How To Design Your Remote Learning Lesson

This post provides a four-part design process for planning remote lessons. It is recommended that these guidelines are used to assist in planning synchronous meetings that can be used for more interactive and engaging work.

Planning functions as a means of organizing instruction and a source of confidence, security, and direction for the instructor. The instructional planning model includes: (a) specifying behavioral objectives, (b) specifying student’s baseline knowledge and skills, (c) selecting sequencing learning activities to move students from entry behavior to objective, and (d) evaluating the outcomes of instruction in order to improve planning.

The distinct decisions we make in each of these components will be concerned with critical elements of the instructional process, including content materials, activities, goals, and learner needs. In an online learning environment, teachers will continue to select and sequence learning activities that move students from entry behavior to objective.

However, teachers will be faced with deciding how best to engage students in these learning materials and activities in terms of synchronous or asynchronous learning.

Most teachers will be doing some form of online teaching in the coming year. As an instructor, you may have several questions that come with this transition: What shifts do I need to make in my face-to-face teaching practices to make the most of online learning? What should stay the same from face-to-face teaching practices? What should be done differently?

While the answers to these questions involve many different factors, it is safe to say that planning will remain a critical component of teaching as we transition to online teaching. Planning refers to that component of teaching in which instructors formulate a course of action for carrying out instruction over a course, a week or several weeks, a day, or a lesson.

1. Brief Introduction

a. Welcome students to class.

b. Provide an overview of the upcoming learning experience by sharing the objective.

     i. What students will learn.

     ii. How will they demonstrate their understanding (Bloom’s)

     iii. Why do they need to know this content?

c. If possible, the introduction should allow for students to see and hear you by virtual means. This will help to form connections in the online environment.

2. Content

a. Show students where to access resources and academic content.

b. Representing content in several different ways will help to increase access for all learners. Formats can include:

     i. Texts

     ii. Videos

     iii. Digital simulations

     iv. Tours

     v. Audiobooks

     vi. Virtual field trips

3. Collaboration

a. Students should have the opportunity to engage with the content in a collaborative environment.

b. Collaborative activities should be carefully considered so as to select the activity that is most appropriate for students to demonstrate the desired outcome.

c. Utilize remote learning strategies that connect students with each other in order to strengthen learning. Formats can include:

     i. Verbal discussions

     ii. Collaborative documents

     iii. Blogs

     iv. Chat rooms (it is important that security measures are in place to ensure that the chat room is private and accessible for all students)

4. Synthesize Learning

a. Provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning using a method of their choice.

b. Practice activities or assessments (formative or summative) must provide clear feedback on success or failure for the required activity.

c. Having different options to display evidence of learning can help to address learner needs and variations in motivation. Formats can include:

     i. Digital uploads. This could include:

         1. Images of physical/visual representations

         2. Video

         3. Slides

         4. Text

Additional advice for planning for synchronous meetings

Synchronous meetings should be used for more interactive, engaging work and one way to make them happen more easily is to have students meet in small groups.

Small groups can provide the instructor with an opportunity to refine or enhance planning and delivery of instruction in between multiple sessions of the same lesson. The small group model (5-8 students) provides flexibility for scheduling, increases student attendance,and fosters a learning environment for student to student and student to teacher collaboration.

Additionally, consistent small groups for synchronous learning activities during the course allows for students to get to know eachother better and establish more trust. Synchronous learning lessons must provide students with opportunities to be active and engaged in learning that requires higher order thinking skills. Our time is precious so being present for the online lesson needs to be worthwhile.

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