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Planning and Delivering Virtual Synchronous Learning to Engage Learners Effectively

Date: 16 Sep 2022, Friday | Time: 1120 - 1250 | Track Type: Main Conference Workshop | Format: Face-to-face | Venue: Seminar Room L1-S3, Academia 

Speakers: Mr Ong Boon Kiat Gary, Ms Nur Suhaila Binte Ishak, Ms Latashni D/O Gobi Nathan, Ms Naeemah Binte Mohamed Isahak & Ms Siti Nurkiah Binte Mohd Amin


We observed that many online teaching sessions are carried out by simply transplanting their content slides onto the virtual meeting platform, while learners are left to juggle work and learning simultaneously. This is a common misconception and our workshop seeks to offes best practices to teach and learn effectively during synchronous learning.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way mainstream education is being delivered in person. In order to maintain continuity of learning, many faculty and learners have had to pivot rapidly to virtual platforms by altering existing structures and content of lessons.  However, this direct transplantation of materials may neglect important considerations regarding the use of online learning and teaching.

Faculty members must be able to recognise the advantages of online platforms. There is potential to provide widely available access to other faculty members and learners across different geographical boundaries and time zones. Furthermore, the costs of online learning may be significantly lower compared to a physical class. 

Despite its advantages, one important challenge in employing online teaching platforms is the inability to engage learners consistently throughout the lesson. Learners may be disengaged due to other environmental distractions and other online applications, including social media. The Community of Inquiry (COI) framework [1] suggests that the faculty must consider the 3 domains of teaching, social and cognitive presence during online teaching, in order to thoughtfully design online education (cognitive) and help students learn through active participation (teaching) and shared meaning-making (social). With regard to instructional model, Gagne’s nine events of instruction [2] will be useful to guide faculty to develop effective teaching materials and follow-up on their learning through feedback, assessments and knowledge retention strategies. 

Additionally, we will also share examples of digital tools to participants, to facilitate discussions online and keep learners engaged.

In summary, this workshop promises the sharing of a practical online learning framework, and effective lesson instructional model and virtual engagement tools to promote sustained interactions between the faculty and learners in a virtual classroom. 

[1] Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

[2] Al-Eraky MM. AM last page. Robert Gagné's nine events of instruction, revisited. Acad Med. 2012 May;87(5):677. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318250e01d. PMID: 22531595.

Learning Outcome(s):

By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify differences between a physical, hybrid and virtual learning classroom.
  • Identify factors that are important to consider for a virtual classroom. 
  • Practice drafting a lesson plan based on the Community of Inquiry framework and Gagne’s nine events of instruction. 
  • Recall range of digital engagement tools available.

Target Audience:

All healthcare educators who are interested in teaching in a virtual classroom.


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