Top 6+ Tips to Design Effective Lessons for Your Online Classes
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world well into 2021 and shows no visible signs of ebbing, there’s an additional burden that teachers have to face nowadays. And that pressure comes from designing effective lessons for online classes. The new normal, as we know it today, dictates that we stay at home and take every precaution to avoid the contagion.
This brings us to a question: How to design effective lessons for an online class? Is it that easy? I will try and answer both these questions in this article while providing six topmost tips that might help you create superb and engaging lessons for your online classes.
Reasons for Effective Online Lessons
Let’s begin by exploring the reasons for designing effective online lessons.
The first one, of course, is that any educational institution doesn’t want its students to lag due to the pandemic. Hence, most of them have started online classes, which offers a great opportunity for people to become an online tutor having sound knowledge of the specific subject. Unfortunately, not every teacher has the necessary skills for online tutoring.
The second problem is that parents are also busy working from home in most cases. Hence, they don’t have enough time to teach basic lessons to their school-going kids.
And third and the biggest hurdle is the frequent distractions that affect online learning. Phone calls, TV shows, and long absence from learning are affecting the attention span of children.
Given these scenarios, it is almost compulsory for teachers to design effective lessons for their online classes.
6+ Tips to Make Your Online Lessons Effective
How to design effective online lessons that actually help students? Here’re are some tips that could help you. You can adapt these tips according to the age of your students and their needs as well as the subjects that you’ll teach.
Keep It Simple
Keep your lessons simple yet engaging and interesting. This is the first tip that I can provide to any teacher serious about designing effective online lessons for their students. Teach only what is genuinely necessary for students to progress rather than going too deep into the topic with theories and other stuff that would be of no use later. It’s easier for learners who were forced into a break due to the pandemic to remember simple things faster. This calls for some preparation before actually starting an online lesson. You’ll have to find out what really matters and find ways and means to present it effectively so that students remember your lessons.
Narrate Own Experiences
Everyone loves stories. Even I love listening to real-life stories. Therefore, to design an effective online lesson, narrate your own experiences in learning the same subject at school. Speak about the challenges you would face and how you overcame them. This encourages students to identify with you as their teacher and come forth with problems they’re facing while learning. You can address these problems individually or as a class. Narrating own experiences goes a long way in creating a bond between an online tutor and students- something which is very important and usually possible only during offline classroom studies.
Engage Parents in Learning
This might sound a bit out of the way, but it’s worth holding at least one online lesson with a parent- either the mom or dad of the student. You can make the class interesting by asking questions to parents instead of students. In fact, you can hold a sort of quiz contest at the end of the lesson to see which parent-and-student team wins. This encourages parents also in their efforts to make online classes more interesting and engaging for students. However, be careful to hold such lessons when parents are free from their work-from-home schedules. This would attract them to attend.
Assign More Projects
It’s a well-known fact that students learn any subject faster through projects. You can assign projects from your lessons to students instead of ordinary homework. This would create interest among students more because, as a rule, every learner finds homework as a necessary evil. On the other hand, projects are different. They allow a student to use their own and inherent skills for the project. Their creativity comes out in the open. And so does their shortcomings. This helps you as a teacher to pay specific attention to students that need to patch up certain grey areas in their learning a lesson.
Hold Online Debates on Lessons
Hold debates among students on the lessons you’ve taught during the week or the previous week. You could divide students into two or more groups and have them debate the subject with you, the teacher, as the moderator. One of the greatest advantages of holding debates is that all students have to participate and speak what they know. As the moderator, you can correct students when they go wrong on something in your lesson. This makes learning more interesting. Since each student will want to show their knowledge, you’ll have ample opportunities to correct them where necessary.
Never Use Newsreader Mode
The greatest blunder that some online teachers commit is using what I describe as the newsreader mode. This means teachers will merely share the screen or whiteboard on video and teach. This tends to bore students and distracts them from your lessons. Instead, use resources such as screen sharing and whiteboards only when absolutely necessary. Make sure that all students actually see you on their computer screens as much as possible. And ask questions in the midst of your lessons to ensure that no student dozes off or gives way to distractions.
More Tips to Design Effective Online Lessons
You can also try some other tips that I will provide. You could use these too if necessary for designing effective online lessons.
- Hold a one-on-one online meeting with students and parents to get feedback about difficulties students to face. And find areas where you can improve teaching techniques as a tutor. Remember, students also have some expectations from their online teacher in the new normal.
- Ask top students to narrate their experiences while learning the lessons so that others can draw some encouragement and compete. Nothing works better than envy, and you can use this in a positive manner to increase competence among students that lag.
- Provide some leisure time to students by telling stories about scientists or authors, or prominent persons that’ve done research in the subject you’re teaching. For example, if you’re teaching English, you can narrate stories about some top authors. And if you’re teaching science, tell a story about some great scientist that’s related to your subject.
As you can see, these six-plus tips are simple. However, you’ll definitely have to exert some extra efforts to design effective lessons for online teaching. Yet, your efforts could bear fruit and help students and you.
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