From 2019 until now, I’ve been helping a fast-growing EduTech startup in Indonesia namely RevoU to teach their students about Content Marketing.
Since Feb 2021, I’ve decided to join the company full time, to build the in-house content marketing team while continuing to become one of the instructors for their full-stack digital marketing program.
Teaching online is not an easy task, especially when you have 50+ students. It requires a lot of practice and creative thinking to make sure the class is fun and engaging, but at the same time, people learn something from it.
As Richard Feynman says “Students don’t need a perfect teacher. Students need a happy teacher, who’s gonna make them excited to come to school and grow a love for learning.“
In this post, I’m trying to break down all the learnings and share with you 8 short but practical tips on how to level up your next online class session. Let’s jump to the point!
#1 Always simplify your language and terminology
Things that we always do on a day-to-day basis (as a lecturer or instructor) might seem “simple” and self-explanatory to us, but not to others, especially when they are learning it for the first time.
Explain it in a more structured way, use simple and relatable examples, and always check if everyone understands.
#2 Personalize your approach to the students
Try to give some personalized approach to the students to let them know that you are here to help them, not just to complete your task.
For me, 1 day before the class, I message the students one by one to say hi, to introduce myself and to let them know that I’m super excited to meet them..
This will take less than 30 sec of your time but will give a huge motivational boost to your students.
Be very explicit that your role here is to help the students and to learn from one another.
#3 Make Small Quiz, Games & Ask Questions
“To teach is to learn twice” – Joseph Joubert
Once you are done explaining one theory of concept, test your students’ understanding with a small quiz or game.
We will understand more when we can explain what we learn.
Teaching is about two ways of communication, ask your students to share their opinions. Embrace and appreciate different points of view.
#4 Learn to tell small jokes & laugh with your students
“Monkey See, Monkey do”
When your students see you laugh and have fun during the class, indirectly they will replicate your energy and enjoy your class more.
The more they enjoy your class, the more they will learn from it.
#5 Learn to openly receive & give constructive feedback
Proactively ask for feedback from students / the class manager: a) what went well? & b) what can be done better?
In the next class session, thank them for sharing their feedback and make some adjustments based on the given input.
When you are giving feedback to your students, make it super explicit that it is because you care for their growth. If the feedback is hard, do it in private.
Give detailed explanations + examples. Also, share your thoughts on how you can help them to improve.
#6 Celebrate wins & learnings
Whenever your students do something good when presenting their task, sharing their opinions, asking questions, or complimenting others, make sure they know that you notice that and celebrate it.
A simple one is by saying: “Nice one!”; “That’s a good question”; “Thanks for doing it!”
#7 Set up your environment
The students will interact with you using their laptops or smartphones. They will only see your face & hear your voice through an online meeting.
Make sure they can see you & hear your voice. Few things you can do:
Set your camera on the same level as your eyes. Not too high, not too low.
Make sure you have good lighting. Don’t sit behind a too-bright light, as this might cause backlight.
If possible, invest in a good microphone. If not, make sure you use your headphones.
#8 Share extra learning sources
Whenever you find a good Book/ Article/ Video/ Audio that you think will help the students grow, do share it with them and give a short explanation of what they can learn from it.
At the end of the day, our role as a teacher/ instructor is to help our students to learn something new & enjoy the learning process. Regardless of the situation (offline or online) we need to always find a way to make the learning process more enjoyable for the students!