If you are teaching online courses, video conferencing with a group class or running webinars, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind. The content you present will, by its nature, be different than what you might present offline in a similar setting. Teaching a course or running a meeting in a live setting allows you to directly interact with the other participants. Online there are tools that emulate this interaction, but the distance requires some adjustments to the presentation.
Below we’re going to discuss 6 ways to more effectively run your live online classes and webinars to maximize attendee engagement and ensure your content is both delivered and absorbed effectively.
1. Provide Early and Frequent Validation
In a live setting, a student benefits from a number of factors to keep them engaged. They see the smile and nod of the teacher, the thoughtful glances of other students, and the active and exciting back and forth that can build in conversation among those students.
In a live online class, these visual clues may not apply. Instead, build moments of validation in to help build self-efficacy in your students. This is especially important if you are teaching an introductory or gateway topic that can see high drop off rates because of student discouragement. Give them something easy to do up front that they will feel good about.
2. Build on Existing Knowledge to Build a Relationship
It’s easy when teaching a course to assume that students know nothing and to over explain. Online, this is especially problematic because you don’t get the visual cues needed to show you that these students are comfortable with a topic.
To avoid this spend extra time in planning your lessons to identify key shared points of knowledge that you can safely assume students have. Not only does this eliminate moments of repetition, it allows students to connect new ideas to pre-existing knowledge – a concept that helps boost retention and improve comprehension in your course.
3. Build Silence and Reflection into the Course Structure
With no one in front of you to raise a hand or flash an unsure look, it’s easy to barrel ahead and keep lecturing in an online setting.Good teachers slow down and take breaks often enough to allow silence for the students.Click To Tweet
Silence is key because it gives students time to catch up, think on the concepts you are introducing, and to formulate and ask questions they might have. The engagement level increases dramatically when you provide this silent reflection time.
4 Create a Comprehensive Lesson Plan in Advance of the Course
It’s important to have a clearly outline plan in place before you sit down to teach your first live online class or webinar. There are a number of solid templates you can draw from online, both from traditional teaching settings and more diverse digital course settings.
Two things you should make sure you have answered well in advance, however, are “who will take this course?” and “what objectives do I want to address in this course?” Know the purpose and the audience for your information.
5. Actively Engage and Involve Students
Student engagement is harder when teaching online. It requires more than just an “on the spot” question to one of your students. Creative ways to draw students into the content and show that their input is important will go a long way.
One thing you can do that works extremely well is to ask additional questions during the registration process. Using the custom checkout fields in Yondo, create specific questions for your students that you can reference in your course. They will then provide answers to these questions when they sign up for one of your online classes. For example, you could ask a group of art students “what is the most challenging technique in watercolors?” During your course, you can share the top 10 answers to that question, using them as a guide for some of the content you teach. Those students will be immediately engaged.
6. Review and Discuss Common Misconceptions
Everyone has misconceptions on certain topics. They hear something from an unknown source, read an oddball article online, or develop their own prejudices on a topic.
When planning your course, identify those misconceptions and then address them throughout the course in the content you create. This can be done through the chat function in your live online course or as part of the custom checkout fields when someone registers for your course. Or it could be a spur of the moment question you ask your students.
Teaching live online classes can be challenging if you aren’t prepared for the differences compared to offline discussions. If you take the time, however, to prepare and adjust your expectations and mode of presentation, you’ll find much greater success when you run your first courses.