DLS stands for digital learning system. Any teaching and learning method that involves digital tools is a part of the digital learning system. There are three unique components of a digital learning system – use of the latest technology, customized study material in digitized format, and innovative instructional strategies to meet contemporary needs.
Digital learning systems have been gaining popularity for quite some time, and there have been talks of incorporating mixed modes of learning, which is a combination of online and offline teaching methods. But, when the pandemic hit the world, all educational institutions switched to the online medium.
Reasons Behind The Popularity Of DLS
- The Internet is available to a wider network of people. This means a greater number of people can adopt DLS.
- Different devices are available now to access the Internet, like desktop computers, television sets with DTH/cable connection, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.
- Students can attend virtual classrooms from anywhere and at any time per their convenience.
- Working professionals, people with special health needs, and others who cannot spend hours in classroom lectures can learn without visiting the campus of any institution.
- Every student gets special attention as and when required. This facility is not possible for a teacher in a physical classroom.
- Students get personalized learning opportunities through the DLS medium.
- DLS Delivery Process
- The delivery method for teaching in a digital learning system is available in two different forms:
- Real-Time Virtual Classrooms: Here, pre-scheduled live classes are held over video or audio conference calls. Students and teachers participate in the class virtually. This is possible where good telecommunication with strong Internet connectivity is available.
- Virtual Classrooms with Flexible Timing: Here, students get access to recorded lectures, demonstrations, and some multimedia resources. These audio-visual contents reach the students directly on their digital devices like a mobile app or via e-mail. Special doubt clearing sessions are held at a specified time over a voice or video call. This requires moderate connectivity with the Internet. In places where the Internet is not available, recorded lectures and other resources are circulated through CDs, DVDs, Pen-drives, etc.
- Virtual classrooms are the new teaching and learning method for both teachers and students. Both need some guidance to adopt this new learning environment.
DLS Guidelines For The Teachers
Teachers must understand the requirements of the teaching-learning process of the online classes, which are quite different from face-to-face physical classes.
Here are some key points that teachers can follow:
- Teachers must first get familiar with the technology involved in the digital learning system. Educational institutions often arrange training for the teachers where they can explore web portals, mobile apps, etc. Teachers should be aware of the policies for accessing online resources. All available online resources are not meant for free download and circulation. There can be issues of copyright violation.
- The duration of real-time online classes should be decided based on the age group of the students. One session should not be stretched more than 30-45 minutes. The number of live sessions should not be more than two in one day for the children. Senior students and adult learners can have four sessions in a day. At least a 15-30 minute break between two sessions is recommended.
- Teachers must prepare online session plans with care. Virtual classrooms should be fun and productive to ensure maximum participation from students. Innovative ideas like solving puzzles, creating charts and models, quiz sessions, etc., can keep the online classes vibrant and interesting.
- Some students may need more time to learn a new topic in the online medium compared to in-class sessions. Some of them may be less attentive in virtual classrooms. Teachers will need to deal with such situations with utmost patience. Learning goals should be realistic as per the needs and abilities of the students.
- Regular feedback from students and parents is required to improve the learning process. Teachers should be available for students to clear their doubts during any given session. It can be via chat groups or calls at a specified time of the day.
DLS Guidelines For The Students
Students must remember that the physical classroom rules are also applicable to virtual classrooms.
Here are some additional points that the students must keep in mind:
- During live online sessions, keep your microphone on mute, and your camera turned on.
- Listen to your teacher attentively. Note down the important points from online lectures on a piece of paper. Avoid typing them on your computer. Writing helps memorize the points better.
- Using earphones during virtual classes is helpful. It cancels out the outside noise and lets you hear the lecture.
- Participate in interactive sessions. Speak one at a time – raise your hand, unmute yourself, and then ask your question.
- Finish and submit assignments on time.
- Focusing only on digital learning is not enough. Spend some time reading textbooks offline.
- After the online classes, try to stay away from the screen and focus on offline activities.
- Take a break between two online classes and go for a brisk walk in your garden or terrace.
- Switch off your mobile and laptop one hour before bedtime. Otherwise, you may get sleep disturbances.
Cyber Security Guidelines
Creating a safe and secured learning environment is a major issue in the digital learning system. Awareness of cyber security is a must among teachers, students, and parents. They should know how to maintain privacy on online platforms.
- Some ways to ensure a secured platform for teaching and learning are as follows:
- Teachers must train the students to create strong passwords for their accounts. This way, they can keep sensitive data secured.
- They should be sensitized about the dangers of sharing personal information online.
- They should avoid clicking on any link or replying to any message from unknown sources.
- Students should log off from their devices after the online class is over. This can prevent data theft.
- Parents must keep a watch on the screen time of their children. They should be encouraged to stay away from social media platforms and online games, as those are distractions that can affect their studies.
- There is a huge potential for growth in the digital learning system. However, meticulous planning will be required for its implementation across society. Head of the institutions, administrative bodies, teachers, students, and parents can play a significant part in the planning phase. Their needs, demands, suggestions, and feedback will help bring about new changes in the system.