From Passive to Active Learners: How to Foster Engagement in a Virtual Environment

The number of students who prefer courses mostly or completely online has increased by 220% since before the pandemic. However, online-only students are less likely to engage with instructors and classmates than in-person students. In fact, nearly three in five online students say they never discuss their work with instructors outside of class. So how can you improve student engagement in distance learning programs? Here are some tips for turning passive learners into active ones.

Use E-Learning Platforms With Interactive Components

E-learning platforms allow students to access course materials and submit coursework and assignments from anywhere in the world. However, these tools should also have interactive components that make learning experiences more engaging and active. These components include quizzes, iFrames, annotated text features, and interactive activities.

SoftChalk is an e-learning platform with more than 20 interactive elements that you can incorporate into your lessons and improve learning outcomes for online students. It only takes a few minutes to create interactive experiences with SoftChalk, and you can tailor these experiences to all learning styles. You can even track students’ scores as they engage with your content and identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Use Various Interactive Components

The more interactive components you integrate into your distance education classes, the better. That’s because different students respond to different content depending on their learning styles. For example, one student might get more value from a multiple-answer quiz while another student might enjoy a crossword puzzle about a topic in your program.

SoftChalk provides a wide range of interactives that you can integrate into your classes, including memory games, image-matching activities, and true/false quizzes. These components can help students increase comprehension, information retention, and critical thinking skills and become more active learners. Many students will also enjoy this content more than conventional learning methods like essays and exams.

Seek Feedback From Learners

Getting feedback from students will help you know whether they are engaging with your course and understand a topic. By listening to what they say, you can make online learning experiences more active. The University of Waterloo has various tips for receiving feedback in an educational environment, which you can apply to your students:

  • Don’t interrupt learners and listen to what they are really saying — not what you think they are going to say. By listening and understanding, you can absorb more information from students.
  • Become aware of your responses to students, including your tone of voice and body language. If you look bored, a learner might perceive this negatively. Being attentive, however, shows you value what the other person is saying.
  • Stay open-minded. This involves listening to opinions and ideas that might be different from yours. You might learn something by being receptive to a different point of view.
  • Understand what a student is saying to you before you reply. You can always ask them to repeat what they said before you give feedback. In a group environment, you can ask for other people’s opinions before you respond.

SoftChalk’s feedback tool lets you collect information from students about a specific topic. This can be a great way to gather responses quickly. For example, in a journalism class, an instructor can ask students which news reporters they recognize the most by name. By collecting feedback in this way, you don’t have to worry about interrupting learners or being aware of your tone of voice or body language.

Cater to Different Learning Styles

There are four main learning styles, according to Neil Fleming:

  • Visual: Where learners engage with images, videos, and diagrams
  • Auditory: Where learners prefer lectures and discussions
  • Read/write: Where learners enjoy reading content and writing things down
  • Kinesthetic: Where learners respond well to hands-on activities and movement

To make students more active, you need to tailor your course to their specific style. This can be a little difficult if a learner has more than one preferred way of learning. However, customizing your content to each student on your course can improve learning outcomes.

You can match SoftChalk’s interactives to different learning styles and increase student engagement:

  • Visual learners might enjoy image-matching and hotspot activities.
  • If auditory students like discussions, they might want to try the Essay QuizPopper, which allows them to give their opinion about a topic.
  • Read/write students might respond well to the Essay QuizPopper and the Sentence Completion QuizPopper.
  • Kinesthetic students can try out flashcards and SoftChalk’s Slideshow Activity.

How to Make Online Students More Active

You can enhance student engagement by investing in an e-learning platform with interactive components, using various interactive components, seeking feedback from learners, and catering to different learning styles. SoftChalk has the interactives you need to turn passive learners into active ones. The platform can also help you create engaging lessons that students love.

Want to know what SoftChalk can do for your organization? Get in touch with an expert now and optimize student engagement.

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