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10 eLearning tactics for connecting with students online from our experts that will keep your students engaged, connected, and motivated to learn!
Whether online teaching is a part of your everyday job or a new development due to the coronavirus, it isn’t easy to connect with students online. Compared to the many daily interactions you get with in-person classes, online learning can feel distant and disconnected. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. With these 10 strategies, you can foster engagement with students no matter where you are.
1. Reach Out to Parents
Communicating with parents is a vital part of every teacher’s job, especially during a time of crisis. Try to keep an open line of communication by updating parents on their children’s progress and let them know you’re open to any concerns about the at-home arrangement.
2. Help Students Process Emotions
Staying at home can be frustrating, especially for younger children who may not understand why their lives have changed so suddenly. Take opportunities to talk to your students about how they’re feeling and allow them to work through the process at their own pace. Being an attentive ear goes a long way in forming a genuine connection.
3. Use Many Types of Communication Technology
There’s a great deal of easy work from home technology and much of it can be easily adjusted to suit the classroom. Group video chats, for example, are offered by many apps and can facilitate engaging discussion for students. You can also call, send emails, post photos and create group chats. Having several different ways to communicate allows everyone to engage in the way that’s most comfortable for them.
If you’ve found yourself scrambling to get your classroom online, you’ve come to the right place! Watch the step-by-step Teachers’ Survival Guide: How To Build Your Online Classroom In Minutes with Moodle.
4. Assign Virtual Seats
There may not be any tables online, but that doesn’t mean you can’t assign seating. Try organizing kids into groups for projects or discussions by setting up forums, chats or pages. Make sure you change things up regularly so students are interacting with different people instead of staying in their comfort zones.
If you need those virtual seats in a hurry, this how-to article will get you online quick: Video Conferencing FAQ: Creating Virtual Classrooms with Zoom.
5. Check-in Every Day
Make sure you take the time every day to create room for communication. This can be as simple as asking everyone if they have anything exciting to share or creating an anonymous poll to gauge how everyone’s feeling. Allowing everyone to share their emotions builds trust and may make students feel more comfortable about approaching you when they need assistance.
Direct learner feedback is an effective way to improve any class, but the nature of online courses delivered with an LMS makes it The Untapped Resource for Building Better Courses: Utilizing the Feedback Module is made easy with this on-demand webinar!
6. Establish Routine
If you’ve moved from in-person lessons to online classes, it may not be possible to keep up your normal classroom routines, but you can try. Activities that have convertible elements should be incorporated into your lessons; those that can’t be adjusted should be replaced with something similar. Routine gives students a sense of stability, which can be comforting, especially in the midst of a crisis.
7. Offer New Learning Experiences
No matter what classroom you’re in, repetition is likely to leave kids bored and disengaged. Fortunately, the online sphere has a lot of new learning experiences to offer. Try to incorporate these into weekly lesson plans to alleviate boredom and encourage students to connect with each other. Sharing a new experience is a great way to build bonds and it’s easy enough to create an assignment that guides kids into talking about their experience with others.
Keeping learners engaged online presents its own unique challenges AND benefits! These resources will show you how to leverage both to get the most from your online courses:
Webinar: How to Reduce Disengagement with Gamification
eBook: The All-Important E’s of eLearning: Engagement & Effectiveness
8. Find Teaching Resources
What if you’re having trouble finding interesting activities for your students? There are many teaching resources online that can connect you with new lesson ideas, tips for communicating with students and emotional support during an unprecedented time. If you’re having trouble with engagement, these resources can offer new perspectives and strategies.
9. Make Yourself Available
You can create an “open door” policy even if you don’t have a door. Set office hours a few times a week and let students know you’re free to talk during that time. You can either have them schedule appointments or offer walk-ins — whichever works best with your schedule and teaching style.
10. Create a Communication Hub
While it’s useful to have many different communication options, there should also be a central hub where you post all major announcements and resources. This can be the class social media page, a designated site within the school’s digital system or a forum. That way, if anyone has a question, they know exactly where to look for the answer.
If you’re looking for more expert advice and how-to content on online and remote education, eLearning technology, and fostering learner engagement with your courses and training programs, here’s what our eLearning experts have put together for you:
- Webinar: Teachers’ Survival Guide: How To Build Your Online Classroom In Minutes with Moodle
- Article: Video Conferencing FAQ: Creating Virtual Classrooms with Zoom
- eBook: The All-Important E’s of eLearning: Engagement & Effectiveness
- eBook: Getting Engaged: How To Make Your Learners Fall in Love with Learning
- Webinar: How to Reduce Disengagement with Gamification
- Webinar: Top 5 Practical Applications for Building Engaging Learning
Disclaimer: This article was contributed by guest blogger Kevin Gardner. Kevin graduated with a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from UCLA. He works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS where he helps companies integrate technology to improve performance. He shares his knowledge and expertise not only with his clients but with his fellow bloggers and readers.
The views and opinions expressed belong to the guest blogger alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or opinions of Lambda Solutions.