Increasing Student Engagement and Participation Through Course Methodology

Increasing Student Engagement and Participation Through Course Methodology

T. Ray Ruffin (University of Phoenix, USA & Grand Canyon University, USA & Ashford University, USA & North Carolina Wesleyan College, USA), Donna Patterson Hawkins (University of Phoenix, USA) and D. Israel Lee (Southern Illinois University, USA & University of Phoenix, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch126

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Introduction

Educators have been criticized for limited resources in building capacity for continued growth through reflective learning (Demirbulak, 2012). A large number of educational institutions concentrate on acquiring formal knowledge of the subject matter excessively, with theory being overstated and the practical realities of the classroom not being effectively addressed. This is a formidable challenge that educators face and has led to research in trying to develop lifelong learning by being reflective. Reflective education is observing one’s own educational practices and thinking about what works and evaluating the approach to see if it is effective or not (Demirbulak, 2012).

Reflection bridges the chasm between theory and practice enabling educators to apply their knowledge for effective learning that is vital for success. This chasm could be the cause of educators avoiding uncertain, possibly rewarding, activities and ignoring cognitive activities (Edwards & Protheroe, 2003). Educators tend to prefer the more traditional teaching methods that are teacher-centered and express anxiety with the perception of student-centered learning (Ozgun-Koca & Sen, 2006). Concurrently, other factors (e.g., poor classroom management, limited knowledge of correlated subjects, insecurity) limit the opportunity for a more rich educational experience (Demirbulak, 2012). Even with these factors considered, it is the educator’s responsibility to design courses that utilize reflective educational practices that are effective (Demirbulak, 2012). Therefore, dynamic educational approaches are necessary and should be integrated in a well-balanced manner. Practices that are learner-focused increase the probability of success by increasing student engagement in the classroom.

According to Günüç and Kuzu (2014a), the increase use of technology is facilitating greater learner participation and is a boon to the academic environment. Günüç and Kuzu posit that it is essential to take technology into consideration in the classroom due to the near universal acceptance of technology into every aspects of life. Digital natives, individuals surnamed because they were born in an era immersed in the technology, see this technology (e.g., IPads, Surface Pros, Smart Phones…etc.) as normal. This particular demographic of learner differ from other generations in this respect (Günüç & Kuzu, 2014a). For the adult learner (historically referred to as non-traditional learner), likes the convenience the technology provides (e.g., access to education and coursework virtually 24 hours a day, from any location). However, all adult learners are not the same, do not learn the same, and desire a more dynamic educational approach. Despite this perspective, a singular approach to the learning process tends to dominate educational practices—lecture. This myopic approach is based on principles, theories, and teaching methodologies that have existed for centuries that do not take into account the diversity and cultural differences of learners. Concomitantly, educators and educational systems are responding to the needs of learners with a combination of educational methodological approaches—pedagogy and andragogy.

Pedagogy uses prescribed subject matter with little room for deviation, it is supported by external motivation factors such as grades to promote engagement and learners are dependent upon the instructor to determine how much and how well they learn (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2015). Andragogy, uses technological tools to enhance learning for adults, encourages self-directedness, and incorporates personal experiences into the learning process (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2015). This chapter investigates the aforementioned methodologies found to be effective for adult learners. The chapter will consist of the following sections: background; issues controversies and problems; solutions and recommendations; future research directions; and the conclusion. The information contained herein will enhance the field of education and course methodology and influence modern educational institutions and society in general.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Anthrogogical Spectrum: The process of human learning across a continuum of educational approaches.

Siloed: “Silos” are organizations where each department concentrates on their own objectives. The departments are not working for the good or the whole of the organization. An extreme example of this negative impact of what “silos” can do in an organization is when one department sabotages another. For the purpose of this “soloed” is separating pedagogy and andragogy and not using the methodology together.

Potentiator: A person that creates learning opportunities.

Agogos: From the greek agein “to lead” or “leader of.”

Metagogical Approaches: Educational approaches that combine the advantages of pedgagogy and andragogy to increase the effectiveness of the educational process.

Heutagogical Approaches: Educational approaches where the self-directedness of the learning process allows the learner the flexibility to adjust the learning situation to meet the changing nature of the educational or social phenomena.

Transdisciplinary: The framework for allowing members of an educational team to contribute knowledge and skills, collaborate with other members, and collectively create knowledge.

Third Age Learners: People who are near retirement, retired, and/or past the age of employment but engage in formal and informal education.

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