Student engagement - does it need to be an uphill struggle?

Published Monday 19th June, 2017

Student engagement has never been more important. Initially it was seen to be about communication, but it soon became clear that when done properly it encompasses far more than that, and is a vital part of successful learning.

Education is personal, and it is critical for students to be able to make informed choices about their study. The individual goals, approaches and motivations of each student need to be recognised, as well as the collective student voice. When students actively participate in their academic environment and invest in their learning it can lead to empowerment and accountability. By taking responsibility and ownership of their education, students get an enhanced experience and can collaborate more with academic staff.

There is abundant evidence that the most effective further education environments are ones in which the students are active partners, involved as part of a community of learners, working closely together with academics on continual improvement. Student engagement is a vital and rewarding part of any educational process, but implementing it can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle. What can be done to make it easier?

The answer is all about gaining access to accurate, current and meaningful data. To fully engage with a student you need to share up-to-date information about their performance, areas of strength and where they could look to improve - providing additional support and further nurturing as appropriate. If this critical data is stored across multiple systems with limited access for staff, then it is going to hamper proper discussion. In order for student engagement to be effective and successful, streamlined processes and systems need to be put in place.

An integrated solution, such as Advanced’s ProMonitor, can help. It makes it easy to access, control and maintain your data – with modules designed for a range of users to view and contribute to individual learner plans, write reports and to ease the burden of marking. The system holds a centralised collection of key learner details with secure access for all appropriate staff across a number of sites, making it simple to raise and follow-up on comments. Integrated email will notify those who need to know, keeping everyone in the loop.

Teachers and managers can keep track of learners’ academic progress, so they can see at a glance whether they are achieving their potential, or if more support is needed. Teachers can also easily provide progress reports for parents, guardians and employers. Staff become more engaged with students, and students more actively involved in their own progress. Customised system structures allow the solution to be tailored to your needs so you can provide the best education possible for your students.

With the increasing amount of competition between further education organisations there is a need for colleges to be more efficient, successful and commercial. Add to this the extra workloads from initiatives such as the 2020 Apprenticeship Starts and it is clear that streamlined technology needs to be in place to support staff and students through the process. The pressure to succeed in effective student engagement will only become greater. Specialist solutions can help staff access and share data, making it easier to work with and unlocking the vital information that will truly enhance student learning.

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