Students who feel engaged in their learning are more likely to achieve their academic goals. While student engagement can look different for every student, there are a few general strategies that can be used to increase engagement in your classroom.
There are several definitions of student engagement, but the overall goal is to make learning fun and relevant. The best way to do this is by personalizing the learning experience.
1. Personalize Learning
Personalized learning allows students to access content that meets their unique needs and interests. It’s also an effective way to promote independence, collaboration and communication skills.
Unlike traditional education where students are passively taught, teachers in a personalized learning environment act as guides to help their students learn how to best learn. This results in students expressing their curiosity and putting forth their best work.
Personalized learning also encourages critical thinking and problem-solving, which are essential in an uncertain future. In addition, it teaches soft skills like empathy, creativity and communication that are vital for a workforce that may be increasingly automated.
2. Create a Community
A community is a group of people who share things in common, care deeply about one another, and work closely together towards a common purpose. In fact, communities are a fundamental part of our lives.
While many communities are based around a specific facet of identity, others are based on things like job type or geographical location. These communities are often referred to as affinity groups.
Creating a community can help your students feel connected to you, your program, and their peers. Whether it’s through user generated content (UGC), contests, or collaborating with local organizations, engaging your community can increase engagement and enhance learning.
3. Make Learning Relevant
Student engagement is the process by which students feel a strong desire to learn. It’s also the key to helping them develop important academic and social skills, such as working together in groups or communicating effectively.
Research has shown that students who are engaged in learning activities exhibit behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement. The best ways to engage students in learning are to provide relevant experiences and encourage them to use their critical thinking skills.
Relevance can be established through showing how theory applies to practice, establishing relevance to local cases, relating material to everyday applications or finding applications in current newsworthy issues. It also means making the content useful and interesting to students.
4. Make Learning Fun
Fun learning is an essential component of any good education system, as it can improve knowledge retention, promote self-led learning and encourage critical thinking. There are a number of ways to make learning fun, including story telling, games and role-playing sessions.
Students can also be encouraged to engage with the material outside of class by taking on small tasks or projects. These activities can help them feel more responsible for their work, which increases engagement.
Often, college courses rely heavily on lecture-based learning, but this doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Try incorporating fun into your classroom by introducing activities like group projects, case studies and problem-based learning.
5. Encourage Critical Thinking
There are a variety of ways that you can encourage critical thinking in your students. One way is to encourage group activities that allow students to share their ideas with others.
This allows them to understand that their approach is not the only one, and can result in a more effective solution.
Another way to encourage critical thinking is to model good thinking skills. This will help your students gain confidence in their own ability to think critically, and improve their skills over time.
Other ways to encourage critical thinking include teaching students how to identify logical fallacies in arguments, giving them feedback on their work, and encouraging metacognition. These methods help students see the value in their own learning and engage more with their studies.