E-learning has been growing in popularity with the advancement of edtech and technology in general. The ability for students to learn using an online platform solves for in-person learning issues and allows students access to more information than ever before.
In the midst of a global pandemic, e-learning has now become a necessity for many students. For teachers and parents or guardians who are not used to nurturing an e-learning environment, the transition can feel intimidating.
Some students will inevitably push back against the incoming e-learning routine. In fact, a survey by the NSHSS reveals that, of high school and college students asked about the future of education, about a third of students said they would not want to attend school if it was held solely online. Still, over half of the students said they could deal with online schooling for the time being.
Getting students excited about e-learning
Both parents and teachers have the opportunity to get students really excited about e-learning this fall and beyond, helping to form the narrative. Hopefully, students will be able to learn in-person eventually, but getting students excited about e-learning opens up a whole world of possibilities for the future of education.
Here are nine tips for parents and students to help garner excitement about e-learning this school year.
1. Create Positive e-Learning Hype
First, and perhaps most importantly, hype up the e-learning situation as much as possible. No matter the age group, students will inevitably respond to the attitude of the adults around them.
Parents, if you complain about e-learning, so will your kids. In fact, parental attitudes can greatly affect students’ attitudes toward learning.
Teachers, if you are worried about e-learning, your students will sense that and worry along with you.
Both parents and teachers have the opportunity to highlight the positive aspects of e-learning. Make a list of pros and sell them as often as you can. Of course, you’ll want to take an authentic approach here and really mean what you say; but focusing on the positive will help students do the same.
Maybe you see e-learning as a chance for students to create their own favorite learning spot in their homes. Perhaps e-learning will allow them to explore more about a topic on their own time.
Or, maybe your student will enjoy time flexibility and learning to manage their time on their own. Whatever your e-learning silver lining, make sure students hear you hyping up the opportunity, rather than complaining or fretting.
2. Give Students an Active Role
When it comes to student success, doing a little to empower students to think critically and creatively goes a long way. If students have a say in how they approach e-learning or feel like they are an active part of the transition, they will inevitably work harder for the success of their experience.
Assign students a role in the online classroom and ask them to help with certain transitions. Both parents and teachers can give students responsibilities to help with the process, which will allow students to feel like the success of e-learning also depends on their participation.
Teachers can consider tactics like asking one student to lead a class check-in per class or per week to help students feel that they are taking on leadership roles in the classroom. This will also keep students engaged while interacting online.
3. Utilize Interactive Tools
Whatever edtech your school is using to engage and educate students, the platform likely has plenty of interactive tools that teachers can utilize.
If you’re using Zoom or Google Classroom, for example, you can check out various their strategies to create an interactive classroom environment online. Some of these include polls to use for attendance, breakout rooms for students to have small group discussions, and various virtual backgrounds to match with the content of a lesson.
Find out what features your e-learning platform provides and get creative with how you use those tools. This will allow you to change up lessons to keep students interested and present as you teach.
Include parents by letting them know what to expect from e-learning platforms. They can help get students excited about these possibilities as well!
4. Incorporate Games
Since students might be used to playing games on their computers already, finding ways to incorporate games into e-learning will help them feel like class is fun.
Teachers can transform lessons into computer games or even online trivia, while parents can make students’ participation in class or ability to get homework done on time a game.
As much as adults in this situation can make students feel like their e-learning experience is actually a fun and different opportunity, the better.
5. Create Reward Systems
Just as you do in the physical classroom, offer a rewards system for students in e-learning classrooms as well. As teachers likely already know, there are plenty of benefits of rewards systems in the classroom.
Offering rewards to students promotes positive behavior and progress. Also, when students know they can expect a reward like an extra game or bonus points, even an online party, they are more likely to stay engaged throughout their lessons and learn more actively.
6. Encourage Communication
Communication will be key to success, especially for students, teachers, and parents who have never delved too deeply into e-learning before. Teachers and parents/guardians should have an open line of communication about what to expect and how students are adjusting.
Meanwhile, teachers and parents/guardians should continually communicate with students as well to make sure they are understanding the material and able to work effectively with the edtech you’re using.
Find ways to build student-teacher rapport, especially since students are likely going through tough or uncomfortable times. This will also help to create the relationship that teachers and students enjoyed in the physical classroom environment.
7. Allow for Flexibility
Since many students, teachers, and parents/guardians might be new to e-learning, recognize that this will be an important time for flexibility. Parents should be flexible with how they help motivate their students, while teachers should recognize that not all e-learning techniques will be right for them.
Students will need to be flexible as well, so adults should also be willing to admit mistakes they’ve made throughout the process and change tactics if necessary.
If students see their parents and teachers rebounding from failures, they will be more willing to learn from their own mistakes and become much more resilient learners. They will hopefully become much less afraid of academic failure and more willing to push through difficult moments in the learning process.
8. Ask Students for Feedback
Along with sustaining great communication, teachers and parents should also consider asking students for feedback throughout the e-learning process. Student feedback can be extremely valuable since they are experiencing the online classroom from a different vantage point.
Teachers are still learning how to give effective student feedback in an online environment, but getting student feedback can be just as important.
Asking for feedback will also continue to empower students to take charge of their own learning experience. If they offer a new idea for how to engage their fellow students in e-learning that you actually adopt, they will feel a real sense of ownership of their classroom and success.
9. Tell More Stories
Storytelling in the classroom is already an effective strategy teachers have used in physical classroom environments; however, storytelling might be even more important in e-learning. Students in this day and age are used to constant entertainment, so stories will help them stay engaged in online lessons as they wait to find out what happens next.
However teachers can turn lessons into stories, those stories will allow students to more actively participate in classroom material while learning online. Hopefully, storytelling will be more fun for teachers as well!
E-learning does not need to fill students with dread. For that matter, e-learning does not need to become a terrible chore for parents and teachers.
By finding ways to make e-learning fun and engaging, parents can ensure that students get as much out of a year of e-learning as possible. In fact, e-learning can even highlight some new possibilities that weren’t possible in the physical classroom.