Mar 31 2021

The Key to Engaging Students During Hybrid Learning

Educators say the Promethean ActivPanel is a user-friendly tool that can greatly improve student engagement.

As higher education institutions move closer to reopening campuses, many will still use a hybrid learning model for the foreseeable future.

Even before the pandemic, online education was growing at a rapid pace. In 2018, more than 30 percent of American college students took at least one class online. A study in the Journal of Global Information Technology Management estimated that online learning was on track to become mainstream by 2025.

While most students struggled with the initial shift to remote learning in 2020, many now say they prefer a mix of in-person and online learning. Even after the pandemic subsides, experts estimate higher education institutions will see steady growth in online courses. Driven by the need for quality content — as well as concerns for cost-effectiveness and student debt — the e-learning market is forecast to grow by $21.64 billion by 2024, according to the global market research firm Technavio.

As professors and instructors prepare for a post-pandemic education environment, learning how to effectively teach in a hybrid learning setting will be critical. To foster better educational outcomes in this learning environment, universities will need to invest in new technologies and professional development programs for instructors that focus on student engagement.

EXPLORE: See how Promethean can elevate your blended learning courses.

Advanced Features for Engaging Students in a Hybrid Environment

One of the most significant hybrid learning challenges to overcome is figuring out how to provide engaging, interactive learning experiences to both in-person and remote students at the same time.

“As we go back to a new normal, we have to think about how we can be fluid in teaching a lesson, whether it is in the classroom setting or at home,” says Cheryl Miller, chief marketing officer for Promethean.

As educators share resources and best practices for improving online learning engagement, many point to the Promethean ActivPanel as a useful tool for engaging students, while also creating an intuitive and integrated teaching experience for professors. The ActivPanel Elements series offers a simple interface that puts the most commonly used tools at instructors’ fingertips, enabling them to move seamlessly between content and resources without disrupting the lesson.

ActivPanel helps professors engage students by delivering dynamic lessons to everyone, including those attending from a distance. The interactive features are a welcome change from static overhead projectors and chalkboards. The panel’s built-in Android OS offers premium tools that make it easy for instructors to create visually engaging lessons on tablets. The ability to see such digital assets — and the instructor using them — offers a higher level of engagement.

“They can see the lesson, the teacher, the whiteboard. And it keeps them more engaged, as if they were in a classroom,” Miller says.

MORE ON EDTECH: Here are some best practices for engaging students online.

Optimizing Online Learning Environments

Efforts to make courses resilient to tech failures at the University of California, Berkeley have resulted in better user interfaces that incorporate more asynchronous learning components. “It’s been said a typical college lecture is the process of information passing from the instructor’s notes to the student’s notes without going through the heads of either one of them. We’ve tried to avoid that by engaging students,” Mark Kubinec, an instructor in the UC Berkeley College of Chemistry, told Promethean.

When Kubinec and his student instructors set out to develop an eight-week summer course, they created a makeshift studio in a spare room. Kubinec used tools such as Zoom, Live Stream, YouTube and iClicker Reef to support remote learning for a large audience, and he was able to use the interactive panel as the focal point to include most online learning technologies.

DIVE DEEPER: Here's 7 hidden Zoom features that can improve online learning.

To combat the common issue of isolation in online learning, he enabled students to watch livestreamed lectures in Promethean ActivPanel’s breakout rooms. The experience included “Zoom Roomies,” which helped recreate a physical classroom setting where students sit with friends.

Instructors could drop in on individual rooms throughout the lecture to guide the discussion and unite the larger class. According to Kubinec, students noted through evaluations that they were especially impressed that the instructor could show a video, hit pause and annotate the clip as he explained the concept.

“We know the technology works, and students appreciate it. They gravitate toward it, so we don’t have any fear of assigning it,” Kubinec says.

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