5 Ways Technology Increases Student Engagement in Higher Education in 2024

January 08, 2024

Universities & Colleges

ways to increase student engagement

During COVID-19, the use of technology in learning leapt to new heights. Virtual education was born out of necessity. The pandemic brought a new reality to higher education and changed what students expect from their professors as well as how both students and faculty approach learning and teaching. Decisions administrators in higher learning institutions make always take into consideration ways to increase student engagement.

On-campus technology plays a large part in easing the stress many students feel within a higher learning institution like a university or college. A digital campus connects readily with the next generation of students. The Internet of Things (IoT), encompassing things like digitization, automation and hoards of data, is one step closer to creating ideal learning centres. In other words, smart campuses.

Higher education administrators around the world understand the value of improving campus life. By offering students smart technology and creating or updating buildings to meet emerging technological advances, institutions of higher learning are paving the way for the future and are understanding what their students need since the majority of students today are technologically savvy.

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Here are five technologies that can help to get – and keep – students engaged as they embark on a new path of learning:

Personalized Digital Learning

Post-pandemic, colleges and universities were faced with a challenge. Should they continue face-to-face learning or should they redefine remote learning? With the advent of data graphs, the idea of customizing recommendations to students regarding courses geared to aptitude, career goals and cognitive skills is on the horizon. In fact, Harvard University says, “Institutions must begin leveraging digital technologies to track how different students engage with course materials presented to them in text, audio, video, simulations, AR/VR enhancements, and so on in near real-time. And since today’s students already engage with course material using technology – personal computers, tablets, and smartphones – institutions have even more opportunity to track detailed data (with privacy protocols in place) to construct personal learning data graphs.”

Personalized learning aims to increase student engagement in higher education, motivation and achievement by offering relevant, immersive, and effective learning experiences aligning with students’ distinctive needs and goals.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Known as immersive learning, VR and AR are truly interactive technologies to heighten the learning experience. This type of learning can also use videos and simulations. Students learn diverse skills including medical procedures, machine repair, and even public speaking. Additionally, it can be used to teach general topics such as history and literature. In what is known as cognitive realism, immersive learning delivers a sensation that mimics reality. These virtual lessons appear real to the brain and create the same emotions and sensations as physical reality.

Immersive learning has been shown to increase student engagement, increase motivation and improve learning outcomes.

Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Machine learning is the use and development of computer systems able to learn and adapt without following explicit instructions, by using algorithms and statistical models to analyze and draw inferences from patterns in data. Essentially, it is the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behaviour.

A 2022 McKinsey report states that data science and machine learning may unlock significant value for universities by ensuring resources are targeted toward the highest-impact opportunities to improve access for more students, as well as student engagement and satisfaction. Whether the goal is to identify and better support pain points in the student journey, to more efficiently allocate resources, or to improve student and faculty experiences, institutions are seeing the benefits of data-backed solutions.

Colleges and universities are also utilizing AI as an effective tool for automating a number of tasks. Chatbots are able to answer students’ questions regarding scheduling classes or checking in with them about their mental health. AI-generated emails can remind students about important deadlines, urge them to register for classes, turn in assignments and pay their fees on time. According to Forbes magazine, colleges and universities use AI “to address some of their largest and most persistent challenges including such bottom-line issues as increasing enrollment, improving student retention, and allocating financial aid.”

Data Analytics

University and college administrators are utilizing analytics to increase program personalization and flexibility, as well as to improve retention by identifying students at risk of dropping out and reaching out proactively with tailored interventions. Consequently, data science and machine learning may unlock significant value for higher learning institutions by ensuring resources are targeted toward the highest-impact opportunities to improve access for more students, as well as student engagement and satisfaction.

Smart Location-Based Technology

Location-based technology can serve many purposes on a large campus filled with confusing indoor-outdoor spaces. This intelligent technology can engage students regarding campus activities and events by sending notifications and reminders based on students’ live locations. Geofencing is becoming one of the more popular technologies in higher education as more campuses embrace the smart campus concept. Geofencing uses global positioning systems like Mapsted’s to create a virtual geographic area, enabling software to set off responses on mobile devices when students enter or exit an area. This location-based technology has the potential to boost student enrolment, promote campus events, and increase the safety of students and staff.

Location-based technology:

  • Enables navigation to help students, staff and visitors find their ways in a campus community. It provides turn-by-turn directions to various campus locations.
  • Offers personalized services based on a student’s location. For example, a student can receive information on study areas, nearby restaurants and events taking place close to where they are.
  • Can increase student engagement by providing notifications and reminders regarding events and activities on campus.

Smart Campuses = Smart Graduates

Digitalizing campuses is increasingly favoured by institutions continually searching for new ways to improve students’ experiences academically and socially. Technology is fundamental in equipping students with the skills they need for success and to have the best experiences possible in the realm of higher education and beyond. By utilizing the technologies outlined above, in addition to Mapsted’s location-based technology, universities can prepare their institutions for future technological innovations. For further information on Mapsted’s solutions for higher education, you may find this blog on characteristics of ideal universities interesting, and you will enjoy watching this short video on Transform the Campus Experience With Location-Based Technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How does location-based technology help increase student engagement in higher education?

Ans. By using location-based technologies, educators can track student attendance, monitor student engagement in class activities, and provide personalized learning experiences. This technology also allows educational institutions to better understand their students’ needs and preferences, leading to more effective engagement strategies. As a result, students are more likely to be engaged in their studies and more likely to succeed.

Q2. What are some examples of location-based technology being used in higher education?

Ans. Examples of this technology being used in higher education include wayfinding maps, tracking student IDs, providing personalized notifications based on location, and using virtual reality to give students a better understanding of the campus environment.

Q3. What advantages does location-based technology offer over traditional methods of student engagement?

Ans. With the use of location-based technology, students can be tracked in real-time, allowing for better monitoring and more efficient management. It also enables educators to quickly identify any areas where students may need additional help or intervention. Furthermore, location-based technology can provide data on student movement patterns that can be used to optimize classroom layouts and improve the overall learning environment.

Q4. How can institutions ensure that students are comfortable with the use of location-based technology on campus?

Ans. It is important for institutions to ensure students are comfortable with the use of location-based technology on campus. This can be achieved by providing training and support for students on how to use the technology, as well as ensuring they understand its benefits. Institutions should also strive to ensure all data collected through the use of location-based technology is kept secure and used responsibly.

Q5. Are there any privacy concerns related to using location-based technology in higher education?

Ans. There are some privacy concerns related to using this technology in higher education that need to be considered. These include potential misuse of student data, lack of transparency regarding how the data is used and stored, and potential vulnerability to cyberattacks. All these issues must be addressed to ensure students’ privacy is respected while still taking advantage of the many benefits offered by location-based technology.

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