Tip #7 – Keep it short and snappy!

Today, in our series of “10 Tips for a Successful Synchronous Lesson,” we’ll be discussing Tip 7: Keep it short and snappy!

In the virtual classroom, it’s often hard for students to stay focused, and teachers have to compete with distractions in students’ homes. To keep students’ attention, lessons should include short, varied activities. If sharing a video, make sure it’s no longer than 1-2 minutes, and a text, just 1-2 paragraphs long.

Try to break up a lesson into small, easily digestible segments. This process, called “chunking,” helps students stay engaged. It also makes the information easier to understand, process, and commit to memory. When chunking a lesson, teach just key content; and try to break up the lesson with short, interactive activities, such as polls and quizzes. Online lessons are most effective when they incorporate interactive modes of learning.

Many activities take longer to set up and do online, so keep activities simple. Set time limits for tasks, so students don’t have to wait too long for others to finish. You might give students two minutes to list all the words they know on a topic, or five minutes to write three sentences summarizing a passage.

When assigning time-consuming tasks, such as writing assignments, have students do them for homework rather than during your synchronous lesson. During class, students can brainstorm ideas or discuss what they wrote.

With practice, you’ll discover the right combinations of tasks and activities to create effective synchronous lessons.

Join us next week, when we discuss Tip 8: Ask a question and give students a moment to prepare/write their answer in the chat.

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