There’s been an explosion in virtual learning because of COVID-19. It’s a large scale, crisis-driven experiment with remote teaching that’s left many unprepared. It’s no surprise that teachers are still figuring out the best virtual learning strategies to engage students and deliver lessons.
With Japan and Italy among the growing number of countries shutting schools in the wake of the COVID-19 / Coronavirus outbreak, schools across the globe are making preparations to ensure learning isn’t disrupted.
The challenges of getting students to participate have intensified during remote learning. Engaging learners in your online learning program is one of the keys to ensuring they learn effectively and get the most out of what they are doing.
With interactive online learning experiences, learners have no option other than to get involved and take an active role in their learning. Additionally, online discussions are often hindered by variability in students.
So What is Virtuall Learning?
Virtual learning is a learning experience that uses computer software, the Internet or both to deliver instruction to students.
Learners have no option other than to get involved and take an active role in their learning. It’s important not to lose sight of practical aspects of online instruction. Here are Some Ways for creating an Engaging Virtual Learning Experience.
- Eunsure your Capabilities.
Ensure you have the technical capability before the class begins to access the required course materials, including e-books, online tools, and course websites. Be sure you have room for your books, computer, pens, paper, and other supplies. Label folders to hold papers and notes for each subject.
Go ahead and create electronic folders for each class on your computer and in your email program. If your virtual school provides an online planner, use it to schedule your personal appointments and create your “to do” list, with items ranked in order of urgency.
Take the time to practice navigating the online system so you’ll be prepared for your first class.
- Setting Goals.
Goal setting is an important and ongoing part of any career. They can also help you develop your sense of self as a teacher. In general, it is good to set both big, long-term goals and small, short-term goals.
Setting goals is a vital practice that can benefit anyone with a dream or a vision for their future. However, goal setting is a practice that operates on a set of specific skills—and luckily, these skills are relatively easy to teach.
The teachers and students must on the same page regarding a reasonable schedule for pace and progress. This gives each student ownership of their individualized learning plan and accountability for sticking to the goals that they have set.
- Keep Students Engaged and Motivated.
Studies have found that motivation to learn is a key factor in student success. It’s easy for students to feel disconnected because they’re not physically present with their peers and teachers in the classroom, or to not take e-learning seriously because they’re at home
In fact, many studies have found that encouragement and guidance by teachers as well as real-time feedback from digital curriculum have a positive effect on student motivation.
Most online educational tools for students provide the collaborative tools necessary to make classes interactive. You should consider including presentations, demonstrations, and other interactive activities into your lesson plans. From mind mapping to role playing, several classic teaching methods can make the lesson more lively and interactive. It’s important to incorporate these techniques into your virtual lessons.
Keep students engaged by injecting an element of competition into the classroom with competitive game-based learning.
- Monitor Students Progress.
Before starting to plan, take a second and try to summarize the goal of your lesson, i.e., what it is that your students should be able to do after the session is over (for example, students need to be able to prove the Pythagorean theorem). Use this goal as the basis of your lesson plan. Then start creating the structure of your lesson from there. These plans will also make it easier to track your students’ progress.
- Set Clear Expectations.
Make clear to students how their grade in the course will be determined. Share resources for students on how to be an online learner. While flexibility is one of the greatest benefits that virtual learning programs can provide, setting clear expectations in regards to participation, pacing, and progress is a key component to ensuring student success.
Set expectations for response time make it clear that you will respond to emails, messages, chats within a business day, otherwise students may expect you to answer an email, message or chat within a few hours, and disengage if you don’t.
- Communicate Regularly.
Regular communication and collaboration can take place in person or online through a digital messaging center, discussion group, or even through the feedback provided on teacher-scored activities.
Consider how you typically communicate with students and, if possible, use the same space and vehicle that you would have used when school was open.
Keep your communications focused, clear, and simple with actionable tasks and items students need to know.
- Check Content Resources Regularly.
Regularly check all links, resources, modules, and activities. Online content can move or change, which can lead to disengagement. Assist students who are having difficulty navigating course links or managing the material spanning across various web pages.
Provide ongoing feedback. Feedback is important in every classroom. As an online teacher, your feedback will help to create an eLearning experience that is informative, engaging, and motivational for the learner.
You can encourage group feedback through collaborative exercises, which also helps to promote peer engagement.
In an online setting, it’s important to intentionally design channels to receive that same type of feedback. Beyond observing their contributions to online discussions and how/when they’re turning in assignments, proactively seek their insights about online learning.
Leverage a Google Form or other survey tool, or simply send an email and invite responses. Listen to what students say and make tweaks to your planning as needed. Integrate feedback as part of your own learning process.
Your feedback should be continuous during the eLearning process, with constructive feedback offered as soon as possible so that students can clearly identify which behaviors or skills need to be improved.