Why is Emotional Leadership Key to Online Learning?

#LetsContinYU Series, Articles Posts about SCS, Cloud

By Matthew McGrath

With Social Distancing in place almost globally, the only option is to learn online, and many institutions and universities that offer traditional classroom-based instruction are new to it. Fortunately, the York University School of Continuing Studies has a proven track record of delivering quality, online learning, particularly in emerging technologies. We hope to share some of the insights we’ve gained with our colleagues across the world who may be new to this.

Online education provides an effective way for a person to continue to learn, while achieving the necessary social (or physical) distancing. Technology today allows us to engage in social interaction and collaboration with people from different locations.

The challenge is to create a social presence and encourage effective learning by leveraging online resources. It is important to realize that it is more than just the sharing of information. To effectively learn online there needs to be a human connection.

How can you make the Human Connection online?

Even when learning is delivered asynchronously, which the program I teach in — Cloud Computing Strategy — is entirely delivered in; S.I.T. (Student-Instructor-Technology) must be a three-way connection to ensure a greater experience and make learning effective and fun. When the connection is made the technology fades into the background.

Once the environment is set, instructors need to adjust their teaching styles to enhance the learner-teacher interaction. One needs to develop emotional leadership to help the learner feel supported – whether the learner is on a live session or engaging with the content in their own time.

Why is emotional leadership critical in the COVID-19 pandemic?

As people are practicing physical distancing and even social isolation, human connections are being reduced and the need to make the student feel connected is crucial.

For live sessions online, just like in the classroom, making eye contact, using humour, showing facial expressions, standing up to have more dynamic body language are all good ways to show emotional leadership. In asynchronous courses, the instructor needs to be very deliberate in building interaction through discussions, feedback and other engagements.

Learning online presents challenges for both students and instructors. The technology should make it easy and intuitive so we can maximize interactions between learners and teachers.

The York University School of Continuing Studies is open remotely, in-tune, and delivering all courses online.

Together we can make the human connection and enhance online learning.

Claude K. Sam-Foh

Claude Sam-Foh is the former Chief Enterprise Architect and Chief Cyber Security Officer with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. He has extensive business and IT knowledge, gained through more than 30 years’ practical experience in both fields.

His area of expertise encompasses enterprise architecture, information management, information security, privacy leadership, cloud computing, service management, portfolio, program and project management, business systems analysis and agile management.

Claude makes business and IT learning fun and adapts his delivery to the level of his students. He challenges them to think strategically and emphasizes on applying the knowledge they have learned in the workplace. His motto is “Knowledge Secured and Wisdom Applied”.

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