Whether we are virtual, face-to-face, or hybrid, how we design and package learning opportunities can impact student engagement. Today's post is not about resources but more about a time to reflect on how we are designing lessons to have the biggest impact on student learning.
Student engagement happens when we purposefully plan for it. We are sharing 7 design elements that will help guide you during the planning and design stage of creating more engaging lessons.
7 Design Elements to Engage Learners
Building in opportunities for student choice allows students to take more control of their learning. If students are engaged with the content, they are less likely to be off-task and their intrinsic motivation kicks in. Many choices can be built into Choice Boards. Find Choice Board templates and more on our Empowering Student Choice blog.
Guiding students through intentional exploration could result in deeper understanding or even become the springboard to develop new ideas. With many classrooms experiencing virtual or hybrid settings, break-out rooms give students the opportunities for small group discussions. But how do students stay focused? The key is incorporating active learning components such as graphic organizers, a collaborative document for note taking, or a journal reflection to help organize thoughts.
Developing relevant lessons for our students gives them context in which to further develop their ideas. Interest leads to greater engagement and the students' ability to connect ideas. Giving students an interest survey is one way to learn about your students but also learning what is trending in their world - books, video games, toys, sports etc. The better we understand our students, the easier it is to make our lessons personal and relevant.
Just as we have students practice writing, spelling, keyboarding, math facts, etc. we must also allow time for practicing new digital skills and tools. Students have multiple resources at their fingertips but in order for the tools to have the biggest impact, students must have time to practice and discover what will work best for them.
In an earlier blog post, on providing focused feedback, we shared tools and techniques for leaving text, audio, and video feedback for students. By consistently providing constructive feedback to our students they become more comfortable with critique and encouragement. Revision with guidance then becomes a more natural part of the learning process while placing less emphasis on the final project grade.
Encouraging time for student reflection packs power into lesson design by guiding them to analyze their experience. During a low-risk reflection activity, students think about their learning process as well as their product. Keep reflection fresh by using rubrics, tweet decks, exit tickets, 5 minute journal entries, etc. If you need inspiration, try one of these 40 Reflection Questions by Edutopia.
By publishing student work outside of the classroom walls, students learn that their work has greater meaning than simply the assignment details. The opportunity to publish for an authentic audience provides many real world experiences such as making revisions based on feedback and applying a work ethic to meet deadlines. Visit our Amplifying Student Voice blog post for ways students can publish their work.
We would love to hear from you. How do you design lessons to engage learners?