How Can We Improve Student Engagement in Online Learning?5 Best Ways

Most teachers will agree that getting students involved is the most important thing for a good learning experience. And how to keep students interested online is a question that is becoming more and more important to teachers in all levels of education.

improving student engagement in online learning

Photo by Julia M Cameron

Online education is overwhelming and increasing online engagement is challenging. Keeping students interested and active in the learning process really causes worry among us.

As teachers, we need to establish creative means to keep our students connected and engaged. However, still, many students drop out and are more likely to give up.


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One of the crucial aspects of teaching and learning is student engagement. How can we improve student engagement in online learning? How do we establish online learning environments?

Students in an online class struggle to keep up with their assignments and to stay active in class as caused by certain factors other than poor internet connectivity.

These students may become demotivated if they do not receive the necessary assistance. Thus, we will talk about effective remedies that can improve student engagement in online learning.

How Can We Improve Student Engagement in Online Learning?

Because there are so many distractions today and it’s hard to learn from a distance, online students may not be as interested in their work. Thus, as online teachers, we must think about how to keep students engaged in learning even if they are at a distance.

Some of the online class problems being shared by students especially those who are in the rural or outlying places are poor learning environment and internet connectivity not to mention stress and depression.

These difficulties really make it hard for online students to concentrate and sustain engagement. And these impact their performance. Witnessing this is unbearable knowing that we teachers should make education equitable and accessible.

Here Are 5 Ways to Improve Student Engagement in Online Learning

1. Choose a reliable collaborative online platform

choosing online platform

To foster student collaboration and interaction in an online setting, we should choose a reliable online platform that is accessible to everyone.  We can meet free and paid online learning platforms. And finding the right online platform is crucial.

Delivering instruction in an online environment needs a reliable platform that can accommodate all your students and provide a conducive learning space.

Also, we need to choose a platform that can allow us to share resources seamlessly and facilitate learning effectively. The adoption of e-learning technologies is even more challenging; however, with the appropriate platform, we can make instructional delivery and assessment effective.

Some of the best-reviewed online learning platforms that can provide students with the best way to learn are Coursera, Masterclass, Skillshare, Moodle, and many others.

Most of them are all-in-one platforms that can be used for different types of skillsets. They allow integrations, different levels of access, gamification, webinars and tests, certificate distribution, and established payment services.

2. Present clear learning goals

present clear learning objectives

Before presenting the lesson, students should know what is expected of them. What they should be able to do at the end of the lesson?

The materials and the skills required and how they will achieve the learning objectives should be clearly communicated to them.

Vague learning objectives will deter students from participating in the learning tasks. For our lessons to be impactful for our students, learning objectives should be made clear using behavioral terms.

With clear learning objectives, lessons will be more structured and made more comprehensible to the students. Therefore, we should prepare lesson plans for online learning with specific academic objectives for it will aid student performance.

Also, students are more likely to stay on track when they have a clear goal in mind. Learning will be more effective if the goals are well-defined and measurable. When teachers and parents have high expectations for their students, the results are better.

3. Intensify communication

intensifying communication

Online education gives us a lot of ways to get in touch with our students.  The most common ways to get in touch with students are through course email and discussion forums not to mention the chat rooms and instant messaging.

To amplify effective communication, we should not forget about embedded audio and video as well as live stream messaging and homepage announcements.

In my online class, I utilize screencast videos to explain difficult concepts. Hence, it’s easier for my students to understand complicated content as they can play and re-play screencast videos for mastery.

Though we may never meet in person, we build a rapport that can foster engagement and connection. Also, I use voice messaging to provide individualized feedback to create a deeper connection with my students.

The good thing about it is that students can listen to the recorded notes whenever it works for them. Therefore, we have to make sure that we are giving timely and constructive feedback so our students are more inspired to learn.

Although our students are learning in the comforts of their homes, still we can establish positive relationships just like in in-person learning. It’s just a matter of effective communication and the willingness of reaching out.

4. Build a sense of classroom community

building a classroom community

Our students should feel valued and have a sense of belonging. When social platforms are used well, we can help students feel that they belong to a community in the virtual classroom.

It can be exhausting when students find it hard to express their thoughts and reach out to others. Hence, the number 1 tip is indeed a very smart strategy. Picking one platform and sticking to it is indeed very helpful when building a sense of classroom community in online learning.

Establishing a successful online classroom community is vital to keeping students engaged. They maintain focus while everyone in the virtual classroom works well to get a personal connection.

By giving our learners a sense of belonging through constant dialogues and interactive conversations, we are making it easier for them to flourish in distance learning. Make them feel that very much willing to extend to give them the support they need.

Another way to nurture a personal connection with students is to know the needs of our online students.  They are more likely to participate in learning when they feel that their needs are recognized and supported.  Our pre-assessments and polls can help us identify what they need and what their learning styles are. And we start from there!

5. Set Rules and Netiquettes

set the rules

Our students should know how to act online, and they should know what we expect from them.  They should know that they should dress appropriately as they log in to the online classroom. One of the best components of setting expectations is reinforcing rules and netiquettes in the virtual classroom.

When rules in the virtual classroom are clearly implemented, our students are guided on how they go about with their daily routines. For example, during discussions and recitations in what way do you want your students to participate? And what actions aren’t allowed?

Before beginning any discussion, we should state directly and clearly the house rules. Being on time for class is one of the important rules when teaching online. This is to emphasize the importance of time and promptness in the virtual classroom.

When students are disciplined, they are more careful with their actions and behavior. Being diligent in the accomplishment of learning tasks can be one of its best results.


Online learning for K–12 students is growing at a tremendous rate. Digital education does have its own set of problems, though.

As we prepare our students for online learning, we’ve got to consider the best recommendations above in order to increase student engagement in online learning.

All in all, giving our students ultimate assistance is critical. They should be confident in accessing learning materials, working on their assignments and assessments, and in communicating with us and their classmates.

How do you make online learning engaging for your students? Feel free to drop your thoughts below.