tudent engagement refers to the degree to which students participate in learning activities and the extent to which they value their educational experiences. It indicates how well students interact 🤝 with their instructors, peers, and available learning resources.
Engaged students are active participants in their learning and are more likely to remember what they've learned, complete the course, and apply it. Student engagement is strategic to the success of online learning. Studies show that 92% of educators believe student engagement is the predominant factor of student success ahead of 13 other factors.
However, one of the biggest challenges 😪 you’ll face as an online learning instructor is how to increase student learning engagement. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies that can help increase student engagement, and we will discuss them in detail in this blog post.
By implementing these practices into your online teaching methods, you can significantly improve the level of engagement among your students and create an enjoyable learning experience. Let’s go. 🚀
Here are 9 top ways to increase students’ learning engagement for your online courses and help your students learn more effectively.
Prepare students for the online learning experience
Research indicates online learning increases information retention rates for students from 25% - 60% compared to 8% - 10% for traditional classroom learning. Preparing students adequately for your online course is essential to helping them retain knowledge and have a successful learning experience.
It is not unusual for students to feel uneasy when they start a new course, especially if it’s their first time participating in online learning. It is up to you to lay a good foundation that assures them. Your students can have a great start when you do the following:
- Give the students a concise introduction to learning online.
- Ensure they have easy access to your LMS platform and all necessary tools to aid learning.
- Show them the various features and functionality of the LMS with a video presentation.
- Teach them how to communicate with fellow students and instructors on the platform.
- Give students a brief overview of the course material.
- Show them how to find resources online.
- Give guidelines for difficult questions and feedback.
- Encourage students to ask questions and engage in discussion forums.
- Help them set boundaries and stay on track with the coursework.
Assess performance on a regular basis
Students must be constantly reminded of the specific knowledge or skills they are expected to acquire at the end of your course. With online learning, it’s easy to let standards slide. So it’s important to have a system in place for regularly reviewing what students are learning to ensure they are reaching the learning outcomes you expect.
You can use learning assessment tools to help you keep track of student progress. Additionally, make sure the learning outcomes are measurable, and you communicate with students regularly about their progress. This will give them a strong sense of ownership over their education and increase their motivation to learn.
Ensure educational materials are easy to understand and well-structured
By presenting information in a clear, organized manner in the learning materials, you can help students to understand and retain what they are learning. E-learning cuts learning time by 40% to 60% for students and employees when compared to the traditional learning method. Using clear and organized learning materials facilitate the reduction in learning time in online learning.
Students should be able to find all course materials, assessments, or records with ease in the LMS. Everything they require has to be located exactly where they can be found without hassle.
Accessibility is a key concern for online learners. By presenting clear, easily-accessed learning materials, you motivate the students to progress with the learning activities.
Reduce the chances of students feeling alone by having more instructors on-hand
It's easy for a student to feel isolated or disconnected in online learning. A study has identified isolation as a problem experienced by online learning students that directly or indirectly affects their learning experience.
Instructors can help to prevent this feeling by strengthening their connection and communication with students. This can be done in a number of ways, such as communicating frequently with students and providing opportunities for group interaction.
Instructors must ensure all enrolled students are actively following up with learning activities. In the case that a student has been missing lessons for a while, an instructor should check up on them by calling or texting. As much as possible, you should maintain frequent communication with the entire class and make them feel like you are right in the same physical space with them. You connect strongly with your students when you create time to talk to them and monitor their learning progress.
Another way to reduce isolation is by incorporating group work, project-based learning, and other activities that require student interaction. By giving students the chance to interact with each other, instructors can help them build relationships and feel more connected to the course.
Tools like video 📹 conferencing and instant messaging can allow instructors and students to warmly connect. By taking these practical steps, instructors can help online students feel more connected to their courses and improve learning effectiveness.
Build a community of learners
Building a learning community is an excellent way to facilitate collaborative learning among course participants. Members of the community typically interact and share learning resources, ideas, and feedback regularly.
A community can serve as a source of motivation as students collaborate and support each other in their learning journey. Collaborative learning increases knowledge gains by 17% on average, according to this study.
As an instructor, you'll need to nurture the community by regularly interacting with members and providing high-quality content. With consistent effort, you can build a thriving online learning community that gives students a stronger sense of belonging and increases engagement at different levels.
Administer bite-sized, spaced learning
In a world where people are constantly multitasking and trying to juggle numerous commitments, it's no surprise that many learners find it challenging to commit to long-form online learning courses. This is where bite-sized, spaced learning comes in.
Bite-sized learning breaks down complex topics into small, easily digestible chunks. It is usually delivered in short, 5 - 10 minute sessions, making it perfect for most people who want to learn on the go. According to this research, the majority of students agree that the bite-sized learning approach improved their learning.
