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Harnessing technology to increase student engagement and retention

Chloe Barrett, CEO and co-founder of Immersify Education, the edtech scale up which bridges the gap between theoretical and practical learning

Since the start of the pandemic, educators have had to adapt to new learning methods to engage their students. Overnight, we saw teachers and students having to adopt online learning, which rapidly accelerated the digital transformation of the education sector.

Ensuring students remained engaged with their studies and fellow students while they sat in the comfort of their own homes, was a challenge like no other. However, technology has really helped to bring education to life.

Even though many are back into the classroom, a hybrid learning approach is becoming increasingly popular. For this reason, institutions are continuing to introduce new and innovative technology to aid students’ learning experiences and keep them connected, involved and motivated.

So, with the hybrid approach to learning in mind, how can technology bring creativity back into the classroom, while also ensuring students continue to learn and remain engaged?

Modernising the learning experience with augmented reality & gamification

From outdated text books and learning materials to formal lectures, the traditional learning method isn’t for everyone. In fact, our latest research reveals two in five people find traditional learning methods boring and half of those surveyed believe they would have been more successful in their studies if the learning experience was more personalised and engaging.

Over recent years, there has been many technological advancements which provide a more exciting learning experience – including augmented reality (AR) and gamification. These technologies provide students and teachers with a fun and interactive experience, which ultimately brings learning to life.

One of the most engaging elements of gamification is that it taps into the competitive desire of students through encouraging healthy competition amongst peers. Similar to learning through play, gamification creates a much more memorable and interesting approach to learning, which ultimately results in a greater retention of information.

Bringing learning to life is an essential part of driving course retention rates and increasing engagement. An effective way to do this is through AR technology. Many vocational courses, such as dentistry, engineering and nursing to name just a few, are dependent on practical experience. However, the move to online learning during the pandemic led to many students losing out on this crucial experience.

By introducing AR and other technology driven solutions into the classroom, students have been able to experience the practical side of learning from their study location of choice. Our research found that more than half (54%) of students say they learn best through visual aids, so it’s important that educational institutions take this in to consideration now that we’re back to in person learning and don’t go back to the more ‘traditional’ teaching methods.

Keeping students engaged is one thing, but utilising technology like AR and gamification can actually help improve grades. In fact, research from McKinsey reveals that more than 60% of students believe that the technology used in the classroom since the pandemic began, has improved not only their learning but their grades too.

Keeping communication alive

There is no doubt that an influencing factor for young people looking to go to university is the social element. The sense of community amongst peers has been proven by cognitive scientists to enhance the human ability to learn. Studies have revealed that a sense of community, combined with social situations and activities which require collaboration, aids learning ability.

Even though learning remotely is increasingly part of the normal educational experience, there should be a real focus on building a sense of community amongst students. Thankfully, technological advancements over the years have enabled us to communicate with one another whenever and wherever, and we need to ensure that technology in the education space continues to allow students to connect with each other.

We know that gamification gives students the opportunity to interact with like-minded people, but it also really helps to amplify that community connection. At Immersify Education, we have integrated gamification into the Immersify Dental platform so learners can connect with likeminded individuals from around the world who are either studying dentistry or are interested in the field. This allows users to create a community on the platform, which will ultimately make the learning experience more enjoyable by enabling them to share their learning experiences with each other, regardless of where they are in the world.

What does the future hold for technology in the classroom?

It can be easy to forget, but no two people learn and retain information in the exact same way, so education shouldn’t have a one size fits all approach. Plus, when it comes to individuals, one method might work for learning one topic but it may not work for another.

In fact, our research reveals one in five (19%) people are lifelong learners and continually use different methods to learn new skills – this could include anything from educational games and quizzes to watching video tutorials and reading books.

This highlights that educators should be continually exploring different, more personalised, approaches when looking to engage a range of students. Not only will this help the student to process information easier, but it will also ensure they learn in a memorable way. Often, personalisation is overlooked in education, however it’s an important part of the learning experience. For this reason, as the technology in this space evolves and adapts, we need to ensure that personalisation is considered. 

When it comes to where we learn, whether we like it or not, hybrid learning is here to stay. It is the new norm and educational institutions need to ensure they are utilising technology to keep students engaged, whilst also maintaining retention rates. I believe that we’ll continue to see new technology entering the market to aid student learning experiences, whilst ensuring that they stay connected with their peers and teachers.

Here at Immersify Education, our platform offers a personalised and inclusive approach to learning. It utilises advanced technology, interactive experiences, expert content, and gamified and personalised learning, to allow students to have the ultimate education experience. Whether the student retains information better by reading, doing or seeing there are experiences on the Immersify Dental platform which will help them enjoy their learning experience – something that I think all education institutions should consider.

Ultimately, technology was once a nice to have in the classroom, but now it’s a necessity.

By Chloe Barrett, CEO and co-founder of Immersify Education, the edtech scale up which bridges the gap between theoretical and practical learning
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