3 ways teachers can get started implementing e-learning

Many educational institutions understand that online learning is the way of the future. Although the significance is clear, immersing teachers into e-learning can be a daunting task. So how can teachers in education institutions get started? Here are three ways from my personal experience with teachers going through that process.

  1. Create an e-learning department and ensure innovation
    When preparing to implement e-learning, the first thing organizations should consider is to create an own department with technically versed people and media equipment. One single e-learning representative — if you don’t happen to have some sort of wunderkind at your disposal — isn’t sufficient. Furthermore, e-learning people usually have a didactic-pedagogical background and are sometimes less qualified in terms of technical issues or situations which need creative solutions. The field of e-learning requires people with a diverse and varied set of skills as well as people who are on top of trends and technologies, even beyond the e-learning field. 
    Mere knowledge about trends and technologies is also not sufficient. E-learning people need a place to research, play and train, which often has no time and place in daily routine operations. I am convinced that it is the responsibility of the executive to create such a space. Therefore, I created a, what we called, “Creativity Day” for the entire team. Such an event is an occasion for exchanging knowledge and experience as well as playing and training with tools and other things which one always wanted to try but just couldn’t manage to get around to it. The day is separated into an “Input Phase” in the morning and an “Open Phase” in the afternoon. “Input” means, someone of the team is preparing a topic and presenting it using different methods (e.g. visualizations, stations, learning by doing etc. — there should be no creative boundaries whatsoever). The topic for the Input Phase for the next creativity day is voted on by the team at the end of the current Creativity Day. The team brainstorms, everybody suggests topics, for example, how to use tool XYZ to create some kind of specific animation, which tools to use to which tasks, etc., all of which are then put up to being voted on. The person who brought up the winning topic then has to research it and present it on the next Creativity Day’s Input Phase. If the timeframe between those days is too short for the preparation, the second winner moves up the next day and the winner moves back to the day after that one. That way, team members always have to time to prepare at least 2–4 weeks. The afternoon is being used for individual training, like watching tutorial videos (on YouTube or other sources) on a certain subject, or finding and reading blog posts, etc. The afternoon can also be used for team work, for instance, going someplace public and collectively improvise a video shoot.
  2. Show best practices
    Develop best practices with the most motivated teachers and present these to the other teachers. Stress how they have addressed the issues. You will see how quickly teachers start implementing e-learning or asking about how to implement.
  3. Create a semester topic
    Take one of your most popular support questions or a topic which you would think is vital and turn it into a “semester topic” for the teachers. Encourage them by offering your support to those who’d like to participate. This could help you bring your e-learning in your educational institution to the next level.