Of the multiple theories about education and existing pedagogies, in this article we will focus on the theory of social learning of Bandura; Learning, according to this author, is produced by observation, imitation and modeling. This can be observed when a person learns a habit or habit of a partner (eg in a work environment) also happens in many other scenarios unconsciously, for example, in a group work in a classroom, where in addition to learn about the subject matter, learn from the partners including attitudes and habits (these are soft skills). This learning occurs at many and different levels, so we want to highlight the advantages offered by online teaching or eLearning in this aspect.
It is customary to highlight the need for a teacher in an eLearning environment to be both expert in the subject matter and in digital skills, this undoubtedly influences the success of an online training activity, but in our opinion, a key aspect that is omitted is Many professors and students accustomed to face-to-face teaching may notice missing in virtual teaching.
In a traditional teaching, the observation and imitation to which we are accustomed is face to face, in person; in class, in the cafeteria, in a work group, etc. The realization of a correct modeling is exaggeratedly difficult. The creation of a scenario that constitutes the work activity, location of goals and implementation to reach this goal is very blurred. It is common to find students in an online environment who do not know exactly what to do, what are the next steps or what is intended. This makes it practically impossible to implement a strategic (or path) towards learning (eg, doing group work). In another article we will talk about how an online learning platform (eLearning) can help that this does not happen (or at least, that the confusion is minimal), but here we will focus on the role of the teacher.
Of course it is always going to contribute to the success that the teacher shows an organized planning, scheme or some well-defined tasks in the online environment so that the students have everything a little clearer, but even so, we have to get the teacher to generate an image (even if virtual) that is observable and helps create models for the students.
We refer to communication, feedback, participation that create visions towards commitment and responsibility. In particular, when using a digital tool (in this case, the eLearning environment), a positive attitude towards the use of digital tools is necessary. Here are some examples that we hope will help us favor a digital teacher model for students who feel skillful and comfortable learning online.
- On a regular basis, the online environment is perceived as a barrier by the student, not as a means of easy and accessible communication from the teacher, to which it is not seen. Thus, the teacher should strive in this environment to be visible and close to their students through the virtual environment. We will never tire of insisting on the creation of videos and mails that include equally the content of the course, as well as more emotional and motivating content that in a friendly way “brings” the student closer.
- Even though the online environment is an asynchronous learning system (that is, delayed), the immediacy of responses or feedback from the teacher helps not to increase the student’s anxiety, it also provides an example of a fast and efficient communication.
- Possible difficulties should be presented towards tools such as sending tasks, forums, lessons, or collaborative tasks as a learning opportunity, in which, together we can try and experiment without fear or danger.
- Concepts such as identity in a virtual class are very blurred, since communication (normally done in forums) is centered on the thread of the message or topic, not on the person. In this case the learning platform can help facilitating that any participant can know about another (their contribution), but also the creation of networks or social spaces.
This is what you see next:
The creation of a social network, or learning network (what would be the equivalent of a virtual learning community) within the course can be very beneficial, unfortunately, unless it is greatly enhanced, this type of virtual spaces are left deserted or with little participation.
Our proposal is an active participation of the teacher through activities of humanistic field theories, similar to a Coach where the participation is directed by the own interests and needs of the students.
If you want to know more about this, you can download the manual we have designed: www.ed-way.eu
Do you have an educational project that you want to offer online? at CIDET we can accompany you and help you grow it.