Due to the pandemic, the majority of classes have moved online. Whether you’re a teacher or a professor who has to teach any number of students, there are unique challenges with the learning curve for online schooling. Fortunately, this transition can be smooth if you go about it the right way.
Online classes are different from in-person classes, so it’s essential to construct them differently. Many online classes are designed the same way that an in-person class would be with tired PowerPoint presentations and traditional engagement techniques.
In this blog, you’ll learn how to structure your classes and engage students so that you can help solve the critical challenges of virtual schooling online.
Technique #1. Engage Students During a Virtual Class
A challenge that initially comes up when you’re a teacher in an online setting is seeing students stay passive. These students have access to the lecture content, but they’re not motivated to participate in class actively. For the class and learning process to be effective, students need to be engaged.
To resolve this issue, you can incorporate digital course software to ask class-wide questions and gauge answers. Not only will this tactic help students retain material, but it will let you know where the class is at in terms of retention.
These opportunities are best when they are high in quantity and flexible. Not every question needs to add to a student’s grade. Many teachers also incorporate customizable interactive textbooks that help them regularly track the course content’s comprehension and completion.
Technique #2. Provide Regular Feedback
Since a lot of the learning during an online class happens asynchronously, students can feel disconnected from their teachers. Students might also have a distorted view of how they’re performing in the class if a teacher doesn’t regularly check in on their progress.
To solve this problem, create a regular feedback loop with each student. When students complete tasks in a course, they get feedback and adjust their strategies accordingly. Regular feedback for students creates iterations in their efforts that help them align with the course objectives more efficiently.
Regular online formative assessments help students adapt to online virtual school content, whether in virtual learning for kindergarten or taking professional language courses online.
Online formative assessments are essential because they help you track student performance, increase student engagement, and help kids take greater ownership of their learning process. These assessments provide evidence of student learning, providing students with new opportunities to engage with the course content meaningfully.
The questions you ask them can be as simple as summarizing the lecture’s objective in 2-3 sentences or making a concept map to illustrate it.
These small regular activities help you, as an instructor, understand where students are, and they help students retain lecture content more effectively.
Technique #3. Encourage Student Collaboration
Student collaboration helps the online virtual school model work effectively. Collaborative student engagement helps promote a deeper understanding of the course content Collaboration in an online environment can be challenging because students are not physically in the same place.
Any assignments or answers that your class requires in a “discussion forum” are completed asynchronously, and conversations can naturally feel forced in those settings. After all, discussion in a forum is not the same as organic conversation.
What can help in these settings is to ask students to write specific things in response to their classmates’ answers instead of simply “commenting” on their responses.
A specific question you can pose to them would be to ask for constructive feedback regarding their classmate’s response.
For example, you can ask them to focus on one aspect of that response that they believe could benefit from going into greater depth. Ask specifically how the student can discuss and effectively expand their argument or point and what kind of evidence they can seek out.
This learning technique is called “problem-based learning.” The method significantly helps students by giving them ample opportunity to apply your course material in a real-life situation within their small groups.
In addition to helping students learn the course content more effectively, this approach helps students build upon their creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and knowledge application skills.
Using each other’s strengths and sharing helpful resources, students can lift each other in this way to attain maximum learning.
While this approach undoubtedly works for higher-level classes, it’s just as suitable for online elementary school programs.
Shifting to an online virtual school model can be challenging at first. But if you go about it the right way, students and teachers alike can flourish in this new environment chock-full of unique learning opportunities that were not available with in-class lectures.
By instilling a collaborative approach, offering your students regular feedback, and effectively engaging students, you can ensure your students thrive in this new online landscape.
Online Schooling is the Future of Education – Learn More With Our Help.
At Ideal School, we strive to hire competent and passionate professionals ready to work hard and provide online students with the best learning environment possible. We are a world-class online bilingual (English and Spanish) primary school that provides homeschooling and virtual classes to students in North and South America and the Caribbean.
We thoroughly train our teachers to provide our valued students with a top-quality education from the comfort of their homes.
To learn more, get in touch with us here.