As the world is shifting from offline to online, education is also moving towards the future with online learning. Many educational institutions have already made the change from traditional classrooms to online teaching, and most others provide an option with online courses. But, with this new way of learning, we face new problems. One of the main issues teachers face with online classrooms is to keep students engaged during the class.
The best solution for this problem is to make the online classroom interactive. An interactive classroom stimulates the learner’s brain and holds their attention throughout the duration of the class. In a meta analysis conducted by Freeman in 2014, it was found that active classes helped improve student academic scores by 6%. Now, the question arises, How to Make Online Classes more Interactive? It is not easy to maintain an interactive classroom; it requires creativity, patience, and a lot of effort.
“All human interactions are opportunities either to learn or to teach.” – M. Scott Peck
To ensure the effectiveness of an online class, it is essential to make it as interactive as possible. When lectures are pre-recorded, they tend to get boring as the lecturer who is speaking on the screen sounds monotonous and general, without any personalization. Important nonverbal cues such as eye contact, real-time question and answer discussions cannot take place. This is why, when we are conducting online classes, we need to be more mindful of the learner’s attention span.
There are tools that can be used to make an online classroom more interactive and effective.
Here are some ways that you can create an interactive classroom online:
- Use feedback: A smooth running feedback mechanism opens up the channels for interaction between teacher and students. There needs to be a way for students to express their opinions about the online classroom experience and other educational aspects. The feedback system makes teaching a collaborative process rather than a one-sided event. It makes the students feel heard. The feedback mechanism is for teachers as well. They can communicate their needs and experiences to the management.
- Game-based learning: Online learning can get tedious, and the best way to get rid of boredom is to include games. Depending on the age and education level of the learner, it is very useful to gamify the lesson. It is like the sugar that makes the medicine easy to swallow. These games may be team-based or individual, depending on the size of the classroom. There are some games that the entire class can play together to create an interactive virtual classroom. Learners can be rewarded for winning these games, which will act as an incentive for them to keep learning.
- Frequent progress monitoring: In traditional or offline classrooms, it is comparatively easier to keep a tab on the student’s progress through regular, on-campus examinations. But this is tough with online classes, as students can give the examination from their homes or some remote location. Thus, it is important to make these progress checks more frequent. This can be done through online questionnaire tests, virtual oral tests, weekly tests, etc.
- Use real-time interaction sessions: A faceless voice giving lessons from a computer screen is demotivating in the long run. In a study conducted by Victoria University, Melbourne, it was found that students considered face-to-face communication as more helpful to the learning process and makes asking for help much easier and more interactive. This is why it is helpful to add real-time interaction sessions in between pre-recorded lectures to create an interactive online classroom.
- Encourage learners to socialise in class: Socialisation is a very essential part of classroom learning. We have the need to socialise and connect with our peers to feel a sense of community. Online interactive classes encourage socialisation through features like comments, breakout sessions, and discussion boards. Dividing large online classrooms into smaller after class homework groups and project teams will help start a more intimate interaction among peers.
- Create a positive learning environment: It is a separate thing to teach and a separate thing to create a conducive environment for learning. To ensure that learners are able to absorb the maximum amount of knowledge that is imparted, it is essential to maintain a positive classroom atmosphere. This can be done through a number of ways:
- Make learning a collaborative process by involving students while making lesson plans.
- Ensure communication is free and smooth between teacher and student and peer to peer.
- Encourage class participation
- Invest in building long-term positive teacher-student relationships
- Use a reward based system rather than a punishment-based system
- Use the discussion board tool: The discussion board is a very useful tool that allows students to post questions and teachers to answer them, all in one place. A discussion board can come with a class so that the lessons of that class can be discussed there. Most online teaching apps provide the discussion board tool along with the other feathers. These online apps for teachers also provide other tools like online white boards, planning tools, etc. It helps make virtual classes more interactive.
- Use interaction enhancing activities: When we want to create an interactive classroom online, we need some interactive activities for online classes. The goal of conducting these activities is to hold the attention of the learner and make the online classes more engaging. There are many interactive activities for online classes available, like virtual pictionary, virtual trivia, crosswords, puzzles, quizzes, etc.
Online classes can get boring unless they are made interactive with the help of tools and activities that are effective in engaging the learner’s attention. When we compare online education to offline education, the most popular criticism is that it lacks the human touch. Studying from a computer screen or from pre-recorded videos can be quite demotivating. Using Kohbee can allow you to deliver engaging online classes and lectures while conveniently managing your students. Thus, join Kohbee to deliver online classes and create a more active and participative classroom environment.