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August 16, 2022

5 Strategies for Keeping Students Engaged While Tutoring Online

Educators and tutors alike struggle to keep students engaged while tutoring online, especially when students may have increasing distractions in their environments that make it more difficult for them to focus on learning. Younger learners, in particular, may struggle to maintain concentration during a virtual tutoring session.

One-on-one virtual tutoring platforms like Pear Deck Tutor (formerly TutorMe) can help make it easier for tutors to engage students. When used in conjunction with tutoring best practices, you can capture students' attention and keep them centered around the learning process in your tutoring sessions. Read on to learn five essential strategies to boost student engagement and learning.

1. Use live audio and video chat to engage students

Live audio and video helps approximate the face-to-face interactivity and engagement of in-person learning. As a result, it can help many students feel as though they are actively working side-by-side with a tutor.

As a tutor, you should take advantage of the video and audio chat capabilities to increase overall student engagement in several ways:

  • Convey enthusiasm through body language and tone. Remember that your appreciation for your subject can help influence students to show the same high level of engagement.
  • Pay attention to student engagement levels. Watch their body language. Students who are very distracted may lean away from the screen, while students who are disengaged or disinterested may show obvious signs of boredom or frustration with the process.
  • Tailor your tutoring approach and communication to specific student needs.

Video and audio chat are some of the best tools in your toolkit for genuinely connecting with your students.

2. Leverage interactive learning tools

Learning tools are designed to make the learning process easier and more engaging for students and tutors, particularly in a virtual environment.

Pear Deck Tutor's Lesson Space has a number of collaborative learning tools specifically designed to help engage students and provide them with a higher overall level of interaction with the subject material at hand.

  • Virtual whiteboards can make it easier to work through problems and concepts together. Students can drop their assignments directly onto the virtual whiteboards and use drawing and text editing tools to collaborate in real time with their tutor. Alternatively, students and tutors can use the virtual whiteboards as a blank canvas for a more freeform method of collaboration.
  • Screen sharing allows you to see how students work through problems and concepts or show them how you might walk through a specific type of problem.
  • Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides make collaboration easier than ever. With these platforms, you can effortlessly collaborate on a variety of problems in real time, from financial forecasting to short answer questions.
  • Scientific calculators ensure that students don't have to remember to bring their tools with them to a tutoring session—and that they don't have to purchase an expensive scientific calculator to get their work done.

Using these interactive learning tools can help create a real-time learning environment that's dynamic and engaging for you and your students.  

3. Be transparent

As you work with your students, offer a high degree of transparency regarding their progress. You want your feedback to be positive and encouraging, but you also want students to know what they still need to accomplish.

Transparency helps build trust. When you're transparent with students, they will, over time, develop a higher level of trust in you since they know you will hold them to high standards and judge their progress fairly.

Offer constructive feedback on areas where students need to grow, including the tools that can help encourage them to take their learning to a higher level. With that level of transparency, you can help them excel, both with you and on their own.

4. Inject humor into the session where appropriate

People tend to respond more to information when it's presented in a humorous or amusing way. Students, for example, may be more likely to remember the news when it's delivered with humor.

Find ways to integrate humor into your lessons. Tell jokes. Share anecdotes. Use visual humor, including memes, pictures, and content, to help create a learning environment that helps increase overall comprehension and retention.

However, always use humor that's respectful, age-appropriate, and lighthearted. Use your best judgment on whether a student would respond favorably to comedic relief and if a situation calls for it.

5. Get personal

Students feel more engaged when they feel like you're more of a helpful peer than an educator, parent, or authority figure. Make your sessions personal whenever possible. That may mean using their first name when interacting with them. Using a student's first name in conversation can make them more receptive to the information you're presenting, increase their sense of connection with you, and even make it more likely they will retain the information.

You may also want to check in with students about how their days have gone, what they've been learning in their other classes that interests them, or even their hobbies and activities to help create that deeper personal connection.

Pear Deck Tutor's one-on-one live format makes personalizing academic support easy. With live audio and video, a private Lesson Space, and screen sharing, you can get more personal with your students, providing them with the tools they need to thrive.

Are you engaging your students effectively?

Pear Deck Tutor has all the tools you need to engage students and interact with them throughout their lessons, from virtual whiteboards to audio and video chat that allow you to connect more personally with your students. With these key strategies, you can help enhance student engagement and provide them with better learning opportunities.

Student demand is booming on our platform, and we're constantly on the lookout for top tutors to join our community. Apply now to become an expert tutor on Pear Deck Tutor!


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Jimmy Brown

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