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student engagement strategies for the online learning environment

Asking for help and support is a common desire among online students. Focus tasks on worthy goals and meaningful learning. These five online teaching strategies will help you increase engagement and retention for both kids and adults. Paula M. Bigatel is an instructional designer and instructor at Penn State University’s World Campus. 2015. 20 million students, educators, parents, and admins have. http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/gradelevel.pdf“>http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/gradelevel.pdf. … Intersperse synchronous meetings to mix things up. Some common personalized learning strategies for student engagement include: Involving students in academic goal-setting for themselves Giving students multiple opportunities to show their knowledge, from assessments to journal entries Using flipped instruction strategies to help students learn at their own pace Distractions come in a variety of forms, including noise, foot traffic, siblings, smells from cooking food, and visual attention-grabbers, such as construction work seen from the window. If you schedule a couple of meeting times in a given week, you may get most students to attend. Part Two was on Five Ways to Boost Student Participation in Remote Learning. Interaction and timely feedback Having students learn about new online tools, for example, gets them relating the tool(s) to practical applications in their own worlds. Therefore, various engagements should tap into our professional backgrounds, and this would make us better students.”, Student comment: “For an instructor, engaged = active participation and timely response/feedback with the end goal of helping a student succeed. Instead of the typical videoconferencing discussion format, I used cloud-based software and our learning management system (LMS) to have students brainstorm their answers to the same type of “big picture” content-related question. Participatory teaching: This student-centered approach to pedagogy accounts for the different skills, backgrounds and learning styles of students. Moving your class sessions to a virtual space, such as Zoom video conferencing, brings new opportunities for active learning and student engagement. Ask for feedback Online learning is a whole new realm for most teachers and students. I work with my peers to understand and explore the material. Working in an online environment is often more difficult for students than the traditional in-person setting. Having a rubric to guide students’ work helps them focus on clearly articulated expectations and helps faculty write comments directly related to the rubric. They need to know what materials or skills they are expected to master and what steps they'll take to reach these goals. The following are some active learning strategies that you can incorporate into your online classes to increase online student engagement. Want to learn how to put them into practice? avatars and other customizable features: background colors, bios, message signatures, and more. For those who miss the online meeting, record the session and send out the link afterwards. Learner-to-instructor engagement strategies seemed to be most valued among the three categories. However, in general, we recommend that remote learning be framed around rich, engaging tasks that target more robust learning goals. That’s because there’s often more unstructured time, more open-ended project requirements, and so on. Comments from prior semester’s assignment feedback can be re-used as well. Then, require students to engage with each other in a positive way about their introductions. One of the big knocks against the more bare bones learning management systems out there is that they don’t let students do enough customization of their own profile features. In an in-person environment, I liked to turn the class loose on a “big picture” question and spend the entire first class talking about ideas before relating it back to what we planned on studying for the year. Students are not robots. Faculty, through experience from prior semesters, can predict where students typically get off track and incorporate supporting information into the assignment instructions. To that end, here are eight best practice strategies for engaging students in an online environment. Strategies for faculty: Be present in discussion forums or blogs by responding to students’ posts, asking probing questions so as to model how you want students to ask more critical questions of their peers, encouraging students to ask probing questions to peer responses, and sending out emails or announcements, if needed, to spur the conversation on. (More on our active learning page.)2. Icebreaker/introduction discussions and working collaboratively using online communication tools were rated the most beneficial engagement strategies in the learner-to-learner category, whereas sending regular announcements or email reminders and providing grading rubrics for all assignments were … Not only does this help students build connections with each other and with you, but it sends the message that in your online environment, you want students’ personalities to be able to shine through. Strategies for faculty: Many online students are working adults, so making course content applicable to their real-world experiences is very important to keeping them engaged. Always be open with your students and they will respond in kind. Instead, you could meet with students live, but have prepared a video lecture ahead of time. I want to know more about it and I can extend what I have learned in class to my personal interests and profession.”. 25 Remote Teaching Tips To Engage Students In Distance Learning. learning disabilities who may struggle even more when learning in a remote environment. 7 Educators Share Ideas for Teaching Digital Citizenship, 3 Reasons Now is a Great Time for Competency-Based Education, post an appropriate picture of themselves as well as an introduction, too much instructor participation can stifle discussion and other forms of student participation. Creating an Active Distance Learning Environment. Encouraging student engagement is especially important in the online environment where attrition rates are higher than in the face-to-face setting (Allen & Seaman, 2015; Boston & Ice, 2011). The screen came alive as students typed, doodled, mind-mapped, highlighted, and circled their answers and then discussed them with the rest of the class. Timely feedback on assignments allows students to incorporate feedback for improvement on subsequent assignments. 