Synchronous ELearning: How To Engage Learners And Increase Retention

Since there is no face to face communication, online teaching requires a lot of effort not only from the instructor but also from the learner.  To ensure that each student receives individual attention, I recognize various types of students in my class and adjust to their unique needs. For instance, there are learners who are clearly leaders; they always post comments and responses to other people’s questions. There are also learners who always ask many questions, and expect to receive quick and thoughtful responses almost immediately. Furthermore, there are learners who take online learning very lightly and do not participate in any discussions. Through establishing high expectations from the beginning, and reinforcing deadlines and requirements for successful course completion, I ensure that my learners are on track and their goals and expectations are met. I also provide continuous feedback to each learner using the “pull up a chair” approach. In other words, I send a quick email message once a week asking learners about their feelings about the course and their thoughts about their overall progress. Additionally, I check my emails regularly and respond promptly. Even if I am unable to provide a complete response right away, I always acknowledge the receipt of the email and assure students that I will get back to them with a complete answer to their question.

In order for an online course to be successful, it must be interesting and engaging to learners. It must also follow adult learning theories and principles. To increase student success in my classroom, I address multiple learning styles and ensure that all auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners are able to fully participate in the learning experience. Since true learning occurs by the encoding of new information in long term memory, I strive to offer multiple opportunities in each class to ensure retention. For example, I offer games, interactivity, simulations, demonstrations, and provide constant feedback and reinforcement to all students based on their individual needs.

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