How To Motivate Your Online Learners

Today it’s okay when students go online to learn. Now it seems perfectly normal when they use Internet resources for studies. However, when it comes down to learning resources available online, this doesn’t really mean just reading through Wikipedia pages or watching YouTube videos. By online learning resources we mean online courses offered by such popular online platforms like Edx, Khanacademy, Coursera, Udemy, Lynda, Pluralsight, Grinfer and many more. The rising popularity of eLearning platforms proved that virtual space is an excellent environment for learning and taking lessons online. But since online instructors are present in class only virtually, it can be tough in times to control and maintain the level of motivation of students. 

Do you remember an old saying – “you can take the horse to water but you cannot make him drink”? The same is with online students. Some can enroll in online courses but will never make it to the next level. Why? Because of the lack of motivation that they are experiencing. Motivating learners can be quite challenging but it is a worthy pursuit.

Many people have achieved great success due to their burning desire and strong determination. Obviously, if you want to excel in any field, then your motivation should help you to accomplish your goal. So, online instructors need to be aware of effective ways and techniques that help to motivate students and let them surpass their limits in learning.  

In this blog post, we’ll talk about some tricks that can help to keep online students motivated and engaged in the online learning process.

Use digital storytelling for establishing a social presence.

Online teaching can become more appealing to students through digital storytelling. Basically, this is all about teaching online through a variety of “new” and more advanced forms of digital narratives like web-based stories, interactive stories, hypertext, narrative computer games, audio or video podcasts. This can be also in a form of animated video narrations of the objectives that you would want to cover in your online lessons. This technique makes more striking output compared to putting those objectives in just some ppt slides.

Use digital technology intentionally.

Online teaching can become more motivational with the integration of new digital tools and new social media online communities. Since a new generation of online students is very much into technology, then conveying technology into your online teaching approaches is a good way to keep students’ level of curiosity and excitement. However, the trick here is to be able to recognize when technology is actually contributing to the educational process. And at what times technology is unnecessary and delivers no value to your content.

Use external resources.

Everything that you teach online doesn’t always have to be contained in the textbook. Using a lot of external additional resources can be fun. Some extra information can really encourage students to learn more and provide them with additional insights. Also, this technique will clearly show – you’re well informed and knowledgeable about the subject you teach. Online courses already proved themselves effective in providing up-to-date and relevant information regarding all kinds of skills. And this is gold in our present fast-paced economy. So, provide as much awesome content for reasonable amounts of money as you possibly can. Students surely will appreciate that.

Showing students how new information is similar to things they already know can provide an understanding of its practical application. The more connections were established, the greater the number of relationships the brain can make. Knowing how to learn does little good if you can’t get the info needed for launching the learning process. Therefore, it’s just as important to show where to get the right information and explain how to access it.

Maintain a level of motivation by keeping your lessons concise.

Be explicit and try not to overload a lesson with too much information. Obviously, you can take lengthy paragraphs and break them into bullet points. If you find an idea or concept complicated, try graphs or charts for making visual effects and keeping content more visually appealing. Images help to reinforce memories for most people. Some people do better remembering things they hear, while reading is the best way for others.

Some individuals have no problem comprehending information that is built lay-by-layer. This is just like building on history from past to present. Many others might find it easier to start with the result and then trace the connections back to their beginnings. By introducing both perspectives, information can often be seen in a greater context and easier to understand.

Login regularly.

Once you start to teach online you have to log in regularly to your eLearning school and you probably should plan at least five times a week to be along in your course. It doesn’t mean you have to log in all five days a week but you always have to buy that time to see what your students are up to. Try to set up at least a regular login schedule, so you’ll connect with your students on a regular basis. A positive experience shows that the most successful online instructors are those who persistently do follow-ups on their students’ progress.

Motivate students with personal feedback.

Try to keep the feedback personal like sending the voice or video version of the evaluation. This approach can actually help online learners to connect with you on a more personal level and continue studies with positive thoughts. Such feedback can motivate them to do more and better. Provide them positive feedback like “I really appreciate the great job that you just did.” Specifically, say what it is. When something goes wrong, tell them how they can do it better the next time. Let’s learn from it.

Add some fun to your teaching with even some unexpected twists.

Teacher is sitting at the table in classroom

Teach in such a way, so the learner will feel like they want to stick around and be engaged in the entire process till the end. As an example, you can play games like Would You Rather…, Just One, etc. There are several that could be adapted to what you are learning. 