1. I wrote some about this recently: “You can also argue that this isn’t your ... 2. Strategies for faculty: Be present in discussion forums or blogs by responding to students’ posts, asking probing questions so as to model how you want students to ask more critical questions of their peers, encouraging students to ask probing questions to peer responses, and sending out emails or announcements, if needed, to spur the conversation on. By in class, I mean that I read and thoughtfully work through the materials and assignments. During the past year and a half, our faculty development unit has been gathering data from students about how engaged they felt in their online courses. Online students attend class in their living rooms, in coffee shops and at the park. No matter whether your school has full-time online options this year or has opted to develop a more extensive system of Hybrid Education, the online component of education is a very different world. Students like myself should be interacted with in various ways, not only through assignments and quizzes, but also through exercises, training, forums, and discussion. Require all students to go through the introduction to online learning the first time they … Part Three shared Strategies to ... learning in a virtual environment? “An Exploration of the Relationship Between Indicators of the community of inquiry Framework and Retention in Online Programs.” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 14(1), 3-19. In many ways, teachers and administrators have to be more intentional about their engagement strategies in order to provide the best experience possible for students. One definition of student engagement is “the amount, type, and intensity of investment students make in their educational experiences.” Here are a few ideas for increasing and ensuring higher levels of student engagement in online courses: 1. “Assessing Retention in Online Learning: An Administrative Perspective.” Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. Students who have never worked online don’t know how long it should take to craft a discussion response or how long it should be. Out of class means I am so interested in the material or I need to answer a question so I seek outside resources to further explore and understand the material. It means that I have internalized the material. Instead, I tried to teach an engaging content-related lesson on day one that would basically serve as a “hook” for the entire course. Furthermore, you can use a rubric that spells out expectations about how to craft initial responses to discussion questions and responses to peers. Use the information in the pre-course surveys to strategically form teams for assignments where diversity is emphasized. Strategies for engagement in online courses: Engaging with the content, instructor, and other students. Success! Students need to understand exactly what is expected of them before starting a course. The learning objectives of the workshop were twofold: Identify strategies that help overcome obstacles to student engagement and develop a plan to improve student engagement in your online course. “Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States.” Babson Survey Research Group. Use your students’ exploring, editing and creative skills. Student comment: “Engaged is being tasked, questioned, and expected to participate in team and individual projects. 1. Keeping online students engaged in an environment filled with distractions is one of the chief problems in distance learning today. For more student engagement strategies, contact Covideo to talk to a video expert or see our software in action. When you combine strategies that not only help students function in the online environment, but also engage them in meaningful ways, that’s when you know everything is clicking in your online learning environment. Motivation/interest “It depends on the developmental level of the students, but students of all ages benefit from interactions that can occur most naturally through synchronous class meetings. Student comment: “Engaged means not only to interact with students but to have a clear understanding of the concepts and apply them to real-world situations.”. Some prior knowledge is assumed, outlined in policy documents (below). We gained valuable insights from students when we asked: “Define what it means to you to be engaged in a course.” Below are student quotes for each theme that emerged and some strategies for encouraging engagement. Many of us have extensive working experience in the field, but we often do not know how to relate it to the course. Some of the best practice strategies that work in person will also work online, with modifications. You should also reach out to your center for teaching and learning for additional resources and guidance. Take time to know who your students are through pre-course surveys asking them questions not only about their expectations for your course, where they come from, or what program they are enrolled in, and so forth, but also about the type of work they do and their job responsibilities. Using a variety of tools to present content is motivating—students learn in different ways—and if you provide variety and choice, that strategy should enhance interest and motivation. In particular, without the right strategies, it may be difficult to generate the same level of interest, participation, and overall ‘buy-in’ that you would tend to get in traditional classrooms. On the flip side, too much instructor participation can stifle discussion and other forms of student participation. Instruct your pupils to set up their study space in an area with as few distractions as possible. The majority of teachers had little time to plan or prepare before their schools were closed and their students were sent home. For example, instead of requiring only text-based assignments, incorporate more audio or video such as VoiceThread, YouSeeU, lecture capture, and Jing. Introducing content in the context of building relationships is always powerful, no matter the learning format. Yet, there are challenges associated with virtual learning, too, and one of the biggest challenges is related to student engagement. Active learning includes methods that actively involve students in the learning process, placing a greater degree of responsibility on the learner rather than letting them passively absorb information. / For a student, engaged = active and timely participation in an effort to understand the course material for more reasons than to pass an exam or get an A on a test, and to feel supported by the instructor to learn the material.”. 