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3 student engagement strategies to try for online learning

student engagement strategies student engagement strategies

In the era of remote education, teachers are still learning how to serve their students best. Whether you teach kids or adult professionals, it’s important to grasp effective student engagement strategies for virtual learning.

Remote learning is the way of the future, and online courses or online school programs will become more normal as time goes on. To ensure that your classes are engaging and optimized for student success, let’s break down some engagement strategies you can use now.

Consider the learning styles of different students first

Before using any specific strategies, consider that your different students will also learn differently. There are three major learning styles that you may encounter as an educator. So be sure to consider them as you come up with your online course content and business plan for your courses.

Visual learners

One of the main learning styles is visual learners. These learners learn best when they can see new material presented before them, rather than hearing a teacher lecture or practicing on a piece of paper. Visual students learn best when you:

  • Show the material in a visual or graphical way like in a slideshow.
  • Offer course material in multiple formats. Such as a video or 3-D model, and with a schematic or layout breakdown.

Many people are visual learners, so don’t forget to include visual materials in your courses no matter what you teach!

Audio learners

The second type of learning style is audio learning. As you might expect, audio learners learn best when they hear the information in a clear, concise manner. They benefit from lectures, online meetings, podcasts, or just from listening to course recordings as you explain the class material for the day.

In many cases, you can teach visual and audio learners simultaneously by holding live cohort-based courses, even if they’re remote. That’s because your students will see you going through the material while also hearing you explain the content aloud.

Practical (written) learners

Lastly, your students may be practical or written learners. Written learners learn best when they can read and also write down what they’re learning. You’ll often see them taking diligent notes if you live-stream synchronous class sessions.

These learners also retain information better when they have practical opportunities to test their new knowledge. They benefit the most from homework, practice worksheets or interactive modules, and regular tests.

In a way, all humans are practical learners because we have to practice what we are taught before we can truly master it and retain it for the long term. However, some people need this educational style more than others and may have trouble learning from purely visual or audio information sources alone.

Now that you know what types of students you may have in your classroom let’s look at three student engagement strategies you can use for virtual learning materials like online courses or tests.

Strategy one—host synchronous meetings

The first strategy to try and boost student engagement is hosting synchronous meetings with all of your enrolled students. Synchronous meetings are essentially video conferenced or live streamed class sessions as you’d have with a cohort-based course. A lot of online work or educational materials are streamed asynchronously these days. These asynchronous courses, or self-paced courses, allow students to view the material or complete classwork on their own schedules.

But synchronous meetings can be of particular help to audio learners, who may find more success if they have the opportunity to ask you questions in real-time. This is doubly true if you go over highly complex or technical material.

However, you don’t have to stick to purely synchronous meetings. You may wish to announce occasional synchronous meetings, on a cadence of once per week, once every two weeks or whatever best suits your course. While also providing traditionally asynchronous learning videos or presentations for the best results.

In this way, you can help students who learn better “in-person” while still enjoying the benefits and conveniences of virtual learning tools.

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Strategy two—include PowerPoints, visual aids, and YouTube videos

Your next potential strategy is to integrate visual elements, like PowerPoint presentations, YouTube videos, and other visual aids into your class materials. Visual aids are, naturally, very helpful for visual learners who retain information when they can see it in multiple ways.

The right teaching platform can make this much easier by integrating PowerPoint presentations or videos right into your course material. For example, Teachable allows you to build your online classes exactly as you want to better support your students’ needs.

By integrating visual media, you’ll appeal to visual learners and make your courses more interactive and engaging at the same time. Engaging courses that use visual elements are more likely to retain students over the long term and be more entertaining. This is useful no matter what your course teaches or what your educational niche happens to be.

Strategy three—integrate interactive practice sessions or tests

Lastly, you might also boost student engagement for virtual learning sessions by using interactive tools or practice platforms for your classes. For example, you might use a pop quiz tool like the one Teachable offers to test your students’ knowledge in the middle of a videoconferencing session.

Alternatively, you might give your students tests to interact with and turn in using your online classroom platform. Tests force students to practically use the information you’ve just given them, which benefits practical or written learners as well as other types of students.

There’s a reason testing is required in most traditional classroom settings. It helps cement information learned and allows students to demonstrate knowledge mastery.

Don’t ignore this engagement strategy when designing new online courses!

Wrap up

Ultimately, remote student engagement is vital for educators who plan to make the most of virtual learning tools and opportunities. By using synchronous meetings, visual materials, and interactivity, your courses or classes will be more exciting, more engaging, and provide your students with more significant learning results than ever before.

If you need to build a new online course that integrates these engagement strategies, try Teachable today.

Author: Nahla Davies, Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.