4 ways to support distance learning with ThingLink

Posted by Ulla-Maaria Koivula on Mar 4, 2020 6:07:19 PM
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Over the years we have featured several individual projects designed for distance learning or collaboration. In the past two weeks, we have received several inquiries about how ThingLink can support distance learning in situations where schools may be closed, events cancelled or travel minimized. How can teachers and trainers be present from long distances? How can learners be engaged while sharing their thoughts?

Here are four easy ways for supporting distance learners using ThingLink. To include your example in the post, contact us at education@thinglink.com.

1. Interactive videos

Interactive videos can be used for various purposes: presentations, introductions, explanations, lectures, training and project assignments. Even short 5-minute videos to explain daily goals or homework assignments help students maintain a connection with their teacher instead of just receiving text-based instructions via an LMS.


An interactive expert interview video of Sampo Forsström on organizing and operating co-teaching spaces, teacher education school, University of Eastern Finland 


  1. Record a video using mobile phone or screen recording
  2. Upload the video to ThingLink
  3. Tag the video with additional details and resources 
  4. Share via ThingLink or LMS, Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom

2. Virtual tours as remote lessons

At schools, virtual tours are becoming an essential part of the online learning experience, but teachers are short of curriculum-aligned content that they could edit for their own classroom. For example, when schools were recently closed in the Veneto area in Italy, teachers were asked to prepare materials for studying online. Astrid Hulsebosch from ThingLink’s Italian educator community pointed out that in this kind of situation more important than to create material for students, is to create materials for teachers. To inspire others, Astrid shared her own immersive lesson on Judaism using 360 images from the Venetian Ghetto. The lesson contains multiple additional resources that other teachers can decide to keep or edit out, and a feedback form for students in the end.


1. Capture 360 images or videos at a remote learning/training environment and upload them to ThingLink. Alternatively use images from ThingLink library

2. Add closeup images or videos, descriptions and narration

3. Share via ThingLink or LMS, Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom


3. Virtual courses for workplace learning, TVET, and professional 

At workplaces, virtual courses and interactive 360 videos are used to introduce or train employees in specific physical location. This can be an orientation to a new work environment, sales training, safety drill, technical or product training. Remote learners can view the virtual training on their desktop, mobile device, or a VR headset such as ClassVR or Oculus.

A virtual introduction to KEUDA Digilap by Kari Honkonen. KEUDA group is 9th largest provider of vocational education and training in Finland.

A virtual course module by Omnia Education Partners for high school students using a mixture of 2D and 360 media with a chatbot assistant.


Bobby Brian Lewis created virtual teacher training materials and shared them to Bibb Country district teachers via Microsoft Teams.


4. Narrated photos and screenshots for sharing work and assignments 

Working from home or other remote locations requires putting an extra effort in sharing thoughts and progress with others. A great way for giving assignments or documenting projects is using ThingLink desktop or mobile app for recording short audio notes on photos or screenshots of your work. Whether this is a math assignment or UI design, short audio notes help your teacher/trainer other team members to understand your logic.

In this example, Donna Schies inspires and explains how to create a Flipgrid + ThingLink poster for the AppSmash mania. When you click the row of red and white icons on the bottom left, you can hear Donna introducing the various resources she has embedded in the poster.


  1. Take a photo or a screenshot of your work, or create a poster in a service like Canva
  2. Upload it to ThingLink or use ThingLink mobile app for iOS or Android
  3. Record thoughts, explanations, or questions by clicking the microphone ico
  4. Share via ThingLink or LMS, Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom

To sum up, visual learning materials such as interactive audio posters and interactive virtual tours that come with embedded additional resources and language translation capabilities can support learning in situations where a physical location is temporarily unavailable. The main benefits of the above mentioned examples are:

  1. Students or employees can virtually access physical locations from their home.
  2. Teachers and trainers can maintain connections with their learners by recording lectures and assignments on mobile phones or computers and by adding information and links to these videos, connecting learners to various resources they would share with students in the classroom.
  3. Students or employees can use their own voice to explain work or projects from home by recording audio on photos or screenshots.

Helpful Tips! Teachers and trainers can also embed forms to ask questions directly in the ThingLink by embedding Microsoft or Google Forms. This provides a way for learners to reflect on the content and teachers can capture assessments of learning.

In addition to our own curated gallery of high quality images, here are some other useful resources to help create base images and infographics for ThingLink:

Smithsonian Open Resources - 2.8 million high-resolution two- and three-dimensional images from across its collections to download free. 

16,000 BBC Archives Audio Clips to use for free.

Paris Museums collections website

Join our Facebook Group to connect with Educators sharing ways in which ThingLink is supporting their approaches for distance learning. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ThingLinkEducation



Topics: TVET, school, online learning, distance learning, remote learning, workplace learning, corporate training

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