Strategies for engaging learners in a blended environment - Summary Report Lynn M Jeffrey, John Milne, Gordon Suddaby and Andrew Higgins

 
Strategies for engaging learners in a blended environment - Summary Report Lynn M Jeffrey, John Milne, Gordon Suddaby and Andrew Higgins
Summary Report

Strategies for engaging
learners in a blended
environment
Lynn M Jeffrey, John Milne, Gordon Suddaby
and Andrew Higgins

                                             UNIVERSITY OF NEW ZEALAND
Strategies for engaging learners in a blended environment - Summary Report Lynn M Jeffrey, John Milne, Gordon Suddaby and Andrew Higgins
STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING LEARNERS
IN A BLENDED ENVIRONMENT

contents
1    Introduction
2    A framework for considering
     engagement in a blended
     environment
3    Top 10 engagement strategies
     from the literature
5    Findings
11   Conclusions
14   Recommendations
15   Toolbox
16   References

Acknowledgement                                         This project was supported
We would like to pay special tribute to the following   through the Ako Aotearoa
people who contributed their ideas, enthusiasm and      National Project Fund 2009.
time to this project: Alison Holmes, University of
Canterbury; Keith Comer, University of Canterbury;      PUBLISHED BY AkoAotearoa –
the late Mark Laws, Te Whare Wānanga o                 The National Centre for Tertiary
Awanuiārangi; Janine Pearce, Te Whare Wānanga o       Teaching Excellence
Awanuiārangi; Helen Gilmour, Lincoln University.       www.akoaotearoa.ac.nz

To see the full report visit the project space at:      ISBN   978-1-927202-30-2 (online)
www.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/blended-approaches-               ISBN   978-1-927202-29-6 (print)
learner-engagement
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                                                        November, 2012

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Introduction
This project sought to identify effective                There were six overarching objectives in
strategies that teachers can use within                  this project. These were to:
a blended learning environment to                        • identify appropriate engagement
enhance learner engagement and                             strategies in a blended learning context
achievement.                                             • identify student preference for, and
Blended learning has its roots in both                     perceptions of, a blended learning
classroom teaching and online learning                     environment
so it is not surprising that engagement                  • determine the effect of blended learning
strategies that work in these two                          strategies on student engagement and
environments are also going to be                          the students’ perceptions of the quality
important in a blended course. What                        of their learning experience
distinguishes the blended course is the                  • establish the relationship between
careful planning needed to blend these                     student learning orientations and
two modes to maximise learning for                         engagement strategies in a blended
students.                                                  learning context
Blended learning is an area that does                    • determine effective methods in
not have a widely accepted definition in                   a learning management system
the literature. The project team used the                  of identifying students at risk of
following definition: “at its simplest, blended            disengagement
learning is the integration of classroom                 • develop an integrated toolkit of
face-to-face learning experiences with                     effective engagement strategies that
online learning experiences” (Garrison &                   will help academic staff to scaffold and
Kanuka, 2004, 96).                                         support student learning.
                                                         A mixed-method approach, using both
                                                         quantitative and qualitative methods,
                                                         was used to collect and analyse data.
                                                         In total, 541 participants from two North
                                                         Island universities participated in this
                                                         project.

To see the full report go to: www.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/blended-approaches-learner-engagement

             “at its simplest, blended learning is
              the integration of classroom
              face-to-face learning experiences
              with online learning experiences”
               (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004, 96)

                                               STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING LEARNERS IN A BLENDED ENVIRONMENT   1
A framework for considering engagement
    in a blended environment
    Overall, the literature highlights                  This project draws upon the framework
    considerable reluctance among                       presented below, which illustrates the
    academics to engage with online                     three key types of student engagement
    learning. This has often been attributed            strategies,1 which are:
    to reluctance by academic staff to take             • capturing engagement
    up online teaching. Over the past 15                • maintaining engagement, and
    years there has been a substantial body
                                                        • re-engaging those who have either
    of research around the factors that
                                                          never engaged or have become
    encourage and discourage academic
                                                          disengaged.
    staff in the tertiary sector to teach in
    online environments. Furthermore,                   This framework is used in this project
    given that many academics receive                   to describe the key learnings from
    little teacher education or training,               the literature on blended learning
    the idea of adopting a new way of                   engagement strategies and to describe
    interacting with students becomes                   the results of this study. Critically, the
    quite daunting. Organisations and                   best learning outcomes occur when
    teachers are encouraged to consider                 engagement strategies focus on all
    the 10 following strategies in light of
                                                        areas of this framework.
    their practices.

