Online classes are the ‘new normal’ now. Starting from regular school/college to learning new courses and extra-curricular skills, the students are going virtual to learn anything.
There are different challenges in an online class for a facilitator — the key and important question has always been how to keep the learners engaged?
Though, the online classes do not provide the same atmosphere and ambience as the regular classes when it comes to face-to-face interaction — there are a number of strategies that we can use to ensure that the learners are engaged through out the virtual class/session.
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Here are some strategies that you can incorporate in your next virtual lesson to keep you learners engaged!
#1 One specific instruction at a time!
There are only a limited number of instructions that the human mind can process at a limited time. The number will be far more reduced when it comes to virtual learning.
Hence, it is extremely important that we as facilitators consciously plan and execute the instructions one-by-one to make it easy for the learners to cope up with the speed of learning.
Consider this instructions as an example –
“Go to the slide number 15 in the Presentation that I shared with you on Google Drive, and look at the second point.”
For a beginner with Google Drive and virtual learning, this could be a harder step. Hence, it is important to break down the instructions as,
(i) Go to the URL gmail.com
(ii) Click the recent presentation that I shared with you through the Google Drive
(iii) A new presentation will now open on Google slides. Move to the slide 15.
(iv) Now, look at the second point.
Now, these instructions when provided one-by-one makes the process much easier. Additionally, there is also a scope for the learners to pause and ask questions in case if they are not clear at a specific point.
#2 Multi-way interaction!
This is a strategy that we miss usually during the virtual classes. The communication between the teacher and the students are usually one-way, (where only the teacher speaks) or sometimes two-way (students asks/answers questions of one student).
Creating avenues for multi-way interactions are the best way to engage the learners. Enquiry-based-teaching and group activities are an interesting approach to create such multi-way interaction avenues.
At EduRise, we conduct workshop on enquiry-based-teaching using Miro Board, an online tool. You can sign up for the workshop here.
#3 Using Simple Language!
There is a tendency for the learners to get disengaged when they come across a new information that they don’t comprehend. Unless, you are teaching language classes online — it is always better to use simple language with words that are most common.
The facilitator should make a note of the vocabulary level and the reading levels of the students to well ahead of the class, so they can provide instructions accordingly.
#4 Present stories over facts
Young learners often get super excited with stories. A story is something that can engage the learners, in all possible ways, creating curiosity and anticipation. Learners also get emotionally connected when ever they hear a story.
This is one of the primary reasons, that educators should make an attempt to tell the stories of people/group instead of just presenting facts.
Imagine, someone teaching you the Indian Freedom Movement with only the years and the activities carried out along with the names of the freedom fighters. Would that be exciting?
Now, imagine someone teaching you the Indian Freedom Movement with powerful stories in it.
The struggles, hardships, belief, perseverance, and inspiration can only be felt with the help of stories.
#5 Role for everyone!
This is something that I firmly believe — if a learner is attending a virtual class or session, only as an ‘attendee’ — not provided with any specific role or not provided with at least one opportunity to voice out their opinions or thoughts, there are high chances they might get disengaged.
We all want to contribute, voice out and be heard as individuals. It’s important that virtual lessons are designed in a way that it incorporates all the learners and their voices in some way. Gamifying the lessons will also set the atmosphere for a lot of engagement.
Join our EduRise Workshop to know more about Gamifying virtual lessons using Jeopardy Labs. Link to register.
#6 Virtual call etiquette
It’s important to set up expectations and create a culture where the virtual call etiquette are followed diligently. With ‘virtual’ being the only solution at this point, the professionalism and proactive communication is a required skill among the learners.
What are the virtual call etiquette expectations that you can set up with your learning community? Check out this LinkedIn post.
#7 Less is more!
Consider this as the thumb-rule in a virtual learning environment. The lesser the facilitator speaks in a virtual class and provides opportunity for hearing other voices, the more than students get engaged. This creates a huge difference to a ‘lecture’ making it as an interesting learning experience.
Be a minimalist to create maximum outcomes.
Here is a short summary of all the points that we mentioned to engage the learners in a virtual lesson.
Keep engaging the learners with wonderful lessons! All the best.
What is your favourite strategy as an educator? Do let us know in the comments.
If you are interested in learning about safe virtual platforms for you learners, join this EduRise Workshop.
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