Best tips to check for understanding and ensure value
Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash
Sometimes getting your students to understand concepts can be difficult, but a simple rule can put things into perspective: if you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." This quote said to have been made by Albert Einstein, has become the bane of many tutors and writers trying to make content that is easy to understand.
It is well-known that for a tutor, author, or creator's work to be recognized as a bestseller, it must be easy to understand. A product becomes a best-seller when everyone can understand it, no matter where they come from.
One of the best-selling books on personal finance, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, became a huge success because of its ability to translate difficult personal finance concepts into stories and easy concepts that even kids could understand.
The big question is, how do you produce courses or articles that are easy to understand, and what are the strategies for checking for understanding?
We will discuss these in this article and show you how to use Workee to shift your business as a Tutor, or knowledge entrepreneur, to the next level. Let's get to it!
How to create comprehensible content
Strategies that will be effective in creating written content, such as articles, may not be effective for tutors seeking to create an amazing course. Because of this, we will divide this section into two. The first will talk about strategies for written content, and the second will talk about video and audio content strategies.
Strategies for written content
Clear language- The temptation is always there to use those big words you've learned in your article, if for nothing, to express all you've been learning. But if writing an easy-to-understand piece is your goal, always avoid verbose words. A major feature of easy-to-understand content is their language is often accessible to all. At least, most persons without experience in that area should be able to read your piece and understand you clearly.
2. Subheadings and small paragraphs- Subheadings and small paragraphs make it easier for people to quickly skim through your article and still pick out valuable information without reading everything. This is why they are very important.
3. Lists and bullet points- They make it easier for readers to pick out the major points you wish to make in your article, even when they don't read the whole piece. This will save you the hassle of checking for understanding techniques.
4. Use of Images/Infographics- A Picture is worth a thousand words. This quote captures the importance of relevant images in your article. Pictures animate what you wish to explain and make it easier for your audience to understand.
5. Use Examples- Comparing an unknown concept to a well-known one makes the content more relatable. For instance, using Coca-Cola to describe Pepsi will be easier for people familiar with Coca-Cola.
For video and audio content
Identify the target audience- Understanding who the course is intended for will help to tailor the content and language to their level of understanding.
2. Use clear and simple language- Avoid jargon or complex language that may be difficult for the target audience to understand.
3. Break up the content into manageable chunks- Long lectures or readings can overwhelm students. Instead, break the content into smaller sections with clear headings and summaries to help students understand the main points.
4. Use visuals and multimedia- Visual aids such as images, videos, and infographics can help to explain complex concepts and make the content more engaging.
5. Provide opportunities for interaction and feedback- Encourage students to ask questions and participate in discussions or activities related to the course content. This can help to solidify their understanding and provide an opportunity for feedback on areas where they may be struggling.
Finally, using examples and real-world applications for the content will help students understand the material better and make it more relatable.
How to check for understanding
After following the steps discussed above in preparing your content, there are still chances that your content may not be as easy to understand as you may have assumed. Checking for understanding is, therefore, critical. As you may expect, there are strategies for checking for understanding. We will focus on these strategies in this section:
This is almost a cliché, but it still works, especially in courses and classes. It simply requires asking the audience about the areas you have covered in the class. Their answers will determine how much they have learned. As a Tutor, this is a simple strategy to check for student understanding. Questions to check for understanding includes the following:
Do you understand this?
Why is ___ like this? Etc.
These and several others are great questions to check for understanding.
Tests and quizzes are traditional ways to check for understanding. They have been associated with our educational system for hundreds of years. That they lasted this long suggests that they are quite effective methods on how to check for student understanding. As a tutor, this strategy should be very useful for you, giving you direct feedback on how much your students have learned.
3. Formative assessment
It is a type of assessment used to evaluate a student's understanding and progress in a course during the learning process. The goal is to check if the student understands what has been taught and how well. Common tools used for formative assessment includes class discussions, informal assessment such as one-on-one discussions, informal tests, observing the student, etc. It is an important method on how to check for understanding during a lesson.
Another important checking for understanding strategy is asking the audience to summarize what they have learned from the class or course. This is an immediate feedback mechanism that helps you learn immediately if the students are getting any value from the course or not. When your students understand the course, they should be able to highlight all its key points in their summary. This is a key part of the strategies to check for understanding.
Encouraging the students to assess their understanding of the course is another great way to perform an understanding check. A major benefit is that the student doesn't need to pretend since it is a personal appraisal. She can quietly identify areas of knowledge deficiency and privately contact the tutor for guidance.
6. Encourage group learning
Statistics have proven that group learning helps students to learn faster, understand the course more, and score higher. You can use this to improve student understanding of the course, such that when you apply your checks for understanding, you will find good results.
7. Observe students in class
Body language experts have proven that we can assess a person's disposition about a thing by observing how they behave around it. As a tutor, there's a lot you can learn from your students' behaviors in class. Actions like yawning in class, staring into nothing, consistent distraction, etc., are indications that you're probably not teaching the course effectively. You may need to apply some checking for understanding-strategies, such as asking questions to check for understanding, applying formative assessment methods, etc.
For virtual classes, you must ensure that you use a reliable video collaboration tool that will give you clear, crisp picture quality and additional features to take notes while teaching. For instance, the Workee is a great tool for tutors that includes all the digital resources and the virtual workspace they need to thrive in their service delivery.
Workee video is a three-way video conferencing and also enables you to take notes on a virtual whiteboard while collaborating. This helps ensure you can observe your students and flow with them while teaching.
Finally, it is important to remember that checking for understanding is not just about assessment but also about providing feedback and support. Teachers should provide students with constructive feedback and guidance and work with them to identify areas where they may need additional help.
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