Higher education is continually evolving, and 2023 is no exception.
As educators, it is crucial to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the changing landscape. One of the most critical aspects of successful learning is engaging with students effectively.
In this article, we’ll explore several recommendations for engaging with students in higher education in 2023.
The Importance of Engagement in Higher Education
Engaging with students has always been crucial in the learning process, but in today’s world, it is more important than ever.
A strong connection between educators and students leads to better academic performance, higher retention rates, and improved overall well-being. Keeping up with the latest trends and strategies can make a significant difference in the lives of our students and the future of higher education.
Technology has become an integral part of the educational landscape, and it is essential to harness its potential to create engaging learning experiences.
No conscious presence of tech resources in the modern educational setting can translate quickly into lower engagement rates. But some resources are better than others (like Edular!).
Online learning has become increasingly popular, and it is vital to develop effective strategies to engage with students in this environment.
Utilize interactive tools, such as video conferences, live chat, and discussion boards, to maintain a connection with students and facilitate collaboration.
Virtual classrooms offer an immersive learning experience that can foster engagement.
Utilize tools like augmented and virtual reality to create stimulating environments that encourage curiosity and exploration.
Incorporating game elements into the learning process can make it more enjoyable and engaging for students.
Create challenges, award badges, and use leaderboards to foster a sense of competition and accomplishment.
Active Learning Strategies for Greater Student Engagement
Active learning strategies can significantly enhance student engagement by promoting critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration.
Group projects and collaborative activities encourage students to work together, share ideas, and learn from one another.
Use tools like shared documents and video conferencing to facilitate collaboration in both online and in-person settings.
Presenting students with real-world problems to solve can help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills while remaining engaged in the learning process.
Encourage students to collaborate and present their solutions in various formats, such as presentations, reports, or videos.
The flipped classroom model requires students to review material before class, allowing for more in-depth discussions and activities during class time.
This approach encourages students to take ownership of their learning and fosters a deeper understanding of the material.
Open and effective communication between students and educators is essential for a successful learning experience.
Facilitate open discussions in the classroom, encouraging students to express their thoughts, ask questions, and engage with their peers. Use online discussion boards to continue the conversation outside the classroom.
Peer Review Sessions
Peer review sessions allow students to provide feedback on each other’s work, fostering a sense of collaboration and improving their understanding of the subject matter.
Organize structured peer review sessions, providing clear guidelines and expectations for constructive feedback.
Provide timely and meaningful feedback on students’ work, highlighting both their strengths and areas for improvement.
Encourage open communication by inviting students to discuss their feedback and ask questions.
Inclusivity and Accessibility
Creating an inclusive and accessible learning environment is essential for fostering engagement among all students, regardless of their backgrounds or abilities.
In 2023, this is one of the top priorities for campuses all across the country. Higher Education students are more conscious of the social challenges and demand minimum standards from their educational institutions. Investments on this front help students to stay engaged in academic life.
Universal Design for Learning
Implement the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework to create a flexible and inclusive learning environment.
The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework that aims to optimize teaching and learning for all students, regardless of their abilities, backgrounds, or learning styles.
Developed by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) in the 1990s, UDL is grounded in cognitive neuroscience research and is inspired by the principles of universal design in architecture and product development.
The UDL framework consists of three primary principles, each focusing on a different aspect of learning:
- Multiple Means of Representation: This principle emphasizes the need to present information in diverse ways to accommodate different learning styles and preferences. By providing various formats and methods for students to access and understand the content (e.g., text, audio, visuals, and interactive materials), teachers can ensure that all learners have an equal opportunity to grasp the material.
- Multiple Means of Action and Expression: This principle encourages teachers to provide students with various ways to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. By allowing for different modes of expression (e.g., writing, speaking, drawing, or creating multimedia projects), educators can better assess students’ understanding and accommodate their diverse strengths and challenges.
- Multiple Means of Engagement: This principle recognizes that students have different interests, motivations, and learning preferences. By offering choices and flexibility in learning activities, teachers can help students become more engaged and invested in the learning process. This can be achieved through goal setting, personalized learning paths, and offering a range of challenges and supports.
UDL aims to create inclusive and accessible learning environments that support diverse learners, minimize barriers, and promote success for all students. Implementing UDL principles in the classroom can lead to improved outcomes and increased engagement for all students, including those with disabilities, language barriers, or other learning challenges.
Incorporate assistive technologies into the classroom, such as screen readers, transcription services, and alternative input devices, to support students with disabilities and ensure they can fully participate in the learning process.
Recognize the importance of emotional well-being in the learning process and create a supportive environment that encourages open dialogue about mental health. Offer resources and support services to students in need.
Connecting classroom learning to real-world situations can significantly increase student engagement and better prepare them for their future careers.
Internships and Co-ops
Promote internships and cooperative education programs that provide students with valuable hands-on experience in their fields. Collaborate with industry partners to create opportunities that align with course content and desired learning outcomes.
Incorporate project-based learning into your curriculum, encouraging students to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios. This approach not only enhances engagement but also helps students develop practical skills and build professional portfolios.
Experiential learning opportunities, such as study abroad programs, service-learning projects, and field trips, can greatly enrich students’ educational experiences and foster a deeper understanding of course material.
Engaging with students in higher education in 2023 requires a multifaceted approach that embraces technology (we are thinking of all-in-one Higher-Ed platforms like Edular), active learning strategies, communication, inclusivity, accessibility, and real-world application.
By implementing these recommendations, schools and educators can create a dynamic and engaging learning environment that promotes greater engagement, academic success, personal growth, and overall well-being for all students.