According to the World Economic Forum, over 1.2 billion children were out of the classroom when the pandemic struck.
As a result, millions of children and teachers transitioned to online learning.
In a world where teachers were just starting to use online learning, it is no surprise that there weren’t many effective pieces of training about how to engage students in online learning.
Now after a year of teaching online, teachers are coming together to share the top student engagement strategies for online learning.
Keeping students engaged while learning online can feel like an uphill battle.
Keeping students engaged online can feel like:
- You are so overwhelmed that you have no idea where to start
- You have to completely reinvent the wheel
- It’s a constant battle to keep students logged in or paying attention all-day
- Your idea of what would be “fun” doesn’t match what your students consider fun.
That’s why I want to share with you the Top 3 Engagement Strategies for Online Learning.
Online learning can be an unpredictable place especially in the middle of a pandemic.
We are in this together and we are stronger together.
Whether you are just starting to teach online or have been and need some fresh ideas, grab a quick cup of much-deserved coffee, and let’s get started.
We are going to talk about:
- What is student engagement?
- Why is it important?
- 5 Student Engagement Strategies For Online Learning that You Can Use Right Now
Also, download the “Ultimate Student Engagement Guide with Over 30 Student Engagement Strategies” that you can do in 5 minutes or less!
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What are Student Engagement Strategies for Online Learning?
According to Ed Glossary “student engagement is the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show while learning.”
In other words, it’s how “into” the lesson your students are.
And I don’t just mean keeping their eyes on you. There are three kinds of student engagement.
- Behavior Engagement
- Emotional Engagement
- Cognitive/Intellectual Engagement
To learn more about the different kinds of engagement and how to incorporate them, read “The Ultimate Guide Of Student Engagement” post.
Student engagement can be especially difficult when it comes to online learning because there are so many factors that are out of your control.
For instance, as a teacher teaching online, it can be hard to control the distractions in the environment of the student since you are not there physically.
Online learning is also especially difficult because students have to be accountable for themselves when it comes to showing up, engaging, and participating in the classroom.
That’s why it is so important to have superb engagement strategies when they do show up to class.
Let’s talk more about why student engagement for online learning is important.
Why is Student Engagement Strategies for Online Learning Important?
Student engagement for online learning is extremely important for several reasons.
For instance, did you know that the average child can pay attention for about 2 to 3 minutes per year?
For example, if your student is 6 years old that means they can pay attention for an average length of 12 to 18 minutes.
That’s insane when you consider the average lesson is 30 minutes!
This time frame attention can be especially difficult when you consider how little control you have over the environment in which your student is learning in.
Incorporating effective student engagement strategies for online learning can help you to:
- Have more participation in class
- Better performance on assessments and activities
- More enthusiasm about learning
- Strong Classroom Community
- More impactful relationships with students
Now that we have talked about the benefits of incorporating student engagement strategies for online learning, let’s talk about different strategies that you can incorporate today with your students.
List of Engagement Strategies for Online Learning
Start the Morning Right
As a teacher, the mornings can be a little chaotic.
You have to take attendance, get students situated, and start the day on the right foot.
That’s why it is so important to have a system or procedure in place for the morning.
When I first started teaching a lot of teachers told me to use morning work as a way to have a proactive and organized morning with my students.
But when I used worksheets, my students would get bored, tried to avoid the assignment, and just weren’t that engaged.
That’s when I heard about Question of the Day.
Question of the Day typically consists of a yes or no question that students will answer first thing in the morning.
While this is more effective than worksheets, my students would quickly drag and drop their names and be done. Half of the time they didn’t care which one they dragged it to.
That’s when open-ended questions became perfect for my primary students.
Students had an open-ended question like: “If you had a pet dragon what would its name be and why? What does your dragon like to do?”
Students would draw a picture to represent their answer and when some of them were ready to write they would write a couple of sentences.
Open-ended questions are perfect because they are a great opportunity to build a connection with your students in an engaging way.
These are also great student engagement strategies for online learning because they allow your students to practice explaining “why” when they answer a question.
- How to Build a Positive Classroom Community as a First Year Teacher
- 15 First-Year Teacher Tips From 15 Experienced Teachers
- 5 Key Strategies to Setting Up Classroom Procedures As a First Year Teacher
Whiteboards for Assessments
Another Student Engagement Strategy for Online Learning is to use whiteboards.
Whiteboards are easily one of the most underrated resources when it comes to engagement.
For this activity, you give students a problem like: 2 + 2 =
Next, have your students write the answer by putting the whiteboard flat against their heads and using the mirror of their cameras to write the answer.
Here is a quick tutorial on how to do this.
This is a great way to engage your students during an assessment while still using resources readily available.
Incorporate More Choices
One of the biggest reasons students aren’t engaged during online learning is because they don’t feel they have a lot of say in their learning.
Hence why one of the best student engagement strategies for online learning that you can incorporate is to give students more choices.
Another way to accomplish this is to utilize choice boards throughout your day.
Many people find choice boards to be intimidating, but they don’t have to be.
Are your students finished with their work online and you need them to do something else?
Great! Just give them a choice board on things they can work on next.
Some examples would include:
- Epic Books
- Digital Activities
- Read a Book
- Practice Writing Their Numbers
- Write a story about ____
Students just tell you what they are going to work on next and you drag and drop next to the box they chose.
This makes it easy to keep track of what students are doing while allowing them to choose on which skills they work on next.
Pro Tip: Have students check-in 5 minutes before the end of class or work time to have them share what they worked on.
If you want more strategies and ideas for incorporating student engagement for online learning download the Free Ultimate Guide of Student Engagement Strategies.
Wrapping it All Up
Overall, In this article we talked about:
- What student engagement is.
- Why student engagement is important.
- 3 Student Engagement Strategies For Online Learning that you can use today.
All in all, student engagement strategies for online learning don’t have to be overwhelming.
On the other hand, by mixing things up and incorporating new engagement strategies your students will be eager to learn and get on with you online.
However one more tip of advice, make sure to ask your students for feedback. Ask them which activities they like and dislike.
No one knows your class better than your students.
Also, download this Student Engagement Guide with 30 Student Engagement Strategies that you can do in 5 minutes or less.
And always remember:
“We are stronger together.”