Making The Most Of Your Virtual Classroom
Online learning has been an essential part of many students across the U.S. Virtual classes allow students to learn information and obtain a degree without having to step into a physical classroom.
While there are many benefits of an online classroom compared to a traditional classroom, many professionals in the online teaching world continue to struggle with student participation and engagement.
Let's look at some strategies that you can use to improve long-distance learning through an interactive online learning environment today!
5 Strategies To Improve Your Online Classroom Environment
Teachers and students can experience lots of challenges with online classroom training. While there is no way to get around some of the barriers, a professional Learning Management System (LMS) will have various features to help you connect with your students and improve student participation in the classroom environment.
1. Create Fun Daily Icebreakers
Students are often too nervous to start a new conversation in an online education setting, but with some ice breakers, you'll be able to get the ball rolling.
Create an exciting trivia game on your training topic and see what participants already know about it or encourage them all to come prepared by showing an interesting statistic or fun fact related to the curriculum you are teaching.
This is one way that will help settle everyone's nerves before diving into learning content for this session as well as helping create connections within the group who may not have known each other beforehand.
2. Encourage Interactive Participation Among Students
Maintain a calm, confident tone throughout the training. Encourage learners to ask questions and share their experiences and collaborate on tasks that students are completing during their time together.
While some people might not want you to see them in person, it will keep those who are presently engaged enough that we can learn from one another without the distraction of online chat rooms or instant messages.
Be sure to ask all students to turn on their cameras and microphones so students can interact with each other and with you!
3. Host Small Groups In Breakout Rooms
Breakout sessions are an excellent way to allow for creativity and application in the primary classroom.
Not only do breakout rooms offer an intimate setting for students to share their ideas, but these small groups also provide valuable insights into new ideas that might not have been explored in a larger setting.
You must include 4-10 participants per "room" to maximize engagement with the breakaway group! Once completed, make sure all groups come back as a larger group to share their insights with the rest of the class!
4. Illustrate On An Online Whiteboard
One of the best ways to share an idea with students is through illustration. This approach to virtual learning is a great way to bridge the "virtual gap" and help your students understand complex problems through an intuitive and straightforward method like you would use in a traditional classroom.
A virtual whiteboard is a blank screen and can be used to type or write on with tools available for annotations in real-time. You can use an online whiteboard just like you would use a physical whiteboard in a traditional setting.
This feature is included in most learning platforms, and it allows you to enhance student participation as you share ideas on the fly.
5. Create Polls & Quizzes To Test Knowledge
Not everyone learns at the same pace, so teachers need to gauge their online students before moving on to a new topic. This is where a poll or online quiz can come in handy.
If you want your event students to feel like they are part of the action, polls can be an excellent way for them to give feedback and voice their opinion.
You could create one poll question on-site or in advance, which would ask questions about topics such as "What is ____?" It also creates engagement opportunities with participants by asking multiple choice answers - giving out points every time someone gets it right!
These are great tools to help improve student participation and help teachers understand if they need to come back to a specific topic before moving on.
6. Schedule "Down Time" Between Lessons Throughout The Day
It's tough for anyone to pay attention to difficult lessons for long periods, so scheduling some "downtime" for students between lessons is crucial. This is especially important for long-distance learning since students will have a variety of distractions popping up throughout the day.
Make sure you create a learning environment that is fun and engaging throughout the day. There are lots of strategies that you can use to help your students pay closer attention throughout the day in your virtual class, like quick dance parties and presenting "memes of the day."
7. Set Ground Rules & Expectations For The Class
No one likes to engage in a hostile or chaotic environment, which is true with a virtual class. This is why it's important to set ground rules and expectations before class.
At the beginning of a virtual session, set expectations by reviewing how to use chat for responding and writing on whiteboards. Review basic rules like raising your hand or voting in polls!
Bring Your Online Learning To Life & Boost Student Participation!
Teaching and learning in a virtual classroom require a strong facilitator and attention to detail, just like in-person learning environments. Though it may be difficult at first, if you plan out your virtual sessions properly, they will provide students with an engaging experience that increases content retention for work-related topics.
You are now prepared with these best practices from offline training translated into special virtual classroom programs that encourage continued learning beyond traditional classroom settings.
Use the above tips to ensure your students participate and engage with the curriculum and each other. The virtual classroom doesn't have to be a boring or unengaging style of learning. Be sure to utilize all your Learning Management System features to bring out the best of your students today!