In the last few days there was a post on LinkedIn, from an educator in Australia, posing the following question:

Do you ‘cold call’ on students for contributions during your training (online or f2f)?

This educator further commented:

“I have always avoided ‘cold calling’ on students. My feeling was that putting students ‘on the spot’ would decrease engagement in the long run. However, after reading Uncommon Sense Teaching, I started looking at the research on this topic. It appears some research shows cold calling can increase participation, learning and overall student satisfaction of a course. Maybe I’ll might start cold calling a bit more 🙂 What do you think?

Personally involved in adult education as well, I was enticed to comment as follows:

“Human face is important during online training. While calling students is not the real human face, it gives students a sense of human touch and feel. This is the human face in online learning. We at Luminous Education Australia do this effectively with our domestic and offshore online students. 😀”

Online Learning Instructor

Planned Cold Calling By Online Instructor Works

Cold calling is our value, and key to delivering our online students the human face. You see, the closest students can get humanly engaged with their instructor, is by hearing their tone of voice. Nothing beats this cold calling technique to engage. One-to-one call gives the added advantage of asking the students when to call them, or at what duration?

When talking one-to-one, students say a lot more. Hence, they clarify a lot more questions. There is, therefore, quicker resolution of student learning issues, get assessment outcomes, and completion of their learning.

I have students from different cultures. Some find it difficult to email, or put in writing to their instructor, difficult life situations around their learning. For example, recently one of my offshore students had emotional and financial issues and could not get a replacement laptop. We kept on emailing each other about lack of progress with assessments. I requested with the student that I want to call and speak about the issues. With supportive words in my email to the student for reasons I wanted to call her, I got the go ahead.

During my call to the student, I determined the following:

  • In the student’s culture, discussing some of their emotional situations with me would have been possible, only if I was her face-to-face instructor, although for a short while. While I had numerous online contacts during this student’s learning journey, it meant nothing because there was lack of human face, and emotional situations were difficult to be communicated to the online instructor.
  • Emotions will always be part of instructor-student relationship because both have a range of emotions. For example, in the case of the student discussed in the previous dot-point, there was a tragedy which was difficult to recover from emotionally, and financially as well.
  • Hence this student could not progress with their student journey.

Had I not cold-called this online student, she would have fallen through the cracks. Luckily, the student is one the way to complete the course.