How To Effectively Engage Remote Learners
With students, trainee staff, and lifelong pupils deprived of one-on-one contact, finding ways to reach and engage remote learners is no enviable task for any professional educator.
Teaching your skills and passions to others is an art you’ve likely tried to perfect over many lessons, but with online teaching on the rise (and looking like it’s here to stay), you’ll have to adapt your syllabus and fit in with a new brand of remote learning.
In this article, we look at the following tips to effectively engage remote learners during your online lessons:
1. Provide a schedule with clear goals and expectations
2. Produce bespoke and tailored training resources
3. Encourage learners to provide feedback on your lessons
When teaching remotely, it’s hard to tell whether learners are interested in a subject — or gauge how much value they’re getting from your lesson. Read on as we seek to clear up the confusion and help craft an engaging learning experience.
Provide a schedule with clear goals and expectations
Remote learning can often feel disconnected, and at times rather disjointed, which means it’s even more important your lessons have a clear sense of direction learners can use to motivate themselves through the process.
Establishing SMART goals is one way to accurately report on your syllabus:
Specific: focus on the outcome and what needs to happen to make it successful
Measurable: track progress using online tools and the metrics they provide
Achievable: avoid undermining success by setting unrealistic goals
Relevant: tailor your syllabus to individual learners and skill levels
Time-bound: spur on learners by setting time limits and scheduled checkpoints
Setting SMART goals gives learners a clear indication of what you expect from them and how you will measure their success in doing so — this helps you create a more engaging process tailored to learners needs, wants, and desires.
Produce bespoke and tailored training resources
For some people learning online feels like a long, hard slog; for others, it provides the freedom and resources to elevate their education — but why is there such a clear divide?
Perhaps it has to do with people’s wavering experiences in the courses they enrol in.
As an online tutor, you need your lessons to accentuate the benefits of learning on the web while mediating the downsides as best you can. By this we mean you should make the most of online tools to make your lessons more dynamic and interactive.
Invest your time into creating your own resources that you can use over and over again to make your lessons more engaging. Plus, there are some useful platforms around that help you pull all your teaching resources together into an interesting package, all without being a computing wizard.
Not sure where to start? Learning Revolution is one source for information, offering Teachable reviews and providing information on the best platforms for creating online courses and e-content. Many of the platforms you’ll find allow you to craft creative, bespoke lessons that engage learners — this ensures your pupils are getting the most out of what you have to teach without needing to meet in real life.
Encourage learners to provide feedback on your lessons
In many ways remote learning is new to everyone, especially the teacher — so, it's more important than ever to ask for feedback and hone your craft ready for next time.
The sudden rise of remote learning came as a surprise, and there is no blueprint for perfect learner engagement when we’re all finding our feet and testing the waters. Even as a veteran educator or subject expert it’s nigh on impossible to put on an inspiring performance at the first, second, or even third time of asking.
Getting to grips with remote learning takes practice along with a willingness to be flexible, both through learning new things about yourself and the people you’re teaching.
Taking on board valid criticism and genuine compliments via feedback forms is the best way to help you know what you’re doing wrong, and what you’re getting right.
Not sure you're asking the most useful questions? Here are some examples to include:
What the learner found most engaging
Whether there are areas the learner did not understand
How the learner will apply what they have learned
Areas the learner believe could be improved
What the learner’s interests and personal goals are going forward
Given it’s more challenging to acquire this information anonymously from a remote location, using well-reviewed and user-friendly online feedback tools like Qualtrics is one way to gather anonymous answers in a single, widely accessible place.
Knowing how to effectively engage remote learners is a valuable skill set every professional educator should learn while adapting their role to the new normal.
From setting clear SMART goals and pulling together bespoke, interactive resources, to putting your pupils’ feedback to good use — engaging remote learners is all about embracing the best bits our newfound digital environment has to offer.
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