Using learning technology to boost student engagement

In spring 2020, More than 1,300 universities and colleges across the US Canceled in-person classes or shifted to online-only instruction. This led to valuable lessons in fostering student engagement by pairing educational technology with intentional design. While the opportunity to return to in-person classes is welcome, remote instruction should not be cast aside or stigmatised as “less than”. Academics should continue to harness the benefits of remote learning to bring student engagement and flexibility along with in-person teaching. Here’s how to do that effectively:

Keep learning small groups to foster peer-to-peer learning and community

Ironically, remote learning has opened up for the opportunity more Intimate instruction, not less. Use online learning spaces to divide large classes into small groups via “virtual tables”, organized by student comprehension, subject matter interest, location, native language or nothing at all. Being in groups of no more than 10 enables constructive conversations and collaboration, encouraging students to help each other with questions or challenging concepts. Smaller learning groups reduce the fear and reluctance to ask questions or speak up in front of fellow classmates.

Use real-time feedback to adjust teaching approach

Online learning platforms can communicate individual and class-wide student sentiment and understanding through real-time feedback more easily than in a tech-free classroom. Incorporate simple rating tools, such as thumbs up or down and emoji reactions, to gather organic feedback with minimal effort. Or craft quick-feedback forms To be completed in a couple of minutes at the end of the class, with only one or two key questions. Intentionally designed digital classrooms can provide data that offers insights into student interactions beyond what is immediately visible to you – such as indicating if students are taking notes, chatting with peers or participating in group discussions – without relying on more invasive tracking methods such as webcams or watching the screen.

By looking at this data, during or between class sessions, you can adjust your teaching speed, level of explanation and learning to support activities. For example, if class participation is low, provide a specific question and have students discuss it in smaller groups to enable peer-to-peer learning.

Use frequent formative assessments to evaluate understanding and foster learning

Data collection is a challenge for large in-person classes. The native capabilities of some digital tools, such as embedded quizzes that track individual answers, can offer more granular insights into students’ understanding and should be used to measure ongoing engagement and comprehension. For example, include short knowledge-checker quizzes Classes to find out if further explanation is required.

Having students explain concepts to each other has huge value. Those who already understand deep their knowledge, and those who do not have more chances to have an “aha” moment when discussing concepts with someone of similar level of expertise. Use a platform to register students with disparate answers to employ “think pair share“Pedagogy. Quiz again afterwards to see who might need extra attention or help outside class.

Give students flexibility in when and how They communicate with you, and each other

Student self-confidence varies greatly. Provide a safe space for questions to be asked publicly, anonymously, in real time or after the fact to encourage shy students, non-native speakers or those not fully grasping the material to come forward. Submitting questions anonymously This is proven to increase participation from students who would otherwise stay silent.

Enabling students to engage via writing, rather than verbally, can be powerful, as it allows students to craft and edit their contributions before sharing it. Use a platform that allows for concurrent spoken and written participation through chat functions or similar and explicit when soliciting responses from students that they can write or speak. Ensure you highlight and respond equally to both methods of student engagement.

It is important to provide structures through which students can re-engage with content – and each other – outside the live class session. You could share a recording, so students could re-listen to sections of the session that were interesting or confusing; Create meaningful group work assignments, so students discuss the material together; And provide a place where students can submit questions that come up outside the class session and share their thoughts with each other. Students can then re-engage alone or in groups for real-time peer discussions about the session, furthering peer learning and increasing reliance on immediate answers from you at all hours.

Support all students equally, regardless of circumstance

You should never know what your students have gone through over the past two years. Family losses, lost jobs, increased obligations and more may be blocking them from participating as much as they would. They may even be considering dropping out of school. Ensure you are providing support and flexibility for them to learn and engage. If the data shows a decrease in activity, reach out and help them discover how they can learn on their terms and schedule.

Andreina Parisi-Amon is the Vice President of Learning and Teaching at Engageli.

If you found this interesting and wanting advice and insight from academics and university staff to direct your inbox each week, Sign up for the Campus newsletterGeneral Chat Chat Lounge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker