Today, distance education is the topic of the hour. Global pandemics stated this issue quite sharply; students and teachers were forced to accept new rules immediately and quickly adapt to a new format. Making the eLearning environment productive and engaging is a matter of strategy. Let’s be honest, engaging students in the learning process is difficult even in the classroom. Keeping them tuned in throughout online courses might be even more complex. However, we have a list of experience-based tips to share. Read on and learn how to make learners stay active during home-based asynchronous learning.
Motivation Is Key
Motivation is a powerful driving force that helps us reach our goals. When students are motivated to learn, they think better, work productively, and participate in educational activities eagerly. To evoke their interest, educators may use the following tools:
Video, Audio, And Graphics
Visual or audial study materials are perfect for grabbing students’ attention. What is more, they usually explain complicated concepts and topics clearly and engagingly, which ensures memorization.
Learning in chunks is less productive than inventing and completing projects. A project usually consists of numerous stages that require various skills: collecting information, processing it, and creating a final product. Be it a paper, short film, or artwork, students usually perceive projects as meaningful tasks. Encourage them to create something large and interesting.
Game-based learning is a great tool to make learners engaged in the process and grasp the materials better. For example, tutors may encourage their students to arrange role-playing games and take the roles of fictional characters. Also, they may assign timed games where students have to work against the clock and complete tasks timely. Decision games are also great; ask students to find the best response to a given situation and choose the best scenario.
Ensure Comfort And Safety
Distance learning can make students feel abandoned and desperate. They are used to daily interactions with classmates and teachers, but now everyone is isolated. Earlier, they could ask their classmates or tutors to explain to them something they didn’t understand, but now asking face-to-face is impossible. It is crucial to prove the opposite:
- Whenever students have questions or issues, make sure to respond to them quickly;
- Think about online meeting environments and messengers where students can reach you after class—be it email, social networks, Skype, Zoom, or anything else;
- React to challenges and help students understand how to approach them;
- Listen to their problems carefully and try to find solutions;
- Don’t avoid bringing your personality into the course—share your thoughts, life experience, challenges and ways you tackled them;
- Be as engaged as you want your students to be.
Remote learning evokes the need for collaboration like no other format. Encourage students to work together:
- Ask students to share their ideas, experiences, and plans during online discussions
- Assign group tasks
- Notice and encourage any collaborative ideas and initiatives students make
Students don’t have any problems with online communication, they write dozens of messages every day. Dynamic online discussions will definitely keep them tuned in:
- Discuss course topics in small groups
- Encourage particular students to be discussion leaders and develop interesting questions
- Arrange debates between students
- Be a part of discussions yourself—demonstrate your interest, ask questions, and help them find new topics to explore
- Use all platforms you find helpful—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and more
Tools For An Online Classroom
Here are some tried tools that may help educators enrich their online classes:
- Padlet is a digital note board that allows teachers to offer interactive “walls” to students. The board can feature pictures, videos, documents, and other files. Both students and teachers can post on the board from any internet-connected device.
- VoiceThread is a tool that records conversations and saves them in the cloud. Each time you give lectures, it is crucial to record them in audio, video, or text and then share them with learners. The files at VocieThread are downloadable.
- FlipGrid is a simple video tool for online discussions. The tool was created for the academic environment, so it includes all the features you may need in your online class. Create a discussion, share it with students, and record it.
Practical ideas combined with engaging digital tools will allow you to create a productive and engaging learning environment. Keep students motivated using engaging media, encourage them to collaborate, organize online discussions, and ensure a comfortable environment. Keep them active and what is the most crucial—stay active yourself! Nothing is more engaging than someone else’s energy!