Given the current pandemic that the world is experiencing, numerous organizations and services were imposed to shut down their face to face operations, including educational institutions. With this, schools across the globe are conducting virtual classes to ensure that learning won’t be disrupted. However, as we’ve been running these virtual classes for the past few months, one of the top challenges that teachers face is maintaining and enhancing student engagement within virtual classrooms.
Here are a few tips for increasing student engagement during online classes:
1. Foster a collaborative virtual community
Instead of spending the entire meeting conducting a lecture, allot some time for simple group activities where students can collaborate on assignments, compare experiences, express their ideas meaningfully, and basically generate a discussion with their peers. This way, students can stay connected and build relationships with their peers despite not being in a physical classroom.
2. Provide gamified activities
Learning is a serious business, but it can also be fun at the same time! Make learning an enjoyable experience for your students by providing them with gamified activities and assessments. In addition, you can also consider adding badges and certificates along with these activities to recognize student engagement which could further encourage them to continue their active participation.
3. Provide regular feedback
Providing useful and regular feedback to students regarding their performance is an important factor to keep them engaged in their learning journey. This can be done in simple ways such as directly communicating with each student about their work, providing suggestions for improvement, posting discussion boards, and conducting automated assessments.
Receiving feedback helps students feel a sense of progress, thus, it is important to provide meaningful and timely feedback.
4. Create a safe learning environment
In every class, may it be conducted in a physical or virtual manner, it is essential to create a safe learning environment for students. Let your students know that it is okay to have differing opinions. Constantly remind them that being wrong isn’t a bad thing, and that failure is a learning experience. Make sure that the environment you’re creating is comfortable enough for students to freely express themselves. This way, they will remain calm and their minds will be focused on learning.
In order for students to be engaged as possible, it is important to implement these tips and strategies during the beginning of the course. Following the tips provided will surely help you foster an active virtual learning environment.