Spaced learning involves spaced-out intervals between study sessions. This allows learners to revisit lessons several times over a period of days or weeks, which has been shown to lead to better long-term retention.
Together, bite-sized and spaced learning make for a powerful combination that can help even the busiest person learn effectively. Here are three reasons why:
✅ Bite-sized learning is convenient
Bite-sized learning is perfect for busy people who want to learn on the go. The short learning sessions can easily be squeezed into a lunch break or commute.
✅ The two methods complement each other
Bite-sized learning alone can be helpful, but when combined with spaced intervals, the effect is even greater. The short, frequent sessions help learners to better remember the material, while the spaced intervals allow them to consolidate their knowledge.
✅ They can be used for any topic
Both bite-sized and spaced learning are versatile methods that can be used to learn any type of material. These methods can help to improve student engagement during remote learning. Delivering the content in various formats, like text, videos, audio, voiceover slides, and panel discussions, also helps.
Motivate your students to apply their knowledge
Creating a course and teaching students online is a good idea but helping them to apply the lessons is much better. Getting your students to apply what they’ve learned is one of the top engagement strategies for online learning.
By providing students with clear instructions and stimulating their thinking in several ways, you can help them to put their new knowledge into practice. This will allow them to remember information more effectively. Here are some ways to get your students to take action on the knowledge acquired.
- 😇 Give them a chance to immediately put what they've learned into practice by working on a relevant project or problem.
- 😇 Make them answer questions or respond to quick formative assessments. This allows you to gauge their understanding and gets them thinking deeply. Open-ended questions are pretty helpful in this regard.
- 🤝 Connect what they're learning to real-world applications and examples.
- ⏰ Encourage them to keep a learning journal to track their progress and to reflect on what they're learning.
- 😎 Get them to share what they're learning with others, either online or offline. Studies reveal learners retain 90% of things they learn if they teach somebody else or use the knowledge immediately.
- 👩🏫 Encourage them to connect with an expert or practitioner in the field to get a different or deeper perspective.
- ✏️ Ask them to develop a plan for how they will use what they've learned in the future.
Regularly give feedback
Regular feedback is essential in order to keep students engaged and motivated. Giving feedback is a way of showing your students that you are engaged in their learning process and that you care about their progress. It allows you to provide guidance and support as required. Feedback is one of the most influential factors in learning, according to this research.
Assessments are a great opportunity to give feedback. They are useful for measuring learning effectiveness. Be sure to provide feedback on both the content of the assessment and the student’s performance. 76% of instructors use formative assessment to measure student performance during remote learning.
You can use your LMS to give feedback on assessments, quizzes, and tests. In an eLearning environment, students may not receive feedback as quickly as they would in a face-to-face setting. However, you should try to reply to students as quickly as possible.
Delivering feedback through a video is a great idea as it gives a sense of personal connection with the student. There are multiple ways you can give feedback. Get creative and find ways that work best for you and your students.
When giving feedback, ensure they are:
- 👉 Specific: Feedback should be clear and concise. It should address what the student did well and what areas need improvement.
- 👉 Objective: Feedback should be based on facts and observations. Avoid making subjective or personal judgments.
- 👉 Actionable: Feedback should contain suggestions that the student can actually use to improve their performance.
Have some fun!
It can be easy for students to get bogged down in the seriousness of learning an online course. The quote “All work and no play makes Jack a dull student” still holds true. 61% of young students agree that difficult subjects became more enjoyable when their instructors introduced fun activities into class lessons.
When you spice up the learning process with fun activities, students usually will find the experience enjoyable and memorable. There are a number of ways to create fun activities that will help maintain interest and excitement levels.
Here are some tips:
✅ One way to create a fun activity is to incorporate game-based learning. This can be done by using quiz games, trivia, or even online scavenger hunts. Studies show that 74% of instructors use a digital game-based approach to enhance learning.
✅ Another way to create a fun activity is to use discussion forums. This provides an opportunity for students to interact with each other and discuss the material covered in class.
✅ Get creative with the course material. Find ways to make it exciting and introduce them to your students. This can make the learning process more enjoyable.
It is important that the material covered in class is interesting and engaging. If students are not interested in the material, they will quickly become bored and disengaged. By using these tips, you can create fun activities that will boost student engagement in online learning and make the learning process exciting.
Even though it is quite challenging, keeping your students engaged while learning is a no-brainer. You should make that happen as much as you possibly can.
We hope you found these nine great ideas on how to increase student engagement in online learning helpful. By implementing these strategies in your online teaching methods, you can create a more immersive, enjoyable, and memorable learning experience for your students.
What’s the use of knowing these powerful engagement strategies without applying them through the right LMS? 🤔