Distance Learning Blueprint

Distance Learning Blueprint (Eckert, 2020), CC: BY | NC | ND

Due to the nationwide shutdown of schools and university campuses that was announced by our Federal Council on March 13th, all educational institutions had to transition from conventional to distance learning. Our own University decided to stop all teaching activities—both off- and online— for seven days in order to prepare the shift to remote teaching and learning. During this week we evaluated different learning and teaching patterns that would suit the needs of our learners and educators. Based upon these patterns a blueprint has been developed that mainly proposes four core episodes:

  1. Asynchronous Communication
  2. Synchronous Live Sessions
  3. Peer-Learning Groups
  4. Daily De-Briefing on Distance Learning.

Due to limitations of bandwidth and the concentration span of our educators and learners, we decided to shift most of our communication towards asynchronous formats of learning. These included screencasts, video lessons, audio tracks or even physical kits that have been shipped to the students. This way learners were able to prepare for the scheduled course days themselves. During the course days, we would keep live (synchronous) communication with our students at a minimum amount of time and include a series of break-out and peer-learning sessions that were meant to keep the conversation going throughout the day. One cornerstone of the blueprint became the daily de-briefing session which would gather learnings made with regards to

  • the student’s learning process
  • challenges or benefits of distance learning
  • technical issues or opportunities.

After the first three weeks of remote teaching at our MA Programme, we learned that the learning pattern proposed by our blueprint was adapted very well by both, learners and educators. Especially our focus on Peer-learning and the daily De-Briefing turned out as extremely beneficial. Especially, the latter allowed us to draw daily learnings that helped to adapt to the new situation quickly and accurately.

In the «learn online» section of my website you may download both the Distance Learning Blueprint and an Excel planning tool to adopt your courses to Distance Learning.