                 Start of the course                         During the Course
                 Get students engaged:                       Maintain engagement:
                 • Primers for getting                       • Clear content structure
                   attention                                 • Unambiguous
                 • Social presence and                         instructions and
                   belonging                                   guidelines
                                                             • Challenging tasks
                                                             • Authentic tasks
                                                             • Timely feedback
                                                             • Elaborated feedback

                                      Re-Engaging
                                      Recapturing the
                                      disengaged:
                                      • Monitor for early
                                        identification
                                      • Personal contact with
                                        student and appropriate             1 Please note these strategies
                                                                              are not listed in order
                                        support                               of priority but rather in
                                                                              relation to the framework. A
                                                                              comprehensive account of
                                                                              each strategy is presented
                                                                              in Jeffrey et al. (2012).

2   www.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/blended-approaches-learner-engagement
Top 10 engagement strategies
from the literature
The literature points to 10 engagement               part of the class and a part of the
strategies that have particular potency in           subject discipline are less likely to
enhancing outcomes for learners. These               feel alienated or isolated and are
strategies are not interchangeable. Each             consequently more likely to become
strategy represents a critical aspect of             engaged. Teachers, particularly
the learning process and all are required            in the online environment, are an
to achieve the maximum benefit. Each                 important aspect of social presence.
strategy is considered in the context of the         Impersonal environments are
framework presented above (see page 2).              more likely to alienate students.
                                                     Teacher immediacy − a sense of
Getting students engaged                             the presence of the teacher − is
Capturing student attention at the start             reassuring to students.
of the course has the biggest impact
on the retention of students. Two major          Maintaining engagement
types of strategies were identified as           Maintaining student engagement through
being important:                                 the course requires the following six
1. Primers for getting student                   strategies:
   attention: Curiosity, relevance               3. Clear content structure
    The literature identifies two possible           When students start a new
    approaches: curiosity and relevance.             course most of the material will
    Students experience curiosity when               be uncharted territory for them.
    they become aware of a gap in                    The constants they expect in a
    their knowledge and are motivated                course are a clear course outline
    to find the answer. One interesting              that includes the content structure
    aspect of curiosity is that it grows as          and other organisational features.
    knowledge grows, which suggests                  Students become very disgruntled
    that teachers may need to prime                  with disorganised courses
    curiosity early in a course. When                and changes to the expected
    students see a subject or topic as               programme.
    having personal relevance they are           4. Clear, unambiguous instructions
    more likely to experience an optimal            and guidelines
    level of arousal for learning.
                                                     Students are intensely interested
2. Social presence and belonging:                    in assessment instructions and
   Teacher enthusiasm, immediacy                     guidelines. They may experience
   and an inclusive environment                      high levels of anxiety associated
    The social context plays an important            with this part of the course, which
    role in encouraging student                      increases the need for clarity in
    engagement. Students who feel a                  these matters.

                                       STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING LEARNERS IN A BLENDED ENVIRONMENT   3
5. Challenging tasks                                 Re-engaging students who drift
        Challenging tasks are those that                 away or fail to engage
        make the student stretch to their                In most courses a proportion of students
        limits of performance. Learning                  will procrastinate at the start of the
        happens when students make an                    course or stop engaging, usually at
        effort and the greater the effort, the           key points such as assessment. The
        greater the sense of achievement                 literature identifies two critical strategies
        and motivation. Students are not                 for re-capturing the engagement of these
        motivated when given high marks                  students:
        for simple tasks, but nor are they               9. Monitoring and early identification
        motivated when the task is far
                                                             Early identification through
        beyond their ability.
                                                             monitoring student engagement
    6. Authentic tasks                                       is essential to identify disengaged
        Students are further motivated                       students. The earlier the
        when they engage in tasks that                       identification, the greater the chance
        they perceive as preparing them for                  of success. Ideally, this should
        the ‘real world’. They understand                    start in the first week. Learning
        that effort now has a later benefit.                 management systems such as
        Transfer of learning occurs when                     Blackboard and Moodle make this
        learning tasks are structurally similar              a very simple process. Taking rolls
        to real world tasks.                                 at class is also recommended.
    7. Timely feedback                                       Students who are performing poorly
                                                             are also at risk of dropping out and
        The weight of evidence strongly
                                                             should be monitored.
        suggests that in most circumstances
        immediate feedback is more                       10. Personal contact and negotiated
        effective than delayed feedback.                     conditions for re-engagement
        Immediate feedback allows students                   Having identified students who are
        to correct errors quickly, making                    not engaged, the most effective
        learning more efficient.                             strategy for re-engaging is personal
    8. Elaborated feedback                                   contact with the student by the
                                                             teacher. A personal email to each
        Studies consistently report that
                                                             student is one simple option. Follow-
        highly specific feedback that
                                                             up contact for students who do not
        elaborates on the ways students can
                                                             respond initially is also important.
        improve their performance results in
                                                             Such contact is most effective when
        better learning.
                                                             the teacher works with the student
                                                             to provide help and support for
                                                             problems the student may have.

