How an LMS Helps You Boost Social, Academic, and Intellectual Engagement

Contributed By

David Mikesell

Technology Director at Our Lady of Tepeyac High School

How an LMS Helps You Boost Social, Academic, and Intellectual Engagement

Posted in Evolving Ed | April 11, 2017

It is no secret that technology has had an impact on the educational realm. In 2015, schools spent $6.6 billion on IT and educational technology.

With this massive amount of spending, has student achievement increased? What does a digital education environment mean to the student?

The Engagement/Achievement Correlation

It is well established that having a high level of student engagement results in a high level of student achievement. A study from Willms, Friesen, and Milton breaks down student engagement into three categories:

  • Social Engagement—a sense of belonging and participation in social life.
  • Academic Engagement—participation in the formal requirements of schooling.
  • Intellectual Engagement—a serious emotional and cognitive investment in learning, using higher-order thinking skills (such as analysis and evaluation) to increase understanding, solve complex problems or construct new knowledge. (pg.7)

Some of their study’s findings include:

  • The effects of classroom and school learning on student engagement are strong.
  • Relationships between instructional challenge and student engagement are significant.
  • Effective teaching is characterized by the thoughtful design of learning tasks that require and instill deep thinking, immerse the student in disciplinary inquiry, connected to the world outside the classroom, intellectual rigor and involve substantial conversation.

The last bullet point is the most crucial finding. It is vital that students have meaning to what tasks they are performing and allow for the student to both grow within the curriculum parameters and as an individual. And one effective way that we can give them ample opportunities to explore and engage with curriculum in relevant and interesting ways is by using an LMS.

How an LMS can Help You Engage Students in Meaningful Learning Experiences

Adopting a learning management system (LMS) can help you increase your students' engagement level and monitor their progress for achievement. Here are a few straightforward ways an LMS can help with the aforementioned types of engagement:

Social Engagement
  • LMSs can increase the communication between students and teachers, both in and beyond the classroom.
  • Teacher are better able to communicate effectively and provide constructive feedback in a quick and effective manner.
  • Collaboration tools and small group projects enable students to learn to work closely together.
Academic Engagement
  • LMSs enable students and teachers to interact with curriculum via digital assignments, discussions, and assessments.
  • Educators gain access to more resources and avenues for develop highly engaging curriculum.
Intellectual Engagement
  • LMSs can enhance the mentorship relationship between the student and teacher.
  • Teachers can individualize instruction and meet students where they are to help them grow.
  • Students can monitor their own progress, set goals, and develop independent learning skills that are essential to the real world.

How My LMS Has Helped Me Engage and Inspire My Students

From my own experience in the classroom, I can attest how an LMS has helped me better engage my students and improve their over all learning experiences. Here are a few examples of this:

First, I've been able to create learning tasks that require and instill deep thinking. My LMS has allowed me to more easily control the flow of the curriculum to allow the brain to develop the lower level skills first, then open up avenues for the higher end levels of learning.

With my LMS as the hub, my students and I are also better able to connect my curriculum to the outside world. Last year, for example, I had a student who wanted to learn how to do something I did not know how to do. He not only researched it on his own, but also contacted a former employee of Microsoft to ask and inquire about the skill.

My LMS has also helped me build in a wide range of intellectual rigor to push my students appropriately, regardless of their predisposition to the topic. I had a programming class, for example, with students who had never coded an even one who had competed at the national level. Schoology made it possible to differentiate the instruction to give everyone the appropriate intellectual rigor to meet them where they were at knowledge wise.

Finally, I've been able to create an ongoing and substantive conversation with my students. By managing my class through a communication-based LMS, the students all experience intellectual stimulation and continue to have the desire to learn from their peers. This paired with the time I save managing academic tasks has allowed me to focus more energy on my students.

I'm confident that if you incorporate technology, particularly an LMS both you and your students enjoy using, into your daily classroom workflow, you will see a tremendous growth in your students' social, academic, and intellectual engagement. Keep in mind that it requires a thoughtful approach to the use of technology for enhancing the learning experience that matters most.

To learn more about how to use a LMS to create stellar blended learning experiences, check out the ebook below that I co-wrote.

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