IntroductionOnline learning is the need of the present hour. Amidst the corona crisis in the world, it is an efficient tool to provide education to millions of students pursuing various courses from different institutes within their safe home environment. However, e-Learning has to be engaging. Otherwise, learners will soon lose interest. It will ruin the entire purpose. For this, online learning has to be interactive. Two-way interaction between teachers and learners is necessary. It will keep learners engaged. They will be able to grasp the subject more efficiently. E-learning programs have to be flexible and at the same time, convenient. Only then, the success rate of the e-learning program increases. Below-mentioned is simple ways to increase interaction in online learning.
Need for interaction in online learningJust like in the traditional method, online learning also requires communication between teachers and students. Feedback from students will help the teachers to understand how engaging their classes were. If necessary, teachers will bring changes in their teaching methods. They will work on making their teaching more efficient for the future. Also, students will be able to clear their doubts, and share their experiences of real-life where they have put their online learnt concepts to practical use. Interaction between fellow students is necessary to create a friendly online environment. Thus, to keep students engaged, it is necessary to keep communication open in online learning programs.
What stops the e-Learning program from engaging e-learners?E-Learning program can never engage its students and hold their attention if it is merely composed of texts, pictures or videos. In such cases, e-learners have very little power. Their power is limited to clicking the "next" button. If e-learning has to hold the attention of its learners, the study programs should focus on much more than that. Learners must have enough power to interact and remain engaged. Below-mentioned is the reasons why e-Learning programs fail to engage their learners.
Effective ways to make online learning engaging and interactive
The online course program is structured in chapters and units. Not all students prefer to cover the program in the same way. Some prefer to learn chapter wise. Others love to randomly pick some chapters or units. Thus, the online study program should give some liberty to learners where they can pick their chapters which interests them more. This type of freedom will keep learners engaged in e-Learning. When the students choose their study topics, it holds their attention. Below every study topic should be mentioned relevant information of different units from the same chapter. Thus, they will be able to cover the entire subject in the order which amuses them.
What can be more engaging than asking learners to contribute to the e-Learning program from time to time? Simple tasks such as short posts or article posting will increase their activity and keep them engaged all the time. Likewise, ask them to organize online study sessions. Students in these online learning programs can help their fellow students in various aspects. It will enrich their knowledge through revision, and also, the interaction will keep them engaged. Also, those who have passed out should be allowed to contribute resources and help their juniors in study sessions. This type of liberty will keep learners engaged.
When there is too much of anything, it ruins everything. Earlier there was no interaction at all between learners and teachers which disengaged the learners a lot. Consequently, many e-Learning programs are using the concept of interaction, and by using, they are overdoing it. They have added interactivity to every page. Many students find it unnecessary and a distraction. Thus, interaction should be allowed only when necessary. Instead, pay the focus on making concepts interesting. Too much interaction on every page level may disrupt the flow of information. This kind of disruption can only cause distraction.
Online learning only becomes successful when there is an interaction between teachers and students. To keep learners engaged in study sessions and allow interaction, asking for feedback from them is an important step. When students leave feedback, teachers may understand how effective the topic or unit was. They can take the necessary steps to make teaching more efficient and engaging for future classes.
Gamification makes learning a fun process. It holds the attention of students, and at the same time keeps them engaged while challenging them from time to time. Gamification concept helps learners as well as the online program conducting organizations in many ways. The gamified online course is found to be more interesting and motivating than any other online course that is based on the traditional teaching method.
Many e-Learning programs conduct tests and encourage self-assessment. However, along with that reviewing co-students work, test papers also creates a friendly environment and leaves scope for interaction. Students can form study groups and work together on different projects. Let them join chat rooms and discussion boards. When fellow students socially interact while reviewing works or help each other in study sessions and clear each other's doubts, a sharing environment gets created online. It puts them at ease and keeps them busy and indulged in e-Learning.
If the content is impressively present to students, it will be easier to grasp, recall and will be interesting. Boring content in a linear fashion, cluttered material can never attract or engage its learners. Thus, the content should be well presented. Wherever necessary, the content programmers should try to incorporate easy learning videos and images. However, one thing that needs to be taken care of that images and instructional video should help learners and not distract them. Thus, they should be important and relevant. Also, do not load pages with too many questions and irrelevant facts. Simple, easy to understand and relevant information on pages attract its learners and keep them engaged.
Certain e-Learning programs adopt asynchronous learning, where students learn at their own pace. Others offer synchronous learning wherein students have to engage in online learning classes. Both of these teaching methods are effective. To make learning program more interesting, using a blend of both these methods in the study sessions will surprise students and keep them engaged. A few chapters of synchronous learning and a few of asynchronous learning will hold their attention. Live study sessions are a great way that promotes bonding between learners and teachers.