When learners are curious, passionate and optimistic about their subject matter and their future, they’re considered to be engaged.
Engaged students feel that intangible sense of “belonging” in the classroom and their school and perform better academically. Conversely, disengaged learners are prone to failure and are at a greater risk of simply ‘fading away’ in the school system due to poor performance.
In this blog post and its related eBook Creating Connections, we explore five key strategies you can leverage in your classroom to boost learner engagement and optimize both performance and outcomes for your students.
1. Engaged Instruction
Teaching plays a critical role in creating an engaged group of learners. According to research, student retention of material increases dramatically when a teacher employs active learning approaches such as problem-based learning, service learning, and collaborative learning into their instructional style. Interactive lecturing that uses feedback, quizzes, concept tests, and one-minute papers can also boost classroom retention rates.
2. Classroom Design
Traditional classrooms, lecture halls and laboratories still dominate today’s learning environments, but progressive educators and space designers are rethinking the classic teaching environment to help make tomorrow’s classroom a welcoming place where learning is easy. From beanbag chairs to group-work-encouraging chairs on wheels to bring your own device (BYOD) school policies, the 21st century classroom is all about collaboration and interaction.
3. The “Flipped” Classroom
Sticking with the classroom theme, a pedagogical model called the “flipped classroom” focuses on leveraging technology to reverse the typical lecture and homework elements. This creates a dynamic learning environment where the instructor acts as a guide and students apply concepts in a more engaged and collaborative way.
4. Emerging Technologies
According to Pearson Research & Innovation Network’s “Teaching in a Digital Age,” digital learning strategies and student access to devices can help learners develop a deeper and more engaged understanding of a topic. “Wired” classrooms, open access to the Internet and social media, BYOD policies, and online learning environments— such as massive open online courses (MOOCs) and hybrid delivery (online blended with traditional classroom learning)—are also now becoming increasingly popular. These factors offer instructors creative new content delivery channels, more personalized learning paths, and provide students with anytime, anywhere access to learning opportunities.
Learning can be fun! Educators such as Kurt Squire, a leading expert in gamification from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, are drawing inspiration from today’s popular video games to incorporate gamification elements into their instructional methods. The essential elements of gaming—such as the freedom to fail, the interest curve, storytelling, and feedback—are all important and can even be applied to complement traditional teaching styles.