Virtual learning environments have grown in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic. Although many educational institutions have invited students back into classrooms, others have adopted a hybrid approach. Students can participate in group discussions, ask professors questions, and communicate with their classmates whether they attend classes in person or online.
However, the problem many colleges face is keeping students engaged in their digital environments. Maintaining everyone's attention during a lecture is challenging when some join the class from the comfort of their dorm room or home. Too many distractions pull their focus to something other than their professor.
You can resolve the problem by incorporating effective solutions to keep hybrid students engaged. Below are five engagement solutions to consider for your digital and hybrid classrooms.
1. Provide an Attractive Audiovisual Experience
Using reliable and high-quality technology is essential. Keeping students engaged is challenging with distorted audio and grainy video. Distance learners must feel like they're part of the discussion despite being elsewhere. They can't actively participate if they can't see what's on the screen in the classroom. Communicating effectively with others isn't possible when they feel lost in the crowd.
Audio should allow for clear conversations between everyone in the classroom and those joining from behind a computer screen. That means the classroom should be equipped with a strategically placed microphone to pick up everything everyone says so digital attendees can hear. Distance attendees will likely lose interest quickly if they can't hear the professor talk about the course material or answer someone's question.
2. Plan Virtual Events
Online students might be unable to travel to campus for events. Whether they live far away and can't afford the airfare or have disabilities that would make standing in a large crowd difficult, traditional on-campus events aren't as accessible as they used to be. Virtual events increase attendance in a safe, distraction-free environment. You can host fun activities for campus residents and distance learners to meet and interact with each other.
Plan a movie night, mixer, or holiday celebration, and invite everyone enrolled in classes at your school. Students can attend in person or show up online. Provide a method for virtual attendees to communicate with fellow classmates and faculty. Keeping everyone interested is vital. Online students can get bored if they're not involved in the conversations happening at the event.
3. Encourage Group Work
Group work is a valuable tool in fostering peer-to-peer communication. Professors should allow students to engage with people they don't see often. That means pairing up in-person and online learners to work on projects. Virtual students can get to know their classmates better and form new friendships.
Encourage professors to promote engagement across all academic programs. They can split the classes into multiple groups to keep online students active in discussions. Interactive engagement can reduce feelings of isolation and keep everyone involved in the learning process.
4. Collect Feedback with Polls
Taking a poll from students gives faculty the chance to determine which methods work and what they should tweak to boost engagement. The feedback is valuable in helping faculty shape their curriculums and create ways of connecting with each person at home and in the classroom.
Polls also force students to participate. They don't have to involve opinions about the class, available technology, and other aspects of the learning process. Incorporating polls about coursework informs professors of issues with the materials or content delivery. In-person and virtual learners are likelier to stay engaged when they understand the course material. They won't be afraid to participate in conversations and ask questions.
Keep Your Students Engaged with Hybrid Solutions
Engaging students in hybrid settings requires understanding effective teaching strategies. Your educational institution must promote solutions to keep students interested whether they attend class in person or online.
StudentBridge's Tech Platform can help you determine the features that work. You can analyze real-time data and update or edit your platforms when necessary. We provide the digital solutions colleges need to support students and drive success.
Request a demo or call us at (678) 824-8181 to learn more about the digital and hybrid solutions you should consider to keep your students engaged.