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Are you new to Live Online?

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Stuart Pedley-Smith
By Stuart Pedley-Smith, Kaplan Head of Learning Link to Stuart Pedley-Smith's LinkedIn profile

It looks like attending face to face lectures is not going to be possible at least for the next few months given COVID-19. But the good news is this doesn’t mean you’ll need to put your career and financial education on hold.

Because, as a result of not going out you will have more time to study and new technologies make it easier than ever to learn remotely.

Using Live Online

The online method that classroom students will probably be most familiar with is Live Online. This is where you are invited to a scheduled webcast, normally on a WebEx or Zoom platform with the lesson delivered live by a tutor.

It’s not too different to the classroom experience, however, the classes are recorded. Attending live is really important though as it means you’ll have a fixed commitment, a date and time in the diary set aside for study.

In addition, attending live will increase your levels of engagement. Even if you don’t contribute directly, concentration levels are higher and as a result learning is more effective.

Here are some things to consider when using Live Online for the first time.

Before class

Check out any messages that might be sent in advance of the lecture. Tutors will often post a comment on the activity feed (forum), prior to class, reminding students what will be covered and or highlighting what you should be thinking about.

Get ready for class

In the same way that you prepare for a face to face lecture, you need to do the same for Live Online. Have the materials for that session ready in front of you, give yourself plenty of desk space, pens, coffee, calculator all at the ready.

There is also some degree of mental preparation. Think of the session as a one-off event that you must make the most of. You shouldn’t need to watch the recording, no more than you would sit in a classroom lecture twice. It’s there to reinforce your learning, not act as a backup because you weren’t concentrating the first time.

Follow closely and work the questions

When the tutor starts, be ready to take notes - exactly as you would in a classroom. Make sure your sound quality and visuals are good and follow the tutor, annotating the notes as they do. If you are asked to perform a calculation or answer a question, give it your best shot. It doesn’t matter if you get it wrong, it’s having a go that’s important.

Waiting for the tutor to put the answer on the screen is certainly easier but copying the answer is nowhere near as effective as working the problem. There is a term in learning called ‘desirable difficulty’, which states that although challenges slow down the speed of consumption, the effort made increases the level of retention. To put it simply - ‘No pain No gain’.

Contribute to the chat panel

Just because you aren’t contributing to the chat panel doesn’t mean you are not engaged, but it will make the session more enjoyable and go a whole lot faster.

From a tutor’s perspective it’s really helpful to see comments in the panel. It gives an insight as to what students understand, or what might need further explanation. Without a student’s body language, the tutor finds it hard to judge their own performance with regard to pace, levels of detail and clarity of explanation.

The one caveat about this is - not everyone wants to chat in the same way and not everyone wants to ask questions in class. So make sure it works for you - chatting should help, not be a distraction.

After class, there’s more to do

The session will of course be available to watch again and if you have the time by all means do so. However it’s a good idea to narrow down what you want to see to one or two areas rather than watching the whole lecture again.

It’s far more important that you spend your time studying the areas not covered. These can be found together with any homework on MyKaplan. Alternatively, your tutor will highlight them.

What you study online is a significant part of what you need to know, but not everything, so please make sure you put time aside to complete the additional work required before the next session.

You might not have chosen to study remotely but Live Online is an excellent way of learning. It’s true that you need to be disciplined and you may miss being with your colleagues and friends, but as with many things post Covid-19, it will be interesting to see what permanent changes will result.

More students learning online might be one of them.

This blog is written by Stuart Pedley-Smith, Kaplan’s Head of Learning.