Online Learning

Creating Engaging Online Lectures – Essence

Identify the Essentials

Keeping students interested during an online lesson is tough, and we want to help you fix that. As promised, we’re back with another interesting lecture idea that’s sure to keep your students engaged and leave a lasting impression. Take a look at this week’s interactive lecture idea, essence, which will have students choosing their words carefully to describe the essential elements of an idea. And in case you missed it, check out our last installment—Cynical Comments.


Basic Idea: To get participants to recall and succinctly present the essential elements associated with a concept, principles or issue by restricting words.

Application: This activity works well in breakout and debrief sessions and requires participants to struggle with concepts and principles until they can reduce them to their barest minimum. One goal is to help participants focus on the essential elements of the topic without getting distracted by details or facts.


  • Ask participants to prepare a 16 word summary of a topic and successively reduce it to 8, 4 and 2 word lengths.
  • After each round, participants share their results. You incorporate your main teaching points in the feedback comments that you make about the summaries.
  • Consideration: Use this technique to either review or preview depending on how familiar your participants are with the topic.

This engaging lecture idea is part of a series created by the Thiagi Group.

Categories: Online Learning
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