In education, there is a consensus that student engagement is vital to the learning process. 

But, how can we create engaged students?

Independent Training Providers (ITPs) play a pivotal role in delivering high-quality vocational education and training to young people, ensuring that learners receive the best possible education. 

To achieve this, it’s imperative for ITPs to prioritise and enhance learner engagement. 

The quality of training courses, skills bootcamps, apprenticeships and adherence to achievement rate targets depend significantly on the engagement levels of learners. 

In this article, we will explore why learner engagement is of paramount importance for ITPs and how it can be managed and improved to benefit both learners and the ITP.

 

 

Understanding Student Engagement

Student engagement encompasses various facets and can be broadly defined as the level of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students exhibit while learning

It extends to their motivation to progress in their education. 

Student engagement can be broken down into three dimensions:

  1. Behavioural engagement: This involves active participation in academic, social, and co-curricular activities.
  2. Emotional engagement: Focuses on students’ emotional responses to teachers, classmates, academics, and the school environment.
  3. Cognitive engagement: Centers on students’ level of investment in learning and their use of learning strategies.

 

These multifaceted definitions highlight the complexity of student engagement, and that’s why it’s a subject of extensive discussion and research.

The question is, why does student engagement matter so much in education?

 

 

The Importance of Student Engagement

A 2018 Gallup Study found that “Engaged students are 2.5 times more likely to say that they get excellent grades and and do well in school, and they are 4.5 times more likely to be hopeful about their future than their actively disengaged peers”.

 

Student engagement is pivotal to Independent Training Providers for various reasons:

  • It directly impacts the quality of education and student outcomes. 
  • Engaged students tend to excel academically, exhibit higher comprehension, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, and achieve better grades. 
  • Engagement fosters personal growth, nurturing self-confidence, independence, and a passion for learning. 
  • Engaged students often become lifelong learners who actively seek opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills.

 

Beyond academic achievements, high levels of student engagement help create positive, collaborative learning environments, reducing dropout rates and fostering a sense of belonging and community among learners.

 

 

The Significance of Learner Engagement

  1. Reducing Withdrawals

Research conducted by The St Martin’s Group has revealed that 37 percent of learner withdrawals in apprenticeships is attributed to a lack of support from employers. 

While this aspect may not be entirely within the control of ITPs, they have a crucial role to play. 

By increasing learner engagement, ITPs can create a more supportive and immersive learning environment that reduces the risk of withdrawals.

 

  1. Achieving High-Quality Delivery

The heart of any effective ITP program is a well-rounded and highly engaged learner. 

Engaged learners are more likely to excel academically, retain information, and demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They actively seek understanding and meaning in their studies, which aligns with the goals of any ITP – to deliver high-quality, impactful learning experiences.

 

 

Enhancing Learner Engagement

  1. Easing Enrolment and Onboarding

A critical aspect of learner engagement is making sure they feel supported and integrated into their learning journey. 

Onboarding should include discussions about learner ambitions and expectations, ensuring that learners understand the requirements of their program. 

This not only aligns with Ofsted’s criteria but also helps prevent learner disengagement due to unmet expectations.

 

  1. Monitoring Engagement

Real-time monitoring of engagement is vital for gauging learner performance. 

Training managers and employers should have access to live data dashboards to track learner engagement. 

By observing aspects within their control, such as communication frequency with learners, submission speed, positive feedback from managers, and performance metrics, ITPs can identify learners who may be struggling and intervene to provide support, reducing withdrawals.

 

 

  1. Benchmarking Engagement Levels

As the digital transformation and blended learning continue to shape the learners journey, benchmarking engagement levels across training providers becomes paramount. 

By understanding and comparing engagement metrics, ITPs can discover innovative ways to enhance learner engagement, leading to more flexible, effective programs.

 

  1. Embracing Blended Learning

Blended learning is no longer a temporary trend; it’s here to stay. 

Virtual classrooms have become predominant, with 97 percent of organisations using them for training

ITPs now have the opportunity to harness the benefits of blended learning by creating high-quality, effective delivery models that cater to the diverse needs of learners. 

This approach maximises engagement through multiple touchpoints, including:

– Pre-recorded multimedia for flexible learning.

– Live lessons led by experienced tutors for interactive engagement.

– Live learning workshops for quick intervention and support.

– Written resources to support learning.

– Quizzes that reinforce learning objectives.

 

Conclusion

Learner engagement is the cornerstone of successful education and is key to unlocking the potential of every student.

Prioritising learner engagement can lead to a reduction in withdrawals, higher-quality delivery, and better learner outcomes. 

In this ever-evolving educational landscape, the ability to measure and enhance learner engagement is essential. 

It not only improves the individual learner’s experience and outcome but also determines how ITPs deliver training and education in the future.

At Purlos, we offer Purlos Engage, a fully managed service designed to help post-16 education providers increase engagement with their students. By automating communication and minimising manual work, Purlos Engage replaces ineffective methods of communication, creating a more engaging and efficient educational environment. To learn more, connect with our team HERE.

 

Amber Cousins