appreciation, recognition, bots, slack, microsoft teams,

Praise may be the key to student success with distance learning

Stas Kulesh
Stas Kulesh Follow
Sep 10, 2020 · 6 mins read
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The way we teach students has gone through a sudden change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It might feel like students have it easy; they can roll out of bed 2 minutes before class starts. But you? You walked 5 miles uphill both ways in the snow (do not worry, we believe you). However, distance learning comes with its own list of challenges, and students are expected to make the change with almost no transition period.

Most of us have been given little or no time to work out the bugs in distance learning, and it is affecting teachers and students alike. One of the most common complaints from students is that they struggle to find the motivation to attend class and do the work required. Who could blame them? Their structured educational environment was removed and their new classroom has fun distractions like a TV, game console, and Netflix. Stressors they once got a break from, like nagging parents, is also a part of their new classroom.

How can we help our students be successful?

Most of us have been given little or no time to work out the bugs in distance learning, and it is affecting teachers and students alike.

Who does not love a pat on the back once in a while? Well it turns out, praise plays a major role in helping students overcome the obstacles between them and their school work. Studies show that praise may be one of the biggest motivators for student success (hear that, nagging parents?).

A study published in January 2020 found that when teachers were required to provide a high ratio of praise to reprimands, students’ focus improved by 20-30%. We know that the behaviour we reinforce is more likely to be repeated, which makes positive reinforcement an excellent tool for keeping students on the right track.

Many students have been thrown into an education medium that is entirely new to them. They are expected to learn how to manage overnight while simultaneously dealing with isolation and a loss of many extracurricular activities. They deserve all the positive recognition they can get when they participate to let them know their efforts are not going unnoticed.

Teachers, we know you have not had it easy either. Not only are you forced to make the transition just as quickly, but you are also in charge of it. You are juggling technical difficulties, reworked lesson plans, and dealing with home life at work all on top of your normal duties. Communication has shifted to online chat programs like Slack and MS Teams which completely changes how teachers and students interact. We see you, teachers, and we appreciate how hard you are working to make sure your students are successful. That is why we have developed Karma for Education; a tool to streamline praise for distance learning to help keep students engaged, motivated, and increase attendance.

“As our school closed for lockdown, we quickly moved to the Microsoft Teams platform to continue teaching and learning. We needed a way to give the students praise the same way that they would receive it in the classroom. We give Karma for attending lessons on time, returning assignments and active engagement on the teaching platform. Our students are loving it, and compete for points by turning up for lessons and doing their work! We have found Karma Bot invaluable to our success for keeping our students engaged with teaching and learning. Support is fast, friendly and we are very pleased with this product!” - customer’s feedback.

Using Karma in distance education

Integrating Karma is a super easy process with huge benefits for you and your students. It adds a feature to a program your students are already comfortable using and provides a way to send recognition to each other without leaving the text box.

Karma can be added as an app to Slack or MS Teams and is ready to use immediately after downloading. Praise is calculated as karma which you and your students can give right in the chat. Just type Karma + @name + reason for recognition.

Karma John Great answer!

Karma keeps track of how many times a student was recognized and can be accessed in the form of individual scores and leaderboards.

Karma keeps track of how many times a student was recognized and can be accessed in the form of individual scores and leaderboards. If you want to give their motivation an added boost, you can set up custom rewards that students can redeem using the karma points they have earned.

Using Karma for positive recognition is an efficient, measurable, and fun way to encourage students. Setting a minimum number of karma per day you want to reward is all it takes to make sure the students are getting enough praise to reap the benefits. Leaderboards allow you to see who may be falling behind and could use some extra encouragement or assistance.

Why gamifying praise is what students need for improved engagement

There is no denying that most students would rather be playing video games than paying attention in class. So if you cannot beat ‘em, join ‘em! Gamification is when elements of game-design are added to non-game situations. For example, most fitness apps use types of gamification, and it is being incorporated into stroke rehabilitation. Sweden has successfully gamified speed cameras by entering people who follow the guidelines into a lottery. They are encouraging good behaviour by rewarding it…sound familiar? The loyalty cards collecting in your wallet are a way that businesses gamify brand loyalty.

Why is it everywhere? Because it works!

“This app worked very well with our students. It gave them motivation to carry on through the COVID -19 remote learning. It was quick, efficient and very easy to use and track.” - Kat C.

Why is it everywhere? Because it works! It makes us feel good and feeds our competitive side which, in turn, motivates us. Applying game theory to praise in distance learning drives students to pay extra attention to what earned them karma. Studies show that the behaviours we reinforce by providing praise and recognition are more likely to be repeated in the future.

psst hey you! Karma @reader Thanks for all you do to help your students thrive!

We’ve noticed that gamification of the remote working environment can help to support an increased sense of focus and motivation from team members. As a remote team leader, are you ready to start improving team culture? Add Karma to Slack today!

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Stas Kulesh
Stas Kulesh
Written by Stas Kulesh
Karma bot founder. I blog, play fretless guitar, watch Peep Show and run a digital design/dev shop in Auckland, New Zealand. Parenting too.