The ongoing pandemic has brought the world to its knees. Social distancing and work from home have become the new normal. Due to lockdown in many countries, children aren’t able to attend classes in their schools. Crippled by the pandemic, the entire education system is moving to the digital domain. Several universities, schools, and institutes have already started preparing online learning courses. Educators are predicting that online tutoring will become the new normal. Moreover, the flexibility and technological support that the digital domain provides has enhanced the online education experience.
Teaching in a virtual classroom setup isn’t easy. The interaction between the tutor and student is virtual in an online education class. Maintaining student engagement and focus are critical challenges that you, being a teacher, will have to address. Students will drop from your online class if they feel bored or isolated, but there are strategies which, if implemented, can help you in maximizing student interaction in virtual classrooms. Let’s have a look at this cheat sheet.
The advantage of taking an online course is that the study material can be accessed anytime on the web. Thus, while creating an online course, you should share the study material with your students before the class commences. Upload this content in a common folder on Google Drive or Box. You can also share guidance material and other free accessible resources above and beyond the class material. These free study materials can be compiled from Wikipedia, Youtube channel links, web page links, etc. Ensure that you only share content that is free of copyright.
Use digital tools
Students perceive information in visual, audio, or textual format. In a virtual classroom setup, some of these components may get missed out on. Thus, classes for some students can become ineffective. So, while taking online classes, you must include all the different formats or information sharing. Make use of videos, PowerPoint presentations, and discussion boards to explain the concepts to students. You can even suggest apps to students to explore concepts outside the online sessions. Make full use of the digital tools at hand to create an enriching learning experience for your students.
While preparing the curriculum of your online course, keep the content crisp and organized. Unorganized content and missing information can demotivate students. Thus, planning is pivotal to make the learning process effective and improve student engagement. A lot of third-party productivity applications like Slack, FocusMe, Trello, etc. can help you in organizing your course content. A well-organized course structure is key to increasing student engagement.
Theoretical subjects can get boring due to complex concepts. This can demotivate students to learn such subjects. Providing clear examples or linking the concepts to their real-life applications will make the sessions lively and exciting. This will have a positive impact on your student’s motivation as they will be able to connect their education to their life goals.
A teacher’s task is to guide students towards self-directed learning. Motivate students to explore the course concepts on their own. You can drive the self-learning culture by:
- Working with students to create independent goals at the beginning of the course.
- Sharing scenarios, situations, and assignments that teach students to make independent decisions.
- Sharing the course study material and assignments upfront, so that students can do independent research.
Make your course accessible and include practical examples so that the students get motivated to learn more.
Motivation is the key to success in life. Create an emotional connection with your students and motivate them to learn more. Such a powerful connection will make them passionate about the topic they are learning. They will get inspired to continue to learn and start spending more time in exploring the subjects.
Feedback is important to make improvements in online learning. The exchange of feedback must happen periodically in the virtual domain. Delay in feedback can make students feel isolated and they can plan to drop out from the course. You can share or receive feedback either through one-on-one sessions or emails. By doing so, the student will feel that his/her voice is being heard. They will feel motivated, and their participation will increase.
The online education industry is undergoing a transformation that is here to stay. So, being a teacher, you must change your teaching style for your student’s success.