Are you looking for ways to boost student engagement in your nursing courses? This is a common issue, and many faculty members at colleges and universities identify teaching effectiveness as a top concern. Some instructors have developed innovative ways to keep their students engaged, but for most nursing educators, coming up with creative ideas can be very challenging.
Keeping students engaged is a common problem in many fields of study and is not confined to a specific degree or online MSN in nursing education program. Top nursing programs like the University of Indianapolis understand the challenge, and their educators always seek innovative ways to engage students in a constantly evolving field so they can study more effectively and enjoy a rewarding career.
How can you follow their lead and come up with more engaging activities?
Keep an ear out for what’s important to students
One of the best ways to keep your nursing students engaged is to ensure your activities are meaningful. That means you have to listen to your students and find out what areas of nursing interest them. Why are they interested in this field, and what are they curious to learn?
You could accomplish this in several ways. For example, you can schedule regular one-on-one sessions with each of your students so you can ask them about themselves and what they want to get out of the class. You can also use surveys to get a general idea of what your students want.
Mix up the format
Nursing is a subject that covers a lot of ground, but it’s easy for it to become repetitive. To keep students engaged, mix up the format of your curriculum. For example, you could try teaching one class with a guest speaker. It’s an excellent way to keep students interested and allows them to ask questions about real-world applications of their learning.
You can also try changing up the order in which you teach topics. If you usually start with physiology, try beginning with pathophysiology instead. Also, ensure you end each class with a summary that includes crucial takeaways. Try to avoid falling into a pattern.
Let students choose
Another great way to keep students engaged is by letting them choose what they want to learn. While this isn’t always possible or appropriate, there may be other ways to give students more control over the class. For example, you could allow them to choose their groups for group projects and assignments. You might also consider looking at an online course management system that lets them build their course schedules and even choose their due dates within a range you define. It’s an excellent way for students to get hands-on experience managing their time and workload.
Provide students with simulations
We’ve all heard that hands-on activities are a great way to help students retain information, but many nursing professors don’t have the space or budget to let their students take this approach. Some nursing educators have found a way around this, however. They have created scenarios that give students a chance to put their skills to the test. You can do something similar in your course. If you want your students to learn how to perform a specific task, create an online simulation that gives them the same experience.
Try team learning opportunities
There’s no better way to engage students in education and learning than by providing team learning opportunities. These are activities carried out in teams or pairs. Team learning requires students to work together, which helps them build relationships and learn from one another. It also gives them a chance to show off their unique talents. After all, no two students are exactly alike. Moreover, team learning is a great way to get students out of their comfort zones and help them build new skills.
Keep yourself engaged as an educator
Nursing education can be a challenging job given the daily pressures of preparing lesson plans, grading assignments, and staying on top of your student roster. These activities can quickly become overwhelming, and your students may sense that you are not fully engaged. However, it is important to set an example by finding ways to keep yourself interested and excited about the topics you discuss. Thankfully, there are many creative ways you can ensure that your class is an enjoyable and educational experience.