4   www.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/blended-approaches-learner-engagement
Findings
Here we highlight sixteen major findings from our study:

Finding 1: Students value
blended learning.
                                                      Teachers should be
Students showed a strong liking for
blended modes of learning. While                      strongly encouraged
previous research shows preferences for
                                                      to systematically
traditional modes of teaching, the results
of our study suggest that the value of                incorporate all 10
blended learning is increasing over time.
                                                      engagements strategies,
                                                      not to mix and match
Finding 2: Blended learning may
offer a richer learning experience                    them, into each course
than either online or traditional                     for maximum effect on
modes of learning.
Current literature indicates that a blended
                                                      student engagement
learning environment, rather than being               and retention.
a compromise between two extremes of
traditional and fully online learning, offers
the student a wider range of affordances
to enhance the learning experience.

Finding 3: Teachers are
the gatekeepers to student
experiences.
Teachers, through their selection and
design of learning experiences, will
influence the nature and quality of
student learning. What students learn
is determined by what they have the
opportunity to do when they engage in
the experiences and activities designed
by teachers. Student perceptions of the
usefulness of such experiences to their
learning are strongly influenced by their
opportunity to use them.

                                       STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING LEARNERS IN A BLENDED ENVIRONMENT   5
Finding 4: Teachers are more                        Finding 6: In a blended
    conservative and less enthusiastic                  environment students will engage
    than students about embracing                       in a blend of learning behaviours
    opportunities offered by                            and activities that have personal
    technology.                                         efficacy and relevance for them.
    Teachers held deep reservations about               Students choose their own idiosyncratic
    the role of technology and had a strong             mix of engagement activities for learning
    belief that teachers should still be the            with some favouring a greater online
    central actor, with technology playing              blend and others more traditional
    a minor support role. They thought                  components in their blend. It would
    that lectures were useful for explaining            appear that while a range of blends
    theory, and that tutorials provided the             might be successful in promoting
    opportunity for students to actively                learning, not all blends are equally
    engage with the theory at an applied                effective.
    level. Online learning environments were
    seen primarily as a central repository for
    all course-related information.
                                                        Finding 7: High levels of
                                                        engagement and persistence in
                                                        structured and other learning
    Finding 5: Teachers lack sufficient                 activities are associated with
    time, support and resources to                      academic success.
    create effective blended learning                   The most successful students were
    environments.                                       those who reported being deeply
    Competing academic pressure for                     engaged in structured learning activities
    research outputs reduces time for                   designed by teachers. These students
    developing online teaching sites.                   were high on planning and persistence,
    Teachers also felt frustrated they did not          and low on procrastination. They used
    have time to learn to use the system                a wide range of learning resources
    properly nor to be able to personalise              and approaches, including talking
    it to reflect their own approach to                 to teachers, collaborating with other
    teaching and learning. A lack of time               students, using additional resources and
    for development and infrastructural                 online forums.
    support were also significant inhibitors to
    developing suitable online experiences.

6   www.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/blended-approaches-learner-engagement
    www.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/blended-approaches-learner-engagement
Finding 8: Levels of engagement                                Finding 9: Using the 10
are strongly influenced by                                     engagement strategies at the
assessment and online activities                               appropriate time increases
such as quizzes.                                               student engagement.
The levels of students’ online                                 The application of the 10 engagement
engagement fluctuated widely during the                        strategies at the appropriate time had
semester, but generally followed a similar                     a positive impact on student levels of
pattern; peaking strongly immediately                          engagement. Courses that incorporated
prior to assessment dates, then                                engagement strategies in their online
dropping sharply. However, this pattern                        environment experienced much higher
was moderated when online quizzes                              levels of student activity online. We found
or activities were used. In courses                            clear evidence of the efficacy of using
that included online activities such                           specific types of engagement strategies
as quizzes,2 the level of engagement                           at appropriate stages in the teaching
between peaks was higher and more                              process.
sustained than for other courses.
Teachers reported a steady decline in
attendance at lectures, though these
also peaked immediately prior to an
assessment. Some classes had only 25
percent attendance levels by the end of
the semester.

