The Importance of Engaging Students in Online Learning

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Engaging students in online learning has become one of the most important discussions in educational circles. Student engagement is the level of interest students show towards the subject being taught and is measured by their interaction with the content, instructor, and peers as well as their motivation to learn and progress through the course. This is more challenging in an online educational environment because students may be easily distracted or may feel frustrated and isolated in online classrooms compared to in-person classrooms.

Turning’s online learning engagement platform, Dojo360, has many features that can help overcome obstacles to engaging students online. The platform was designed with our e³ philosophy in mind—equity, evidence, and engagement. Equity means that all students are able to access the material equitably. Dojo360 meets or exceeds WCAG 2.0 standards. Evidence means that instructors have access to tools that demonstrate each student’s performance and engagement with the lessons provided. Engagement is what the rest of this article is about.

Three Barriers to Online Student Engagement and How to Solve Them

  • Social Barriers
  • Students who feel isolated because they don’t get to interact with their instructor or peers may become disengaged. An instructor can help by contacting each student via email to introduce themselves and provide instructions on how to get started with the Dojo360 online learning platform. Then the instructor can create an introductory activity that students can work on together using discussion boards, the chat feature, and screen sharing. These features can also be used to provide opportunities for learner interaction and sharing resources and ideas between students.

  • Administrative Barriers
  • In addition to the time you are together online, provide your students with your email address or phone number and “office hours,” or times they can get in contact with you outside classroom time. You can also use Dojo360 screen sharing to hold office hours. Instructors can create activities and provide instructions in various ways. Since students each have their own learning style, this will help reach each student in a way that makes sense to them and help them engage with the content. Finally, the instructor can provide timely feedback. Dojo360 provides excellent reporting capabilities so instructors can see down to the individual question where students are having trouble. Addressing these issues as soon as possible means the student can be on the right track long before it’s time for formal assessment.

  • Motivation Barriers
  • Students are as prone to procrastination and distraction as adults are, and it’s important to use various methods of motivation to help them overcome these pitfalls. To start, chunk your material. Break down information into smaller pieces that are easier for the student to digest. Use Dojo360’s presentation tools to organize information in a logical way and group information that’s related conceptually. When designing video presentations, make sure they are no longer than 5-7 minutes each so each student can absorb all the information at one time. It’s also important to send students reminders. On Dojo360, you can see which students haven’t interacted with which lessons and you can use our tools to send them reminders to complete the instruction. Finally, use a variety of multimedia and modalities. Dojo360 provides many tools including embedded assessment, whiteboarding, and more to improve the learning experience for your students.

How You Can Help Engage Students Online

In addition to the tools mentioned, Dojo360 provides gamification elements like leaderboards and badges that can be used to encourage friendly competition, which promotes learner engagement. Whether you need to help visual learners understand the basics of music theory or aural learners memorize geographical features, Dojo360 provides the tools you need for engaging students in online learning. We invite you to learn more about what Dojo360 can do for your online student engagement.

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