With the presence of online learning courses in a variety of industries comes the need for instructors to adapt to a wide variety of company cultures. A comfortable level of understanding of a company’s culture takes time, and a considerable amount of code switching may be necessary as clients increase. When it comes to communication with management, there isn’t a clear recipe for instructors to follow. However, taking into consideration the frequency of communication, the balance of positive to negative feedback and the weight of the update can all help guide an instructor through communicating with a client.
As an instructor for online learning courses, I keep a daily lesson journal for management to view at their convenience. However, this does not relieve me of my duty to provide feedback to whomever may be organizing the course. Frequency of an instructor’s updates should be continually monitored and evaluated in order to prevent overloading a client or leaving them wondering about the state of the course. Rarely are updates after each lesson necessary, but bi-weekly updates, for example, often show a higher level of concern and organization. Instructors should find a balance that maintains updates’ value.
In regards to the value of updates, another way to preserve this is to monitor the positive to negative feedback. For clarification, the word “positive” refers to anything worthy of praise, and “negative” is related to suggestions for growth. Too much of either one leads to a devaluation of a contact. Sure, some online courses can seem like they just couldn’t be better, but without suggested areas of growth, efficient development doesn’t occur. On the other hand, constant suggestions for growth can shadow praiseworthy elements. Strike a balance.
Maintaining the value of updates is not the same as considering the weight of the update. By weight I am referring to the severity of the update. For instance, an update informing a supervisor that a student was absent for two lessons in a row without notifying the instructor is heavier than reporting that a student did not complete the homework assignment. The former may be something of deep concern to management affecting the overall satisfaction of the course, while the latter is not severe enough to significantly alter the outcome of the course. Missed homework assignments will happen.
Frequency of communication, balance of positive to negative feedback, and the weight of an update are simply items to take into consideration. There is certainly no precise formula that can determine whether an update is given. Online ESL instructors should be comfortable adapting to a variety of aspects regarding instruction, including language levels, learning styles, error correction, etc. The ability of an instructor to adjust and be open to varying elements within a course is what makes one stand out and the same skill set should be applied to communication with the client.
Ryan is an onsite and online English instructor for Workplace Languages. Ryan has been in the field of English language instruction since 2006 teaching, developing, creating and leading in a variety of settings including public school systems, universities and private institutions. In addition to language classes, Workplace Languages offers full-service translation, voice-over services, off-the shelf language learning products, and a wide range of customized language programs to help you close the communication gap at your company.