It’s 7:30 AM on a Monday morning. I’m logged in to a Zoom call with 22 strangers. A scattering of novelists. A few bloggers. Two high school students working on homework. Some folks recording podcasts. And at least one person working on their taxes.
2020 was a year that witnessed a myriad of changes in the workplace, society, and how we interact, work, play, and…live. In the world of learning and development, perhaps now it’s time to catch our collective breath, and review what we’ve done. 2020 was a year when members of the learning and development community (YOU!) were leaned on heavily to re-purpose, re-develop, and sustain professional development of the workforce in the pandemic.
Virtual Classroom - Instructional Design,
The InSync Training team congratulates Chip Dye, Lead Researcher and Director of Client Relations, on the defense of his dissertation and completion of his PhD program at the University of Connecticut. As part of our 20 Modern Learning Lessons Learned in 20 Years series, Chip highlights the purpose and value of his research into learner engagement.
A casual review of current literature in academic research finds more than 300 scholarly articles and more than 2,000 trade articles in 2019 alone that use the term “learner engagement,” but few commentators define learner engagement. It is perhaps the ubiquity of the usage that allows researchers and commentators to continue the practice without a strict definition – it is assumed everyone knows what is meant by the term. Most practitioners in the learning and development industry, be it K-12 public education, post-secondary instruction, or industry professional training, can easily distinguish an “engaged” learner from one that is not engaged, in many cases simply on sight.
Anecdotally, it is easy to “see” when someone is not engaged, but much more difficult to articulate what is meant by “learner engagement.” In the industry, learner engagement has developed into a short-hand term that loosely represents an amalgam of learner subject-matter interest/expertise, attitude, motivation, mastery, and self efficacy. Moreover, it is often explicitly or implicitly assumed that an engaged learner will achieve better outcomes against measurable rubrics than one who is not engaged.
Lessons Learned Series
This is the first installment in a three-part series that explores actionable approaches facilitators can use to improve learner engagement through purposeful facilitation.
If a tree falls in the woods and no one witnesses it, does it make any noise? If an individual hates the virtual classroom, does it have an impact on the success of the program?
Of course it does. The learning environment and the learner are both changed by contributions from the learner, interactions with the other learners, delivery of content, and interactions with the facilitator. In the case of the virtual classroom, this environmental engagement begins with comfort with the capabilities and requirements of the virtual classroom.
Advanced Facilitation Learner Engagement Series