Increase Student Motivation and Engagement in Online Courses

By Admin

Across all institutions, grade levels, subjects and courses it’s a constant challenge to keep students engaged and motivated. There are some disadvantages to online courses, for instance, faculty may have trouble picking up on cues from students that indicate a lack of engagement or enthusiasm. Also, the anonymous feeling of the online course can make it easy for students to withdraw or participate minimally.
However, there are several advantages to online courses that can help make it easier to engage students in the learning process.
  1. The self-paced nature of eLearning allows students to fit the course around their schedule, making it less of a chore and stress on the student.
  2. Motivated students remain engaged with quizzes and interactive lessons that give them immediate feedback and help them keep up with their progress in the course.
  3. eLearning offers flexibility, interactivity and creativity for students and teachers alike. There are several different ways to create engaging experiences for learners.
There are also many different ways to design your eLearning courses to obtain maximum engagement from your students.
  1. Use imagery, video, audio and interactive features to create an engaging design for your course materials and web pages. 
  2. Use video to create an introduction to the course content and other exciting course topics
  3. Involve role-playing and the use of maps and data sets to integrate your materials around a central topic.
  4. Asking students for their input on class topics, assignments and projects can allow them to feel like they have a voice and can be a part of choosing what material they will get to learn
  5. Create assignments that students must complete before they can proceed in the course
  6. Use a discussion board to create a sense of community within the course and promote active engagement. 
Using any number of these tips and tricks will help you design a course that fits the needs of your students while also creating an interesting and motivating environment for learning!


Along with creating a motivating course environment, there are some things that instructors can do to promote engagement within the course as well. Instructors must create explicit course and activity goals so students will feel motivated to put effort into the course when they see that the course goals are worthwhile. They should also clearly communicate work and learning expectations at the beginning of the course, preferably in video format. Another important tool is to have a detailed syllabus with assignment information and schedules, advice for completing the work and all important quiz and test dates so the students know what to expect and gain from the course. It is also beneficial to have a consistent timetable for the work due each week so the deadlines are predictable and students can prepare effectively.
Communication is another important factor to keep students engaged in an eLearning course. They need to know that the instructor is available to answer questions, help with course material and is genuinely interested in seeing them excel in the course. As an instructor, choose a communication tool that your students prefer and use it, aiming for frequent contact with the students each week. Also, encourage personal interactions by getting the students in the course to share information about themselves with the other classmates. This gives them a bit of an icebreaker and allows them to form bonds with other students that are taking the course.
Some critics are quick to list all of the disadvantages that come with online learning but the truth is, it can be as effective as classroom learning. It allows for students to learn on their own time, which gives them more motivation to do the work and get excited about their success. Just because they are behind a computer screen does not mean they are automatically less engaged in the material they are learning. They just have to be given the right tools to stay motivated and reach their goals.