Since it was designated as a global pandemic back in March, the COVID-19 virus has disrupted activities across various sectors, including education. Schools all over the world have had to shut down entirely and switch to online classes as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the virus in local communities and academic populations. But while online learning has become the new fad, there are some unique challenges that students and lecturers taking online courses now have to navigate through. As an online learner, finding the motivation to attend classes and study outside the traditional classroom setting is a daunting task.
Getting out of bed is already a chore, especially when you know you are not heading anywhere else apart from your work desk. That’s not to mention the many distractions offline and online. The sirens blaring in the streets, spouse and siblings in adjoining rooms, and device notifications to attend to mail or social media messages.
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The fact is, it is difficult to find the motivation to concentrate as an online learner in the middle of a pandemic. As a tutor, one of your responsibilities is to make it easier for learners to enjoy and find the motivation needed to learn in your class.
If you are taking an eLearning course, one of the ways to motivate people and get them interested in the course is by making it as appealing as possible. Courses that include various multimedia elements are typically more interactive compared to visually bland ones that are dry and boring. If you make your online class or course unique and attention-grabbing, you give someone an extra reason to want to attend your class.
You should use tools that allow you to tap into the emotional response of your online learners. When you do this, you grab their attention and also get them to retain more information and learn better and faster. You can use images and videos that generate some form of response or use examples that are from human interest topics rather than abstract concepts. However, don’t just use things merely for the shock value as this will only distract their attention from the core content you are offering.
Making your online class as interactive as possible is one of the ways you can motivate students to participate in your class. Learners are typically familiar with social features like commenting and sharing online content. Having features like this as part of the online learning process can improve participation and engagement. You should also get your learners to communicate and interact with each other.
Even for online courses that are focused more on individualistic learning, you can still make use of online forums and other tools that foster group discussion and collective problem-solving. Incorporating these social strategies into your eLearning plan will add a human touch to your online course. It may not be as much as what you would get with face-to-face meetings, but human interaction will provide some form of motivation and improve the experience of your learners.
People love challenges. It is one of the little things that can motivate people to go the extra mile. By incorporating quizzes, challenges, and assessments into your online course, you not only get an opportunity to evaluate your learners, but you also trigger the desire to succeed in students, thereby pushing them toward better participation in your online course.
You can ask students to summarize what they have learned so far in the course, or include real-life problems that they need to solve at the end of each course. This will increase their eagerness to acquire the skills and knowledge required to solve these problems by paying attention to the course.
Another way to empower and motivate learners is by inviting them to contribute their knowledge about what they have learned so far in the course. A task-based learning strategy is one of the most effective ways to get engagement in an online learning environment. You should allow learners to contribute using various ways and methods. This can inspire them and give them the help they need with their studies.
One of your targets as an instructor is to make your online course or classes as interactive as possible. One of the ways to do this is by allowing your learners to have a say in the way the course will be structured.
Before the start of your course, you can allow learners who will participate to choose what they would like you to cover in the course. This way, they know their input matters and will be motivated to follow the course when it begins. You can also ask them to leave feedback at the end of the course. This will help you prepare and streamline future classes and make it more relevant to their needs and interests for better results.
As an online tutor, these are some of the ways you can motivate learners to participate and learn better in an online learning environment. No matter the structure or method of delivery, try to incorporate these ideas, and you will help your students learn better, faster, and more effectively—even in this difficult period.