First in this blog series on the Four F's of Distance Learning is feasibility. The first and most important question we must ask ourselves as educators is this: is the work feasible? In other words, is it realistic to expect that students will be able to perform these tasks? These questions become even more important when it comes to distance learning.
In a remote learning environment, students will not have access to the full benefits of classroom learning. Without one-to-one teacher supervision, in-person group activities, or access to materials such as science lab equipment, students may struggle to replicate the progress they would normally make in the classroom. That’s why it’s essential for educators to re-examine the learning objectives for each class and ensure they are realistic and fair.
When we assess the feasibility of a task, we need to consider two things: difficulty and practicality. Let’s look at these in more depth.
The difficulty of a task or lesson depends on the volume and complexity of the content. Be mindful that students will not be able to do quite as much work as they did in the classroom setting, where teachers could provide more support as well as all the tools and resources students needed.
You may have students with special educational needs who require extra support. You’ll need to consider how you can adapt the lesson to accommodate their needs while they study remotely.
When evaluating whether a task is feasible within the virtual setting there’s a number of practical considerations to keep in mind.
Naturally, there will be certain facilities or tools which students can’t access remotely. In these cases you’ll need to adapt the lesson, either by streamlining course content or finding creative alternatives.
Distance learning also brings changes to how we interact. Consider whether students will be able to work independently on the work you set. Will parents or guardians be able to support their children if necessary? You might also want to think about ways of integrating collaborative work, for example through breakout discussion groups or interactive activities.
We all want to prevent students from becoming stressed or overwhelmed. That’s why it’s of key importance that teachers ensure they are not setting unrealistic learning objectives.
This may involve reducing the workload, distilling the content down to essential concepts, or allowing greater flexibility in deadlines. By moderating our expectations to fit what is feasible within the circumstances, we can create happier and more productive learning environments!