To impede the spread of COVID-19, all the coaches have started using virtual learning to serve students.

Online learning is relatively new for many coaches. And, students participating in online courses tend to have low completion rates. We’ve researched online learning and collaborated with schools nationwide and want to share this checklist for virtual learning with you, as well as seven tips:

 1. Create a schedule- Provide a schedule to your students. A schedule can help address challenges with time management and self-regulation, which can impede students’ success in online courses.

2. Schedule time to interact with students– Build in some type of synchronous interaction, such as a video chat or phone call. This interaction is key during the first week of a course to familiarize students with how to contact the coach. However, continuing the interaction helps keep students engaged and reduces feelings of isolation.

3. Provide timely feedback- Respond to students promptly via email, phone, or video. Students feel more engaged with the course when they receive timely feedback.

4. Check that students are engaged– Be clear about how much time students should spend on the course. Then, regularly check students’ progress to identify which students who need support.

5. Consider ALL learners– As in the face-to-face coaching, be sure to consider the diversity of learners, including accommodations, modifications, and differentiation.

6. Get Student Feedback- And Respond to it- Your online teaching presence won’t arrive fully formed—it’ll be a work in progress. An important element in the development of an award-winning course was the way in which instructors had collected data on the course or engaged with existing evaluation data, reflected on how to improve the course, and made improvements.

If you want to improve your online teaching presence, you should communicate to students that their opinions matter.

7. Individual Touchpoints are Game-Changers– What your students will miss the most is the human connection that is cultivated in physical presence. While it can be tempting to focus on content in your distance learning assignments and instructional videos, what matters more is creating structures for personalized touchpoints with your students.

You can create these touchpoints through any medium you like: emails, video messages, phone calls, messages through your learning management system, comments on shared documents, etc. Create a structure and stick to it. Your students will see your investment and know that you care about them.


It’s important to bear in mind that cultivating an engaging distance learning experience is hard. It takes time and an incredible amount of patience. Tackle the challenges step by step, keep your students updated on your progress, and stay positive. You can do this!

Above all, presence is about connecting with your students: If they know you, they are far more likely to trust you and to feel that you’re there for them. A common concern is feeling disconnected in online learning. We don’t want learners to feel like they are engaging with a computer. They are engaging with each other. With you. With content!

Comment below your thoughts, your views, and additional tips you have about online learning! Please share them, and we’ll reply!