The online learning industry is growing steadily and the market size is expected to exceed USD 1 trillion by 2027. The pandemic managed to give a much needed boost to the sector, making virtual classrooms a necessity in order to ensure the continuity of education. Additionally, the convenience and ease of learning combined with affordability are making it a very promising prospect for parents and teachers alike. Nevertheless, the sudden unprecedented transition to virtual learning without adequate preparation time left much to be desired in terms of the product offerings. Several academic institutions are still grappling with disappointing turnouts and mid-session dropouts. Typically, this boils down to infrastructural issues and short attention spans. While several online learning platforms like Unacademy have found effective ways to address the infrastructural requisites, it is also important to ensure the content of the classes engage and sustain attention.
So, how can educators engage learners and encourage participation in virtual classrooms? We take a look at the top five strategies.
1) Gamify Assignments
Gamification can engage learners in virtual sessions. Gamifying and adding rewards gives learners a sense of accomplishment, which improves their engagement and performance. It could be as simple as awarding a badge for correctly answering a question or creating leader boards to highlight student achievements. However, this is only possible on e-learning platforms.
2) Encourage Collaboration
A virtual classroom session can turn bland without the right amount of collaboration between students. Educators must encourage this by assigning group projects and activities, much like in a traditional classroom setup. Not only will learners foster relationships with their peers, but they will also understand the unique perspective others have to offer.
3) The Right Technology Tool
Educators must use the right platform to boost learning outcomes in virtual classrooms. The right platform will create an ideal environment for learning and communication. For instance, it should offer features like Q&As, quizzes, polls, hand-raising, emoji reactions, and discussion forums. Only when students feel connected to the class will they stay engaged.
4) Use Visual Learning
It is established that students learn the best with visual aids. While educators must still impart knowledge the old way - lectures, discussions, test - supplementing sessions with visual elements like graphics and videos will help students learn effectively. Educators can also add animated clips, use virtual tours, and create presentations for virtual classrooms.
5) Ask For Feedback
What can be a better way to improve your virtual classroom session than by asking your audience? Begin by keeping regular, preferably one-on-one, feedback sessions. Students may not always be comfortable voicing their opinions publicly. Teachers can encourage feedback through emails, calls, etc. They can also set up anonymous polls to allow learners to share their thoughts. By taking feedback, you encourage learners to take responsibility for their learning.
Many platforms like Unacademy have emerged in the virtual education space, offering both live and recording sessions for K-12 education and competitive exam preparation. While these are powerful tools in the hands of both learners and educators, the latter must consistently work towards increasing participation in their online classrooms.