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I recently was asked to provide an international webinar for Cambridge University Press on how to encourage engagement during online digital learning sessions. I received some positive feedback from the organisers and attendees so I thought I would share the activities and ideas with you in a series of blog posts and videos.

In this post I’ll share how I use the emojis in the chat. Let’s face it – everyone loves an emoji! 😉

Using emojis in chat

Most online learning platforms such as Zoom and TEAMs, have an online chat function. If we have decided to deliver a LIVE online session then we need to develop ways in which to encourage the participants to engage with what we are discussing and to share their thoughts and opinions about this.

One way which I do this is to use the emojis which are readily available. Always remember that there is a delay between your question and the learners reply while teaching online – more about that in the second post of this series which will look at asking questions. Anyway – back to emojis! 

Agree or Disagree

It is important that we start to engage with the learners so that they can express their opinions and emojis can be used quite easily here. By assigning two emojis, one for agree and one for disagree, learners can show what they think in the chat. This will also allow you to see quite visually the overall opinion of the group you are teaching. By stating beforehand that you will be asking them to support their answer, you can then un-mute individual’s microphones so that they can contribute.

Emoji Likert Scales

Sometimes the response we want is not easy to define into two options. This is where emoji likert scales can be used. Starting with a statement, which is usually shared on the screen, learners post in the chat how much they agree or disagree with it. They do this by using the emojis as a likert scale, five (😍😍😍😍😍) being strongly agree and one (😮) being strongly disagree. It would be possible to allow the participants the opportunity to choose their own emoji at this point. The responses also allow you to engage with the overall results in your own dialogue or by encouraging individuals to contribute.

Multiple statements

There are times when we want participants not to engage with one statement but with a series of statements. By providing these on a slide and then assigning an emoji to each one, participants can choose the statement they agree with the most or disagree with, or even start to place them in some sort of order. The visual aspect of this again, means that you can start to engage with the responses.


I hope these have provided some ideas for you to promote the engagement of participants within your online sessions.

If you have any questions and/or comments then please do add them below.

Next post in this series will look at effective questioning in our online sessions.

Categories: General

1 Comment

Promoting Engagement - Questions and Answers - · July 7, 2020 at 4:00 pm

[…] might have missed: Promoting Engagement – Questions and Answers Promoting Engagement – Using Emojis Are we Robot proof? What new learning? Live Stream: Supporting children with SEND Learning […]

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