Online learning – How to keep students engaged

Online learning – How to keep students engaged

Read Time: 6 minutes, 51 seconds

Posted on Wed, May 27 2020

Keeping students engaged in the classroom is a challenge faced by teachers. Over the years, teachers have come up with innovative ways to help students get the best out of a learning program and understand a subject. A good number of ideas such as: gamification, video and audio resources have been introduced to boost student engagement.

The introduction of technology in the classroom has helped enrich and enhance the teaching and learning process. Advancement in technology has given rise to new ways of teaching and learning such as online classes where teachers engage with students via different channels such as video-conferencing, discussion forums, chats etc.

In this article, we’ll look at the different ways to keep students engaged in an online class.

Prepare in advance

Preparation plays a key role in the success of an online class. Teachers and students need to be prepared in advance. It is important that the teacher make a list of things do be achieved before the class, that would aid a smooth lesson delivery process and impact learning. There is a need for the teacher to prepare notes, slides, assignments or classwork before the lesson as this would give a clear path on what is to be taught and what to expect from the students . Using the flipped classroom model, teachers can send students resources such as texts, videos, podcasts, etc., to provide background knowledge to the topic being learnt. The actual learning time in the online class can then be used for subsequent learning activities like group or one-on-one discussions. This will ensure that the precious time in the classroom is used to strengthen the understanding of the concepts, while the students stay interested and motivated.

Set and enforce rules at the beginning of the class

In some cases, some students might not be familiar with the concept of an online class and what is expected of them. Hence, the teacher can start the class with familiarizing the students with rules which can include discussion/chat etiquette, guidelines on how to use the mic and camera and when to talk (In the case of a video conferencing).

Create a reward system

A simple way to engage learners online is to introduce shot and long-term reward such as points, bonus mark that might apply to their continuous assessment, positive feedback etc. These rewards to a long way to motivate and engage them better.

Ask and Entertain Questions

To increase the level of engagement, the teacher should ask questions, instead of just reading and explaining the lesson to the student. Asking of questions can help the teacher know the level of understanding and clarify misconceptions. The teacher should also encourage the students to ask questions.

Keep the class short and lesson straight to the point

Learning online can be tasking especially for the younger students which may find it uncomfortable to sit before the screen for long hours. By splitting lessons into smaller chunks, avoiding unnecessary information and mannerisms, the teacher can help the student engage and be enthusiastic about online learning experience. Keeping the lesson short and straight to the point would also help reduce online learning fatigue.

Continuous progress check

Revision of previous topic taught can help students connect the dots and feel connected to the class. Short term progress checks such as classwork, quizzes, assignments projects would help the teacher know the progress level of the students and tailor subsequent lessons to address areas where students are struggling. The progress check also gives students insight into how well they are doing.

Bonding with the students

Some students do not connect in the classroom, both physical and online because they feel invincible and believe that have nothing to offer. Also, some students do not find the teacher engaging and are unable to relate with them. For such case, the teacher can create a bond with the students by getting to know them outside the classroom through a video call, voice call or via chats. This can help motivate such students to engage during lessons. Also asking such students for their opinion during lessons and giving positive and encouraging feedback can also encourage them to participate in class.

Teaching online is not the same as teaching in a traditional classroom setting, a lot of factors come into play, teachers need to be deliberate, flexible and innovative when it comes to delivering an online class. It might not be an easy task at first as there might be a need to unlearning some things so as to relearn new things that would be helpful. Technology has come to stay, teachers should look for new, smart and innovative ways in which they can harness technology to teach better, delivering rich contents and impacting their students with better learning outcome.

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