interactive teaching strategies

What Are The Best Online Teaching Strategies For eLearning Classrooms?

contributed by VEDAMO

How can you turn educational processes in the virtual classroom into a remarkable learning experience for your students? You can enrich your teaching style with interactive strategies that will make your learners more engaged in your lessons and truly excited to participate in the learning activities.

The purpose of interactive teaching strategies is to improve your students’ interest in the learning process and make them active participants in the lessons. Interactive activities offer broader benefits than simply achieving educational goals. In fact, you can easily incorporate this type of exercise into your virtual classroom lessons to help improve your students’ communication skills and teamwork abilities, as well as to develop their creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.

In addition, interactive activities teach students patience, tolerance, and understanding towards others and encourage them to think outside the box.

With this type of teaching approach, students learn in a different way – instead of being passive listeners to the lecture during the lesson, they are actively involved in the learning process by participating in activities, games, discussions, solving mysteries, storytelling, and so on.

The largest group of activities includes interaction between the teacher and students or student-to-student interaction. A fulfilling remote learning experience must include an abundance of materials and content, such as visuals, audio and video content, hands-on experiments and demonstrations, etc. One of the most convenient tools for interactive activities in the virtual classroom is the online whiteboard as it supports various types of files and provides the perfect conditions for collaboration in real-time with multiple participants.

Interactive Teaching Strategies For Learning In The Virtual Classroom

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is an awesome activity to include in your lessons to boost your students’ creativity and excitement about the topics you are teaching. It is the perfect group exercise where every participant can contribute with their ideas and knowledge on the online whiteboard. Brainstorming is one of the easiest-to-do interactive activities because it has countless forms ­– from short sessions that encourage students to share ideas on a certain question or topic, to longer sessions where you can go into deep discussions on the subject of the lesson.

The virtual classroom is well equipped with tools that make brainstorming fun and effective, like the online whiteboard, the chat feature, and the videoconferencing feature. How do you hold a brainstorming session? Think of a topic or a word/expression/term that is related to the lesson and present it to your students. Come up with rules for sharing content and ideas in a way that will include everyone, yet will prevent chaos during the brainstorming session. For example, students can use the raise-a-hand feature in the virtual classroom when they want to share content. The online whiteboard supports various types of content and multimedia. Students can easily draw, write texts, or share images on the topic.

Educational games, puzzles, quizzes, and competitions

When there is fun, there is engagement. Bring excitement into the learning process by incorporating different games, quizzes, and even competitions that are suitable for the lessons, as well as for the age of the students. There are classic games that can easily be played online in the virtual classroom, like word puzzles, Hangman, Pictionary, Two Truths and a Lie, and many others. Many students love to compete. Set teams and assign a breakout room to each group of students. Give the same task to everybody, such as “Who can come up with the most flowers that bloom in the fall,” or “Make a list of animals starting with the letter ‘K’.” Set a timer for the assignment. After the time is up, the teams can join the general online whiteboard and share their results. It is a great opportunity to start discussions on various topics and learn more in-depth about the subjects of the assignments.

Storytelling

Storytelling is an exceptional interactive activity that can be incorporated in many different forms and on many occasions in the virtual classroom. For instance, the teacher can use this activity to present the new topic with the help of various sources, including images, videos, different voices, cards, etc. on the online whiteboard via videoconferencing. In addition, storytelling can be used as a group activity. Divide the students into teams, give them the topic, and assign them to different breakout rooms where each team can create their own story on an online whiteboard. After all the groups have completed the task, the whole class can share their stories on the main online whiteboard.

Think, pair, and share

This is a great interactive strategy that improves your students’ problem-solving skills, creativity, teamwork skills, and critical thinking. Usually, the teacher presents a problem that is related to the subject of the lesson and encourages discussions in the class. After students have expressed their ideas and solutions, the teacher divides the class into groups and assigns them to work in teams in separate breakout rooms for a certain period of time. Every student has to contribute to the task and participate in the exercise by communicating with their teammates and sharing ideas.

The online whiteboards in the breakout rooms become the field for brainstorming and collecting ideas and content in various forms until the team agrees on the final answers to the task. The last part of this exercise is shared with the rest of the class. This is the moment when students from the different breakout rooms take turns presenting their solutions to the problem on the main online whiteboard. The rest of the teams can take notes and, after all of the groups of students have finished with their presentations, it is time for a discussion and, why not, a peer-assessment activity. The Think, Pair, and Share exercise is a wonderful way to develop the problem-solving skills of students and encourage them to think outside the box.

Interactive teaching strategies bring excitement to the classroom and offer an alternative to the concept of passive learning where students have to listen to the educator and memorize the lectures. When learners are active participants in the educational process, they learn while, at the same time, having fun and being active and engaged. Interactive activities stimulate creative thinking in learners and, in general, have the potential to be more effective in achieving learning goals.

More Online Teaching And Learning Strategies

Asynchronous Discussion (more of a learning strategy than a teaching strategy but if you use it intentionally in your course design, it’s both a teaching and learning strategy, right?)

Learning Feedback: Immediacy vs Quality (the strategy here is to use a combination of quick or automated feedback for learning as well as ongoing, more detailed and personalized feedback when possible)

Digital Portfolio Checkups (not just using digital portfolios but using them with scheduled checkpoints and assessing against goals or other criteria to measure student growth)

Digital Literature Circles (literature circles are usually done in-person but certainly can be modified to be synchronous or asynchronous in online classrooms–for a range of content areas, too)

Debate (of course, debate is also traditionally done live and in-person but arguing is one of the internet’s favorite pastimes and debate is the more formal, polished, informed, and rational distant cousin to ‘arguing’)