2 Quizzes did not have to be for credit to enhance
  engagement.

                                                     STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING LEARNERS IN A BLENDED ENVIRONMENT   7
Finding 10: The greatest potential
    for improving student engagement                         Student learning depends
    comes from using primers.                                on the level and quality
    Most teachers did not use online
    primers3 to stimulate interest and
                                                             of their interaction with
    curiosity, though most used some kind                    learning experiences.
    of priming strategy in the classroom.
    With one exception teachers did not
                                                             Students who reported
    rate this strategy as very important and                 being deeply engaged
    did not seem to invest a great deal of
    time thinking about stimulating curiosity
                                                             in structured learning
    or demonstrating relevance. Changes                      activities, using a wide
    here would have a significant effect on
    student engagement at a time when
                                                             range of learning resources
    students are particularly vulnerable to                  and approaches, including
    dropping out.
                                                             non-structured learning
                                                             resources, talking to
    Finding 11: Potential dropouts can
    be retrieved while they are in the                       teachers, collaborating
    ‘zone of discontent’.
                                                             with other students, and
    Teachers who actively monitored
    engagement and then applied strategies
                                                             online forums, achieved the
    to recapture disengaged students                         highest learning outcomes.
    were able to re-capture students with
    relatively little effort. Our results suggest
    there are times during which some
    students experience discontent with
    their studies and become vulnerable to
    disengagement. However, most of these
    students can be re-engaged if contacted
    before making the final decision to
    withdraw. The key is early identification
    through monitoring, personal contact
    and negotiation for a workable solution
    for the student.

    3 Primers are examples or activities that are designed
      to stimulate curiosity and/or demonstrate personal
      relevance of learning.

8   www.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/blended-approaches-learner-engagement
Finding 12: Most teachers had                   Finding 13: Social presence is
well-organised courses with good                largely underdeveloped in most
structures.                                     online environments.
These online learning sites were well           Most online sites had contact details,
organised and structured. They were             a welcome message and a discussion
divided into appropriate chunks, easy to        forum; however, these tended to be
navigate, followed a logical structure and      informational and it was hard to get a
had clear guidelines and instructions.          sense of the teacher from them. Teacher
Students prefer well-organised courses          presence is felt as a sense of immediacy
and dislike ambiguity. Carefully structured     and intimacy in the way teachers
courses increase student confidence             communicate with their students.
and competence and are an important             Forums were almost wholly teacher-to-
determinant of a student’s tendency             student. Teachers reported that student
to follow a deep or surface learning            forums are important for establishing a
approach.                                       sense of community.

           The most successful students were those
           who reported being deeply engaged in
           structured learning activities designed by
           teachers. These students were high on
           planning and persistence, and low on
           procrastination.
                                      STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING LEARNERS IN A BLENDED ENVIRONMENT   9
Finding 14: Levels of                               Finding 16: High dropout rates
     disengagement in the classroom                      are associated with higher course
     are of concern to teachers.                         grades.
     Most teachers expressed concern at the              Surprisingly, courses with higher average
     poor levels of class attendance, some               marks had higher dropout rates. One
     of which were as low as 25 percent.                 possible explanation is that students
     Most teachers attributed this to the                who drop out are struggling with either
     provision of online materials, which they           the course work or course load, raising
     believe convinces students they did                 the overall mean marks of the remaining
     not need to attend class. Despite this              students.
     belief teachers feel pressured by student
     demand to supply these materials. Class
     attendance is important for academic
     success. Although tertiary teachers may
     feel resistant to monitoring attendance,
     evidence strongly supports its efficacy.

     Finding 15: About one third of
     students either dropped out or
     seriously considered dropping out.
     By the end of the semester, 15 percent
     of students had dropped out, and
     a further 15 percent had actively
     considered doing so. Teaching quality
     was most frequently identified as the
     main reason. These students described
     their teachers as ‘boring’ and ‘not very
     good’.

10   www.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/blended-approaches-learner-engagement
Conclusions
Drawing upon these findings we reached five conclusions. Tertiary teachers
and organisations are encouraged to think about these conclusions with
reference to their context and current practices.

