Virtual Learning: How Teachers Are Shifting To Virtual Classrooms

Woman teaching virtually to canadian classroom during Covid19

As COVID-19 shook the world, many industries had to turn virtual in order to continue working: this included education.

Schools across Canada and the rest of the world had to scramble to quickly organize teaching students online. This involved facilitating virtual learning opportunities so that their students could continue to learn from home. 

Teaching online is very different from teaching in the classroom. 

That’s why it is important to upskill in order to help you in your shift to virtual learning and online classrooms. Below, we discuss how teachers have been making this shift in the last few months and what the future of classrooms might be in a post-COVID world.

In fact, we believe in this so much we partnered with Staples to provide these courses FREE to teachers across Alberta through the Staples Learning Centre, powered by Training Company. You will read more about this below.

How Are Teachers Shifting & Adapting To Virtual Learning?  

Whether you are an elementary school teacher or you teach at a university level, many Canadian teachers have to quickly learn how to shift their teaching techniques to the virtual, online world. While there are no guarantees that this transition will be smooth – failing technological infrastructure, disorientated students not to mention your own learning curve all obstacles that will come with this shift.  

However, in saying that, making the move to teaching in virtual classrooms is achievable with a little bit of preparation and an understanding of Blended Learning. Below, are some of the key ways that teachers continue to shift to virtual learning environments:

Embrace the learner mindset

For most students, taking all of their classes online will be a brand new experience. As it will for the teacher. The trick to shifting to virtual learning is to embrace and learn the technology yourself. Keep a beginner’s mindset as you learn and develop your new class structure. Don’t be afraid to admit to students that you are learning during this period too and remind that virtual classrooms are a group effort. 

The key to successful virtual learning is to provide a safe, online learning space for your students that will continue to help them grow their knowledge, complete course content and stay engaged in learning activities. Remember, that this is a new experience for your students too. So make sure that you are actively checking in and accommodating the online learning experience to your students’ needs.  

Don’t let technology overshadow teaching

The goal of virtual classrooms is to use technology to facilitate effective learning and student engagement. Online tools only go so far. In order for them to be successful, you need to continue to teach your students as if they are right in front of you. Just make sure to embrace the technological tools that will support you in doing so.  

Upskill on technical issues

Technical problems are bound to arise as part of facilitating classrooms online. As part of virtual learning, educate yourself on the issues that students require technical support on such as a forgotten password or a pop-up blocker. Some teachers are even putting together FAQs for their students to make sure technical downtime doesn’t take away from teaching.  

Promote engagement

Make sure that student engagement trumps content coverage. You may have an impulse to upload tonnes of content to your Learning Management System. However, this kind of virtual learning will not promote engagement or lasting change.

Instead, consider a blended learning approach. Combine eLearning course coverage with student-led learning opportunities. Facilitate online discussions via videoconferencing, peer-to-peer support and virtual group projects. Use the Socratic method to involve students by having them answer questions and respond to polls. 

Post-COVID Classrooms: Will This Be A Permanent Fixture? 

We are not quite sure exactly how post-COVID classrooms will look like across multiple educational levels once physical distancing restrictions are lifted further. Early predictors suggest that this crisis has transformed many aspects of how education is approached, especially when it comes to blended learning.  

While COVID-19 necessitated a move to universal remote teaching, many institutions could see virtual classrooms become permanent fixtures as part of a blended learning approach. 

When both in-person teaching and online learning are combined, it has been proven to successfully increase learning retention and engagement rates. 

Digital tools will become complements, not substitutes for face-to-face learning.  

Additionally, in the case of universities, online learning will be recognized as a core role for post-degree continuing education. This could ultimately change the educational sector and become a new source of revenue for the institutions that invest now.

Alberta Teachers With Staples Learning Centre: How They Are Upskilling To Effectively Teach Their Students 

Our partner, Staples Learning Centre, has been supporting the upskilling of teachers in Alberta during this pandemic. As part of their Learning Management System powered by Training Company, Alberta teachers have been accessing training material and content that will aid them as they shift to virtual classrooms. These teachers have been accessing courses such as communication basics, time management, email etiquette, Microsoft package bundles and more. These teachers have been putting in the effort to upskill themselves so that they can teach their students effectively in the online classroom.  

Are You A Teacher In Canada?  

If you are a teacher in Canada, we believe that the way you approach educating students is changing for good. In order to stay up to date on the correct way to teach as part of virtual learning opportunities, it is important that you continue to upskill yourself so that you are equipped with the skills and tools needed to help you and your students succeed.  

Get in touch with our team today and determine whether you qualify for free teacher training courses to help you move your classroom virtual.