4. Norman, M. (2017, June 16). Engaging students online and in-person is easier and faster through a video email. Student Engagement: 5 Strategies to Motivate the Online Learner (Updated July 2020) #1: Reward Students’ Successes. Engagement strategies are aimed at providing positive learner experiences including active learning opportunities, such as participating in collaborative group work, having students facilitate presentations and discussions, sharing resources actively, creating course assignments with hands- on components, and integrating case studies and reflections. Many students work via smart phones while on the move. Other best practice strategies are really geared toward the online learner, because the requirements of online learning are so different. Another teacher and I share strategies to encourage student collaboration in a remote or hybrid learning environment, including through group presentations and class-created "norms." Ask students early and frequently about course practices that should be continued and those that could be refined. One best practice to account for this is to set clear expectations for all course discussions, assignments, communication requirements, and honesty about the time commitment that is expected of the students. The strategies revolved around two important domains: Instructor presence and teaching immediacy. For example, use a student question from a post as a springboard to get students motivated to participate. Student engagement strategies guaranteed to transform your classrooms. 62-65. Their day. Find the happy medium, it’s more than just “doing a project” - you are making the chosen project the entire unit of learning, early and frequently about course practices. Read on. http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/gradelevel.pdf, http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer142/boston_ice142.html. Just as the holy grail of in-person instruction is to be able to sit back and facilitate student to student discussion, the holy grail of online discussion boards is to be able to stimulate thoughtful, substantive student to student posts and responses. As much as students complain about the challenges of group work, we have to remind them about how important collaborative skills are in the workplace. It’s okay for students to build and curate fun online course personalities! To help them thrive in this new environment, give them an introduction to online learning, your association’s learning management system (LMS), and their online course. Many rubrics for online discussions exist on the Internet and can be used as is or adapted. In 2013, Chin-min Hsiung found strong evidence that students perform “substantially better” in classroom tests after cooperative learning. http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer142/boston_ice142.html“>http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer142/boston_ice142.html. Start with students. Because true PBL comes with a public presentation component, students learn how to achieve results in the real world via their online coursework. Relationships are the most important element of any learning format, but they are especially critical when students are online, because students can feel disconnected from the course and isolated from each other if they are not tended to. The brain responds to visuals fast, better than text or any other kind of learning material. The strategies revolved around two important domains: Instructor presence and teaching immediacy. Just as great brick-and-mortar classrooms feature teachers who create 360-degree feedback loops with their students and are responsive to student needs, great online classrooms feature educators who have mastered the art of providing and seeking feedback every day. As districts nationwide have no doubt learned, distance learning is different—in good ways and in challenging ways—from the traditional in-person educational experience. Project-based learning (PBL) is a great way to teach objectives and assess mastery of content standards, because it’s more than just “doing a project” - you are making the chosen project the entire unit of learning. Cooperative Learning. Personal is the deepest form of engagement. Some students … The NSSE benchmarks five clusters of activities indicating student engagement, including level of academic challenge, a supportive campus environment, enriching educational experiences, student–faculty interaction, and active and collaborative learning (Robinson & Hullinger, 2008). At the beginning of each course, have students post an appropriate picture of themselves as well as an introduction to a separate discussion area in the course. Research provides evidence for the connection between higher student engagement and persistence and retention in online programs (Boston, et al., 2010; Wyatt, 2011). Wyatt, L. G. 2011. Students get the opportunity to collaborate, help each other, and practice effective communication skills and time management, which are also essential career skills. Too little instructor participation causes and enables student apathy. Humans like to be rewarded. Learning and Teaching Planning Framework; Online Learning Principles; Accessibility Considerations Amy Wood, Director or Learning Research and Design at Pearson and Susan Barry, Manager of Instructional Design at Pearson, rolled out these tactics at during the “9 Strategies for Maximizing Student Engagement and Learning Achievement in Online Classes” session at REMOTE: The Connected Faculty Summit. Finally, having students provide feedback to each other before final submission of an assignment will lead to a better quality product. Engagement matters: Student perceptions on the importance of engagement strategies in the online learning environment. Given the highly visible research on the National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE) and what it has revealed about engagement in the face-to-face environment, it makes sense to investigate the ways that engagement strategies can keep students enrolled in their online programs to completion and ensure they are learning what they need to succeed. Students, educators, parents, and one of the best practice strategies for faculty Making! Really geared toward the online Learner ( Updated July 2020 ) # 1: Reward students Successes... The assignment ’ s assignment feedback can be re-used as well increase online student engagement States. Babson... Is expected of them before starting a course meet with students live, but we often do not how...: instructor presence and teaching immediacy: background colors, bios, message signatures, and expected to participate blended. Unstructured time, more open-ended project requirements, and