                                                    structures, unambiguous instructions
1. The quality of learning                          and guidelines, monitoring and early
   depends on the depth of                          identification of students in the ‘zone
   student engagement in the                        of discontent’, and personal contact
   learning process.                                with the student.
   Student learning depends on the
                                                    These strategies should be applied
   level and quality of their interaction
                                                    both online and in the classroom,
   with learning experiences. Students
                                                    though the application in different
   who reported being deeply engaged
                                                    contexts will vary. Applying these
   in structured learning activities, using
                                                    strategies online is more difficult
   a wide range of learning resources
                                                    for most teachers because of their
   and approaches, including non-
                                                    greater familiarity with classroom
   structured learning resources, talking
                                                    teaching.
   to teachers, collaborating with
   other students, and online forums,
   achieved the highest learning                3. The skill and effort that
   outcomes. These students were                   teachers use to create
   also highly organised in their study            learning experiences is
   and persisted with difficult problems.          the single most important
   What students DO matters.                       determinant of the quality of
                                                   the learning environment.
2. The systematic application of                    This skill was most evident in
   all 10 engagement strategies                     how well teachers used the 10
   identified in this study to both                 engagement strategies. The
   online and classroom learning                    quality of the learning experience is
   gave teachers the best chance                    rooted in the application of the 10
   of achieving high levels of                      engagement strategies. Teachers
   student engagement.                              who use these strategies when
                                                    integrating an online component
		Engagement is enhanced when all
                                                    with classroom teaching are able to
  10 strategies are used: primers,
                                                    create a greater variety of learning
  social presence, challenging
                                                    experiences for their students.
  and authentic tasks, timely and
                                                    These offer students greater
  elaborated feedback, clear course
                                                    flexibility in structuring their own

                                      STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING LEARNERS IN A BLENDED ENVIRONMENT   11
learning and multiple perspectives             4. Teachers are time-poor and
          of the learning content. The most                 lack adequate technical
          successful students used a blend                  support and training in
          of online and classroom elements.                 pedagogical principles.
          Unless teachers consciously                         Many teachers are unclear about
          entice, stimulate, curate, structure,               the pedagogical benefits of a
          communicate and attend to student                   blended environment. Most saw it
          needs then all that remains is a                    as a repository for resources and an
          volume of undifferentiated resources                opportunity to ease the burden of
          that students must interrogate alone.               student questions. Teachers were
          Students are not trained, nor do they               harried to have their online sites
          have the time, to do this. It would be              ready for the semester and had little
          more honest to give them a library                  time for exploration or reflection
          card and tell them to go and find out               on the opportunities presented by
          what they need.                                     the digital environment. They had
         Teachers who developed high-                         had minimal training and very little
         quality engagement strategies made                   technical support. Not surprisingly,
         measurable differences to the level of               these teachers were much less
         engagement by their students. This                   enthusiastic about merging
         was most evident when teachers                       traditional and digital modes of
         applied the engagement strategies                    teaching than students.
         online as well as in the classroom.
         Students in these classes worked
         harder and longer. Even good
         students will struggle in poorly
         developed learning environments.
         Teachers who lacked these skills or
         effort created much less satisfactory
         learning experiences and increased
         the incidence of withdrawal. These
         withdrawals represent lost income
         and wasted resources. The key to
         improving retention is to improve the
         quality of the learning experience,
         and enthusiastic, competent
         teachers are one of the main means
         of achieving this aim.

12   www.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/blended-approaches-learner-engagement
5. Blended learning can make a
                                     difference.
We found clear
                                      We conclude that blended learning
evidence of the                       has the ability to make a major,
                                      positive impact on tertiary teaching.
efficacy of using
                                      Learning management systems are
specific types                        capable of helping identify students
                                      who are at risk of disengaging
of engagement
                                      and that, with substantial staff
strategies at                         development, and improved digital
                                      teaching strategies, levels of student
appropriate stages in
                                      disengagement can be minimised.
the teaching process.                 This is an important finding
                                      because in a constrained financial
                                      environment, each student who
                                      disengages is a substantial loss not
                                      only to the institution but also to the
                                      nation as a whole.

   The most successful students used a blend
   of online and classroom elements.

