Online learning has the power to bring world-class education to any part of the world.
Today online classrooms and digital learning are the new normal for students worldwide as schools shift their learning platforms to the online space.
While online learning benefits students, the transition from traditional to online learning can be challenging for teachers and students.
Traditional classroom experience does not always translate to better online learning. If you stick to the Status Quo, you will create a poor learning experience. Students love a learning environment that stimulates them and creates fun. As a result, it is difficult to conduct online classes with low student interest.
Most online teachers ask at least once how to build an online community that is more exciting and engaging for students.
The best way to capture and keep the attention is by engaging them. It means drawing on the power of stories to create memorable experiences and not relying on a bunch of slides for students to read.
Here are some tips to help engage students in your virtual classroom when building an online community
1. Communicate classroom expectations
An online classroom is a novel experience for most students used to the face-to-face setting. Therefore, it is important to set up classroom expectations from the beginning, will guidelines on online behavior, camera etiquette, and asking questions.
Before introducing the class schedule and syllabus, bet your students about the online tools to get them excited and engaged from the beginning.
Clearly instruct how to mute or unmute a conversation, how students can raise hands and ask questions, and how to download and submit assignments. You need this order to make the online learning environment interactive.
2. Ask for feedback on your online teaching.
You can always ask your students for feedback on the virtual learning experience. If you doubt the virtual learning experience, your student feedback can help you make the lessons more engaging.
Use online surveys to assess how your students respond to your online teaching. Alternatively, provide a form for them to fill out anonymously or ask verbally at the end of the class.
In the surveys, ask about specific struggles and solicit ideas or suggestions from your students. You can get some negative or hilarious comments from students and some suggestions on making the lessons more engaging.
Asking students’ feedback can also make them feel part of the class and encourage openness. Through this feedback, create a better online learning experience.
3. Bring storytelling into your teaching.
For a long time, stories fascinated human beings and helped engage them. When holding an online classroom, you let students visual and auditory senses. Digital storytelling entails creating a story on a subject by adding multimedia elements such as audio, video, and music to the scenario.
You can easily develop a strong sense of community by including storytelling in your online teaching. Story-based learning is more engaging for students as it can create personal meaning and empathy.
If you incorporate stories and have students discuss scenarios, it’ll be easy to teach complex skills like collaboration, problem-solving, and creativity. The students will keep coming back to ensure they retain what they learn.
4. Create shorter content
The attention span of learners is much shorter than most learning modules. For example, students cannot pay attention for over 45 minutes.
Keep the learning module short if you want to get a more engaging online learning environment. You can keep your students engaged by creating short and sweet lessons. Include more video in your courses to make your presentation (see also ‘How to Add Audio to Google Slides‘) more dynamic.
Break down the lesson to make it digestive since a long lecture can put your students off. Teach for a short time with a video, then give a short quiz before your next short teaching video starts.
5. Mix up lessons
One of the important ways to engage learners during an online session is to change what they are regularly doing.
Providing a variety of learning methods can help students retain information better and enjoy their coursework. It will lead to a more engaged class and an improved learning experience for everyone involved.
The same content structure may not work for every console student you teach. Be adaptable and take advantage of differentiated instructions to create an engaging learning experience.
Differentiated instructions acknowledge different students absorb information in different ways. Someone who struggles to learn through text can learn better when presented in a video/
Create different modes of learning for different learning styles. For example, include audio recordings of lectures or assign email assignment
6. Use technology to your advantage
Integrate technology into your teaching to keep your students and teachers. There are plenty of online resources to inject fun, creativity, and variety into your lessons.
Encourage students to explore and use various digital tools for better learning and engagement. Use video in your teaching, but don’t overuse it. It’s possible to high-five kids on the way to a virtual setting and give your working environment a personality.
Teachers can make the atmosphere feel real in a virtual setting and bring a sense of togetherness. Students need to conduct and relate with you as a human being at an interpersonal level.
7. Keep it live
Introduce a new social element in your lessons if you go online. It is important when teaching topics that require practicing in front of each other and getting feedback in real-time.
Students can engage with you and get instant feedback when you hold live classroom sessions. The Q&A session is a powerful tool for identifying knowledge gaps but is only possible when holding live lessons.
Start the lesson with a greeting and ensure all students can see your face. It adds a personal touch that lets your students feel good about showing up to class.
You can also celebrate birthdays with your students as a way of creating a sense of community. It can bring a whole extra dimension to your teaching style and increase value on your online course for students.
8. Create a learning community
An online learning community brings social learning into the mix. It allows students to discuss course concepts, answer each other’s questions, and collaborate on assignments.
Being involved in the community also creates a sense of accountability for students who won’t be isolated.
While students can meet outside class in study groups in traditional classroom settings, online learning is not the case. You may need to create an engaging experience without the group energy. The learning community may apply to students with learning disabilities who struggle with learning in a remote environment.
The social connection among students remains central for engagement even when hosting an online course. For instance, discussion boards are effective learning elements that allow learners to interact. Students can use a shared document or free online discussion platforms to interrupt.
9. Implement problem-based learning
Using problem-based learning can help your students prepare for their future professional roles. An example of problem-based learning is the case study examples that can improve comprehension.
For instance, you can assign a student somebody to work with for the course duration. It can be a fictional character or another classmate who is the demographic they are looking for in the case study.
Create assignments that correspond to the client’s profiles throughout the course.
10. Create a reward system
Use reward systems to create a fun learning online environment. For example, offer bonus points or a homework pass to motivate students to attend lessons and participate in the coursework.
You can also use digital motivators like certificates, badges, and points to engage the students. These motivators give students a sense of purpose that fuels their participation and engagement.
Let your students know you care about them and their well-being through the word systems. Send postcards through email or an encouraging note to boost your student confidence level.
11. Use fun and games to engage students.
Student collaboration is the hallmark of a great learning environment with higher student engagement. The best way to achieve online collaborative learning is true fun and games.
They can help improve student engagement and academic performance. There are some fun activities you can perform during or after virtual classes.
Teachers have to create engaging games that students can apply in a virtual classroom in an online learning environment. Some games include quiz games students enjoy. It can be a question-and-answer game with multiple answers.
Student engagement directly translates to success in online learning. The more students engage in your online lessons, the more valuable it is for the students and your course.
You can create an engaging online course if you understand how to leverage technology. You can help your students become better learners by changing teaching formats and connecting directly with them.
Focus on developing ways to make your lessons engaging and educational simultaneously.
This article has mentioned how you can create a dynamic and fun virtual learning environment. If you apply these methods, your students will look forward to the learning lessons.