Five Top Practices in Managing Online Breakout Rooms

Managing Online Breakout Rooms

The reality of learning at the moment comes as a very different prospect to what students and teachers got used to two years ago. Students can rely on the internet and digital devices to check the and base their entire study online. It’s a reality that has become more prominent since the onset of the global health pandemic. So students depend on attending online breakout rooms instead of physical classes to get taught.

Breakout rooms that prove productive can provide students with a different choice and voice in the class and outside. However, learning virtually comes with its constraints as the instructor typically talks more when facilitating a lesson.  Therefore, students can find it difficult to engage and participate in this type of environment.  But having breakout rooms can improve the situation; instructors can use the breakout rooms to enhance student engagement and differentiate instructions besides providing learners with an extra choice and voice compared to the typical classroom. 

So how can we improve the learning experience using this videoconferencing feature?

Top Practices in Managing Online Breakout Rooms

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The online breakout room can help students enhance their learning and collaboration with their peers during learning. It can either be through hybrid or purely virtual learning. Managing the online breakout room, however, comes with its challenges. Therefore to get started, consider these best practices.

  • Set processes and straightforward expectations for students
  • Plenty of K-12 students prove unfamiliar with breakout rooms. Therefore, as an educator, try and set ground rules regarding etiquette. You can then share these rules with the entire class. It can include unmuting mics, contributing to class discussions, asking and answering questions, etc.  
  • Provide students with sufficient time for reflection. Allow and encourage your students to reflect on their experiences virtually collaborating. It can help them interact better, build their critical thinking and communication skills, and make them more productive. As an educator, you can also adopt the Douglas Fisher partner chat rubric to model and foster meaningful learner reflection during virtual learning.   
  • Encourage students to use personalized learning approaches. It becomes possible to use the online breakout room in adapting your teaching instructions to suit a virtual environment. For example, personalize the learning process by providing students with an option of joining a specific breakout room suitable to their learning style and needs. You can do this by creating choice doors in the breakout rooms, which will allow students an easy way to pick what breakout room to enter.
  • Incorporate digital apparatuses to enhance learner engagement. You can use diverse graphic organizers besides applications like Pear Deck, Nearpod, Jamboard, etc., to increase engagement in the breakout room. It also ensures easy and real-time tracking of student collaboration. One excellent approach would entail assigning a unique Jamboard page to every breakout room where students can work together.
  • Avoid becoming a perfectionist. Learn to avoid letting your fears of not proving present in each breakout room control you.

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If you want to manage your virtual breakout room effectively, try and adopt the highly-rated strategies discussed. You will get surprised by what they can do to the learning process.