Eunice Lim

VIA20

Singapore

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Challenge

We are now conducting most of our classes online due to COVID. As educators, we are well-versed with the pedagogical affordances of learning designs, but now we have to move to a new space, that is, the online classroom literally overnight. Being one of the educators helping others transit to the online space, I had the opportunity to journey with many in the transition. I spoke to several parties, from the learners to educators and even key stakeholders from the institute before I decided to focus on this challenge. The institute ran a quick dipstick survey after 1 month of full-online training for educators. The findings from the survey as well as from my conversations with various people led me to a resounding problem - the social part to effective learning. How do we re-define and facilitate social learning in the online space? Being dedicated educators, we are always concerned with learning effectiveness. As we pick up tech-tools for our online classes, we try our very best to create engagement in the class. What we are missing are the “hi” along the corridor, tea-break sessions, teasing each other and jokes in a face-to-face class. The social cohesion and bonding these sessions bring, are something we were not able to replicate. We want to make our virtual classes more relational as we value the social interactions in learning. In my conversations with fellow educators, as much as we are glad that we are managing well in handling the tech tools in the online space, creating the learning space, most felt the ‘bond’ missing. The learners are not as relational and the rapport we used to have in the face-to-face sessions is missing. We want to bring back the human interaction which is essential to the learning experience.

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