How to Create College Courses That Are More Human

In today’s technology-driven society, people understand that not all interactions online involve another human. While this isn’t typically problematic for simple interactions – such as discovering the answer to an FAQ came from a chatbot and not an employee of an organization – it is troubling in the land of education. Online courses that lack the human element can harm the learning experience. Written lectures instead of spoken ones, self-advancing slide shows, and similar kinds of content feel automated, giving the impression that it’s a bot behind the course and not an instructor. Students may feel less engaged or connected to the class because the course doesn’t feel human-centric, causing them to fall short of the learning objectives. While online courses will always feel different from in-person classes, that doesn’t mean they can’t be created to seem more human. If you are wondering how you can make online college classes more human-centric, here are some tips.

“Be more human … the most human company will win.” -Mark Schaefer (Marketing Rebellion)

Use Video Beyond the Lecture

While using video instead of written lectures can help, it’s also wise to explore how you can use video in new, exciting ways within the course. For example, instead of message board alerts or class emails, communicate important updates using video clips. When you deliver feedback on an assignment, that could be done via video as well. By adding more video, it makes it easier for students to see the person behind the course. Plus, when it comes to video feedback, it gives students something akin to a one-on-one conversation, making it feel more personal while strengthening the overall connection. If you allow students to submit questions or respond to feedback with video clips as well, that can take it to the next level. They’ll get to talk instead of writing or typing, giving the interaction additional depth.

Add a Personal Touch

If you can help your students see the instructors as more than a person on the other side of a screen, it can go a long way. By adding a few personal touches to the course, the instructors can help students see them as whole people, increasing the quality of the relationships. Allow instructors to have a bit of personality and showcase non-class-related points about themselves. For example, introduce them to pets or give them insights into hobbies. By adding a non-class-related element, students will see instructors as more than mysterious graders behind the scenes. As a result, engagement will rise, creating a better environment for all.

Create Space for Community

Online learning can feel a bit lonely. Many students feel removed from their peers, creating a sense of distance that can harm engagement. Overcoming this challenge isn’t as hard as it may seem. By giving students social spaces where they can chat, share images, and otherwise engage on a purely social level, you can forge a sense of community. As they form stronger bonds, they’ll associate those connections with the class, boosting engagement along the way.

Are You Ready to Create Human-Centric Online Courses?

At Clarity, we have nearly 30 years of experience in L&D, giving us the knowledge and expertise to update your coursework efficiently. Plus, if you’re trying to expand your internal L&D team, Clarity can be your candidate search ally, connecting you with top talent right when you need them. If you want to partner with leading L&D professionals, Clarity Consultants is here. Contact us today.
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