Instructure's Annual Higher Education Research Defines Critical Needs for Students' Lifelong Learning Success

Instructure, the leading learning platform and creator of Canvas LMS, has recently released its annual global report on the State of Student Success and Engagement in Higher Education. Developed in partnership with Hanover Research, the study highlights the current trends and challenges within higher education, focusing on key drivers of student success and engagement.

One of the major findings of the report is the increasing preference for skills-based and lifelong learning options. As the workplace continues to evolve, students are exploring alternative learning pathways that provide flexibility and allow them to quickly enter the workforce or explore different career paths. Skills-based learning is becoming highly valued for its practical application in the workforce, with career advancement and the desire to learn new skills being the primary factors influencing students to pursue such opportunities. Students are seeking courses and programs that prepare them for the workforce, with a focus on personalized and practical learning experiences.

Certificate and apprenticeship programs are also gaining prominence as they provide demonstrable proof of workplace skills. With longer life expectancies and changes in the workplace, there is a growing shift towards lifelong learning. Students are increasingly considering certificates and apprenticeships to supplement their traditional degrees. Institutions can adapt their offerings to meet this need and provide students with opportunities for continuous skill development.

The report also emphasizes the need for generative AI guidelines and training for educators and students. While technology has played a vital role in education, there is a growing divide in the adoption of AI tools in the classroom. Establishing guidelines and providing training for generative AI can help colleges and universities ensure consistency in skill development.

Access to technology remains a significant factor in student success and engagement. While the pandemic has improved accessibility to education through technology, there are still regions with limited or no access to educational opportunities. These “learning deserts” pose challenges for learners due to geographic constraints or lack of access to technology and reliable Wi-Fi connections. Increased accessibility in education creates a more inclusive and supportive learning environment that fosters student success.

Mental health support is another critical aspect highlighted in the report. Psychological well-being and access to mental health resources greatly impact student engagement and faculty support. Institutions are providing resources such as counseling and virtual counseling, but there is a need to ensure easy access for students. Additionally, students and educators express a desire for personal/mental health days off to recharge, which is not currently offered by many institutions.

Lastly, the report emphasizes the importance of empowering educators through autonomy, respect, and holistic support. Educators face challenges such as larger class sizes and demands for flexibility in learning. Institutions can empower educators by offering personal development opportunities, acknowledging their achievements, and providing avenues for feedback.

Instructure acknowledges the significance of these findings and commits to improving and designing products in the Instructure Learning Platform based on the study’s results. The report serves as a valuable resource for institutions, faculty, and administrators to develop future strategies and resources that address the challenges faced by higher education worldwide.

Overall, the State of Student Success and Engagement in Higher Education report provides valuable insights into the evolving landscape of higher education and highlights the critical needs for students’ lifelong learning success. Instructure’s commitment to addressing these needs through its learning platform demonstrates its dedication to elevating student success and inspiring a collaborative learning environment.

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