How do I encourage/motivate my learners?

Keeping learners who are used to sitting in a classroom, engaged and motivated as they embark on online classes, and possibly independent learning, for the first time is a big challenge.

Yet, without face-to-face contact there is still a lot you can do to encourage and motivate your learners.

  1. YOU can make the difference!
    Monotony leads to disinterest and disinterest leads to a lack in motivation.
    Get creative in your lessons. Use imagery, charts, diagrams, music, audio, video and interactive features when at all possible. Suggest a movie that links to the topic that you are currently covering.
    Try to relate something relevant to what’s happening in the news and link it to your subject matter. This serves as a great introduction to a lesson as well.
  2. Get the learners involved
    Create two-way traffic, not one-way traffic.
    Make it clear to the learners that you expect them to be involved through posting comments and asking questions.
    Structure your lesson in such a way that you pose questions as well; these questions should either pique their interest or should be phrased in such a way that they demand an interactive answer.
    Compile worksheets (See: Teachers 1– Creative teaching methods from afar, point 5) ( that require learners to complete and hand in within a foreseeable time.
  3. Teach your learners to mind map and visualise topics
    Empower your learners with the skills of mind mapping (diagrams that display information visually) and visualising topics.
    Mind maps can be done with pen and paper or with an online mind mapping tool.
    They will soon realise how much easier it is to become acquainted with a concept and to make it their own with these visual aids they can draw up themselves. It also helps that there are no set rules of how this should be done.
    Once learners have mastered the concept of mind mapping and visualisation, this inevitably leads to sustained self-motivation and a sense of achievement.
  4. Provide timely and personalised feedback
    Where assignments are given timeous feedback is invaluable. This encourages and motivates learners as they can clearly see how much progress they have made.
    Include personalised and constructive feedback – a line or two should suffice – for each learner. This ensures that you do not lose the personal connection between the two of you. It will also make the learner feel that his/her work matters. It also provides a guideline to what they should concentrate on for the next assignment.
  5. Acknowledge challenges and offer incentives
    Don’t neglect to make your learners aware that you realise they are out of their comfort zone. Stay positive and reassuring. Remind them of the old saying ‘We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges’. Stay positive and reassuring.
    If you sense that a learner/your class is suffering from a lack of morale offer
    a small incentive. A fun incentive lifts morale and encourages learners to
    work with a goal, albeit playful, in mind.