In the rapidly advancing landscape of higher education, particularly in health care, refining online teaching skills is essential for ensuring that students receive high-quality education and are well-prepared for their professional roles.

To help health care educators enhance their online teaching practices, we’ve compiled a set of top tips that reflect the latest in pedagogical innovation and practical strategies.

Embrace Theories and Models for Effective Online Instruction

The first step in creating successful and effective online instruction is to leverage solid theoretical frameworks to ensure that students can clearly access and understand course material. For example, it is important to apply Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to all course applications.

UDL makes information accessible and understandable to everyone, regardless of age, size, ability, or disability. Setting up curriculum UDL standards positions both instructors and students for success.

Additionally, using Backward Design, which involves defining learning objectives first and then designing course content and assessments to meet these goals, ensures that teaching is purposeful and aligned with desired outcomes.

Build a Strong Community of Inquiry

It is easy to feel distant or isolated in an online learning environment. This is why it is imperative that instructors cultivate a vibrant online Community of Inquiry.

The Community of Inquiry framework includes teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence. Teaching presence involves providing instructor guidance and facilitating discussion. Social presence enhances engagement through meaningful interactions. Cognitive presence promotes critical thinking through intellectually stimulating activities.

Together, these three tenets of the Community of Inquiry encourage engagement and collaboration.

As part of EIM’s University Partner Services, our faculty recruitment and development team support the hiring and ongoing development of faculty for each program, including comprehensive training in hybrid health care education.

Align Objectives with Professional Standards

It is imperative to create clear and measurable learning objectives that align with professional standards. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy can help create objectives that cover a range of cognitive skills, from basic knowledge to complex analysis and evaluation.

Aligning the workload with the objectives enhances the learning experience and helps students achieve the intended outcomes.

A colorful pyramid illustrating Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain (2001), with six levels from bottom to top: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating, representing a hierarchy of lower-order to higher-order thinking skills.
Graphic sourced from University of Florida Center for Instructional Technology and Training.

Incorporate Science of Learning Principles

When developing an online course, one should apply the principles from the Science of Learning. Applying these principles will not only boost student engagement but also aid in skill acquisition and increase knowledge retention.

Additionally, incorporating active learning methods, such as discussions, case studies, and problem-solving tasks, encourages deeper understanding among students.

Designing engaging video lectures based on multimedia learning principles further reinforces learning and improves knowledge retention. These principles include balancing educational text with visual aids and ensuring that images appropriately illustrate the concepts in the text.

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Utilize Experiential Learning Methods

Experiential learning, including Project-Based Learning, Problem-Based Learning, and Case-Based Learning, is especially effective in health care education. Project-based learning puts students in the position to design and develop hands-on solutions for problems.

Problem-based learning is an instructional approach where students learn by actively engaging in real-world and complex problems. Similarly, Case-based learning is an instructional approach that uses real-world scenarios, known as "cases," to stimulate student learning.

Designing projects and scenarios that reflect real-life challenges can make learning more relevant and better prepare future health care professionals to become lifelong learners.

Design Transparent and Effective Assignments

Considering technology in assignment design enhances student engagement and learning outcomes. Assignments are most effective when they are clear and aligned with educational technology frameworks, which guide instructors in effective technology integration.

Another key factor in maintaining clear and consistent messaging is transparent assignment design. Students must clearly understand the purpose, task, and standards of an assignment.

Implement Comprehensive Assessment and Feedback

Assessment and feedback are cornerstones of effective teaching. Using holistic, analytic, and developmental rubrics that match specific learning outcomes ensures fair and transparent assessment.

Using both formative assessments, which offer continuous feedback, and summative assessments, which evaluate overall knowledge and skills, helps guide and measure student progress. Providing constructive feedback that motivates and supports learners is crucial for their development.

Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Practices

Creating an inclusive and accessible space in online courses is crucial for supporting the success of diverse learners and fostering an equitable learning environment. Implementing UDL principles helps establish a learning environment that respects and embraces diverse learning backgrounds and experiences.

Alongside creating a safe and encouraging atmosphere, instructors must address student and instructor burnout. By integrating strategies for sustainable teaching and learning, instructors can cultivate a more resilient and supportive learning environment.

Commit to Continuous Improvement

Finally, consistently evaluating and refining your online courses is essential for maintaining high-quality education. Collect feedback regularly and use it to inform course improvements. Instructors should also incorporate peer review and self-assessment into the evaluation process to provide additional insights and inspire personal and professional growth.

If you are a faculty member looking to enhance your online teaching skills and stay ahead in the evolving field of health care education, enroll in our Hybrid Learning Certificate (HCL) Course. Gain comprehensive insights and hands-on experience in creating engaging, inclusive, and dynamic online learning environments. Transform your teaching approach and make a lasting impact on your students’ learning journey.

For administrators, our expert team at EIM can help you design and deliver hybrid accelerated programs with faculty development that ensure your educators are equipped with the latest strategies and tools for effective online and hybrid instruction. Partner with us to elevate the quality of education and drive student success.

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