10 Ideas for Engaging Students in Virtual Learning Environments

Chalk Talk #77

It’s time to shake things up in the virtual classroom! If you’re struggling with keeping students’ attention in your virtual instruction or simply looking for new ideas to ramp up your online teaching methods, we have you covered. These 10 tips taken from our most recent Ten on Tuesday webinar have proven successful for our own virtual instructors; we hope they help you as well.

10 Ideas for Engaging Students in Virtual Learning Environments:

  1. Set virtual expectations:
    Let virtual instruction look and feel like virtual instruction and in-person like in-person. We often want to mix the two, but that can cause confusion for students. For virtual teaching, expectations should be fun and more about engaging the students.

  2. Work the chat:
    The chat box needs to be your friend. Make sure you are specific when giving directions for using the chat box. To ensure more engagement, resist the urge to respond to the first person who put the correct answer and use names when referring to students in the chat. For example, it would be better to say, “Good answer, Dillion. I like the creativity!” rather than, “Good answer!”

  3. Embrace awkward pauses:
    Awkward pauses feel longer than they actually are. The best course of action is to be mindful of the clock by keeping a timer and giving students ample time to answer questions rather than providing the answer for them because a pause feels too long.

  4. Rehearse and retrain:
    You have to practice. Being a quality virtual instructor takes time. It may feel awkward, but try watching your recordings to see how you did and what you can improve upon.

  5. Go big:
    Emotion and excitement aren’t easy to convey online. To better communicate in a virtual environment, go bigger with hand gestures, expressions, and your tone of voice!

  6. Tap into your inner DJ:
    Add music, videos, or even GIFs to make class more exciting and entertaining for students. It can help change the energy of the class.

  7. Leverage data:
    Depending on what platform you are using, sometimes you can download the chat or quiz data to see when students were more engaged. This can help you gauge student performance and guide future instruction.
  1. Bring in guest speakers:
    The virtual environment provides more flexibility for guest speakers than an in-person classroom setting—embrace it!

  2. Ask students to create content:
    Students are great content creators, so don’t put the burden entirely on yourself. Have students create things that can be used to help educate other students (students are more likely to listen to other students anyways).

  3. Change up the response form factor:
    Consider alternate response methods. Maybe students can respond with GIFs or record ten-second videos to share their responses. There are so many ways to easily change up the dynamic of the course!

Want to learn more on each tip? Watch the full webinar recording below!

Have any tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments.  

MasteryPrep is here to bridge the gap in an e-learning environment by providing your students with much needed college readiness preparation.

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