When setting up an online effective learning experience, there are several approaches that can be helpful. One thing that is extremely important is to demonstrate patience. Boettcher and Conrad (2010) suggest, be patient with yourself as you develop online teaching skills. Also be patient with your students as they develop online learning skills that often mean that they must become more active learners and take more responsibility for what they know and the skills and values they want to develop.
I would also want to get to know my students by asking them to do introductory bios. I believe getting to know your students will also give insight on their learning styles and abilities. Every student will learn differently, so tailoring a teaching style that is most beneficial to each learner can be very critical. Many adult learners have been out of school for several years, and getting back into a structured learning environment could prove difficult. This is why I feel it is important to get to know your students and tailor your approach to them. Also it helps to refer to those bios throughout the course and start using students’ names in your responses; it makes a difference, and gives them a sense that you know them and are reaching out and touching them personally (Laureate, 2012).
Clear and ambiguous guidelines about what is expected of learners and what they should expect from an instructor make a significant contribution to ensuring understanding and satisfaction in an online course (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Whenever I begin a new course I always read everything the instructor has posted, and familiarize myself with the syllabus. This way I understand what I am expected to complete, and what their policies are as it effects things that concern me. These things are important because it makes for a cohesive learning environment, and ensures there aren’t any gray areas.
As stated before, I think the major consideration that instructors should take into account when dealing with adult learners is the learning curve. You may have students who are young, very tech savvy and already know how online learning works. Then there will be students who are older, may have been out of school for a while, so not only are they new to online learning, they may need help readjusting to structured learning as a whole. There has to be balance when dealing with these separate learning abilities, and it will take a great educator to make sure they can handle it all.
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Launching the online learning experience.Baltimore, MD: Author.