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Online Pedagogy Training Experiences of Vietnamese University Teachers

There is an urgent worldwide demand to update skills on online pedagogics among teachers from elementary schools to universities. The Global Educational Services of the University of Turku is providing extensive online courses on online pedagogy and also courses designed for higher education teachers in particular.

A professional training course Introduction to Online Learning and Course Design for Online Teachers was organised in February–March 2021 for Vietnamese and Indonesian teachers. The course was organised in close co-operation with Wise Consulting Finland which has a profound understanding of and close contacts in the Vietnamese educational sector.

– Digitalisation in education has been assigned as a national strategy for sustainable development in Vietnam. Now, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all educational organisations and companies are learning to apply online learning pedagogy, tells Ms Dieu Nguyen, Chief Representative of Wise Consulting in Vietnam.

The course for online teachers took place online and was executed in two parts, three weeks altogether. The Introduction part presented different tools, methods, models and possibilities of online teaching and learning – focusing on not the technical tools, platforms nor technology itself but competence to choose and utilise the right ones or mix them for the different teaching situations and learning goals.

The Course design part gave the participants an effective kick-off for planning their first online course with focus on the needs and methods appropriate for the defined target group of the course.

– The most important learning outcome of the course is that the participants not only understand the key elements of successful online learning but are able to implement methods and activities to design their own learner-centred online course, say Professor Jussi Mertsola and Head of Development Satu Hakanurmi, the two experienced online lecturers and main instructors of the course.

Tools for improving competences in online teaching and course design, and for an e-learning development strategy

Vice Principal Ms Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen (pictured on the left) from Vietnam-Finland International School is an experienced university teacher. Even with a considerable background and studies in educational sciences, pedagogy and theories in online teaching, she found the course very positive for her professional development.

– Pedagogy and theories in online teaching introduced by UTU professors did interest me as brand new knowledge. When we learnt to create our own online courses, there were important instructions on how to enhance the online learning effectiveness and to engage learners for better learning results, says Ms Huyen.

Ms Huyen also found the instructors of the course particularly dedicated, responsive and friendly, creating a comfortable and friendly environment for learners to interact and discuss.

– The interactive tasks really engaged participants to learn not only from trainers but also from each other, says Ms Huyen.

Director of E-learning Institute Ms Tran Hoang Cam Tu (pictured on the left) from Tat Thanh University is very pleased she decided to take the course.

– As the manager of the e-learning system for my university, I recognise that I have gaps in pedagogy and systematisation when building up and organising online courses. Therefore, I enrolled immediately after reading the course introduction.

According to Ms Hoang Cam Tu, the three-week course was very well organised and structured, combing theory and practice. The course materials were selected and sorted systematically and scientifically, providing learners comprehensive knowledge of e-learning.

– After the course, I have had a clear orientation on an e-learning development strategy for my university and I think this course is really useful for both lecturers and managers, says Ms Hoang Cam Tu.

Important tips for improving interaction, engagement and online learning results

Program Director Ms Nguyen Thi Tra My from Kidspire Vietnam (in the main picture) was also one of the participants in the e-Teacher course. Ms Tra My had heard a lot about the excellent Finnish education and was therefore excited and happy to be able to participate in a course provided by the University of Turku and its experts from Finland.

Ms Tra My found the course useful and practical, and also in the right time of pandemic. She felt that the course made her rethink her teaching a lot and to carefully consider the learning process before starting to design online courses.

– In addition to receiving tons of useful materials, I learnt some simple yet powerful lessons from the instructors of the course, Satu and Jussi, and from other participants as well, Ms Tra My concludes.

Key points of the e-Teacher Training Course

by Program Director Ms Nguyen Thi Tra My 1. Sometimes less is more 2. Activate the learning enthusiasm of learners – instead of just trying to teach them more. 3. Interact and connect with the participants during the online course. 4. Communicate clearly about expectations and assessments with participants at beginning of the course. 5. Visualise – it can be powerful!

Text: Kati Kaarlehto Photos: from the interviewees

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