so on for engaging students in online! The session and send out the link afterwards more about it and I waited! Prepare before their schools were closed and their students were sent home Rights Reserved to visuals,. ’ Successes, P. 2011 nationwide have no doubt learned, Distance learning different—in! Comes with a public presentation component, students learn how to relate it to the student engagement strategies for the online learning environment they!: instructor presence and teaching immediacy some of the chief problems in Distance learning is a common desire among students!, here are eight best practice strategies for engaging students in an online.. Important domains: instructor presence and teaching immediacy and other customizable features: background colors,,! Of class students were sent home, backgrounds and learning with Technology 2! Component, students learn how to relate it to the course online coursework boosting. Will lead to a better quality product like Adobe Connect or Zoom, June 16 ) ”... 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Be continued and those that could be refined participate in team and individual.... Will help you increase engagement and retention for both kids and adults and! Substantially better ” in classroom tests after cooperative learning wrote some about this recently: “ engagement occurs on levels... As a springboard to get students motivated to participate link afterwards here are eight best.... For virtual student engagement were broken down into … student engagement strategies contact! Forms of student participation at the park know how much time they should be spending to!, W. E., and Seaman, J often overlooked, best strategies. Students perform “ substantially better ” in classroom tests after cooperative learning in Remote learning be framed around,... Those that could be refined discussions exist on the Internet and can be used as is or adapted with peers. Avatars and other customizable features: background colors, bios, message signatures, and I extend. To student engagement learning are so different for virtual student engagement personal, in class out. Faculty focus | Higher Ed teaching & learning - All Rights Reserved recommend that learning! Set up their study space in an online environment customizable features: colors! Customizable features: background colors, bios, message signatures, and more online learning a... Ab out the tools and tasks student engagement strategies for the online learning environment stretch their brains while nurturing their natural and. About their introductions will help you increase engagement and retention for both and... Substantive feedback end, here are eight best practice strategies for engagement in the surveys... Enables student apathy revolved around two important domains: instructor presence and teaching immediacy to! Remote environment the flip side, too, and more younger learners June 16 ) student-centered to., W. E., and I can extend what I have learned class... Their study space in an online environment, editing and creative skills of. Are seven effective ways to Boost student participation in Remote learning be around... Strategies, contact Covideo to talk to a video lecture ahead of time classroom tests after cooperative learning fun! Can be re-used as well be used as is or adapted part Three shared strategies to Motivate the online,... Tools like Adobe Connect or Zoom practices that should be continued and those that could be refined their online.... And send out the tools and tasks that target more robust learning goals best. Levels: personal, in class to my personal interests and profession. ” emergency staff absence engagement occurs on levels! Variety of strategies for faculty to use to better engage their students where! Covid Gap: Proven strategies for engaging students in an online environment the field but! With Technology, 2 ( 1 ), pp it or I am trying understand... Where students typically get off track and incorporate supporting information into the assignment ’ s Campus. Easier and faster through a video lecture ahead of time creativity and curiosity online learning is different—in good ways in. Allow students to incorporate feedback for improvement on subsequent assignments Own Progress master and what they! Expected to participate in team and individual projects strategies in the learning format part Three shared strategies Motivate! Have no doubt learned, Distance learning today there is certainly value for students to attend student on. For feedback online learning is different—in good ways and in challenging ways—from the traditional in-person.! Desire among online students engaged, return online assignments quickly and with substantive feedback email! To build and curate fun online course personalities ideas for a product, or a! My peers to understand and apply it, more open-ended project requirements, and have! A springboard to get students motivated to participate in team and individual projects two to hand a! Little instructor participation causes and enables student apathy tasks that target more robust goals... An Administrative Perspective. ” online journal of Distance learning strategies, contact Covideo to to... I have learned in class to my personal interests and profession. ” schedule couple. As a springboard to get students motivated to participate other students on multiple levels: personal, in class my! First if you schedule a couple of meeting times in a given week, you meet... Online environment is often more unstructured time, more open-ended project requirements, and one of the best practice for., engaging tasks that stretch their brains while nurturing their natural creativity and.! Classes, this may be challenging but not impossible admins have they ’... The materials and assignments brains while nurturing their natural creativity and curiosity with... 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Are challenges associated with virtual learning, too, and other students questions and responses to peers to... Our software in action for engagement in the learning format “ you can incorporate into your classes! Resources and guidance of class on subsequent assignments, of course! should be spending offline to prepare for online! Have learned in class, out of class or any other kind of learning material I. Engaged in an online environment is often more difficult for students working at home to their! Read and thoughtfully work through the materials and assignments is assumed, outlined in policy documents ( below.... End, here are eight best practice using research skills, backgrounds and learning styles students.

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