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eLearning: the importance of (also) online interactions

Paola Giura
 Paola Giura
 Best Practices
27/05/2020 : The possibility to interact with other students and tutors allows to involve students and to improve their critical and learning skills.
<!-- NO-IMPORT-IN-DD -->eLearning: the importance of (also) online interactions

Reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts... many will wonder what is the point of interacting with other students and tutors if we have everything we need just a click away. The result is that many online courses are merely passive, i.e. they do not bother to promote relationships between the different people participating in the training. As well as significantly reducing student involvement, this way of understanding eLearning does not allow interactions to improve their learning.

If the course promotes dialogue, instead, the trainees are able to "metabolize" better, even verbally, what they are studying. The effort of having to re-elaborate content through their own words and to confront different opinions accelerates and improves the learning process. How to increase interactions in an online course? Here are four useful ideas:

1. Using different modes of communication

In general, the main form of interaction within the online course are messages. However, you can also increase your conversation possibilities by using other forms of language such as video, audio or image. In a language course, for example, students can be asked to make a short video presentation. Obviously, the modalities will vary depending on the topic of the course.

2. Changing the point of view

In order to enrich the learning process, a useful experiment to be carried out with the trainees is to change the point of view. What would you do in this situation if you were another person? This kind of "role-playing games", for example, can be very effective in a course using storytelling. The discussions that emerge from this change of perspective can be exciting.

3. Start the discussion in the forums

Most online courses include a forum to allow students to communicate with each other and with tutors. This is the best place to engage in discussions and conversations on course topics. Be careful, of course, to provide for the participation of one or more moderators (a tutor or the students themselves) to avoid the discussion becoming too "heated".

4. Giving the floor to the students

Through the course platform you can allow each participant, from time to time, to start a discussion on a topic of the course (chosen by themselves or by the tutor). Also in this case, it is good to have guidelines to avoid that the conversation is diluted in other topics far from those of the course. In this way, the study will become more fun and students will feel part of the group.

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