Combining technology with learning

Public Services Technology

March 12, 2020

Combining technology with learning

Discover two ways to help engage students at the back of the room, read on to find out more.

A classic dilemma for any academic is how to engage with the students at the back of the room. How do you hold their attention; keep them listening and interacting with the content being delivered – let alone retain them term after term, year on year? Coupled with the growing demand for online learning and broader adoption of technology, universities globally have a challenge on their hands.

This article will explore the ways universities can adapt to these threats. Read on to find out more.

  1. Promote choice

Today students demand choice; they want options for their learning delivery to suit both their timetable and their individual learning style.

“ learning has put as many as half the colleges and universities in the U.S. at risk of shutting down in the next couple of decades as remote students get comparable educations over the internet – without living on campus or taking classes in person. Unless universities move quickly to transform themselves into educational institutions for a technology-assisted future, they risk becoming obsolete.” *

Our previous article explored four ways collaboration technology helps education providers. Yet there are needs for technology to allow for flexibility, and the learning preference of the student – and to allow them to adopt technology today that they will likely use in their working lives, to give them a head start.

Having the right technology and digital platforms to support students around the university campus, as well as to facilitate communication with the academic throughout the year to support their learning is becoming more important as academics need the feedback and students need greater learning support.

2. Focus on delivering content in new ways

Traditionally PowerPoint has been used to deliver content on huge screens often with little animation, in large theaters delivered from the academic standing at the pulpit, with each PowerPoint slide needing to be manually nudged forwards. Rarely are there guest speakers or blended approaches to learning delivery via collaboration technologies such as Webex video or Webex calling to loop in and engage with third party speakers, for example. This not only makes engagement harder for students, but also limits the absorption of information, inhibiting learning. It also restricts content presentation. Let’s not forget, some University students are mastering their degrees with English as their second or third language; making content delivery and style a key success factor.

Using all senses such as music, and lighting, combined with breaking content into bite-sized chunks, with short breaks – and even allowing students to stand up in the Theatres to reenergize and refresh – opens their senses, creates stimuli and allows the brain to digest more information – as proved by Amy Brann* in her published neuroscience books including ‘Make Your Brain Work’ and ‘Engaged’.

Using technology to engage

Adopting some or all these methods supported with the right technologies, ensures information retention associated with positive reinforcement and experiences; all of which have proved crucial to learning across all languages to ultimately deliver a great learner experience.