A synchronous blended learning is a type of strategy that uses both traditional and online learning methods while studying with a group. There is another type of blended learning called asynchronous. It allows the learner to choose their own pace in the learning process. As you can see, it is the opposite of synchronous learning where the learning process happens with a group and the instructor is present in real time.
While in a traditional learning environment, engaging the students will not be much of a problem. It is easy to shift strategies in case the instructor realizes that the learning experience is not going as expected. But once the learning happens online, it is harder to see if the learners are already getting bored and not feeling engaged with the lesson. This is why you need to implement certain strategies that will keep the lesson interesting and engaging.
Here are some tips that will help you keep the engagement level up when the blended learning goes online.
- Change the learning experience often. There are many ways to do this. Implementing different activities is one. You can spend a few minutes with a slideshow and then shift to videos to get important concepts across. You can also include activities that will make the learners interact and work with each other. Changing the experience every 4 to 5 minutes should keep the level of engagement high.
- Be clear on how you want them to respond. Sometimes, learners hesitate to interact because they do not know how to go about it. Make sure this is clearly discussed at the start of the lesson. Are they allowed to interrupt the lesson? Or will every section end with a few minutes of discussion when everyone is free to share their thoughts and opinions? This will prompt them as to when they are allowed to speak their minds and will keep order when it is needed.
- Give them a moment to shine. Let the learners take part in the teaching process. This will not only increase the level of engagement, it will also prompt them to explore concepts that they can share with the group. It will encourage them to do their own research. It is also a great way for the instructor to see if they understand the lesson well.
- Fill dead airs with activities. These can be poll questions, videos or other elements that will keep the learners tuned into the online blended learning course. There are a couple of gap between discussions as you wait for everyone to complete each phase. You need to make sure that the fast ones are kept entertained and will not wander off to check their email or social media accounts.
- Have someone act as the support. This is very important because it leaves the instructor free to focus on the learners. Someone should be available to take care of the technical issues that may arise. For instance, someone should be in charge or resolving issues like defective videos or buttons. It will keep the instructors and other learners from being distracted.
Following these tips will really give your synchronous blended learning experience a boost. You want the learners to enjoy the process so they can fall in love with the concept of learning. This will encourage them to pursue more in the future.
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