Within a virtual academy, a community of learners must relate to the academy's culture.
Because culture allows individuals to understand each other, express themselves, and see themselves as part of a larger project.
And, in educational spaces, a healthy culture enhances a student’s learning experience.
A member has likely chosen to learn from your virtual academy because they lack an element of knowledge. It’s already a vulnerable moment for the learner.
So, taking the time to check if each member feels a sense of belonging, matters a lot!
The Cultural Equation
Create + Connect + Cooperate = Culture
For ‘Create’, consider your virtual academy’s cultural pillars, or values. Firstly, map what’s currently offered within your educational service. Then, attach the values to each service.
For ‘Connect’, attempt to seek prospective members who share similar cultural values. If you value creativity, look to connect with individuals who are open to creative learning.
For ‘Cooperate’, plan to foster interaction between learners, to strengthen a particular value. If 'respected' is valued, positive peer-led assessments may be an activity option.
Regularly Request Feedback on Learning Experience
Collecting student feedback, continually, means you are able to better your course's offering, whilst finding ways to develop a learner's confidence. Perhaps a non-intrusive survey system could motivate your students to take charge of their experience, with the feeling that they can comfortably voice their concerns. Wiley, an educational provider, found that students don't want to feel isolated in online learning environments. Rather, they prefer interactive elements. That's just one mode of feedback to consider, though there's heaps more!
Maintain Focus on Rewards-Based Learning
For a culture of achievement, hard work, and engagement, consider testing and rolling out rewards-based prompts or incentives. In-built rewards, or messages of congratulations, can be encouraging! Also, they can create an atmosphere of support and adulation, between learners.
Coupons, giveaways, raffle tickets, cash prizes, quiz badges, and certificates, are examples of rewards that you could add alongside learning roadmaps.
Yes. You want your learners to prioritise their education. However, there’s no harm in using supplementary perks, to improve the entire experience.
Encourage Collaborative Project-Based Learning
Collaborative education can happen in groups of many sizes. Video communication tools, like Zoom, have made it easier for learners across the globe, to collaborate. Establishing a project’s ground rules, before introducing the learning, is an opportunity to emphasise your virtual academy’s culture and values.
Collaborative activities, within the larger project, may include icebreakers, roleplay, discussion, problem-solving challenges, group competitions, and many more! As culture is formed by human beings, your learning delivery must be humanistic too So, see if you have the space and budget to offer collaborative projects. After all, your community may be leaning towards sociable education! Check out EdTech Magazine's step-by-step guide to facilitating online projects.
Diversify Your Learning Content & Delivery Options
If human beings have heterogeneous characteristics, then it's surely true that each individual learns at a different pace, with preferences on learning delivery. Magnify Learning offer an in-depth analysis of flexible learning content options. In essence, your community of learners may be part of education-specific subcultures. Whilst gathering feedback from your learners, as well as prospective clients, ask about their preferred learning type. Then, try to segment your class and content, by preferences. If a student feels they are receiving tailored teaching, they will be more engaged. And, if they are more engaged, they will make the most of your academy!
Are you a community leader, or founder, of a virtual academy? If so, please know that Ugenie is the membership hub of a variety of virtual academies.
Why not start a free 45-day trial on Ugenie, to see if your members would benefit?