Many of the advantages of conventional training, including quick feedback and direct group collaboration, are available with synchronous learning, without the drawbacks of on-site instructors. To get the most out of your synchronous learning experiences, you must design an effective synchronous learning approach that allows you to take advantage of the many tools, approaches, and technologies available today.
On the other hand, reality can be quite different. Several issues are expected to arise. The trainer utilizes a whiteboard, but the illustrations are delayed by several seconds. Learners ask questions, but they also experience unsteady screens and frame pauses, which affect the pace of learning, the quality of group discussion, and overall learning and training efficiency. Before we get into the effective steps for engaging learners in synchronous learning, let’s first understand why synchronous learning is important.
Why Does Synchronization Matter And How Can You Get It?
Virtual learning presents a challenging use case for real-time engagement because of the large number of participants and the spread-out locations. Trainers and learners are required to participate in this environment at the same level as in-person instruction in a virtual interactive environment. If technology disrupts a trainer’s plans, managers will immediately dismiss the platform as inappropriate. The number of customers using a developer’s solution will gradually decline once those features become known for being out of sync.
Effective online learning requires a consistent experience with no distracting lags across video, audio, chat, smartboard, document sharing, and other elements. As a result, synchronization is a top requirement for an online learning system. Effective virtual learning is dependent on the level of experience you show. If your components are out of sync, your platform will be worthless.
To get the most out of your synchronous learning experiences, you must design an effective strategy for synchronous learning that allows you to leverage the several tools, approaches, and technologies available today.
Steps For Getting Learners To Engage In Synchronous Learning
- Prepare An Agenda And A Set Of Discussion Topics For Learners Ahead Of Time
Learners will be more at ease if they understand what to expect from an online conferencing session. Learners that require more time to process the discussion topics will have more time if instructors offer them ahead of time. Similarly, learners who are nervous and unwilling to engage in real-time conversation should prepare some talking points ahead of time so that they feel comfortable engaging.
- Create A Manual That Learners Can Use To Stay On Track
When taking a synchronous course or attending a live event, it is essential to provide learners with a manual or comprehensive outline that they can use to stay on task. For that purpose, you might want to create a companion manual that learners can either download or watch instantly online, so they know exactly what to expect from the synchronous course. This also helps learners to stay motivated to learn because they will know what knowledge or skills they will gain from the experience. In this manual, make sure to mention the expectations and goals to be met.
- Avoid Excessive Passive Learning In An Online Synchronous Course
Passive learning is instructor-centered, learners have limited involvement. It assumes that the instructor is an expert in their topic and that their goal is to transfer knowledge to their learners, who subsequently internalize and remember the information. As a result, the most prevalent passive learning methods include direct instruction, lectures, watching videos, assigned readings, and storytelling with little learner interaction.
Understanding the limitations of passive learning is essential because synchronous online learning demands a different approach. To keep your learners engaged in synchronous online learning, you should spend more time using active learning. Instead of focusing primarily on lectures, make an effort to spend time conversing with your learners.
- Make Use Of A Variety Of Groupings
Allowing learners to work in varied group configurations or independently helps them to get more focused assistance, learn socially, and spend more time diving deeper into customized information at their speed. Groupings include whole-group learning, small-group time, one-on-one check-ins with individual learners, and asynchronous or independent learning sessions within synchronous learning, in which participants focus on their projects and assignments. Breakout groups can be formed at random, by learners, or more deliberately before the session to provide additional support to learners at similar stages of material progression.
- Incorporate Activities For Group Collaboration
One of the most important benefits of synchronous learning environments is the ability to use group collaborative exercises. These collaborative group activities allow learners to benefit from their colleagues’ experiences, even if they are on the other side of the world, and to become active participants in their learning process. Create examples for the group to work through together, urge them to discuss possible solutions via live chat or discussion boards, or ask them to express their thoughts on a certain course on social networking sites.
- Encourage Learners To Provide Feedback
Feedback from your learners is the most valuable resource you have for improving your synchronous learning technique to engage them in a better way. So, at the end of the synchronous learning experience, why not invite them to share their ideas and provide feedback via a learner survey or questionnaire? Ask about their entire experience and whether they believe they learned from it. Tell them that their feedback is valuable and that it will help you fine-tune your synchronous learning technique in the future.
- Ask Questions To Create A Good Discussion To Keep Learners Engaged
It takes time and effort to ensure that your synchronous learning is dynamic and engaging, and question-based learning is one of the best ways to do it. Your learners are most likely accustomed to the conventional setting and have been trained to sit passively while you teach. On the first day of the session, emphasize the necessity of active engagement with your learners. Assure them that active participation is important and that each learner will be expected to participate frequently throughout the course.
As an instructor, you must prepare questions that will stimulate conversation before the session begins. If you demonstrate early on that questions are an essential element of the synchronous learning experience, your learners will become less passive and more engaged in your sessions.
- To Increase Engagement, Design Online Tutorials Or Scenarios
If you have real-world examples of difficulties that you can incorporate into your synchronous course design, you might want to think about incorporating online scenarios and walkthroughs that the learners can use during the session. If you are training someone on how to use a point-of-sale system, you can create a tutorial that demonstrates how to use the system remotely. Then, learners will have the option to immediately ask queries and clarify any confusion.
As we lack physical proximity to learners, it is natural to assume that we must create virtual and distant learning experiences in a fundamentally different way than in-person training. Synchronous video lessons can be personal, interactive, and engaging when appropriately designed. They aid in establishing spontaneity and social engagement, responding to learner inquiries quickly, highlighting and demonstrating problem-solving techniques, or carrying out specific tasks that profit from synchronicity, like some forms of group solving problems and collaborative partnerships.