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Increasing student engagement throughout blended learning

Educational institutions are finishing up their preparations for the upcoming academic year. In most cases, institutions will be utilising blended learning (a combination of in-person and virtual learning) and in some cases, fully virtual learning. Students who are not engaged, especially during this period, will have a higher chance of dropping out. Given the greater physical distance between institutions and their students, keeping students engaged will be a challenge. A student app will be a valuable asset to keep students engaged.

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, digital tools were being used to share information, communicate with students effectively and improve engagement. That is not just applicable to education but also other industries. According to experts, digital tools have grown to be even more important. Hylke Sprangers, CIO of the year in 2018, states:

“Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the digital transformation has speeded up everywhere. The physical distance between us has grown, but technology has brought us closer together.”

However, having a haphazard approach to utilising technology, in the hope it will increase engagement with students, will not be effective. Traditional channels of communication used in education, such as email, the virtual learning environment and intranet, are not as effective as they once were. While for students in search of module-specific information, the virtual learning environment on a desktop might still be the first port of call, as the VLE and the intranet aren’t always smartphone-friendly.

However, for non-study-related communications, different channels are needed. Firstly, students demand simplicity. Providing information through a myriad of different channels and platforms can be confusing. Secondly, students have already started to move away from desktop and laptop as their day to day communication tool of choice.

The StuComm Communication Survey revealed 69% of the students wanted to receive and access all information from their institution on their smartphone. When then asked about the preferred channel, 77% of the students indicated they want to use a campus app or students app if available to them. In the remarks, many students said the actual channel does not matter to them, ‘as long as everything is easy to access on my smartphone’.

Most institutions choose to use a campus or students app as the use case possibilities are endless. Students have easy access to institutional information, can be made aware of important news using push notifications and have immediate access to their timetable. Not to mention, it is possible to view their study results and reach out to important contacts directly if they need help. Whatever the type of communication may be, you are able to communicate with and engage your students, through their preferred device: their smartphone.
Do you want to learn more about the possibilities of a students app? Contact us and we’ll be happy to tell you more!