Online Learning: 5 Easy Tips for Live Chats

Education is made much more interesting when human interaction is involved. This is the reason why traditional learning calls for classroom attendance, group work, and other peer-to-peer interaction. It allows for the exchange of ideas and lively debates, basically the tempering of information in terms of another person’s point of view.

Online education also requires a similar approach, albeit with a different medium. You’ve probably heard of the two basic communication approaches in online learning called synchronous and asynchronous communication. Asynchronous communication is simply any kind of communication that doesn’t have to happen in real-time; email, forums, and private messages are just some examples of this. On the other hand, synchronous communication deals with real-time interaction like live-chats, video conferences, or conference calls.

Live-chats are the main synchronous communication that online education employs. Though having a good facilitator is one of the characteristics of a good online course , it still helps to know the basic stuff when participating in live-chats. Here are 4 things that you should know:

Live Chat Tip #1: Observe basic ‘netiquette’

Though the rules of internet conversation are very different from any other kind of communication, it also follows a similar expectation of politeness – we should mind our manners in the chatroom. For example, you shouldn’t write in ALL CAPS because it’s the online equivalent of shouting. It’s also very rude to flood the channel by posting the same sentence over and over again. It’s also good practice to say ‘Hi’ to everyone wants you enter the room, just to show that you’re ready and willing to participate in the conversation.

Live Chat Tip #2: Follow the conversation

Try to gauge how the conversation is flowing towards. Know when to post a question, contribute an idea or just make a plain comment. It’s similar to discussing in a group; know when to take your turn, and know when to give the floor to someone. Taking notice of how the conversation is going makes it easier for everyone to follow its pace. It will also be helpful to the facilitator because he would know how to manage the conversation to make it more meaningful for everyone.

Live Chat Tip #3: Be an active participant

Don’t be a wallflower. The chat room is supposed to be a two-way thing, and everyone should do their part and contribute to the conversation. Remember that good communities help the online learner. Emphasize a point or two that another person is making, or try to give your perspective on the topic that’s on the floor. Remember that you interact with other people so that you could know the different flavors that could color a particular topic. Don’t be afraid to voice a dissenting opinion, and encourage lively debate.

Live Chat Tip #4: Share and share a like

If you see that you’ve something to contribute by way of an article you’ve read, or a website you discovered, don’t hesitate to share the link while in a conversation. Everyone benefits from sharing and starting out this way also gives the idea that everyone could also do the same thing. Before your live chat schedule, prepare resource links that you’ll be giving out in the session. You’ll be greatly appreciated for your efforts.

Live Chat Tip #5: Have fun

Play around a little, and remember that humor goes a long way. It helps to make the conversation more interesting by adding emoticons to the conversation, or by drawing text-graphics on the board (that is, within the bounds of basic netiquette). People need a good laugh now and then, and it also contributes an interesting twist to the conversation.

These are just the basic things that we need to remember whenever we’re doing live-chats. Taking a good grip on how live-chats should go could really help you make the most out of your online education. Did we miss something? Be sure to write your favorite live-chat practices in the comments.

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