Just two years back, after the onset of the pandemic, almost all educational institutions relied on online classes to teach students. However, student engagement remains a major concern. As per a new Insider study, a majority of remote students are less engaged with studies.
Many educators are using innovative methods and tools such as education management systems for better student engagement. Are you looking to enhance student engagement in your online classes? This blog post discussed eight useful strategies that will help you do so. Read on to know those.
- Create an engaging and interesting atmosphere before teaching
Did you know that about six in every ten students find virtual classes boring? As per a survey by Barnes & Noble Education, 60 percent of students find online classes boring. According to a study reported in the Guardian, the same percentage of college students find their lectures boring. In another study with 432 elementary school students as respondents, 67 percent of them said that they find their online class boring. There can be several factors behind it. The constant staring at the screen, reduced discussion between teachers and students, and the lack of physical presence are some of those. To offset that, create an engaging and fun atmosphere at the outset. The key is to break the ice with a warm smile and an energetic greeting. Ask some students to share something nice and entertaining. Start the lessons with a positive note and add some wit and humor to the session.
- Use collaboration tools
Apart from the online teaching tool and the education management system, use a few other collaboration tools to encourage free-flowing communication. Tools such as Google Meet, Skype, Zoom, and other video conferencing platforms are excellent for face-to-face interactions. Tools such as Telegram, WhatsApp, and other messaging apps are useful to share larger documents and resources.
- Encourage discussions
During online classes, many students hesitate to ask questions or engage in discussions. In offline classes, teachers could sense their students’ doubts or queries by observing their facial expressions or body language (by their raising of hands). But it is extremely difficult to observe every student during an online class. So teachers should encourage discussions and keep the communication channels open. They should also encourage all students to use their critical thinking abilities and participate in live discussions.
- Ask for feedback
Apart from encouraging discussions, ask for feedback to ensure that students understand the teachings. The useful feedback will help in understanding how informative and engaging the online classes are to the majority of students. There are many ways to ask for feedback. The most important step is to create a friendly environment where students can uninhibitedly share their views and opinions. The second step is to ask fewer but extremely specific questions. The third step is to ask questions at regular intervals to know the improvements. Create polls to enable students to answer anonymously. Use the chat feature to get real-time feedback.
- Flip the classroom
As per a survey, three-fourths of teachers who were surveyed said that student engagement increased after they implemented flipped classes. Another study found that flipped learning resulted in more satisfaction and engagement among students compared to traditional learning. Flipped classrooms enable students to study a topic and research it thoroughly on their own and work on complex problems in class. This allows them to understand the concept and memorize it and be more engaged in the class. This strategy will encourage discussions and spur collaboration.
- Add flexibility to learning plans
When students are allowed to learn at their own pace and space, the results are astounding. Be flexible with the learning plans. Assess students’ performance and find out their strengths and weaknesses. Also, find out the suitable types of teachings for different types of students and tailor the lessons accordingly. Provide them enough headspace to learn and understand. Apart from that, be flexible with the assignments and classwork. Some students may take a bit longer than others but their creativity and originality can be amazing.
It’s no secret that most students learn better when they see and experience the lessons instead of hearing the lectures. As per a statistic, more than 60 of the entire population are visual learners. So it is necessary to adopt a ‘show-and-tell’ style of teaching for the majority of students. Use various methods to integrate visuals into the teachings. Use images and graphics wherever possible. Create captivating and short visual content and videos and share the links with them. Apart from that, take the help of models and visual aids such as costumes, props, and other tools to engage the visual learners. Also, craft infographics and other visual content to show students
- Foster collaborations
In the present age, as well as in the future, collaboration and teamwork is the key to success. When students collaborate, they share ideas, become more creative, develop emotional intelligence and people skills, as well as build synergies and healthy relationships. It prepares them to become better team members and professionals. To make the students ready for the future, create small groups (or a buddy system) and ask them to work on projects. Ensure the projects are relevant to their subjects. Start peer evaluation and ask them to review each other’s works or assignments. At the same time, keep a close watch on the group activities and praise the well-performing ones.
On the whole,
Even though student engagement in online classes is not as robust as offline classes, there are various ways to improve it. An educator’s ability to make the session fun and interesting and the adoption of new tools and teaching methods can go a long way in resulting in high engagement.