The educator-learner relationship is key to college completion--here are some ways to foster that connection at your institution.

3 ways to create supports for college completion

The educator-learner relationship is key to college completion--here are some ways to foster that connection

Somewhere along the way, we educators have failed to sell learners on the higher, long-term value of their educational process. Now it’s up to us to instill that old, true spirit of education among our students again.

Reigniting engagement requires modernizing teaching methods

To start with, we need to abandon the one-size-fits-most model of delivering course materials and knowledge. Instead, we need to present information in various ways to make it digestible by the different types of learners in our classes. Allowing students to choose their preferred learning method encourages them to take deep, personal ownership of their education.

That means shifting the focus from short-term goals like passing the next test to the long-term value of education across a person’s entire educational experience, integrating it into their life.  

This shift requires finding new ways — or adapting old ones — of capturing students’ hearts and minds to create renewed excitement about what they’re learning. We can no longer claim the difficulties of online or hybrid classes or having both less motivated and highly prepared students together in the same classrooms as excuses for failing to teach in ways that excite students. In fact, from my professional experience, some of the best classes in terms of student experience and engagement are digital classes; it’s all in how you present.

Educators must learn how to hold personal investment and concern for their students, whether standing in front of a classroom or a camera. We also need to become more connected by making ourselves extraordinarily available to students in person, by phone, on social media, in chat rooms, or on other channels. 

Finally, educators must prepare to share their knowledge in different formats to match students’ varied learning styles as advocated in the VARK— visual, audio, written, and kinesthetic — model, with the goal being to create greater “connection.” This model also applies to student assessment. One student may perform best on written, conventional exams, another on oral exams, and still others by demonstrating what they’ve learned in a practicum.

Three steps to creating stronger connections between students and educators

In short, to revitalize students’ engagement with their education so they see it through to the end, we must forge more robust and personalized connections between the learners and educator. And here’s how we do it:

  1. First, we foster better engagement by delivering educational content through various channels that allow students to consume it in the way most effective for them. 
  2. Next, we utilize digital assessment tools to provide data-driven feedback and insights on how each student is engaging and mastering the material.
  3. Finally, we analyze the data gathered by those assessments to individualize study plans to help each student focus their learning efforts and identify areas where we need to improve the curricula and materials.

All these actions will help assure learners that educators and their institutions genuinely care about their success as individuals, restoring students’ love of learning and encouraging them to persist through to graduation and carry on to successful, fulfilling careers.

eSchool Media Contributors

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