Have online learners perform science experiments with you. Offer to try experiments with some stuff they most likely already have at home. Then students can discuss and share experiences with each other later in group discussions.

Launch engaging traditions.

This tradition can be anything from the joke or riddle of the day to the tricky math problem they can work on while waiting for other online learners to finish.

Offer personalized solutions.

The time, travel, and money trade-off allow for more innovations like coaching and follow-ups. This involves experiential learning, scenario-based learning, or 1-on-1 opportunities. Students like to view videos for homework and get personalized attention in the virtual classroom. Basically, it’s a very effective tool that provides time leverage and motivation.

Try gaming and simulation.

Woman with glasses of virtual reality

Gamification is a key that unlocks the door to motivation and keeps learners engaged. For example, you can try designing your eLearning materials in an interactive way to keep students focused on learning. Offer rewards for the completion of each chapter. Include quizzes as a necessary part for completing the course and achieving certification.

Build an online community.

Arrange such a community wherein people who are taking the same courses/eLearning can interact with one another and share their ideals/opinions within the community. The discussion method encourages a student to direct their thinking process towards the solution of a problem they can’t crack on his own. When everybody shares his/her knowledge and experiences, this helps for further clarification, as well as consolidation of learning content.

Motivate students by giving examples of how learning can make a positive impact on their future. Illustrate the way in which their grades can make or break their future. Regularly discuss with them their progress. If they are doing well, go ahead and praise them! If they are doing poorly – encourage them to do better. Promote an environment in which students discuss grades openly and compete against one another healthily.

Do not allow the less able students to suffer.

Discuss often the colleges and universities which success now could allow them to attend. The ones who are able or ambitious will be encouraged by this and excited to do even better at studies. And the less able students will hopefully strive to do better too. Eventually, they should feel keen to do better and catch up.

Teach self-direction.

Everyone feels a larger sense of accomplishment when you are able to do something all by themselves. Self-paced learning on its side generates a more collaborative environment, where learners share their thoughts through social learning, doubts, and ideas. This helps the learning flow between users instead of having just one person holding the knowledge and passing it to the rest.

Learning is about getting information in a way that allows you to remember it, comprehend it, and apply it. You also have to know where and how to get the information. But not everyone learns the same way. If you’re teaching people how to learn online, they have to know the ways to discover the methods that give them the best opportunity to remember, comprehend, and apply information for them personally.

Let them make their own decisions.

Obstacles will surely come in whatever we do but if we make our own decisions then we will carry it out with more conviction and we won’t blame anyone later on. It will build a sense of responsibility.

Just like Janis Joplin once said, “you are what you settle for”. The best people remain steadfast in the belief that our best days are ahead of them. So, paint the picture of what it will look like when they get there. Keep this picture up to remind your learners of their goals.

Motivate with a supportive way of teaching.

Use statements like “you can learn this”, “maybe you can try it this way”, “it’s your choice’, “if you learn this, you’ll increase your understanding”, etc. Phrasing comments and suggestions in the right manner gives the chance to students to evaluate and decide for themselves. It is a very effective way to boost their inner motivation to keep on learning more.

Don’t be too strict.

Online learners can be more intrinsically motivated if they have a say in how they are accomplishing a goal. Try not to make every learning activity a strict requirement.

Put emphasis on continuous learning.

Keep Learning written on rural road

Continuously invest in teaching methods and expanding/growing your expertise. The more you know, the more you can contribute to the success of what you are doing. The greater your competence, the more others will respect you and the effort you make. And, of course, with the rapid increase of information in this world, keeping up with new learning approaches is very important.


Sure thing, online learning with its interactive content, infographics, and hundreds of knowledge sources provides online learners with lots of lucrative options to absorb knowledge. And you can learn all kinds of useful skills today online. The truth is that there are so many other fun things to do online that students can get easily distracted. And when they see anything that shifts their focus of attention away from studies, they lose interest and concentrate more on that part towards which they got distracted. That’s where you need to know how to handle the situation and what efforts to put forward for motivating students to learn.

Motivate your students by measuring their activities and recognizing their progress made on your course. Try Leaderboards for your online course because it can be a fun way to drive competition. Make it fun and just keep on adding points to their basket every time they go through each level of the course with success. 

Motivation is required when students lose interest in learning. So, send some fun motivational messages to show your appreciation to them once your students have reached advanced levels. Openly reward students who are doing well and encourage others to work harder in order to get a public mention. Be inspirational because this is something that works well for boosting the level of excitement and motivation. Once students find the content you teach or your style of teaching inspirational, then learning will become an inseparable part of their life.


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