How to make online classrooms more interactive

With more interaction with online learners, you will only come to know their expectations from that online program and ways to improve your teaching if necessary. While communication, videos and presentations are important for online learning, student interaction will make the learning experience sweeter.

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Online learning has made the lives easier for students as it allows them to develop new skills and get knowledge from the comfort of their homes. The flexibility and convenience that it provides has made several students enroll in an online course. But engaging learners in an online program is important so that they can learn effectively and get the required skills and knowledge faster.
Regardless of numerous benefits of online learning, the learners definitely feel isolated in an online classroom. Hence, there is a need to involve students in the learning process and that is possible only by cultivating interactive online learning experience.
Here are some ways in which you, as the online instructor, can make the online classrooms more interactive:
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Add Opportunities for real- time interaction
Because of the flexibility in online learning, students have the opportunity to learn from anywhere in the world. However, they can feel deprived of a one on one interaction with the instructor. This lack of interaction in online forums often leads to misunderstandings because of slow response time. So, what you can do is you can integrate real- time interaction in an online program.
You can use web conferencing applications and set- up opportunities for class students to engage among themselves. You can also conduct group discussions, one- to- one doubt resolution classes and study groups online so that you can interact with students in a constructive manner.

Use Social Media to good use

We know the effects of social media and how often it is used by the students. You can use social media apps like Whatsapp, Facebook and Telegram to make groups in which you can include the students in your online classroom.
This way you can also encourage students to engage with their peers in the classroom so that they can help each other in studying the course. Within the private groups, you can discuss the problems faced by the students in these online classes; you can take feedback on your teaching and much more.
Additionally, students can also contact each other on Skype, Google Hangouts or FaceTime on iOS. Along with effective teaching by teachers, student interaction among themselves will allow them to learn faster.

Ask for Feedback

Feedback from online learners are the best way to judge your skills and knowledge in the subject. From student’s feedback, you will get to know if you are missing out on something. Hence you should give a chance for your students to leave a feedback, which is a good opportunity for interaction.
You can ask them if they need any changes in the online program curriculum or if they need any additional supplement to be added to the course. Now, how you handle or respond to those feedback make a great impact on the students.
Even the criticism should be taken in a constructive way so that interaction between you and online learners is productive and also allow you to streamline programs and make them relevant to the student’s needs.

Make creative Discussion Boards

Discussion boards are actively used in online learning as it provides opportunities to interact in online courses. In discussion boards, there is only a short introduction with a wide range of questions. In online discussions, you can structure the discussions and questions so that all the learners contribute to it.
If not all students, you can also make small discussion groups of 25 or fewer students so that they can also know their peers. This will foster richer dialogue as you can also ask the online learners to provide examples or ask them to explain the concept in a different perspective.
Allow Learners to Choose
Students choose an online course because of its flexibility and convenience. While interacting with students, when you give the learner a choice to select the topics and units, he will be more interested and engaged in the online program. Allowing them to choose the relevant content instantly will make them more responsible towards learning.
You can definitely show them the compulsory units to study and guide them but allowing them to choose the order of learning topics will empower them and engage them.
These are some of the tips for making the online classrooms more interactive so that students are more active and involved in the online program. When you make them understand the concepts in a proper manner, they feel motivated to learn further and quicker.
With more interaction with online learners, you will only come to know their expectations from that online program and ways to improve your teaching if necessary. While communication, videos and presentations are important for online learning, student interaction will make the learning experience sweeter.


(Author Aditya Singhal is the co-founder of AskIITians  an online coaching platform for IIT JEE, Medical and School Entrance exams. It is his passion and vision to help the engineering and medical aspirants that he along with his co-founder started with this venture. He had worked with Kurt Salmon Associates, a reputed American Management Consultancy.)

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Youth Voice: How to make online classrooms more interactive
How to make online classrooms more interactive
With more interaction with online learners, you will only come to know their expectations from that online program and ways to improve your teaching if necessary. While communication, videos and presentations are important for online learning, student interaction will make the learning experience sweeter.
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