4 More Ways to Stimulate Online Learner Engagement
While many teachers might not think it, online learning still provides excellent opportunities to create learning environments that stimulate students. Many resources can be included in online learning. The self-directed approach to learning encourages learners to be curious and be freer when it comes to education.
This freedom turns face-to-face, one-directional learning into a dialogue with many directions, and enables more ambitious learning goals. However, it can be difficult for students to adjust to online learning environments.
There are several reasons for this, ranging from discomfort with technology to a lack of technical understanding and a sense of disorientation when required to plan and learn at their own pace.
Encourage and Develop Relationships
It has been reported that learners feel more satisfied when they can form and enjoy connections in their online courses, and their grades back this up as well. One of the fundamental ways that motivation and stimulation can be created in an online course is to foster relationships between students.
Seeking answers from others is crucial to developing a healthy dynamic for learning and teaches a valuable life skill – providing help and asking for it.
It may sound cliche, but traditional ice-breakers are the best way to form instant student-teacher and student-student connections. Having students introduce themselves to one another, and having them present what they hope to get out of the course is a great ice-breaker.
If you are using a virtual classroom, like Pedagogue, then you can set up a video conference to meet face-to-face with your students.
Have Relevant Content
It’s no secret that an overload of content can and will overwhelm engaged students, and will totally isolate those who are less engaged. While it is tempting to squash every relevant bit of information into a module, many will find it too much and simply give up.
Try a technique called chunking, which is where content is grouped by topic. If your students can find interesting connections between their content and piece them together, they’ll be stimulating learning.
Multiple Choice Questions allow teachers to measure retention and uptake significantly. But, while some students might be engaging with their content, they might not be interacting with their assessments properly, and you might find that the data you’re collecting about student progress is inaccurate.
Also, students who have spent a lot of their time preparing for an assessment might feel cheated when they learn that they’ll only answer simple multiple-choice questions. Try to challenge your students to submit work portfolios, assignments, essays, or projects by the end of the course, which will count for a significant portion of their grade.
Use ‘Brain Rules’
If you’re not familiar with Brain Rules, then there is an easily-accessible book available which explains all you need to know. For example, it emphasizes the importance of reinforcing repetition and the power of visual information when encouraging student retention.
Stimulating online learner engagement is entirely possible – it just takes some more time and effort on the teacher’s part. You’ll find that online students are more than happy to engage with one another and will value the connections they form with their peers and their teacher.