Strategies for Online Learning to Promote Student Engagement and Satisfaction 

From my experience, and the experiences of my colleagues and students, online learning and teaching have gained significant popularity on a global scale in recent years. Hui & Yunus (2023) suggest that teachers could benefit from a revision in curriculum to support modernized online teaching approaches that help foster a motivating, authentic, and satisfying online learning environment with the goal of promoting a sense of student autonomy. Implementing proper strategies could result in better learning.  

Sailsman (2020) recommends that teachers should accommodate and acknowledge: 

  • unique learning levels 
  • student socio-economic status 
  • diversity of cultural backgrounds

to promote an authentic and inclusive online learning experience for every ESL student. 

Authentic student autonomy could result from educators providing their students with opportunities to make their own decisions within the curriculum. These decisions could be in the form of:  

  • type of assessment (portfolio, written test, oral examination) 
  • type of project (video presentation, written report, journal entries, oral presentation) 

When facing a lack of engagement and motivation as a result of low English proficiency levels and online disengagement, the teacher is responsible for facilitating and guiding student discussion, problem-solving scenarios, and peer cooperation by developing tasks and goals to be completed (Eden et al., 2022; Mazlan et al., 2022).

A highly effective strategy I like to use with my students is asking many questions to elicit discussion and problem-solving. Some strategies include:  

  • When discovering new words, I encourage my students to find context clues within the sentence or root words to discover the meaning.  
  • If we are discussing a new topic or scenario, I identify similar scenarios and ask my students what they would do in that instance or what that scenario might mean. 
  • I try to relate content to real-life scenarios to help the student make connections between the content.  

These strategies are used to elicit meaning making, critical thinking, and engagement in new material.

I see a lot of potential exists in online learning for students in the field of second language acquisition. I believe steps can be taken to help promote a higher sense of student satisfaction, class engagement, motivation, self-efficacy, and personal agency in a class environment where achieving student engagement and motivation may pose barriers. I recommend that teacher education and curriculum receive a revision to adapt to the new online teaching and learning circumstances, overcome obstacles, and learn about the diverse needs of students while providing the best quality learning environment and online ESL education.  


Eden, J., Mirabito, T., Rogers, R., & Hoffmann, N. (2022). Impacting student satisfaction, engagement and motivation in online and traditional classrooms. KOME, 10(2), 60–75.  

Hui, S. M., & Yunus, M. M. (2023). Revisiting Communicative Language Teaching Approach in Teaching ESL Speaking Skills. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 14(6), 1515-1523. 

Mazlan, A. F., Mohammad, M., Kassim, R., & Erni. (2022). Online Teaching and Learning During Covid-19 Pandemic: Challenges Faced by English Teachers in Islamic Tertiary Institutions in Malaysia and Indonesia. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 12(10), 2005–2013.  

Sailsman, S. (2020). ESL STUDENTS LEARNING ONLINE A Review of Literature. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 21(1), 45-52. journals/esl-students-learning-online-review-literature/docview/2457326354/se-2 

Reading book, opening books for education learning in textbook literature in library academic on read desk at school classroom. Relaxing or hobby to learn in knowledge, Education study concept
Reading book, opening books for education learning in textbook literature in library academic on read desk at school classroom. Relaxing or hobby to learn in knowledge, Education study concept





Patricia Patel teaches English and ESL to local students and students residing in China. She is a member of TESL Ontario and holds the CTESOL designation. Patricia has a Bachelor of Arts in Equity, Diversity and Human Rights and a Master of Education with a focus on digital technologies. Patricia is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Online Teaching and Learning from Liberty University. Patricia is passionate about creating and delivering equitable, inclusive, and accessible education. She hopes to motivate students through cultivating a warm and inclusive class environment. Patricia loves to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for ESL teaching and learning by writing blogs for TESL Ontario.


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