Student Engagement

6 tips on how to boost student engagement with limited resources

There is a strong correlation between student engagement and student outcomes. Those who engage more in the course are more likely to retain information and perform better.

In higher education, student satisfaction, or student engagement, has become a priority. A study published in 2019 shows the correlation between student engagement and academic performance. The study states “The findings of this research align with the existing body of work to establish that student engagement is an important factor that contributes to the success of students on online courses.”

But what is student engagement and how can you scale it using limited staff and resources? Let’s find out!

What is student engagement?

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Hawking learning May 10, 2019 “Empower Student Learning through Intrinsic Motivation

Student engagement represents the passion, attention, interest, and curiosity students show when learning at your institution. Over the years, student engagement has gained traction because of the understanding that emotional, intellectual, behavioral, and social factors play an important role in the development and success of students.

It's important to note that what some may consider best practices for student engagement differs from place to place. Some institutions may see attending lectures and answering questions in class as engagement. Whereas others will see curiosity, motivation, and interaction with peers as engagement.

The different aspects of student engagement

Student engagement is a construct that’s better understood with its relation to a student’s learning environment, which includes-

  1. Peers.
  2. The educational community.
  3. The curriculum, and
  4. The faculty.

All these measures are interrelated. They help students thrive in a learning environment where they are motivated, allowed to be curious, and overall enjoy learning.

Student engagement generally includes 3 dimensions:

  1. Behavioral engagement. This focuses on how students participate in academic and other co-curricular activities.
  2. Cognitive engagement. This is the time students spend and invest in learning.
  3. Emotional engagement. This talks about the positive and negative reactions or the enthusiasm/boredom students have towards the school.

Because of COVID-19, institutes now have to come up with more activities to engage students on all these fronts. This is due to the gap that online learning has created.

Why is student engagement important?

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Student engagement will help students invest more time and energy in their learning.

Over 1.2 billion children in 186 countries have been affected within a single year of COVID-19 striking the education industry. Governments are now pursuing various approaches to recover from the school’s closure. They plan on building an education system that is more resilient and adaptable for students and staff.

Through all the efforts that were taken by the education system, students are still missing out on some opportunities they would have otherwise had access to, if not for the pandemic.

Some of the issues that students have been facing are

  1. Unprivileged students are unable to access technology as well as others.
  2. Students are being withdrawn from school as many parents have lost their jobs.
  3. Staff is limited on what they can teach via online classes (it’s become impossible to conduct practical classes).
  4. Students and staff are facing more mental health issues.
  5. There’s a decline in the quality of education due to the abrupt shift to digital and distance learning.

Through these ups and downs, many institutions, teachers, and students have shown empathy and passion to help one another by coming up with resourceful solutions.

Many of these will shape the future of education in a world post-COVID-19 by teaching us how to navigate through such situations in the future.

How to improve student engagement with limited staff and resources

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There are many techniques to improve student engagement in cost-effective ways.

Due to COVID-19, some institutions are not only limited with their financial resources but also the staff. However, it's important that the quality of education for students does not get affected.

Here are some activities to engage students even with limited staff and resources!

Using the right technology

When you’re limited on resources, it’s crucial to use the right technology that will help your students. An AI-based engagement center will be the perfect addition to your set of student success and engagement tools as it can give your students the attention they deserve.The Engagement Center is an easy-to-integrate platform that uses AI and expert human support to engage and retain active students. It can help increase your institute’s graduation rate and overall revenue.

Using an AI conversational chatbot can also help institutions respond to student queries 24x7. A chatbot can help answer thousands of questions in real-time and nurture students in the right direction.

Today's generation is very tech-savvy. Using AI technology is a good strategy for increasing student engagement.

Plan and divide the work

Planning ahead will reduce the burden on your institution’s existing staff. Assigning tasks and covering the curriculum by dividing it equally among teachers is important.

There are some areas without access to the internet and these technologies reduce costs and work well with limited staff. Hence, the International Commission on the Futures of Education—established by UNESCO in 2019 “commissions for a global collaboration among governments, philanthropy, and non-profit organizations to develop open educational resources. Also, realizing what is provided by private companies should become public.”

AI technology makes the educator’s life easier by helping them design question papers, answer student queries, grade assignments, etc. Freeing them from mundane tasks prevents burnout and allows them to focus on boosting student engagement and success.

Increase collaborations powered by AI

Some people may not like collaborating, but it’s an important part of work-life. A skill we don't learn through teaching, but through experience. Collaboration mainly focuses on developing a higher level of thinking among students.

Since collaboration in classrooms has decreased due to COVID-19, students are looking for ways to be actively involved in the virtual classroom.

Understanding your students and pairing them in the right groups is the key. This will decrease the friction among some students and allow them to play to their strengths. Group projects can amplifier educational experience by allowing students to experiment, develop their social and interpersonal skills.

To incorporate the right collaborations, it's important to have the right curriculum. AI technology can help you with just that. Building a personalized curriculum that fits the needs of your students.

Artificial Intelligence allows students and educators to study large amounts of information and provides detailed insights into their learning and teaching experiences. If this is combined with the right educators, it can help build a curriculum that increases student collaboration and participation.

Produce understandable material

One of the reasons online learning is challenging is because complicated concepts get lost in translation.

In a virtual classroom, when explaining a challenging concept, break it down and use examples to make it easier. Give the class enough time to absorb a concept before moving on to the next topic.

Group questions together and answer to save time and energy. This will decrease the chance of students losing focus if a question is repeated.

Use interactive classes

Using interactive activities to increase student engagement will benefit both students and staff. The more human and easier virtual learning becomes, the more interest will develop.

AI has shown us how the one-size-fits-all method doesn’t work with students today. Using AI-powered tools at zero cost can build better interactive sessions as they help institutions understand each student’s strengths and weaknesses.

Students can learn better when they ask more questions. This can also encourage their curiosity and build critical thinking.

Communicate with the staff

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It's important the staff is informed of any changes that are made so they can communicate effectively with students.

It's essential that all faculty members communicate with one another to have a smooth workflow. Since teachers are the ones students go to they should be kept up to date with all changes that concern students.

Students get disappointed in the faculty when they are not informed in advance about exams, assignments, tasks, and so on. When there is proper communication among the staff and they are informed about things, they can pass on messages to students.

What's next?

Since we now understand student engagement isn’t only beneficial for students but your institution as well it’s important to take measures. COVID-19 has been a step back, but institutions and students took it as a learning opportunity and adapted.

Having AI in higher education will increase as today's generation learns better through technology. A key takeaway is that the best results will come when AI technology and human abilities are combined. What do you think of this new shift to AI-assisted learning?

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