Today, in our series of “10 Tips for a Successful Synchronous Lesson,” we’ll be discussing tip #6: Make sure your synchronous session offers interesting content, insights, or activities.
To keep students’ attention and encourage them to continue attending class, online lessons need to be interesting and engaging. Choose content relevant to students’ lives and experiences, or topics that are important to them. For older students, the content may include current events, for example, or job searching.
Many of today’s learners have been brought up on the fun, entertaining media content, and they expect the same from their online lessons; otherwise, they lose interest. To keep these students engaged, create activities that are interactive, collaborative, and varied.
Incorporate polls or quizzes (using apps, or features available on some distance-learning platforms). Polls can be a fun way to find out about students’ prior knowledge or opinion of a topic. Polls can also be used to introduce a lesson, follow up after a lesson, or add interactivity to a lesson. Quizzes can be used for assessment, to reinforce lesson content, or just for fun. Students can also create quizzes for each other.
Provide opportunities for students to engage with one another. Split the classroom into smaller groups and have them enter breakout rooms for small group discussions. Alternatively, assign them collaboration activities, such as creating a slideshow that covers a specific topic (using a program like Google Slides), or working together to find a solution to a problem.
Add visual presentations, such as a short video you created, or a music video, to accompany your lecture. Integrate graphics and images into your lesson, including cartoons to add humor.
Next week we’ll discuss tip #7: Keep it short and snappy! If you watch a video together make sure it isn’t longer than 1-2 minutes. Texts should only be 1 or 2 paragraphs.