10 Best Reward Systems for Online Teachers

By Editorial Staff •  Updated: 05/25/23 •  Teach Online

As online teachers, keeping students engaged and motivated is key in creating a successful learning environment. One way to do this is by implementing a reward system that recognizes and acknowledges student achievements.

But with so many different reward systems to choose from, it can be overwhelming for teachers to choose the right one. So let’s break down some of our favorite approaches to keeping young learners engaged when in class online.

1. Virtual stars, badges or points

Implementing a system where students earn virtual badges, stars or points for completing assignments, participating in class discussions, or achieving specific goals during online class can create a sense of accomplishment and healthy competition.

Any sort of points systems provide a visual representation of students’ achievements and progress, fostering a sense of accomplishment and motivation – particularly with young learners. They can create a fun and engaging learning environment that encourages active participation and a desire for continuous improvement.

However, it’s crucial to ensure that the rewards align with meaningful learning outcomes and promote intrinsic motivation. Typically when working with an online teaching company they will have their own built in reward system. If not, you’ll need to prepare a physical representation of stars or points on a whiteboard to share.

2. Create a leaderboard

Leaderboards in online classes can indeed serve as effective tools for showcasing student progress and fostering a sense of community and friendly competition.

They provide a clear visual representation of students’ standings or achievements relative to their peers. Seeing their names or avatars displayed on a leaderboard can spark a sense of motivation and healthy competition.

Students may feel inspired to work harder, improve their performance, and strive to climb higher on the leaderboard. It can serve as a goal-setting tool, encouraging students to set their sights on surpassing their previous achievements or reaching higher ranks with rewards for top placements.

3. Virtual benefits as a reward

Virtual rewards can include things like special privileges, extra learning opportunities, and virtual prizes. These rewards can be associated with certain milestones or achievements, such as completing a certain number of lessons or answering a certain number of questions correctly. Virtual rewards can be a great way to motivate and engage students in the learning process.

Virtual rewards can include granting students special privileges or benefits within the online class. For example, students who achieve certain milestones or demonstrate exceptional effort can be given privileges such as the ability to choose their preferred topic for an assignment, select a class activity, or have priority in participating in live sessions or discussions.

These privileges make students feel valued and give them a sense of ownership and autonomy in their learning journey and are something of desire worth working hard to achieve.

4. Digital stickers

Classroom rewards have always included stickers as a way of recognizing great work. Nowadays in a modern online class, digital stickers have also become popular and can be collected in a virtual sticker book. It’s convenient to use them in programs like Google Classroom or Google Docs, and Teachers Pay Teachers offer various digital sticker collections and sticker books that you can buy.

Digital stickers can also be used for gamifying the classroom, with students earning certain rewards when they collect enough digital stickers. With this approach, teachers can create a fun and engaging way of learning while also rewarding their students for a job well done. Furthermore, these digital stickers can be shared across multiple devices, making it easier for teachers to track student progress and success.

Finally, in addition to digital stickers, there are many other creative classroom reward ideas that teachers can use to motivate their students. For example, having an ongoing class competition between groups or students to see who gets the most points is a great way to incentivize them. Students could receive points for completing tasks on time or demonstrating good behavior in class.

5. Share a favorite video in your online class

You can provide the opportunity to share a video as a reward. Depending on the age of your students it can be a video from YouTube, TikTok, or a video that you created yourself. However, please make sure that it is suitable for the class before sharing it.

Also, if you are sharing a video from YouTube or another platform, provide the link to the video in advance so everyone can watch it at the same time.

Once everyone has watched the video, consider having a fun a discussion about it. Ask questions such as what was your favorite part of the video? What did you think was funny or thought-provoking? How does this relate to our current topic?

Encourage everyone in the class to contribute their thoughts and ideas. Finally, summarize some of the key takeaways from the discussion and ask students for any final comments before moving on with your lesson. By having an open dialogue about different videos, you will create an environment that is both engaging and entertaining.

6. Take a virtual field trip

Yep, virtual field trips are thing! A virtual field trip is a digital experience that allows students to explore places, events, or experiences virtually, without physically leaving the classroom or their homes. It leverages technology, such as videos, interactive media, and virtual reality (VR), to provide students with a realistic and immersive learning experience.

Here is a list of our favorite virtual field trips.

7. Gamify lessons

Lessons can be turned into fun activities. You can and should gamify lessons as a reward system to break up class so it does not become repetitive for your students. We have a bunch of platforms we like for achieving this.

One standout platform is Classcraft which incorporates gamification elements for education. It provides an adjustable framework for teachers to gamify any lesson or group of lessons and engage students in a more interactive, fun and immersive way.

The platform utilizes a game format with a fantasy theme to inspire and compensate students for their academic accomplishments, teamwork, and good conduct.

The other platform we like is Class Dojo. This program is free and simplifies communication between teachers and parents. It allows teachers to give points for different behaviors that can be used to redeem rewards. The rewards can be either actual or virtual prizes, and teachers have the freedom to determine what these rewards are.

They can also collaborate with parents to give students rewards that they can redeem at home. These rewards include options such as choosing dinner, skipping a weekly chore, watching a movie, or having extra screen time.

8. Create redeemable reward coupons

Consider providing students with digital coupons that they can redeem for either virtual or real-life incentives. Give benefits your students will appreciate like a homework pass, allow food or a drink in class or turn in an assignment late.

Get creative; you can make your own or find a large selection of pre-made reward coupons here.

9. Gift a free ebook

Create a list of popular, age appropriate ebooks that kids can select as rewards for accomplishing extraordinary achievements. Amazon provides a user-friendly option to send ebooks as gifts, which can be read on any device.

10. Good ole fashion certificate

Finally, you can always print out actual reward certificates to give to students each semester. Certificates like “most improved” or awards for the students who show good behavior are great choices. Poster My Wall has a lot of great templates you can easily customize with students names and the specific accomplishment they are being awarded for.

Best reward systems for online teachers – Conclusion

From points systems to certificates, badges or prizes; there are lots of options to choose from. Whatever approach you end up using for your class, remember that rewarding your students is a great way to make teaching more exciting.

Always ensure that everyone feels included and rewarded regardless of the approach taken so that all learners can benefit from an enjoyable learning experience. If you found this helpful, consider bookmarking this page to come back to it.

Editorial Staff

I'm David Unwin and I head the editorial staff here at Teach and GO. I've taught as an ESL teacher in Thailand for 5+ years at all levels of education, from elementary to University. I was also one of the first 1000 VIPKID teachers. I and my team now share my extensive experience as a teacher here at Teach and GO. Learn more.