Motivating High School Learners
Motivating online high school learners is the most challenging task for teachers and parents. This is particularly true for learners who haven’t been motivated for several years as well as those who are struggling. Such learners start exemplifying learned helplessness.
In such cases, learners consider themselves as failures and do not see any reason for bettering themselves. Students feel that they will not achieve any success. In this article, we explore ways teachers and parents can motivate students so as to make a difference.
Top 5 Ways of Motivating Students
1. Reward the Success of Learners
Learners aren’t robots, and they should be rewarded when they succeed. Praising assists in building self-confidence and self-esteem, which eventually assist in motivating learners to shift to the next assignment. If possible, you can introduce your students to work with their colleagues, which is important. This motivates students who need to do better in their studies and also provides praise to learners that you are using as examples. In contrast, be specific when giving negative feedback and avoid demeaning them.
The other way of motivating and rewarding learners is dangling the carrot in front of them. You can give them extra credit upfront. In case the students are engaged, and they are working on their projects or assignments always, you can give them 5 points extra credits for submitting as per the course schedule.
2. Allow Learners to Monitor their Progress
Some learners are frankly self-starters, self-motivated, and a joy to have in your classroom. Nevertheless, every individual is different, and you must ensure that you meet their needs. Teachers should realize that not all students are self-confident when they are working on new courses. Such learners might lack encouragement. Learning management systems such as Blackboard offer powerful assessment tools that are used to monitor the progress of learners. Tools such as these can assist in monitoring your students. This will, in turn, motivate them towards their program goals. These tools consist of assignments, group projects, blogs, and discussions, just to mention a few. All these have advantages and disadvantages, and there are many ways of using them.
3. Create an Open and Accessible Environment for Your Learners
Create online office hours so that you can keep your learners on task. Make sure that you are available to all your students for video conferences or chatting whenever they have an issue. Also, you should give the students a chance to call or text you. Many learners prefer texting to emailing their teachers when they have questions. It is the prompt nature of texts that has made them realize that with the current use of social media platforms, they can interact in a similar way over email. Be sure to make them email you regularly so that they can adapt. Also, you should give your students the freedom to decide what works for them well. Give the students timely feedback since so as to keep them motivated to continue working on their assignments.
4. Assists Learners Set Attainable Goals
Teachers and parents can motivate their students by giving them positive, early, and frequent feedback, which supports the beliefs of learners that they can do well in their studies. Provide students with opportunities that will contribute to their success, such as assigning them work that is neither too hard nor too easy. Try to set high but not expectations that are not realistic in their interactions and assessments. Avoid giving them a lot of busywork. By keeping them on task and avoiding busywork, you can make them motivated.
The other way of motivating learners is assisting them in setting achievable goals in their individual courses. You can do this by laying out approximated completion time for every assignment or project. Through this, there will be no unrealistic expectation of getting work accomplished without an appropriate amount of time or preparation on task. Additionally, tell your students what they require to do so that they can succeed. Students define success differently but providing them with clear expectations regarding what you expect for various levels of performance. This will enable them to work hard towards their course goals. Ensure that you point out areas that have trouble with them and continuously ask how you may be able to assist them. Learners can tell how you respond, whether or not you are happy about educating them.
5. Permit Learners to Take Part in the Creation of the Curriculum
Parents and teachers can also motivate their students may allowing them to have some say in what they will cover in their online class. You can ensure this while keeping structure. Prior to the start of the semester, you can ask your students what they would like to get out of their online class. Be sure to incorporate most of the topics that they recommend while ensuring that there is adequate theory as well as practice so as to meet the goals of the program or course. Ask your students about their views regarding course content.
When learners ask questions, do not just provide them with the solutions or tell them the answer but give them a hint on the right direction or answer with a question. Notably, this can frustrate some learners, but eventually, this will be very rewarding as soon as they understand that they get solutions to their own queries. Also, this is rewarding to teachers are they see the light come when their learners solve problems and learn.
Why Is Motivation Important In Online Learning?
Motivation has long been recognized as a key factor in student outcomes and is increasingly seen as being critical to the online environment. Students who are interested in and invested in their course topic will be more likely to participate fully including completing activities, interacting with the instructors and fellow students, contributing their own knowledge and content to the course, and doing well in assessment activities.
In the online environment, where students do not have the same opportunities to interact with instructors and fellow students as they would in a face-to-face setting, motivation is particularly important. Students are often responsible for their own learning, and providing them with resources that will help them to structure their time on the course, focus on key concepts, build upon what they already know, and enjoy using resources geared towards what interests them most can assist in building student engagement.
Motivation has also been found to be associated with students’ ability to plan their studies as well as their perception of the quality of online courses. In particular, students who find courses motivating may be more likely to attribute positive outcomes from participation such as increased knowledge and skills acquisition or enhanced self-esteem associated with success at university than those who feel less engaged.
Is Motivation Affected By The Online Environment?
Students may require additional stimulation or encouragement to participate in remote course activities without the physical presence of other learners. Learners’ experiences with technology also make a significant difference in whether they find it motivating or not; those who do not feel comfortable using technology would be less likely to engage in an online learning environment.
Furthermore, if students have had particularly negative educational experiences involving the use of IT in the past, such as failed attempts at using email or poor technology-based assessment results, these might impact their view of technology-based courses, and consequently their motivation for participating.
Different types of online course design can support or interfere with motivation development through the provision and manner of use of a range of resources. Courses that are highly structured with clearly defined learning goals and delivery pathways, high levels of interaction (such as synchronous communication) between students and instructors using different technologies such as chatrooms, forums or instant messaging may be more engaging than those that provide little structure or clear direction to participants.
Aspects relating to student identity may also influence the level of engagement; these include terms used in the classroom such as labeling learners as ‘students’ instead of ‘learners’ which might make online courses feel more like an educational institution than informal learning environment.
Other factors which play a role in the development of students’ motivation for online learning include environmental influences such as attitudes towards technology, financial constraints, and personal circumstances. There is also evidence to suggest that courses can be designed to support student self-regulated learning styles and thus contribute to more effective motivational processes by helping learners to frame their own goals for participation and providing resources that match their preferred strategies for working.
Online course design is influenced by student motivation. A number of ideas on how online courses can meet the motivation needs of individuals include matching learning activities with their preferred style of working e.g. visual learners preferring podcasts or videos; providing tools like forums that allow them to express opinions or ask questions; provision of invitations for very short writing tasks, such as 60 seconds worth, which may give students a sense of success from small achievements; setting up discussion board topics in advance to stimulate discussion and feedback so that students see the benefit of participation from an early stage.
In conclusion, the key to success in motivating your online learners is building engagement activities and motivation activities in your curriculum. Nevertheless, don’t lose sight of the class’s major goal, which is teaching learners. Studies show that good instruction practices do a lot in countering learner boredom than efforts of attacking motivation in a direct way.
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