“My camera isn’t working” is the digital equivalent of “I forgot to bring my assignment notebook.” The ways and modes of learning may be evolving but the habit of finding absurd excuses by students is timeless. Blended learning, hybrid learning and digital learning platforms have made remote learning easier but now teachers have more challenges to face.
Keeping students engaged and motivated during online learning is the biggest challenge for teachers. Students are tech-savvy and they find various ways to skip online classes. Internet slacking or cyberslacking is not just common in the corporate world. Teachers are tired of students who keep themselves muted and multitask during classes.
Some mischievous students even tend to cross the lines of classroom etiquette. We have all seen trending videos from online classrooms on various social media platforms. Many videos of students pranking teachers, dancing during lectures or streaming video games have gone viral recently.
Moreover, asynchronous online learning can cause learning gaps. While there are many challenges still faced during the online teaching-learning process, educators can use different strategies to motivate students during online classes. Here are a few strategies and practices to motivate students during online classes.
1. Provide Access to Useful Resources
More than 60% of students in India lack one out of the three basic online learning resources. Most of the students in India either do not have access to electricity, internet or a device. Providing these resources to every student is still a struggle.
But even the 40% population of students with these three basic resources lack access to proper and useful study materials. Modern educational technology enables teachers to find teaching material from a pool of resources. Not only this, teachers can make use of various digital resources to teach and train students.
As a digital educator, it is one’s responsibility to search for the best educational platforms to share with students. New and interesting modes of teaching can be used to motivate students online.
For instance, a teacher uses Google Sites to build an informational site and blog for students to learn and post their opinions related to a new lesson. Similarly, another teacher uses animated Youtube videos from educational channels and even age-appropriate documentaries on streaming platforms to increase student engagement.
Gmail is a teacher’s best friend in this digital age of learning. Google tools can help disseminate useful resources to students seamlessly. Teachers can use various simple educational tools provided by Google to enhance and increase access to learning resources. Teachers can become Google-certified Educators by completing a Google certification course like the one provided by upEducators. Such certifications will help teachers understand how to motivate students by using effective tools for providing useful resources for online learners.
2. Use an Innovative Mix of Instructional Methods
Every student is different and so are their cognitive styles and patterns. During a physical or hybrid classroom setup, certain students like to read by themselves while others like to discuss a topic every ten minutes. How do teachers deal with such a diversified mix of students?
Educators have to deal with students with different cognitive styles, learning styles and behavioural patterns in a single batch. To motivate students, teachers need to use innovative combinations of instructional methods.
For instance, in an online classroom, students are dependent on audio, visual and textual modes of learning. Some students have a good attention span and they can learn quickly with the help of audio and visual tools. While there are other students with shorter attention spans who would need a textual resource to learn better.
Also, there is learning by doing mode in online learning. Teachers can use that to keep students motivated during online classes.
Not paying attention to the needs of a certain group can demotivate online learners. Teachers must make sure that they use a perfect blend of different instructional methods to motivate students to learn and enhance the learning process.
3. Good Planning and Organisation
Improper and poor lesson plans often lead to inefficient results. But ineffective planning and organisation by teachers can also lead to demotivated students. Take out a few hours during the weekend and plan out your lesson strategies for the coming week.
Using a blend of physical and digital organising tools can help teachers in staying on track and keep the class motivated for the week. Take each week as it comes and then plan the tasks accordingly.
There are various digital tools offered by platforms like Google, Microsoft and various other applications available that can be used by teachers to organise better. Educators can use Google Drive or One Drive to organise the audio, visual or textual aids for a particular lesson in a single folder. Microsoft tools like OneNote can also be used by teachers to organise lesson plans, resources, snippets to teach and even reflect on the lessons taught in the classroom. Better planning and organising can help teachers in motivating students in innovative and intriguing ways.
4. Gamify the Classroom
Imagine a classroom where students get rewarded badges for every progress instead of traditional grading. Now add some digital educational games to the daily lessons and what will you get? A highly engaged and motivated group of students ready to learn in innovative ways.
Gamification has proven to increase student talk time and engagement in various digital learning setups. Teachers can use various word games, problem-solving and reasoning games to increase student engagement and motivate students to learn more. Teachers can use gamification applications like Kahoot Quizlet, and Quizizz.
5. Timely Feedback
Giving and getting timely feedback is the key to an increase in engagement in an online classroom setup. When teachers delay giving feedback, students tend to lose interest in reviewing and working towards a task.
Students need timely feedback to stay on track and motivated for working toward a task. If a teacher reviews an assigned task after two weeks, then the relevance of the task diminishes and it also makes the student lose interest. In addition to this, delayed feedback can lead to a slow progression of learning in the classroom.
Schedule feedback slots using digital feedback tools and introduce innovative and digital mediums of feedback in online classes. Feedback can be audio, visual or comment-based. Teachers can train to learn using various feedback tools for the classroom. Feedback tools like Audacity, Jing, Flipgrid and many more such tools can be used by teachers to motivate students and keep them on track.
Motivating students is a big challenge for teachers in this digital age of learning. But this challenge can be transformed into an opportunity with the right strategies and tools. Teachers need the right training and skills to motivate students during online classes. Getting certified teacher training and enrolling in professional skill development courses for teachers can drastically improve digital learning.
upEducators offers various courses designed for teachers to train them in becoming better Digital Educators. Courses like Coding for Educators, Google Certified Educators Course and even Digital Marketing Course for Educators can help teachers in learning new-age skills and become experts in using digital education tools which would eventually help in keeping students motivated.
Author: This article is written by Samiya Rashid for upEducators blog.