New research focuses on the components of an engaging learning experience and what goes into boosting student engagement.

What makes an engaging learning experience?

A new report breaks down the components needed to boost student engagement and create a more engaging learning experience

An engaging learning experience in which students are fully immersed in the content is driven by six variables, according to new research.

The State of Engagement 2019 report, from edtech SaaS provider GoGuardian, features insight from hundreds of students, teachers, school leaders, and IT administrators to identify the specific factors contibuting to an engaging learning experience.

Related content: 5 online discussion tools to fuel student engagement

Research has demonstrated that an engaging learning experience increases students’ attention and focus and motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills. Additionally, engaged students typically have lower rates of delinquency, substance use, and depression.

“Our goal was to understand how, when and where engaging learning is taking place. This is critical to how educators and technology can help advance students in our tech-focused society,” says Mariana Aguilar, lead researcher at GoGuardian. “We’ve found that engagement is a multidimensional concept that can’t be captured by a single indicator or factor; rather, it is a number of variables intersecting all at once. For example, key elements can both enable student engagement and indicate that a highly engaging learning experience is underway. You can’t parse them apart.”

Creating an engaging learning experience for students

The variables that shape how a student experiences a learning environment can be broken into six categories.

The first three categories are driven by teachers:
● Classroom management helps students know the protocols for interacting with their teachers in a productive and effective way. This enables students to engage in the learning experience more fully; simultaneously, students who are engaged also require less management.
● Teacher effectiveness is demonstrated by a teacher’s instructional practices. This could include modeling new skills, adjusting to student learning needs and checking for understanding. Related to this: teacher energy, attitude and expectations shape the extent to which students engage in the learning experience.
● Teacher digital literacy levels range drastically and impact how edtech solutions are implemented in the classroom. A teacher’s ability to use education technology to enable higher levels of thinking shapes the way students learn from digital content.

The fourth key element is focused on a school philosophy that is characterized by acceptance and empathy:
● Nurturing school environments facilitate trust and empathy amongst students and between a student and teacher. This enables students to feel comfortable communicating their needs, making mistakes, and asking questions.

The final two categories are student-centric and recognize that high-quality learning experiences honor the individuality of each student:
● A student’s interest and intrinsic motivation to learn influences his or her engagement.
● Personal life and home situation impact how a student participates in the learning experience. These positive or negative factors impact engagement levels.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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