Educators are constantly looking for better ways to help students learn across a wide range of environments and circumstances, and the broad shift to remote learning in the wake of COVID-19 further amplified the need for distance learning solutions.
Virtual learning environments can add excitement to a student's life if adopted and applied in an effective manner, and new solutions are hitting the market every day. But are they all up to educators' standards? Will they actually improve learning outcomes?
Let's look at some types, key features, and integrations of remote learning applications.
Types of Remote Learning
1. Synchronous remote learning
Synchronous remote learning involves the involvement of all participants during a shared time slot. It is very much like real-time learning in which an instructor actively participates and proceeds with the discussion. This form of education can be easily delivered through online classrooms, video conferences, webinars, and other applications. The major advantage of synchronous learning is that all the members of the discussion can attend the course or training program no matter wherever they are.
2. Asynchronous remote learning
In asynchronous learning, all the content is uploaded at once and made available. Students can access whenever they want to. Instructors don’t need to be present all the time. This type of learning is also known as e-learning. It is often facilitated with videos and courses available online.
Custom Remote Learning Applications
The core factor that determines the success of distance learning is the availability of educational resources anytime, anywhere. Total content availability ensures that instructors really don’t need to worry about student attendance, so regular and consistent access is the top priority for learning apps. Custom-built apps, in particular, can facilitate better remote learning and reduce overhead if they include the right features.
Key Features of Customized Remote Learning Applications
Must-have features of e-learning applications are listed below.
- Audio/Video Streaming: It assists instructors to communicate with students and maintain a real-time interactive session.
- Virtual Whiteboard: It allows the teacher to share lectures, videos, and notes among the students. Students can easily access the resources provided. Students can also share their content (i.e. audio/video format) with other classmates.
- Chat: It is a very important feature that must be present in any learning application. It helps in moderating discussions on interesting topics. Related queries can be highlighted that assist students in understanding the lecture or main agenda of discussion.
- Recording: This can’t be ignored at any cost. The presence of this feature allows instructors to ensure availability of videos and lectures to everyone registered in classroom, even the students who are not present. Supplementary materials may be accessed by students easily anytime as they work through the recordings.
- Breakout Room: The instructor can easily divide the classroom into various sub-groups. This helps students to work on diverse problems simultaneously without being interrupted. The breakout room has its own chat room, white board, and options available to share documents and files.
- Media File Streaming: All audio and video files can be played on any media player by the instructor and can be displayed to the whole class by turning on presentation mode.
- Report Attendance: This feature helps the instructor monitor the students attending the lecture. Students will get notified regarding the dates and times of the next classes.
- Online Quizzes: During an ongoing session, the instructor can easily conduct surveys and online quizzes. All the submissions, along with time tracking information, are retrieved by the instructor in an organized form.
- Sharing Files/Documents: Files and documents can be easily shared to the students in a compressed form while delivering the lectures.
- Assignment Submission: Students can easily search, edit, and submit their assignments. The teachers have the ability to view and check the assignments of the students. The instructor is notified of submissions after their due time and date.
- Grading Assignments: The instructor can grade submitted content and offer feedback about where the students need to pay further attention or require special attention.
Common Remote Learning Applications
A huge range of remote learning apps (also referred as learning management systems, or LMS) exists. Some of them are open source and some charge quite high costs, but most of them are worth considering as potential integrations for any custom remote learning app. Below is a list of remote learning applications that are widely used these days.
Google Classroom has made collaborative learning easier, and the best thing about it is that it's free. G Suite services are available for students and teachers for educational purposes. As a result, it's easy for users to utilize Docs, Sheets, Hangouts, Meet, and Slides along with Google classroom.
- Assignments: Teachers can assign tasks to students using digital content like YouTube videos, Google Form surveys, or PDFs from Google Drive.
- Customizable Grading System: Teachers can select a grading system and give grades as per criteria from different grading categories.
- Virtual Discussions: Teachers can encourage students to participate in moderated discussions and question/answer sessions.
- Announcements: Teachers can give new updates about important events to students through announcements.
- Live Classes: Teachers can host a real-time class virtually through Google Meet for interactive presentations.
- Focused and organized teaching experience
- Increased levels of teacher-student engagement
- Easy collaboration
- Time saver
Edmodo is another popular learning tool which is being commonly used in learning environments. Mentors can communicate with students virtually to achieve their mutual learning goals. With the help of Edmodo, learning material can easily be managed. Teachers and students can store, reuse and share their content with each using its amazing features.
- Create polls, quizzes and assignments for students
- Award badges to individual students according to their performance
- Gauge student progress by keeping track of their participation
- Support online class discussions
- Personalization features
- Free admin account
- Builds collaborative closed network that involves students, parents, and admin
- Provides an easy-to-use experience
Moodle is an open-source and free educational platform. It has a wide variety of functionalities that are useful for teachers, students, and parents. Students can access dynamic learning content and resources online any time and any place using Moodle's features and its integrations.
- Allows customization
- Provides live engagement
- Automated assessments
- Supports various content repositories such as Google Drive or local storage
- Provides analytics to track progress
- Learning content management
- Supports numerous plugins
- Highly flexible
- Easy configuration and user-friendly interface
- Easy integrations
Blackboard is all-in-one tool that is used for real-time support and learning. All participants stay connected with the help of Blackboard's collaboration suite and the addition of third-party integrations. Instructors and students conduct all educational activities virtually, saving time and enhancing learning outcomes.
- Provides student previews
- Collaborative integrations
- Data management
- Enhanced grading system and enrollments
- Saves all resources in Blackboard drive
- Provides intuitive dashboard
- Easy navigation
- Easily accessible
Important Considerations for Custom Remote Learning Apps
- Accessibility via mobile: We all know that mobile is a handy and ubiquitous gadget for accessing everything online. When designing a remote learning application, make sure that it can be accessed by mobile phones, and that the UX of the interface is interactive and well managed.
- Scalability: It's important to ensure that a learning application can handle any expansion or integrations required by the institution's business demands. There are a number of factors that influence scalability, like the model’s price and approach to the features available.
- Customizable: There are two primary users of remote learning tools: students and teachers. So, any remote learning tool should be easy to use and interactive enough to reset with respect to individual preference (i.e. changing layouts or notifications) according to the instructions provided by tutors.
- Content Management: In the design process, make sure that the app can help you structure and manage courses. How will content be stored and presented? Most importantly, how will it accelerate the progress of the students and courses?
E-learning is likely here to stay, so consider all of its dimensions when thinking about custom app development. Now is the right time to invest in this niche, as it's crucial need which can't be ignored.
Crowdbotics provides managed app development for custom builds and has broad expertise within the education sector. If you're considering how you can deliver a custom remote learning experience for your administration, teachers, or students, get in touch with our experts for a detailed estimate today.