How to Make Your Lecture More Interactive and Engaging
Evelina Brown

Being a teacher is tough. Even more so during the global situation, we’re facing at the moment. Working as a teacher remotely, using different apps and tools to communicate with the classroom, you might have used quizmaker or something similar.

But, it doesn’t matter which grade or subject you teach, you have to maintain interest among your pupils or students. So, we’ve decided to provide some advice on how to make your lecture more interactive and engaging.

Encourage conversation

There are plenty of ways to encourage conversation in your classroom. It’s always good to start with ice-breakers at the beginning of each lecture. However, don’t stick with “How was your day?” for too long.

Change it up, use questions to get to know your learners more. Also, make sure that you decide who does the talking. If you decide to partner people up in your classroom, you should decide which partner gets to talk when. This way, you can even up the talk time.

There are three more things you can do. You can ask open-ended questions, you can wait longer for the responses of your learners, and you can try to spark some deep conversations. You can do this by asking meaningful questions such as:

  • Why is something important?
  • How does something work?
  • What is the meaning of something
You must leave your students some time to think about the answer. Just ask the question, and start doing something else while the learners discuss the question trying to find the answer. This way you get an impression of their understanding of key concepts.

Provide analytics

Educational data analytics, if used properly, can improve the learning outcomes in your classroom. Plus, providing the data makes your lectures more interactive and motivating, especially if you combine the data with questions about it.

It’s not about stating how much someone improved over a certain period, it’s also about asking them why they think it happened and how it happened. You can even use a sample of an opinion poll to show your learners how data can help them. When you provide data on how your learners acquire knowledge, you motivate them to learn.

Apart from motivation, you can also provide learning strategies and other sources that can impact the metacognitive factor of the learning. So, by giving the analytics about their learning, you can teach your learners how to learn. It’s interesting, and it’s extremely useful.

Introduce low-stakes polls, quizzes, and surveys

By introducing low-stakes polls, quizzes, and surveys, you can grasp what your learners understand. If they don’t understand something, you can work on it a little more, encourage a discussion on the topic, etc.

When you ask a question and your learners raise their hands, you can’t quite know if the ones that don’t have their hands up know the answer. Low-stakes polls, quizzes, and surveys ensure answers from all learners. These quizzes and surveys are a great online education tool.

Plus, you can come up with a code system where every learner gets to choose their code instead of their name. This way, you maintain their anonymity so the learners don’t feel embarrassed to answer in their unique manner.

Of course, there are online surveys you can create that don’t require learners to put their names in. Analyzing those surveys can help you present to your remote learners what they know and what they can improve on.

Also, using these short assessments promptly, and making them mandatory keeps the learners motivated to discuss the subject matter they don’t understand well, and maintains the learning continuity.

Use multimedia like video or audio clips

Learners are used to multimedia, and everyone prefers consuming content that isn’t explicitly written. It’s easier to learn that way because we have everything in audio or video, and we can create various associations to things in our minds.
Making a lecture more interactive and engaging for your learners means making interactive content. To do this, you can use different videos that you’ve recorded that supposedly stop at the time when the learners need to provide answers.

Or, you can try to put on a slideshow that’s easy to follow. It doesn’t matter whether you use something basic to switch photos and slides or the best free photo slideshow software in your classroom. They work because they’re enjoyable.

Encourage group discussion

Encouraging group discussions can be tricky if you’re teaching in a remote environment. Though you may already understand how to work remotely, your learners may not. People think that it’s the same as being in a physical classroom.

Unfortunately, remote learning has some setbacks regarding connectivity issues, the ability to mute yourself in a meeting, and the possibility to just pretend you’re listening to your teacher. These are serious flaws, but you can overcome them.

Most software we use for meetings or conducting lectures has the “raise hand” button/option. This does make everything easier, but it doesn’t make the lectures more interactive and engaging for everyone.

So, what you should do is encourage people to have a group discussion and help them break the ice. Start with the main question and steer the discussion in the right direction. If you feel that someone is straying from the topic, just ask another question that gets them back on track.

Don’t forget to listen to your learners, and try to include everyone in the discussion. Also, don’t panic if everyone is silent, try to push them to answer correctly. Finally, it’s quite important to be affirming and summarizing the answers of your learners.

Conclusion

Making an interactive lecture in online learning is not easy. However, you may engage your learners through encouraging conversation, offering different data on their learning track by using analytics, and by using short assessments.

Don’t forget to use multimedia in your classroom, a good slideshow or video can help a lot when teaching, and group discussions are the thing that can keep the lecture wheel spinning and make the time fly.