The Covid-19 pandemic forced millions of students and educational institutions to shift their learning activities to the digital space. The transition meant that learning continued despite the uncertainties in the world around them. The digital space had several benefits to offer students such as the flexibility and convenience to learn from the comfort of their homes. However, the transition took a toll on teachers and students alike. Teachers found it challenging to make student interactions as effective as an in-class session. Students, on the other hand, struggled to stay engaged while logging in from the confines of their homes, often marred by distractions.
Creating digital environments that are engaging is the ultimate goal of learning and development. When students are effectively engaged, they can grasp lessons faster and get a deeper understanding of the concepts that are taught to them. In a digital environment, learning challenges are aplenty with teachers having to deal with students who are bored, disengaged and isolated. In this post, we share the 7 most effective strategies to transform the digital learning experience you offer. But before that, let’s take a look at the key differences between learning administered in an online setting vs. that rendered in a classroom.
Online vs. in- class learning: What sets them apart?
As technology is transforming industries, many of which are becoming operationally mobile, the education industry is not far behind. To cope with the challenges posed by the pandemic, digital learning environments have come to the fore, unearthing the age-old debate on which is better—online or classroom learning.
Let’s take a look at the top differences between these two modes of learning:
Level of interaction
Seamless interactions between teachers and students are imperative to create effective learning outcomes. Classroom learning involves physical interactions between teachers and students which are clear and dynamic involving active debates and face-to-face discussions. Whereas online learning shifts this setup to the digital space through virtual lectures and discussions.
In a classroom, students have the liberty to ask questions and get their doubts cleared in real-time. In an online course where the content is often pre-recorded, there is only one way of communication. Students need to wait for an interactive session to get their doubts clarified.
There is no disputing the fact that an online setting gives you the most flexibility where students can learn from wherever they are and take the lessons at their own pace. Meanwhile in classroom learning, students need to be physically present to attend classes and follow a fixed learning schedule.
Access to course material
With online learning, students get 24/7 access to learning material such as tutorials, assignments, recorded sessions etc. However, with classroom learning, students have to physically visit the educational institution and learn from the tutor only during the assigned hours.
7 Effective ways to make the online learning environment more engaging
1. Establish a rapport with students and get to know them
The first step to creating an engaging digital learning experience is to get to know who the learners are. The purpose of creating an online learning program is to connect with your audience, but it’s impossible to establish any connection if you do not know them at all.
Hence, before teachers set out with the task of imparting knowledge, they should spend quality time to get to know student behaviours, habits, needs, learning abilities, expectations and so on. This groundwork will help teachers plan out the content structure effectively and boost student engagement.
2. State the learning objectives
Listing out the learning objectives at the beginning of the program will help your learners understand the benefits of enrolling for it, how they can enhance their skills and what level of engagement is expected from them.
Additionally, setting the learning goals will help teachers prepare the course structure and adhere to it.
3. Promote student-centric learning
One surefire way to facilitate student engagement is to transition from a teacher-centred learning approach to a student-centred one, giving learners the ability to take charge of their learner journey. Allowing students to have a say on what they prefer to learn, set learning goals for themselves, and play an active role in defining their learner journey will amplify engagement levels significantly.
4. Include storytelling as a teaching method
Stories add life to the learning process. They are a great way to intrigue and get audiences hooked on the content. In a digital environment, storytelling is a process of introducing a concept to students by using video illustrations, audio clips, images and even music. Storytelling is an immersive learning technique that helps learners connect with a subject. It is a simple yet powerful way of delivering a lesson where learners tend to remember what is explained to them.
5. Build a student community
Isolation is one of the top reasons why students feel disengaged in a classroom. Creating a community is a great way of cultivating a sense of belongingness among students, boosting classroom retention and learning.
Apart from formal communication that is a given between teachers and students, encourage students to engage in interactions informally via social media channels, online study groups, instant messaging platforms or email. This will allow them to connect with students outside the formal setting of a classroom and improve engagement.
6. Create opportunities for student collaboration
Collaborative learning involves dividing students into smaller groups to work together on projects, discuss solutions to fix a problem, brainstorm ideas, and jointly present their findings with the rest of the class.
Studies indicate that deeper learning takes place when the educational experience is active, student-centric, and collaborative. This form of learning brings about a higher level of thinking in students, helping them understand and tolerate varied perspectives, something that’s necessary for handling real-life situations.
7. Be available for your students
This can be difficult in online and hybrid learning environments yet it’s by far the best way to boost student engagement. Create an environment where students can express themselves without being judged. Keep the communication lines open, giving students the liberty to reach out to teachers in case they need guidance.
Teachers can do this by personalizing the educational content by giving it their touch. They can take a few minutes out at the end or the beginning of every session to build rapport among students and help them make natural connections with one another. Getting the teachers and students to turn on their cameras also paves the way for effortless interactions.
Thanks to technology, learning can thrive even when it’s not in a classroom setup. Teachers need to create a safe space for students to open up, interact and learn. With the right solution to back you up, you can scale the student learning experience effortlessly. Empower your educational institution with Classe365’s unified solution and gain access to top-notch features that provide unmatched support in your quest to achieve excellence in education.