How To Reach Online Learners Smartly

How To Engage Online Learners
Summary: Reaching out to online learners seems to be a challenge because apparently, the learners can hide behind technology. But, experienced online teachers often claim that it is easier to capture the attention of the learners while conducting an online class.

Engaging Your Existing Online Learners

In her article [1], Dayna Christians mentions that there are ways in which an online teacher can reach out to their students more promptly than perhaps in a physical environment. Dayna argues that people might assume technology is a hindrance when it comes to one-to-one classes, but on the contrary, it can be an advantage. If you can use the technology effectively, then one can actually have a higher level of learner engagement than any physical classroom environment.

So, what are the tricks of the trade?

Minero (2020), in her extensive article on this matter [2], stresses two main aspects of teachers’ behavior during a live class session and recorded video session.

Catchy Introduction Video 

Modern online learners are addicted to interesting videos. Simple and yet personal introduction videos to courses can not only be a great advertisement for your online course but also help set the tone for learners.

Dayna believes that 2-5 minutes of short introduction videos will be enough to grab the attention of learners.

Live Discussion Sessions 

Minero (2020) shares the value of discussion sessions amongst the learners. According to her, a successful way of engaging students is to allow them to participate in live discussions.

So, instead of the teacher constantly talking and making it a one-way process, it is vital that the learners also equally participate. The writer believes that encouraging the students to communicate online will create a sense of community within the digital academy and as a result, they will be more involved in the learning process.

Sometimes you can break your Zoom session into smaller rooms and allow students to interact and brainstorm amongst themselves, and then later present in the main room in front of the teacher and the other students. This kind of activity will keep the online learners on the edge of their seats, and they will not assume it to be a laid-back kind of scenario.

Tracking Student Performance 

Keeping a close eye on the progress of each and every student becomes much easier in an online learning environment. If you are using a good online teaching platform, then it will allow you to monitor the progress achieved by each and every student.

  • You will learn which students are actually watching your online course video and for how long. You will get to detect whether they have watched it till the end or have left halfway through.
  • You can also check to see when they watched the video, so you will learn whether they have watched it immediately or not.
  • And obviously, there will be quizzes and individual results you can check and track.

All this monitoring will enable you to understand which of the learners are really progressing and which ones need special attention. In this way, you can chalk out new plans and methods to engage the learners who are not fully engaged with the curriculum.

Without this tracking process, you will not know which of the students might leave your course in the future. Online teachers often feel blinded when it comes to sudden student disappearances or the lack of new registrations from the current pool of learners.

This kind of tracking will allow them to understand learners’ psyches, and on the basis of this assessment, they can devise strategies to make the uninterested students interested in the program.

Constant Feedback And Chat Support 

The teacher’s availability is also another crucial aspect in determining the overall success of your online academy. The students take more interest in your courses when you take more interest in them.

This is, in a way, a cyclic process. When students know that you are available as a teacher, they will feel more connected to the courses. They will get to know the human side of an online teacher, which is often a challenge when it comes to just online video lectures.

Moreover, small feedback in the form of written notes or video clips can also do the trick. You can directly send them to their emails or can post them on the discussion board of your online academy.

Keeping the students engaged is very crucial for the success of your online academy. Retaining your existing students can do magic to your online course sales figures. A proper student engagement strategy can create a good vibe in your online academy, and as a result, your students will keep coming back for more.


[1] 3 Strategies for Engaging Students in Online Courses

[2] 8 Strategies to Improve Participation in Your Virtual Classroom

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