• Day 10

    • Consider Wellbeing Options

      During the various COVID pandemic lockdowns, I was very fortunate enough to meet with a number of teachers, learning technologists and support staff to ask how they are coping with the rapid shift to online delivery and what advice they had for their colleagues when designing learning that takes digital wellbeing into consideration.

      I have presented on this topic many times, but see my GASTA (5min) presentation for the ALT Winter conference 2021 for a very quick recap of my 'Top 10 tips':

      Some tips in detail:

      As mentioned in a previous Catalyst Calendar (day 20), some of the tips included:

        • Podcast a lesson to listen to on a walk
          Once a week, provide one of your sessions as an audio-only resource, or perhaps encourage a fellow academic to discuss the subject with you and record it. This was students can listen to it through their mobile devices while out on a walk. If you want to provide a transcript (which we absolutely advise) you can use GoogleDocs to 'type with your voice'  https://support.google.com/docs/answer/4492226
        • Sketch your thoughts
          When responding to a task you can ask your students to respond by drawing/sketching/mindmapping their thoughts on paper. This can then be scanned and uploaded to the Moodle Assignment tool. According to Laura Busche "Cognitive psychologists have been studying the impact of sketching on brain functioning for years, and with good reason: Putting ideas to paper is a powerful way to extend one’s memory.". Hand Sketches – Things You Didn’t Know Your Doodles Could Accomplish

        • Set wellbeing reminders throughout your course
          Using labels, you can set restriction and completion rules so they can pop up and set intervals. For example, you can set a reminder to pop up after completing a quiz to go and get a glass of water from the kitchen, or go outside for 5 mins for fresh air

        •  Make groupwork matter
          Some feedback we received was that groupwork was very much appreciated by students, however to be fully effective there needs to be some further considerations:
          • Allow the groups to work together for longer. This gives learners a chance to build a proper relationship with their peers
          • Make groupwork task-orientated. Give them a problem to solve, and enough time to discuss strategies and solutions
          • Give them tools to facilitate this too! Put them in Moodle groups and let them have their own group chat in the Moodle messaging system, forum, wiki etc

        • Identify live vs asynchronous learning opportunities
          You've survived having to move your lectures to Zoom/BigBlueButton/Teams etc, now it's time to think about how to perhaps flip the balance so learning can take place prior to your live sessions, so that the time could be better spent on answer questions, going deeper into the subject matter. this makes learning more flexible, especially in times when illness is a very real prospect, having to study and work at home with other members of your household present, or maybe having to share a computer with siblings/parents.  If you haven't already looked into flipped learning, now is the time!

        • Structuring content for reduced cognitive load
          Some really great learning design advice would be to adhere to the following:
          • Make your structure clear in your Moodle course using topic headings 
          • Identify how long each activity will probably take
          • Chunk up content so that students can schedule time for them. For example, videos should be 5-7 mins
          • Use a mix of passive and active engagement (with breathing space in between!)
          • Give students chances to respond - leaning is a multi-way-way conversation between teachers, students and their peers.

      What next?

      We would absolutely love to work with you and your course teams to identify opportunities to weave wellbeing into your courses, so please get in touch if you want to buy a block of consulting hours.

    • Bonus tip!

      Did you spot the mini nature pictures throughout this page? 

      Research has shown that bringing in elements of nature into your space can be calming and soothing. Many of us became 'plant parents' during lockdown as they brought us joy - is there any way you can bring nature into your online learning space? Perhaps offer ambient soundscapes that your learners can have on in the background such as:

      If this is something that interests you, look up 'Biophilia'

      Plant icons created by Freepik – Flaticon
      Plant icons created by Freepik – Flaticon
      Pond icons created by Freepik – Flaticon
      Pebbles icons created by Chanut-is-Industries – Flaticon

    • Suggested by Sam Taylor, Senior eLearning Consultant and MEC Facilitator