Proposal Title

Learning beyond the walls of the classroom: The key to student engagement

Presentation Type

Long (40 minute) synchronous

Start Date

16-2-2021 10:50 AM

End Date

16-2-2021 11:35 AM

Proposal Abstract

Most instructors spend a lot of time thinking about how to increase learner motivation and engagement. Teachers have an intuitive sense of what engagement is, and they recognize it as a crucial ingredient for learning and quality instruction. In fact, there has been growing consensus among researchers that engagement represents “the holy grail of learning” (Sinatra et al., 2015, p. 1). This session reports on research recently conducted at TRU as part of a doctoral dissertation study. The investigation revealed that learning that takes place beyond the walls of the classroom can have a transformational impact on learners’ levels of engagement, and subsequent rates of participation, willingness to engage, and levels of confidence. Learners spent time both in the classroom and in the community, where they took on volunteer roles at local charities and other organizations. Returning from their regular volunteering experiences in the community, students reflected in the classroom on their community experiences during small group activities and through journaling. Data was collected on learners behavioural, emotional, cognitive and social engagement using complex dynamics systems theory as a research framework. Findings showed that once community volunteering began, transformational increases in learner engagement took place. In some cases, engagement was so powerful that students entered an intense period of long-term motivation known as a directed motivational current. Engagement levels were found to be inseparably connected to certain factors in the learning environment This session will share the secret to unleashing powerful motivational forces that lead to student engagement.

Statement

This presentation reflects this year's theme as it reports on results of a study about learning beyond the classroom. A large amount of student behavioural data was collected in support of the claims about increases in student engagement that takes place when learning shifts beyond the walls.

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Feb 16th, 10:50 AM Feb 16th, 11:35 AM

Learning beyond the walls of the classroom: The key to student engagement

Most instructors spend a lot of time thinking about how to increase learner motivation and engagement. Teachers have an intuitive sense of what engagement is, and they recognize it as a crucial ingredient for learning and quality instruction. In fact, there has been growing consensus among researchers that engagement represents “the holy grail of learning” (Sinatra et al., 2015, p. 1). This session reports on research recently conducted at TRU as part of a doctoral dissertation study. The investigation revealed that learning that takes place beyond the walls of the classroom can have a transformational impact on learners’ levels of engagement, and subsequent rates of participation, willingness to engage, and levels of confidence. Learners spent time both in the classroom and in the community, where they took on volunteer roles at local charities and other organizations. Returning from their regular volunteering experiences in the community, students reflected in the classroom on their community experiences during small group activities and through journaling. Data was collected on learners behavioural, emotional, cognitive and social engagement using complex dynamics systems theory as a research framework. Findings showed that once community volunteering began, transformational increases in learner engagement took place. In some cases, engagement was so powerful that students entered an intense period of long-term motivation known as a directed motivational current. Engagement levels were found to be inseparably connected to certain factors in the learning environment This session will share the secret to unleashing powerful motivational forces that lead to student engagement.