New Support Models: How can we help learners build social connections whilst studying online?
West Suffolk College
We noticed during the 2020 Covid -19 lockdown that the learners who remained engaged with their learning, and who made the most progress, were those who had formed
friendships within the group before learning was moved online. These learners supported each other, encouraging and spurring each other on with their maths learning. Their connections with one another seemed to lead to better engagement and stronger outcomes.
We were aware that during this academic year we would be faced with the challenge of providing space and opportunities for social interaction to take place whilst having to adhere to strict social distancing and delivering courses online. As we re-imagined what education would look like in this new ‘Covid’ world it was important that we did not lose these positive social interactions that benefit learners both personally and academically.
Our action research aimed to focus on finding effective ways to encourage learners to quickly build community and mutually supportive relationships within their teaching groups. It was proposed that the provision of such opportunities would lead to improvements in attendance, retention and progression as well as making the learning experience more enjoyable for learners.