When it comes to learning a language, a lecture-based approach is far from optimal. Especially if you’re teaching classes online. Based on my experience of teaching English as a second language in higher education, I noticed that adding more interactive and fun activities improves students’ motivation and contributes to better performance. In times of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a shift to an online learning environment, it has become even more obvious.

Having Kahoot! as part of our classes has received a really warm welcome from my students. Here’s how Kahoot! has helped me to energize online classes and increase engagement:

Assess language knowledge in an interactive way

Students are put into different classes depending on their language level, but even within the same level, skills can vary. It’s important for me as an instructor to see where they really stand, as a class and individually. I’ve been using Kahoot! as a way to pre-assess their language knowledge. The analytics from Kahoot! reports help me to plan future lessons and assessment. I would highly recommend this particularly for students at a beginner level.

A question in one of Eman’s ESL kahoots

With various question types in Kahoot!, I can easily create learning games focused on grammar, vocabulary, reading understanding, and writing (type answer and open-ended questions are particularly helpful.)

From quick pulse-checks to collaborative problem solving

During classes, Kahoot! works great to captivate attention and do quick pulse-checks. A few times during an online class, I ask a couple of questions to see if students understand and remember new material. It’s a great tool for teachers to keep track of students’ progress and align it with the intended learning outcomes.

I’ve also observed that students respond really well to their classmates’ explanation of why the answers were wrong. So, playing Kahoot! helps us initiate a discussion, solve problems as a group and practice critical thinking.

Give students ownership of the learning process

ESL classes take up a lot of time on our college’s program. This is why I’d like to make sure my students are getting maximum value out of it. When I start my lesson, I ask students which topics or skills they’d like to focus on first. By using Kahoot! poll or word cloud questions, I gather student feedback that helps in evaluating their learning interests and progress.

Also, as a way to flip our online classroom and give students more ownership, I invite them to contribute their question to Kahoot!. Students share their own perspective on specific topics, and knowledge sharing between peers is a powerful way to improve their language skills.

I hope my experience will inspire other ESL teachers to incorporate Kahoot! into their instruction, in class or online.

Learn more about Kahoot! for higher education and get started today!