How Virtual Classrooms Can Improve Student-To-Tutor Engagement?

  Oct 13, 2022

Engaging learners in a classroom is one of the hardest tasks for teachers because the attention span of each individual is different. When it comes to online education, students and teachers interact remotely, and a tutor has to put in extra effort to get learners’ attention and keep them engaged. Another hurdle in virtual classrooms is connectivity issues that could affect the engagement of live online lessons.

Engaging learners in a classroom is one of the hardest tasks for teachers because the attention span of each individual is different. When it comes to online education, students and teachers interact remotely, and a tutor has to put in extra effort to get learners’ attention and keep them engaged. Another hurdle in virtual classrooms is connectivity issues that could affect the engagement of live online lessons.

However, institutions and instructors use some effective strategies to improve interactivity and engagement in the virtual learning environment, which, in many ways, is better than traditional classroom sessions.

Features of virtual learning

Unlike conventional learning, virtual learning is a combination of synchronous and asynchronous methods. Students are supposed to spend time on self-learning, and they get assistance from their teachers either during live classes or by interacting in the discussion forums or chats. In online education, learners don’t need to wait until they meet their instructor in person to resolve their concerns- they can interact with them anytime.

All the learning activities in online education occur through the learning management system (LMS). An ideal LMS encompasses all asynchronous learning resources, such as short and long reading materials, recorded lectures, concept videos, quizzes, etc. It also visualises a dashboard for learning progress, attendance, and schedule for live classes.

Activities to improve learning engagement

Listed below are some of the strategies that ensure superior engagement in virtual classrooms.

1. Start with an ice-breaking: Teachers can devote the first few sessions of their class to understanding students and creating a fun and engaging atmosphere. Various ice-breaking techniques can be used to understand others and to build a connection among students.

2. Make live class a discussion platform:  The instructor gives the learning resources and activities in advance for students to complete before their scheduled live classes and encourages students to prepare for the class with their views and questions. During the live class, each one will share their views or pose questions for clarification. Peers or instructors respond to the questions and concerns, and the instructors conclude the discussion with missing points.

3. Peer-to-peer evaluation: In this model, the evaluation of one’s work is done by other learners, who give ratings or marks according to the set parameters. In the classroom, each one will discuss their findings – positive and negative – from others’ work. As a moderator in the classroom, the teacher gives inputs from time to time, if required.

4. Increased use of chat boxes: Every virtual classroom will have chat boxes to interact with peers and tutors. Students use the chat box to pose direct questions to tutors or their co-learners. It is helpful for introverts and students who face low connectivity issues. Emojis and stickers in chat boxes make the interactions fun.

5. Build a sense of community: Collaborative learning is key to building a sense of community. Group activities and discussions in the breakout rooms will help students interact with each other and know different viewpoints. It will enhance collaborations between learners. In the live class, students can summarize the concepts they learnt during group activities. This helps teachers identify students’ understanding of concepts and address them where required.

6. Integrate gamification techniques: Teachers should focus on integrating gamification techniques in virtual classrooms to encourage students to learn more.

Lessons can be divided into short tasks, and students will get an appreciation for completing each task. There will be a leader board to feature the top performers and show the points each one has earned. It is another fruitful method in online education.

The above-discussed methods make virtual learning one of the most effective modes of education. The interactivity, two-way feedback, and open discussions enhance the engagement quotient of virtual classrooms. It reduces the gap between students and teachers and builds a sense of community.

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