Making your online classes interactive and engaging requires your pedagogical strengths and it exhibits realistic challenges for teachers. Practically, there are effective ways to make your online class interactive and this is what we will talk about today. Ensuring that learning goals are achieved, you have to revisit your strategies in engaging students so they are at their best.
Going forward, as schools adopt online learning to continue education despite the global health crisis, teachers have prepared their lessons in a way that attracts student’s attention and builds up interaction. But, how do they plan their lessons? Are they successful in their strategies in engaging students to learn effectively?
Keep reading and hopefully, these effective ways can help you face the exceptional challenges of making your online class interactive.
<<Want to improve student learning in a virtual classroom? Consider the following effective strategies for making online education productive.
7 Effective Ways to Make Your Online Class Interactive
I know teaching online requires you to have an extreme reflection on your teaching styles and teaching practices knowing that it’s a lot more different from face-to-face instruction. Certainly, this is the very reason that I would like to share the following effective ways to make your online class interactive.
1. Keep the tasks simple and comprehensible
To make every learner an active participant in the learning process in the virtual classroom, you should keep tasks simple and comprehensible. When students get exactly what you want them to do, they can make the most of the learning experiences you laid down.
Considering that online learning is a new learning experience for students, learning tasks should be within their abilities. The more you do it, the more students get interested to learn and participate. Always remember that if students are overwhelmed they usually lose concentration and focus.
By planning out simple yet meaningful tasks and are aligned with learning competencies, the more students get engaged to learn. Thus, rather than feeding them with complicated concepts and tasks, you should get them active by giving them simple and direct activities.
2. Use user-friendly digital learning tools
The use of straightforward learning apps and digital learning tools will make online learning fun and exciting. With that, your students are engaged to learn and they become interactive.
Among the best digital tools, I can recommend Mentimeter, Kahoot, Padlet, Flipgrid, and Google Forms. There are a lot more extensive choices around the corner, but these are some that I have tried in my virtual classroom.
Additionally, before you choose the most suitable apps and tools, make sure that your students understand clearly what you want them to develop and learn.
3. Use break-out rooms
Apparently, online teaching and learning present challenges with regard to student engagement. However, great teachers have impressive ways to make their online classes interactive. I know you do too. Have you tried using break-out rooms in your virtual classes? How was it?
One of the best ways to increase student engagement and collaboration in online learning is using separate virtual classrooms. The very thing you should do is to choose an online platform that allows you to create breakout rooms to amplify collaborative tasks for your students. Interestingly, this includes Zoom and Google Meet.
Grouping and assigning students separate links to perform their tasks will encourage students to present their ideas and opinions without being intimidated. As per my experience, my students feel more confident sharing their ideas in breakout rooms with their groupmates. And when they re-join the main room they seem to be ready with their presentations and they are more eager to interact with the rest of the group.
4. Use a reliable online platform and be flexible
Making your online classes interactive shouldn’t be overwhelming because there’s so much more to attend if you really want to help your students hone their skills. Your initial steps should include choosing the most flexible and reliable online platforms that will allow student participation at the onset.
Aside from rethinking and reinventing your teaching styles for your virtual classrooms, you should be considering the best tools that augment online learning. As there are a lot of collaborative video conferencing tools out there, you should not skip Vedamo to achieve your virtual teaching goals. Vedamo allows you to discuss lessons comprehensively through its online whiteboard and sharing features. It’s definitely an engaging way to increase collaboration and interaction in your online classes.
Other online teaching platforms that magnify collaboration and make online learning a meaningful experience are LearnCube, Zoom, Google Meet, and Blackboard Collaborate. There are many highly interactive platforms out there waiting to be tapped and used. You just have to widen your perspectives, research and read more.
5. Give immediate feedback
One of the best ways to create an enriching learning experience in your virtual classroom is by giving immediate feedback in real-time. You should signify the importance of feedback in the learning process and in student development. Your students must know how you see them participate and perform. Thus, you should master the art of giving online feedback to keep your students engaged and to encourage deep interaction to give them innovative learning experiences.
Giving detailed, constructive, and personalized feedback to your students will help them know how they are doing in your class in a very positive manner. Immediate feedback will keep learners updated on their strengths and the areas where they need more effort.
If students are aware of their performance results because you give them immediately after each task, they are most likely to get very eager to do more and to interact. Well, you just have to make your comments more realistic and credible to create more meaningful learning experiences for your students. Avoid vague comments by making them as comprehensible and simple as possible.
6. Build a community
To create an engaging virtual classroom, you should establish harmonious connections with your students and make them feel they belong. When your students feel that they are safe to present their thoughts and ideas, it increases their motivation and confidence. Once it happens, they are more interested in interacting and discussing relevant things with their classmates.
Maintaining good relationships with your students in an online learning environment increases student participation and amplifies the value of respect for one another. Building an engaged online classroom is highly possible if your students love to interact and are willing to listen to one another.
Fostering a strong online community will help students thrive and be at their best. Again, as the facilitator of learning, you take charge of the whole thing and initiate open communication and an environment of respect in your virtual classroom and everything will fall into place.
7. Encourage suggestions
In my years of teaching, I take notice of how valuable it is to listen to suggestions and recommendations especially from my students. By taking an in-depth evaluation of what is happening in your virtual classroom makes you reflect on the perfect contributors of ideas that will make your online classroom interactive and productive.
When you encourage your students to give suggestions as to how to make your online classroom become more interactive, they feel their importance and you are definitely encouraging them to learn more. I know that an online classroom differs remarkably from a traditional classroom. However, you can always pave the way for more self-directed learning if you involve your students along the way.
Your students’ suggestions will help you uncover their diverse needs. Essentially, you can establish strategies to connect with them and to make your online class interactive.
Making your online students feel that you are always there to help and assist them will increase their confidence. This can keep them engaged and become interactive. As you can see, making your online class interactive requires hard work and the best application of teaching pedagogies.
Hopefully, the 7 effective ways mentioned above can help you in achieving your teaching goals while at the same time increasing student interaction and performance. I can personally say that the things listed here really work.
Plus, if you are consistent with your efforts in reaching out to your students, such as providing timely feedback and responding to their queries on time, you are certain that your students feel your support, concern, and care. It’s an important aspect that keeps students on track, engaged, and focused.
Have we missed anything here? Feel free to express your thoughts in the comment section below.