Many of our offices and schools have been requested to close their doors, sending many workers and students home to continue their work online. Communication is essential to making this change work for as long as it needs. So how do you communicate effectively when you are no longer standing in front of your students in the classroom or sitting across the conference room table from your team?
The most important thing to take care of right off the bat, is setting the expectations for your students and employees. For teachers, are you going to have an assignment due every Wednesday night at midnight? Do you expect that your students will post a status update every day to whatever online resource your district is utilizing? For corporate leaders, do you have an operating procedure for how quickly your employees are expected to respond to emails? Does your messaging program allow your employees to set their availability status, so it is clear when they are at their desk v.s. in a meeting or taking a break? Whatever your expectations are, always make them clear and readily available to those expected to follow them.
Having a central place where your students or employees can go to when they have a question can streamline any issues that may pop up. At allsynx, we have a Knowledge Base where we house all documentation, from important HR documents, to task/process instructions, to training documents and videos. Along the same lines as setting your expectations, you can set the standard that before asking questions to the teacher or trainer, the student is expected to have checked out the available documentation to see if they can answer their own question.
One on One Meetings
More majority of the day, students and corporate employees are now sitting at their desks alone in their house. The concept of distant learning has greatly diminished the side chit chats and the ease of raising a hand to ask a question. So, to counteract this change, schedule one on one meetings with your students or employees to give them a chance to talk about how this change is affecting them and work through any struggles that can be amended.
If one on one meetings aren’t realistic in your situation, there are other options that can be useful. You can utilize a video conferencing software to create a virtual classroom, where your students could join to sit and work on their assignments with their classmates on the call with them. This could bring back a sense of community and collaboration to this time of distancing. Another option, especially in the corporate field, is to encourage your employees to turn on their camera for any internal meetings that they join. Being able to read body language and facial expressions can go a long way to increasing the level of effective communication being shared.
Have you come across other ways to communicate effectively in your experience with distant learning? Share your tips with us by filling out the Educator Survey, so the LEARNsynx team can spread it to everyone!