Towards the end of 2018, we produced a blog on keeping young learners engaged in online learning, but one question we didn’t answer is this - how can we make online learning more fun?
Teaching online opens both teachers and students up to a whole new world of content, with the internet increasing and growing ever more complex every day. With this in mind, the best way to make online learning fun is by engaging in learning combined with entertainment, and for this, we must embrace the internet, technology and all of its resources.
Introducing animated or puppet characters to your teaching techniques will not only entertain the student but will also begin to teach them the value of association. If each period in history, for example, is associated with a different whimsical character, then thinking about that character will immediately help the student to recall and place the correct era.
You can even introduce the characters as teaching assistants, giving them voices and allowing the children to engage directly with them – answering their questions and finishing sentences. By opening the students up to various degrees of engagement with the characters themselves, they will build confidence in their ability to communicate and will retain their focus on the screen.
Similarly, creating rhymes and stories associated with your lessons can ensure that the student is engaged with the educational content – while they also learn a fun new rhyme. Repeat the rhyme or story to your student at the beginning or end of every session, particularly if it is linked to a subject they may struggle with, and gradually over time they will start to pick up the content without even realizing.
Another tactic to ensure your online learning is fun is visual content.
Teachers in schools often sit children in front of videos that they hope will be educational – while also keeping the children quiet. As an online teacher, you have the ability to embed videos into your lessons, without losing the focus of the student who is already committed to looking at the screen. In short, you are not providing a distraction but simply optimizing on your position and using video to mix up your teaching style throughout the lesson. Using short video clips can highlight key messages in the student’s learning, acting as a supplement to your lesson plan. Again, the use of a video can also act as a stimulus for the student, allowing them to recall key information by remembering the video as opposed to having to remember lots of different written or audio information.
While computer games are generally not used to promote or aid learning, incorporating simple games and quizzes into your online teaching regime can provide great benefit to the students learning and make your lessons more fun. Include a short educational game at the end of every session, to keep the student engaged right to the end of the lesson. The kinds of games we suggest are short quizzes with visual prizes, a word search where they think of and find words associated with what they have learned in that session, or an online game of SNAP where the student matches up related images that portray what they have learned.
Making your online lessons fun is not always easy and often requires a lot of work and creativity. However, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. You will start to see your students become more engaged through both the learning and the entertainment aspects of your lessons.
Learning is not and should not be a chore, and you have the ability to create an informal learning setting which is tailored to every student individually. Include their favorite characters, use visual aids, learn games and sing songs, and keep the children looking forward to their next lesson with you.
Interested in teaching online? TwoSigmas are currently hiring passionate teachers to join our evergrowing team. Please click here to apply.