Before 2020, students preferred online learning to conventional learning to acquire knowledge at their own pace and convenience. But the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic made most educational institutions switch to online learning and set up virtual classrooms in 2020. The new-age learning management systems (LMS) and virtual classroom software enable educational institutions to switch to digital learning.
But the teachers have to reskill and upskill themselves to improve the learning experience and keep students engaged despite no face-to-face communication and interaction. Despite reskilling and upskilling themselves, many teachers struggle to improve the learning experience and student engagement in virtual classrooms. Also, many teachers find it challenging to streamline virtual classroom management.
According to TheTowerPulse.net,
“With so many parents and students frustrated with online school, it’s important to remember that this is a difficult adjustment for teachers too. Most are working harder than they ever have before to teach the same curriculum in less time, with a different format, to students who may be distracted or disengaged.”
While teaching online and managing virtual classrooms, educators like you have to address a slew of unique challenges – replacing in-person communication, integrating multi-format learning resources, keeping students interested and engaged, and staying connected with teachers. You need to identify and address these challenges proactively by implementing virtual classroom management strategies.
10 Virtual Classroom Management Strategies to Boost Student Experience and Engagement
Become Familiar with Elearning Software Solutions
The eLearning software solutions differ from each other in many aspects, including features and usability. Some learning management systems (LMS) and virtual classroom software are designed with features to simplify and streamline virtual classroom management. It will become easier to customize the study process and control the learning environment when you spend some time to become familiar with the LMS or virtual classroom software provided by the educational institution.
Define the Study Process and Procedure
You can easily engage and discipline students in the virtual classroom by defining the study process and procedure early and clearly. You can keep the study procedure predictable by preparing and sharing a routine. The students can refer to the routine to decide the sequence and rules to follow. For instance, the routine will make it easier for students to know if you will check the assignments or homework while starting or before completing the online learning session.
Set and Explain the Rules Clearly
In addition to defining the online learning procedure, you need to ensure that each student understands and obeys the rules set by you. You must share an elaborate list of dos and don’ts with the students. For instance, you can set rules to restrict students from using mobile devices and make students use respectful language. Likewise, the rules will help students to understand how to ask a question, reply to a question, or participate in discussion in the most appropriate way.
Promote Real-Time Collaboration and Interaction
You cannot boost learning experience and student engagement in the virtual learning environment without facilitating interaction and collaboration. You can easily promote real-time collaboration and interaction in a virtual classroom using interactive whiteboards. The online whiteboards help you to share a variety of information with students uniformly. Also, you can enable students to participate in classroom discussions by accessing and editing online whiteboards.
Encourage Students to Ask Questions
In a conventional learning environment, many students feel fearful or shy while asking questions. But such students can ask questions and clear doubts confidently in a virtual classroom. The LMS and virtual classroom software are designed with features to enable students to ask and answer questions. While explaining rules, you must allow students to ask questions and clear doubts without any restrictions. It is also important to encourage students to ask questions by sending emails or instant messages after attending the online classes.
Set up a Classroom Parking Lot
Many virtual classroom solutions these days allow students to ask questions and participate in discussions by choosing the appropriate option. But multiple students cannot speak simultaneously in an online learning environment. That is why; you must consider setting up a dedicated parking lot for each virtual class. The online parking lot will help students ask questions, post comments, and discuss topics during and after the online class. Also, you must find time to answer the questions asked by individual students early and elaborately.
Ask Students to Remove Distractions
While attending online classrooms, students often access various applications and games. Also, they get distracted during the online learning sessions by background noise and other elements in the environment. While starting the online learning session, you must ask the students to remove the distractions in a few minutes. The students must close other applications, games, and tabs in a few seconds before acquiring knowledge. Also, you must instruct students to remove the distractions from their own environment before the online class starts.
Focus on Reducing Screen Time
You can easily enhance student engagement and safety in a virtual classroom by focusing on reducing screen time. While planning online courses, you must include the options that will keep the students away from computer screens. Also, you must allow the students to take regular breaks during the online learning session to stay away from the computer screen. You can even keep the schedules and routines flexible enough to accommodate screen-free study time.
Keep in Place a Reward and Recognition System
In a digital learning environment, you cannot keep students engaged and motivated without keeping in place a reward and recognition system. The LMS and virtual classroom solutions allow you to praise and motivate students using a variety of options – badges, stickers, puppets, and cartoons. You must leverage these options to praise and reward students whenever they make progress or achieve something. You can even consider dividing the virtual class into small groups and make each overachiever lead a specific team.
Resolve Disciplinary Issues Proactively
Despite explain the rules clearly, you cannot eliminate disciplinary issues and problems completely from the virtual learning expenses. There are always chances that younger students will not always behave politely and respectfully while attending online classes. Also, some students will create situations to disengage and distract others in the classroom. While implementing virtual classroom management strategies, you must focus on addressing and resolving the disciplinary issues proactively. It is always important to ask the students to obey rules and rectify unacceptable behavior privately after taking the online class.
The teachers can implement virtual classroom management strategies to address the common challenges in online learning. But they must remember that virtual classroom management is an ongoing process. They have to evaluate and fine-tune many virtual classroom ideas regularly to master the art of virtual classroom management.