Learning online has its advantages — access to experts who you couldn’t connect with face to face; no travel time etc; also, you may not be able to meet in person due to location or time constraints.
Below are four effective ways to learn virtually in real time that are used in my personal and professional life; usually on a daily basis:
1. Find an expert to teach you
Use real-time video technology to teach you using Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts, Messenger etc
My mother started teaching my tama pōtiki/youngest son the ukulele when he was 6 years old (the musical gene skipped a generation). He is now 10, and they practice three times a week — before school from 8.00 – 8.20am — nothing unusual apart from that he lives in a small North Canterbury town and she lives in Nelson. They do this by using Skype or Facetime.
However, it is important to set yourself up to succeed. Having several sessions face to face before you begin (if possible) can be really beneficial. This is what my mother and my son did for her teaching him the ukulele.
2. Find your tribe
I love going to exercise classes because I push myself harder when others are around, and it also gives me a set time to focus on this. This can also be the case with learning something new.
One of the most popular parts of the Te Reo Māori online courses — Puāwai (Beginners) and Manahua (Intermediate) — are the weekly webinars (using real-time video conferencing technology — in this case, Zoom). It is an opportunity to learn in a supportive environment with others who are the same level as you, and also, often have similar learning goals (teachers wishing to use more Te reo Māori in their classrooms and at home, improved pronunciation).
An important part of Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview) is coming together face to face to begin. The online courses begin with a face-to-face hui, which also assists with the connections during the weekly webinars.
3. Work together
My colleagues and I talk every day and work on documents and mahi at the same time — although we are based all over New Zealand.
The video example below is of my colleagues and I using Padlet (online cloud-based software) to brainstorm. However, we also do this with Google Docs, Sheets, etc.
4. Ask for help and teach others
You can ask for help — and show the person you are asking exactly where you are stuck by screen sharing on your chosen video technology.
I have been training a colleague in Wellington by this technique (cheaper, quicker, and easier than flying to her). My team and I also screen share to clarify work or to assist each other at some stage every week.
The video example below is of my colleague screen sharing and showing me which code to change.
So, could you:
1) Find an expert to teach you?
Is there someone who could share their knowledge with you, your family — or your classroom? (for example, is there a grandparent who could share their expertise?)
2) Find your tribe?
Is there an online course that appeals such as Teo Reo Māori online courses — Puāwai (Beginners) and Manahua (Intermediate)? Could you and some colleagues and friends organise to study together?
3) Work together?
Do you use padlet or Google docs to collaboratively work together? These can be helpful both for teams that work virtually or in the same physical space. It also means notes can be easily shared and not stuck on a whiteboard or in someone’s notebook — plus the cloud-based options automatically update and you know that you are on the latest update (unlike with WORD).
4) Ask for help and teach others
Try using screen sharing (on Skype, Facetime, Google hangouts etc) if you would like advice from a colleague or friend but they are not physically close by. Or can you assist?