Innovation only works when everyone is on-board. Whether you’re introducing an amazing new learning management system or transitioning to online learning, you’ll only be successful if faculty buy-in to the value these changes will provide. First and foremost, faculty want what is best for their students. It’s your responsibility to prove that the move to online learning is a step in the right direction by giving them opportunities to see, experience, and experiment with it directly.
The current crisis has pushed most faculty to adopt online learning whether they like it or not. That doesn’t mean they’ll be happy to continue online instruction when the crisis has passed. In fact, they might not be all that happy about it right now. You can blame the rush and stress of the pandemic for their current discontent. However, by the time the new school year begins, you must have plans in place to secure faculty buy-in for your online learning initiatives. These four tactics can help win teachers over.
1. Show them the data
Some faculty might be basing their objections on an outmoded understanding of what online learning is. They worry that putting classes online will remove all human interaction, or will prevent students from getting the support they need, but modern learning technologies have removed many of those barriers.
Help faculty buy-in to the value of online learning by presenting them with these two data points:
- Online learning makes education more accessible for more students. In 2018, 47% of students who chose online programs did so because their other commitments made in-person attendance difficult.
- Students love online learning. About 94% of students believe online learning will deliver a positive return on their investment and would recommend online education to others.
Explain not only why online learning is a good idea, but why you chose the particular online learning technologies and LMS that you did. How can these tools enhance the learning experience, streamline administrative aspects of class management, and improve student-instructor communication? Show them that you put some thought into the tools you chose and didn’t just pick the least expensive option. Ideally, faculty members have helped you select these tools and can serve as ambassadors to the rest of the faculty.
2. Open a dialogue to support faculty buy-in
Nobody likes being dictated to, and teachers are no different. They know that they are the true experts in what their students need and how their classes should be run. Steamrolling their questions and concerns might result in a faster transition, but it also breeds discontent. People forced to use a new tool or technology will learn it grudgingly and will be more focused on their complaints than on what the tool can do for them.
Involve faculty in the decision making process for your online learning programs. Ask them about their concerns. Find out what tools they use most often during in-person classes, and seek out solutions that replicate (or improve upon) those resources. Teachers who feel heard will be more likely to embrace online learning.
3. Train faculty in online learning tools
You don’t expect students to teach themselves, and you shouldn’t expect teachers to train themselves on new technologies either. Give them walkthroughs, written guides, group seminars and one-on-one tutorials to orient them to online learning. Assuming that they’ll figure it out as they go is a recipe for frustration.
Even teachers who have been using online learning tools during the current crisis will benefit from these opportunities. They were thrown into the deep end with no preparation. Give them the tools they need to understand the basics and streamline their processes.
Faculty buy-in matters for students too. Remember that students didn’t sign up for a course with the goal of learning how to navigate an LMS. They signed up to study a specific subject area. When you properly train faculty, they can act as guides to students, improving the online learning experience for everyone.
4. Provide support
Support faculty beyond the initial orientation process by offering technical support and ongoing training where necessary. They should feel confident that any obstacle they meet will be quickly addressed, for the good of their students and their learning experience. Give teachers a list of resources they can use to solve issues and get the class back on track. Wherever possible, give them access to a real person with real expertise in online instruction.
With these four tactics, you can secure faculty buy-in for online learning. The result will be happier teachers, more satisfied students, and a positive learning experience for everyone.
eDevLearn Consulting Group can help. We equip teachers, professors, and trainers with the knowledge they need to feel confident with online learning. Rather than making you dependent on our services, we empower faculty with self-sufficiency. Start earning faculty buy-in before the next semester starts. Contact eDevLearn Consulting Group today.