                        STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING LEARNERS IN A BLENDED ENVIRONMENT   13
Recommendations                                     leadership role in changing the teaching
                                                         culture. A key area of focus would be the
     The results of this study can
                                                         30 percent of students who withdraw or
     be considered from a national,
                                                         consider withdrawing from their studies.
     organisational or teacher’s perspective.
                                                         A major strategy should be to improve
     Below we consider the key
                                                         teacher performance and accountability.
     recommendations at each level.
                                                         This could include:4
                                                            a. developing objective procedures
     National Recommendations                                  and practices for evaluating teaching
     Much learning and development in the                      practice (see Stein et al., 2012).
     practice of good teaching in a blended                    Reviews of teacher performance
     environment can be achieved through                       should consider retention rates
     the creation of a national community                      and success in creating engaging
     of learning for tertiary teachers. One                    courses that result in higher levels of
     example of an existing community of                       learning
     practice is the Ako Aotearoa Academy of                b. collecting data at the institutional
     Tertiary Teaching Excellence. Additional                  level to identify areas having
     groups could be established, that might:                  particular retention problems.
       a. host online wiki(s) for tertiary               Blended learning, when it is the
          teachers to share teaching and                 “thoughtful integration of classroom
          learning strategies, examples and              face-to-face learning experiences with
          tools for blended learning                     online learning experiences” (Garrison &
       b. engage in further research to                  Kanuka, 204, 96), can have a powerful
          measure the effect of engagement               effect on student engagement, and
          strategies both in the classroom and           through this, retention and student
          online.                                        satisfaction. Improving teacher capacity
                                                         to develop these more sophisticated
     Institutional Recommendations                       courses is urgently needed. Teachers
     Retention has clear economic and                    need time, resources and support
     reputational implications. In addition              to develop both their skills and their
     to the broader obligations to develop               courses. These may include:
     a sense of belonging and social                        a. workshops to give teachers the
     integration, institutions must take a                     opportunity to explore learning
                                                               technology and/or to develop
                                                               blended courses, supported by
                                                               technical staff to minimise frustration
                                                               and maximise learning

                                                         4 Note that these recommendations are consistent with
                                                           current good practices in other parts of the sector.

14   www.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/blended-approaches-learner-engagement
b. the opportunity to view sample             Toolbox
     courses that integrate the 10              A toolbox has been developed to
     engagement strategies                      support tertiary organisations and
  c. providing course templates that            teachers to engage with blended
     teachers can populate with their own       learning effectively. The toolbox contains
     materials                                  strategies, tools and examples that
  d. time release for teachers to develop       can be used when designing blended
     their blended learning courses.            learning courses. These are presented
                                                in a framework that allows the user to
                                                work systematically through the design
Teacher Recommendations                         process, or to select items that have
Teachers should redesign their courses          particular value.
for blended learning, not just by adding
                                                The design process outlined in the
an online component to their regular
                                                toolbox involves five steps:
teaching. The best courses we saw
had been thoughtfully considered and            •   needs analysis
the online and classroom components             •   design of layout and format
coherently integrated. These courses            •   development of content
had been designed starting with a blank         •   evaluation of the course
slate.                                          •   reflection.
                                                A wide range of tools and strategies is
Teachers should be strongly encouraged
                                                included to cover the 10 engagement
to systematically incorporate all 10
                                                strategies identified in the project. It is
engagements strategies, not to mix
                                                envisaged that teachers will use these
and match them, into each course for
                                                tools and strategies to assist with the
maximum effect on student engagement
                                                design and development of their own
and retention.
                                                blended courses.
Teachers should monitor student
                                                The toolkit is presented as a wiki,
engagement online (learning analytics)
                                                available through the Ako Aotearoa
and in the classroom (taking rolls) for
                                                website at
early identification of dis-engagement.
                                                http://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/blended-
This is essential to improving retention.
                                                approaches-learner-engagement.
Blended learning environments should
                                                The website is in the form of a wiki to
allow students to select their own
                                                encourage teachers to add their own
preferred blend of learning components
                                                tools and examples for other teachers.
to foster diverse ways of learning.
This carries the proviso that students
are given guidance in selecting useful
blends.

                                      STRATEGIES FOR ENGAGING LEARNERS IN A BLENDED ENVIRONMENT   15
References

     Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004).               Tiakawia, S. J. H. (2010). A literature
        Blended learning: Uncovering its                    review focused on virtual learning
        transformative potential in higher                  environments and e-learning in the
        education. The Internet and Higher                  context of te reo Māori and kaupapa
        Education (7), 95−105.                              Māori. Wellington: Ministry of
     Jeffrey, L. M., Milne, J., Suddaby, G.,                Education.
         & Higgins, A. (2012). Strategies                Stein, S. J., Spiller, D., Terry, S., Harris,
         for engaging students: Helps and                   T., Deaker, L., & Kennedy, J. (2012).
         hindrances in a blended learning                   Using student evaluations to enhance
         environment. Wellington: Ako                       teaching practice: Closing the loop.
         Aotearoa.                                          Wellington: Ako Aotearoa.

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