How many times have you logged onto a Moodle course, MOOC or another online learning platform excited to learn and ready to engage, only to be met with a droning, worse-than-the-librarian-monotone voice that is dully walking through the text for the on-screen slides? This is a painfully common experience and one that definitely contributes to learner dropout and disengagement. Susan Smith Nash has recently posted about this issue and provides several great tips about how you can consciously use your voice to better engage students in your Moodle course.
Click here to see the eleven tips in full. In summary, they are:
- Know your audience – if you’re speaking to youth, speak to youth. If you’re intended audience is C-level executives, use an appropriate tone (but don’t be boring!)
- Be confident at the start – warm yourself up if you have to, but don’t walk into an online class cold and expect students to wait around for you to become engaging.
- Speak clearly – slow down and speak in a strong voice that everyone can hear and easily understand.
- Know your material – if there are words you’re not sure of, learn them before the course. If there is new material, make sure you’ve mastered it yourself before getting up to teach.
- Vary your tone – as mentioned in the intro, avoid a monotone. That is, literally, white noise that can put people to sleep.
- Stay relaxed, casual and in the moment – learning can and should be fun. There is no reason, no matter the context, that you need to be uptight and nervous.
- Emphasize key material – intentionally call out and highlight important material or points with pauses or by varying your voice.
- Don’t read – reading your slides is PowerPoint death! Talk to the audience and look to them for feedback.
- Personalize the material – this may not be appropriate for all situations, but anytime you can make the material personal, you’ll make it human and more accessible.
- Stay on topic – digressions are fun when you’re enjoying a coffee with friends. When you’re in the classroom, stay on point and on topic.
- Variation – you don’t have to be a robot, vary your pace, tone, speech patterns, etc.
Susan also shared this video with speech coach Tracy Goodwin:
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What are your tips for engaging your learners by using your voice? Tell us in the comments below!