Interactive online teaching with PowerPoint

Online lessons: previously it was not something you saw as an option as a teacher, but over the past period we have all gotten used to it. It has now become an integral part of the school experience in various schools and courses. But how do you make this more interactive? In this guest blog by Yvo Rietbroek a practical form that certainly helps with this.

However, preparing online lessons requires a substantially different approach than the lessons you physically give as a teacher at school (Last & Jongen 2021). While interaction and effective learning in the physical lesson sometimes seem to come naturally, you need to consciously prepare this for an online lesson .

Questions that often come up in conversation with teachers include: How do I ensure that…

Do students really actively participate in my lesson (online) ?

Does it become visible what students still have to learn and I can give ‘real time’ feedback?
I find out whether students have really learned something from my lessons and the next steps can be determined?
The answers offered to the questions mentioned are often sought in ‘new’ tools that usually offer a solution. The disadvantage is that the investment of time to learn how to use such a tool can be substantial and you as a teacher can no longer see the wood for the trees due to the large selection.

In this article you will see that a new tool is not a necessity for an effective online lesson. You will learn how to prepare an online lesson with the familiar PowerPoint in which the answers to the above questions are easy to process.

For example, by creating a ” knowledge retrieval challenge ” and applying it in a synchronous online lesson. Recent scientific research has shown that frequent retrieval of previously acquired knowledge is important in order to actually store it in long-term memory. Karpicke (2016) says about this “Every time a memory is retrieved, that memory becomes more accessible in the future”.

Active participation

Working with the ‘ collecting knowledge challenge’ enables you to let your students participate actively by having each student work in their own ‘worksheet’, so that their contribution is immediately visible to you . In this way you ensure that it is impossible for students to ‘hide’ during your teaching activity. Kagan (2014) already endorsed the importance of increasing ‘individual accountability’ but as part of his acronym GIPS

Individual accountability concerns the question of whether an overt achievement has been built in for each student on which he/she can be questioned.


Because students work online in the PowerPoint, you as a teacher are able to see the answers of all students in one overview and to provide personalized feedback .

To increase the chance that the student actually does something with your feedback, it is important that you give feedback as soon as possible after the student has given his answer. In the ‘getting knowledge challenge ‘ you can do this ‘real time’ during your online lesson by giving your reaction via ‘comments’.

Black & Wiliams (1998) indicate that it is also important that the feedback given contains at least two components that must be presented as a chain, namely:

  • The student’s perception of the (possible) gap between current knowledge and required knowledge.
  • The next meaningful step the student has to take to close the (knowledge) gap.
  • The interplay between the two above-mentioned components in this chain also contains an important task for the teacher. You can offer your student support by specifying where and (possibly) how the student can find the necessary information about the question asked. In addition, if you answer incorrectly, you have the option of correcting any misconceptions on the part of the student.
  • By creating this ‘challenge’ in PowerPoint, you ensure that your students are active and engaged and process the learning in long-term memory for use at a later time.

By following the step-by-step instructions in the accompanying E-book, you can get started with making a ‘knowledge-gathering challenge’. In addition to written instructions for support, you will also find short video instructions. Do you want to open the E-book? Then click on the image!