which in turn helps them feel a sense of accomplishment. This sense of accomplishment is further boosted by earning rewards and badges as learners work their way through a course. Pop ups with words of encouragement can be used to ensure learners don’t feel defeated if they’re repeatedly struggling with a concept. A quick celebratory pop up at the end of a unit reinforces their progress and provides a nice dopamine boost that motivates them to keep going further. The possibilities of gamification are endless.
We have an incredible opportunity to transition online learning from something done purely out of necessity to a truly powerful educational training tool, and the time to do that is now.