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9 Ways to increase online student engagement

Updated: May 27, 2023

Student engagement is more than just paying attention – when a student is actively involved in their education it leads to significantly more meaningful learning experiences.

While there are many ways you can increase student engagement in your online classes, start by checking out our list for 9 simple steps that will help spark their passion and interest.

1. Prepare students for the online learning experience

Students who are used to learning in a classroom or meeting room may have trouble adjusting to the online learning experience. To help them thrive in this new environment, give them an introduction to online learning, your association’s learning management system (LMS), and their online course.

2. Frequently review learning outcomes

The Educators introductory video should also review the learning outcomes for the course. These learning outcomes should be included in the course description, so students know what to expect and whether the course is right for them.

3. Present clear, organized learning materials

Educators have a role to play as well. Course materials should be organized and labelled in a consistent way to reduce student confusion.

4. Prevent isolation by increasing the presence of Educator

Students should feel as if the Educators is right there with them. The course shouldn’t feel like it’s running on autopilot Students feel more connected to Educators who talk to them, as if in a one-on-one conversation, via instructional videos.

5. Build a learning community

Researchers found that when an online course included an online community component, students were five times more engaged and 16 times more likely to finish the course.

6. Deliver bite-sized, spaced learning

Make course content easy to digest and retain by delivering it in bite-sized chunks.

7. Get students to act on what they’ve learned

Help students cross the knowing-doing gap by having them immediately apply what they’ve learned.

  • Participating in an online forum

  • Providing examples or scenarios

  • Solving a problem

  • Writing a short essay or opinion piece

  • Having a conversation (online or offline) with a fellow student

  • Reviewing what they’ve learned in notes or journaling

  • Answering instructor questions

8. Provide regular feedback

Feedback helps students feel a sense of progress and rescues them from isolation Ask them to go further, elaborate, or think of the topic from another angle—anything that helps them revisit what they’ve learned and make it stick.

9. Make time for fun

Learning is serious business—even life and death business for some professions. But you can make it an enjoyable experience that your students will remember and talk about with others.

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