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How to Foster Adult Students’ Participation in Hybrid Classes

Whether classes are conducted online or in-person, getting learners to participate can be challenging. Hybrid classes prove a different kind of challenge. These allow learners to enjoy the convenience of online classes combined with the richer, more in-depth learning experience from in-person sessions. These hybrid classes generally involve students attending the main part of the class on campus or in a learning center. Instructors then give supplemental resources and activities online. Attendance for the main part of the class can be both in-person or online, as it is usually live-streamed through platforms such as Zoom or Global Classroom.

With this structure in mind, questions naturally arise on how to foster adult students’ participation in hybrid classes. We have some ideas on this that we’ll share below.

Fostering Adult Students’ Participation in Hybrid Classes: Ideas

1. Track student performance.

If you want to get adults participating, you must first know who needs the most nurturing! Keeping a close eye on how your students are performing will help give you insights into which students are already making an effort to participate actively and who are holding back. 

 When you know who needs a nudge, you can ensure that you don’t waste too much time on students who will gladly participate anyway.

2. Include engaging discussion.

While in-class games engage younger learners, adult learners become more engrossed in discussions. Many successful hybrid courses include a main segment of instruction. This segment is then followed by a class discussion where students can get their teeth into the key concepts online and offline.

Discussions should include students verbally making their points and other students putting questions forward. This model works well with adult learners as even introverted learners can feel comfortable putting questions forward either verbally or as a message in the online space.

3. Don’t overload each class.

It’s understood that students learning in person will generally be able to grasp concepts faster than those learning online. Therefore, to keep your hybrid courses balanced and students engaged, it’s important not to overload each class with complex ideas and concepts. Doing so can leave a portion of the students feeling confused or left behind.

To foster adult students’ participation in hybrid classes, they must believe that the course material will work for them whether they attend in-person or online. Their needs could even change from week to week, so balance is critical.

4. Require questions from online participants.

When students are in front of you, it’s easy to get them involved since you can pick anyone out at any time to ask them a question or get an opinion. However, it’s more challenging with those who are online.

 Requiring those learning online to ask questions will help keep them focused on the class content. In fact,  you can quickly build a dynamic where online students ask questions,  offline students answer, and then switch things up.

5. Make use of interactive elements.

Finally, it’s also a great idea to punctuate your classes with interactive quizzes from sites like iClicker and Kahoot. These are especially useful as online attendants can stay focused while in-person students can still easily enjoy the classes. Moreover, such activities are ideal for both introverted and extroverted students. After all, anyone can click answers on a screen!

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