How to improve engagement and make kids feel less isolated during online classes

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Educators around the world are predicting that online learning will be the future of education. Their hypothesis is based on the technological advancements that are happening in the education industry. Moreover, the current pandemic has put around 1.2 billion children out of classrooms as per the data shared by the World Economic Forum. To make education available to these students, several institutes and universities have entered the e-learning industry. Competition is fierce since all the reputed institutes are collaborating with online learning portals and putting up their courses online.

Online learning has a new set of challenges compared to the traditional classroom setup. The students and teachers interact virtually through a teleconference medium during a course session. Thus, it becomes difficult to engage students during teaching sessions, learning activities, and assessments. A teacher isn’t able to judge a student’s level of interest as the interaction happens through a computer screen. Student engagement plays a pivotal role in achieving success in the online education domain. But, there are ways, if implemented, can help in improving student engagement in online classes. Let’s have a look at some proactive actions that will help you in making your online class more lively and interactive.

Social engagement

It is important to build a connection with the students in an online learning setup as there is no physical interaction. If you are not interacting with students, they might feel disengaged and can take a call to drop out from the course. To overcome the social barrier, you can do the following:

  1. Send a short video message with your introduction and the course details. Adding this personal touch will make your students comfortable with your personality.
  2. On the first day of the course, you can conduct an ice-breaking session wherein you can ask students to introduce themselves.
  3. Create a discussion forum on apps like Whatsapp, Google Hangouts, etc. so that your students can reach out instantly in case of doubts.  This strategy will also increase student-to-student interaction.
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In short, you have to create an open and collaborative environment for students taking your online tutoring services.

Intellectual engagement

Stimulating curiosity about the subject being taught is the best way to increase student engagement. As per a study done by NCBI, 65% of people are visual learners, 30% are auditory learners, and 5% are kinesthetic learners. Thus, to keep your student’s focus, you should use a mixed form of teaching techniques.

  1. Include videos, screen recordings, presentations, etc. to appeal to visual learners.
  2. Use audio clips, historical speeches, etc. to engage auditory learners.
  3. Design assignments wherein your students get a chance to move out of their house and interact with people or visit places in their locality.
  4. Break your teaching content in smaller chunks to make it easier for students to digest the information.
  5. Introduce a badge system as an incentive to promote healthy competition.

By using such off-beat techniques, your students are more likely to remember the concepts and apply them in practical life.

Emotional engagement

Another way of improving student engagement is to create a personal connection with your students. Rather than being a teacher, become their mentor.

  1. Ensure that you have one-on-one interaction with your students at least once a month.
  2. Discuss their passion, future aspirations, non-academic issues, and challenges that they might be facing with online learning.
  3. Take their feedback about your teaching methodologies. This will give them a sense that you are respectful of their concerns.
  4. Offering counseling services will help make the environment more conducive to learning.
  5. Personally guide the students who are new to online education. Work with them to make their transition smooth and easy.
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Cultural engagement

The online student group will most likely be culturally diverse. Cultural diversity and norms impact how students interpret visual content. Thus, you should consider cultural perceptions while selecting images or graphics for a course. Bring in culturally relevant examples during discussions or when framing questions. This will help you in creating a safe environment in the classroom. Students will feel comfortable opening up and sharing their experiences. The student engagement quotient will automatically increase.

In online education, students need an extra dose of motivation to complete the course. The flexibility and convenience of online learning makes students procrastinate and hence they become isolated and disengaged. Incorporate some of the above-mentioned tips to make your online tutoring service a success.

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