It’s undeniable that the merging of technology into education took a giant leap during the COVID-19 pandemic, when reliance on technology became absolutely essential to the continuation of learning. Now, in the years since the lockdowns, research is finding that over 60% of students feel that the classroom learning technologies they’ve used since COVID-19 have improved their learning and their grades.
This isn’t surprising when you consider that 40% of people find traditional learning methods boring, and 50% believe they’d have been more successful in their studies if their learning experience had been more personalised and engaging. Technology helps educators achieve this level of personalisation for their students, creating new and engaging learning techniques.
In this blog we’ll delve further into this relationship between technology and student engagement and success. First, we’ll look at some of the impacts technology has on engagement, before highlighting some practical strategies and innovative tools you can use in your institution to help create engaging, interactive and personalised learning environments.
The Impact of Technology
Research completed into the relationship between technology and student engagement found that technology can engage students in three ways:
- Behaviourally - when it encourages students to put more effort and time into participating in learning activities.
- Emotionally - when it encourages positive attitudes and heightened interests towards learning.
- Cognitively - when it encourages mental investment to understand lesson content.
Impacting students in each or all of these three ways leads to greater motivation, engagement and overall success. Let's take a look at some real-world examples of how technology can impact motivation, participation, and overall academic or professional success.
Students are more tech-savvy than ever before, especially those of the generation who have grown up with access to smartphones and other internet-accessible devices. Embracing technology in the classroom acknowledges this and also embraces how technology will be increasingly important in their professional futures. By encouraging digital literacy you can foster autonomy and self-regulation, which can be key to motivating students.
A number of studies support the idea that technology in the classroom can be beneficial, as it facilitates meaningful learning, encourages use of existing knowledge, and a greater depth of processing, and innovative thinking. For example, mobile devices can be implemented within your teaching in various ways - perhaps through interactive classroom apps or for research tasks - instead of completely prohibiting their presence.
One way of using technology in education to encourage student participation is by focusing on how it can be used to foster collaboration between students within and beyond the classroom.
And for those students who may struggle with class participation, the same collaborative tools can provide opportunities and encouragement for them to contribute, one such tool to consider is Google Jamboard.
Apps and other technology that encourage class contribution without necessitating vocal discussion can motivate quieter students to participate. By reducing the pressures of having to speak in front of peers when they may be nervous or hesitant to contribute, quiet or shy students may be more likely to contribute to classwork. Writing tends to be easier for introverts than speaking, indicating the effectiveness of technology that enables non-verbal class contribution for shy students.
Academic & Professional Success
Integrating technology into education shifts the learning environment to become more student-centred. This, in turn, allows students to develop autonomy and control over their own learning - giving them an independence that prepares them for their professional futures.
Research shows that students who learned academic content in classrooms enhanced by technology outperformed those who learned the content without technology.
Overall, technology has a recognisable effect on student engagement, motivation, and more. But how exactly can institutions integrate technology into their learning environment?
Strategies and Tools for Student Engagement
AI Chatbots in the Classroom
AI chatbots such as ChatGPT have been making waves in the education sector, for both positive and negative reasons. To those concerned about the negative impacts of AI chatbots, it may seem worrying to advocate for their use within education.
But employers are increasingly expecting new hires to have a working knowledge of AI chatbots, indicating the value in integrating them into education.
By utilising chatbots in the classroom and integrating them into your curricula, institutions can engage students and motivate them through the knowledge that what they’re learning is directly applicable to their futures.
There are various other use cases for chatbots in education, including:
- As skills practice - this is particularly relevant for language-based soft skills or even those learning a new language. Chatting with chatbots can serve to replicate real-life conversations or experiences, but without the pressure of interacting with another human.
- For group projects - AI can help outline team roles, develop timelines, and critique ideas. However, this should come with an emphasis that chatbots should be used to assist in these tasks rather than complete them entirely.
- Brainstorming - students can use chatbots to help brainstorm research and ideas for projects. They can provide a “fresh perspective” without the need for another human.
- To instruct students - institutions may utilise chatbots and generative AI to create a better experience for students. A great example of this is Nottingham College’s latest announcement: “Iris”, an interactive AI intended to help users of the college’s immersive room navigate the space.
The gamification of learning is the strategy of implementing game-like elements into education. This process makes learning more interactive and taps into the competitive desire of students, encouraging healthy competition.
Gamification thus creates more memorable and interesting learning, promoting greater retention of information as students feel more engaged with the content they’re competing over. Some students are performing better through gamification techniques than other online education trends.
A particularly popular gamification tool is Kahoot! for its simplicity to set up and use. It’s also an extremely effective tool for the gamification of learning. Almost 85% of students surveyed at Eastern University in Sri Lanka would recommend it for formative assessments in future.
Experiential Learning Technology (VR/AR)
When surveyed, 88% of students stated that they believe virtual and augmented reality technologies will make learning more entertaining. And when students find learning more entertaining they’re more motivated and engaged.
Experiential learning technologies like VR and AR give students the opportunity to “learn by doing” without the pressures of placing them in real scenarios with human beings. Learning by doing creates relevance, stimulating retention, while also making the learning experience more engaging. It also reduces the risks of performance anxiety and other hurdles that can come with recreating “real-world” scenarios through traditional human-to-human roleplay.
For both hard and soft skills, this type of immersive learning can provide a level of personalisation that would be tough to recreate otherwise. And personalisation is key to elevating student engagement. Plus, many XR learning tools also offer their modules across different platforms, as well, to foster use in a scalable manner.
Bodyswaps’ Immersive Soft Skills Training Solution
Whether you're new to integrating technology in your institution or seeking an innovative solution to add to your arsenal that supports your students' soft skills, you can trust Bodyswaps to meet your needs.
Bodyswaps is easy to implement and scale to fit your needs. Our immersive soft skills training modules encourage active and engaging learning. Powered by AI, the platform is accessible across VR, PC and mobile devices, offering a cross-platform solution to encourage autonomous and asynchronous learning.
Curious as to how our immersive soft skills training could help elevate student engagement at your institution? Take a look at our Discovery Package - where we’re offering a comprehensive solution (including hardware!) to help you deploy the most successful Bodyswaps pilot possible.