In October, I attended the ABED (Brazilian Association for Distance Education) International Conference which held a lecture about the analysis and utilization of student engagement data to prevent evasion. The lecture, in conjunction with the noticeable increase of new higher education institutions in Brazil, stimulated the consideration of risks that institutions face as a result of the growing number of competitors.
There are several factors to be taken into consideration regarding higher ed competition, but the primary concern revolves around retaining the student body. Studies conducted by the Ministério da Educação (MEC) in Brazil, reveal that the number of Undergraduate students at graduation is less than half the number of entrants.
Obstacles faced by institutions
External factors can influence the increase in evasion, such as economic crisis, unemployment, increase in tuition, etc. However, internal problems also contribute to evasion through the utilization of outdated teaching materials, lack of preparation and support for instructors, and the abundance of “boring” and stagnant lessons.
These internal problems add to the lack of student cognitive engagement and subsequently, the withdrawal of courses. Further deterioration of engagement can occur when the course is an asynchronous, distance learning course. This presents a problem with the rising number of students taking distance education courses. However, this can be addressed through diligent evaluation of cognitive engagement using LMS tools.
Using tools provided within LMS platforms, teachers can view graphs and charts to analyze student engagement with content, enabling teacher reflection of current practice, thus support continuous improvement. Mosyle is one example of an LMS platform that includes learning analytic reports. These reports present a real-time comprehensive view of the actions taken by students, empowering teachers to measure engagement, trace the route of students, understand performance by skills, and immediately access student progress within the course.
What is the solution for increasing cognitive engagement?
Cognitive engagement refers to the degree of “attention” displayed by the student to solve a problem in a given situation. The factor that contributes most to this “attention” is student perception of the relevance of the subject in relation to their own interests. Thus, providing students with practical teaching materials will greatly influence the cognitive absorption of the content.
Using reports provided by the LMS, decision-making in relation to teaching materials becomes more dynamic. Once teachers have the complete picture of the actions taken by students, this process is more effective. For example, if several students are struggling with the same material, it would be ideal for the material to be revised and/or replaced. On the contrary, if only a few students are struggling, rather than replacing or revising the current materials, the teacher can distribute additional resources to further scaffold instruction. Access to additional pedagogical guidance is also provided through these reports by allowing teachers to assess student preference to types of materials.
The analysis of learning reports in addition to continuous reflection and improvement can lessen the rate of evasion in your institution. Contact a Mosyle consultant to learn more – we can help you with this task!