Aula enables educators to design & deliver truly-engaging learning experiences.
What is student engagement?
Student engagement refers to the active commitment and purposeful effort expended by students towards all aspects of their learning, including both formal and informal activities.
Keeping students engaged with the learning experience is about creating the conditions and relationships necessary to ensure students show up, actively participate, go beyond minimum expectations and - ultimately - are motivated to persist and achieve.
Engaging "magical learning moments" might feel like an art, but actually they're a science with a robust evidence base and established formula.
“Student engagement is a broad construct intended to encompass salient academic as well as certain non-academic aspects of the student experience.” (Coates, 2007)
Broadly speaking, student engagement has two dimensions - the head and heart:
🧠 Academic challenge (intellectual engagement)
Evidence shows that students are engaged and learn best when they are assigned activities that require them to be active participants in the learning experience. Students collaborate around content and are provided opportunities to test and demonstrate their learning and receive targeted & contextualised feedback.
❤️ Meaningful connection (affective engagement)
Evidence shows that students are engaged and learn best when they feel connected and visible to staff and peers as part of a trusting and supportive learning community. Staff actively create supportive, caring and inclusive learning environments that provide the emotional and pastoral support they require to be successful.
Why student engagement?
Student engagement is a big problem for educators. Recent research we conducted with WONKHE + over 600 higher education teachers found that for the majority of those teachers, whether they teach online, in the flesh or through a combination of the two, keeping students engaged with the learning experience (i.e. ensuring they show up, actively participate and are motivated to persist and achieve) is one of their biggest challenges.
Student engagement is challenging & time-consuming to achieve.
Educators need support to:
- Understand what high-engagement practices look like.
- Integrate high-engagement practices into their day-to-day teaching practices quickly & efficiently.
Student engagement is a powerful lever for student achievement.
30+ years of research have proven robust correlations between student engagement and improvements in:
- Student retention
- Student satisfaction scores
- Student achievement (grades)
Aula as a tool for student engagement
Aula helps to maximise student engagement by supporting educators to design & deliver up to four 'high-engagement practices' or HEPs - i.e. practices proven to increase academic challenge, support meaningful creation & therefore positively impact student outcomes.
These are achieved through a combination of easy-to-use technology & evidence-informed learning design.
🧠 Active learning (HEP 1)
- Students are assigned regular (e.g. weekly) hands-on activities, e.g. short research projects
- Students have both in-and-out-of class opportunities to discuss & apply learning with fellow students
- Students have regular (e.g. weekly) opportunities to test and demonstrate their learning in action, e.g. through presentations, solving problem sets or trying out learning in real-world settings
🧠 Feedback (HEP 2)
- Students receive frequent (e.g. at least weekly) feedback on their work
- Feedback is contextualised & targeted, e.g. applies to a single sentence, not an entire essay
- Feedback is personalised
❤️ Teacher presence (HEP 3)
- Educators present themselves socially (as a human) as well as academically (as an educator)
- Educators drive learning by being visible and communicative
- Educators actively build a sense of community by modelling & setting a culture of inclusion and mutual care, trust and support
❤️ Collaboration (HEP4)
- Students have opportunities to work together
- Students give each other feedback
- Students demonstrate mutual trust and support (answer each other Qs/ comment, react)