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Lesson Planning for Remote Learning

The COVID-19 outbreak may have necessitated an immediate shift to remote learning. Still, even after the pandemic subsides, it is unlikely that online learning environments will cease to be an integral part of the educational landscape. In fact, experts expect remote learning to experience tremendous growth over the next three years.

To be prepared for this trend, an educational experience like the Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) – Curriculum Leadership PreK-12 online program from Emporia State University will be extremely beneficial in equipping educators with modern skills in remote learning.

Maximize the Online Learning Experience

Clarity is key when it comes to remote learning. Teachers should take steps to ensure that students fully understand what they are learning, why they are learning it, and have a benchmark to let them know they've mastered certain content. Being as specific as possible will make the process easier for students to grasp.

All lesson plans for remote learning should also contain certain elements that will put students in the best position to succeed. There are a handful of elements of successful online learning. Content should:

  • Be learner-centric: Educators should connect course material to students' interests and what they already know.
  • Include a variety of media types: Variety and interaction help keep students engaged.
  • Create opportunities for active learning: Student discussion and peer interaction are essential.
  • Improve metacognition: Students should be able to discuss their thinking process with the teacher.
  • Include clearly defined expectations: Teachers should establish guidelines for remote learning.

How Does Lesson Planning for Remote Learning Differ from In-Person Instruction?

When teachers are faced with the challenge of preparing for both in-person and remote learning, or have uncertainty surrounding the teaching model they are using, they should start by planning for remote learning. Because devices are so prevalent in education today, and in-person instruction in the COVID-19 era likely includes social distancing and safety precautions, many teachers find it easier to pivot from remote to in-person instruction than the reverse.

Ultimately, though, all lesson planning starts the same way: determining and clearly establishing what students are expected to learn. The primary difference between the two models are the types of activities used to help students meet learning objectives. Activities frequently utilized by teachers in these two models reveal more similarities than differences.

In-person learning activities may include:

  • Conducting scientific experiments or investigations
  • Workshopping student essays or research papers
  • Collaborating on group projects or problem-solving
  • Conducting student debates or Socratic seminars

Remote learning activities may include:

  • Conducting science experiments with household materials and sharing their results via a social media app
  • Offering peer feedback via Zoom or Skype calls
  • Contributing asynchronously to group projects or problem-solving activities
  • Responding to discussion prompts via message boards, Instagram, or Tik Tok

Innovative Ways to Engage Students During Remote Learning.

In some ways, remote learning can be a more engaging experience for students than traditional instruction models. Students today are more tech-literate than even before, so empowering them to use their personal devices in the learning environment can help them better connect with course material. Additionally, remote learning eliminates the physical boundaries of the classroom and allows experts to deliver instruction from all around the world. Here are a few examples of effective methods of engaging students during remote learning:

Lesson plan with engagement in mind

Taking virtual field trips, connecting with experts from across the globe, and gamifying learning are just a few options when intentionally planning lessons for maximum student engagement. Students can also create virtual presentations or collaborate in groups to program a 3D printer. Starting a class blog or podcast is another excellent option for increasing engagement.

Empower students to be autonomous learners

Allow students to direct their own learning. Give them a list of acceptable sources they must use to complete a paper or research project. Present them with a problem they must solve within a certain amount of time or ask them to generate a hypothesis about a scientific phenomenon that has yet to be fully explained. Encouraging self-directed learning can be a powerful strategy.

Maintain connections through messaging apps or chat rooms

Students will still need guidance from teachers to succeed at remote learning. Create opportunities for one-on-one discussions between teachers and students. In some cases, this can improve communication. For example, a shy student may be more comfortable asking the teacher questions without the rest of the class watching. This is an important method for maintaining connections in the virtual learning environment.

Learn more about Emporia State University's online Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) – Curriculum Leadership PreK-12 program.


Education Week: How to Make Lessons Cohesive When Teaching Both Remote and In-Person Classes

Omaha Public Schools: Best Practices for Remote Learning: Effective Lesson Planning for Remote Learning

Teach Thought: 25 Remote Teaching Tips to Engage Students In Distance Learning

Texas Computer Education Association: Lesson Plan Template for Remote Learning

The Journal: Remote Learning Will Continue Growing Over the Next Three Years

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