One of the things I love most about my job at Instructure is meeting customers. In recent meetings, I’ve noticed that student success is a recurring theme—among teachers, administrators, technologists, managers and even students themselves. Many of our customers talk about how they’ve embraced edtech with this objective firmly in mind, and how Canvas provides an engaging learning experience that drives better outcomes.
What does success look like?
Student success doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all definition; it means different things to different people. For some, it’s a short-term objective aimed at helping students pass modules or courses. For others, it’s a long-game focused on preparing graduates for successful employment.
Michael Welin-Berger, project manager for Canvas implementation from Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology told us that, for him, student success relies upon “the student reaching his/her full potential, both in theoretical as well as social skills.”
Elizabeth McConnell, a student from the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) in Sydney, said, “My definition of student success is getting what you want from uni and being able to apply that in a rewarding job.”
While we agree with Welin-Berger’s holistic view that student success ultimately comes from delivering rounded, practical and well-adjusted graduates, we also agree with McConnell that students should graduate with skills for the workforce—and for a fulfilling role in society.
Motivation and engagement
Motivation and engagement are crucial to student success—and both are driven by empowerment. The best educators, as much as possible, empower students to engage deeply with course materials and to learn in ways that suit them best. Many forward-looking institutions now prioritise a collaborative environment where teachers act more as coaches. This self-directed approach helps increase motivation and engagement by encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning. It also puts the focus on thinking critically and applying knowledge, which is a significant pedagogical shift from theoretical and rote learning.
The ability to solve real-world problems and to hone independent thinking is important at all stages of learning, but when it comes to finding employment and thriving in the workforce, these skills are critical. Indeed, a skills-focused learning approach affects our entire employment ecosystem—from individuals’ careers to the prosperity of businesses, industries and economies.
The learning journey
This is where Canvas comes in. By harnessing the power of technology, educators can begin to deliver a more engaging and motivating educational experience. Tech can power a collaborative, self-directed learning environment where students develop new skills, apply knowledge, get better feedback and even establish links with industry.
And, of course, tech isn’t just valuable in an academic setting—it goes beyond the classroom. From connecting with prospective students and parents to supporting postgraduates and alumni after studies end, tech enables institutions to create and maintain engagement. When harnessed properly, educational technology can help facilitate a truly rounded experience—one that meets many definitions of students success.
VP of International Marketing, Instructure