Making Online Learning Accessible To More People

Online learning used to be a niche segment of the education sector. Now it’s a mainstream mode of delivery because of the pandemic. Everyone is having to cope with this new reality with some adapting better than others. There is much room for improvement. Fortunately, there are trailblazers in this field that everyone can learn from. Their years of experience in rolling out massive open online courses, for instance, has given them incredible insight into what works and what doesn’t. They implement the following techniques to make their courses more accessible to people:

Video Transcripts

Recorded videos are excellent approximations of in-person lectures. However, now everyone has the connection speed to enjoy uninterrupted streaming. Having video transcripts available means that those who are having connection issues can read the text version of the lecture to bridge the gap. The transcripts are also helpful for lectures with lots of technical terms and where the speaker might have an unfamiliar accent.

Short Clips

It is difficult for most people to focus on anything for a long time. Attention tends to drift the longer a lecture drags on. Better information absorption can happen if the clips are kept short and to the point. Course designers must be keenly aware of what each clip is about and provide only relevant information. By cutting out the fluff, the length can be minimized without sacrificing student learning. Additional information may be given as optional reading with the relevant links.

Download Ability

Not everyone can watch videos as soon as they become available. That’s fine given the asynchronous nature of most online courses. The students may find it helpful if they can download modules for later viewing as they can choose to do this at off-peak hours such as midnight or before they go to bed. Then they can have the videos ready by morning when they have time to view them.

Streaming Quality

Students should be able to choose their preferred streaming quality. Those with faster connections can enjoy full HD videos or higher while those with slow connections may opt for lower resolutions to prevent lags. Of course, it would be great if the server being used is fast enough to help the downloaders reach max speed as well.

Online Support

There should be online support available for technical issues and lecture questions. The platform might have built-in forums and chatrooms for this purpose. Emails of relevant departments and personnel should also be posted for anyone who needs to contact them.

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