DOI: 10.3390/educsci13121196 ISSN: 2227-7102

Innovative Strategies for Fostering Student Engagement and Collaborative Learning among Extended Curriculum Programme Students

Innocent Zitha, Georgina Mokganya, Orifha Sinthumule
  • Public Administration
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Massification in higher education has made the satisfaction of students’ needs unattainable among university lecturers. In contrast, the use of innovative strategies for collaborative learning enhances student engagement in the heterogeneous student context. Moreover, this paper aims to explore strategies for fostering student engagement through collaborative learning among first-year students at the University of Venda. To answer the research question of whether innovative learning designs in teaching and learning can foster students’ engagement and collaborative learning, subsequently, this paper employed a mixed-methods approach to gauge the effectiveness of different teaching strategies on student outcomes. Significantly, the purposive sampling approach was used to sample a group of 200 students in the Extended Curriculum Programme (ECP). The researchers used participant observation and narrative inquiry as data collection instruments in this paper. Furthermore, the students in their respective groups were assigned topics from the English and Biology modules to use their talents to demonstrate their understanding of certain complex concepts in these modules. The non-surprising findings of this paper elucidated that collaborative learning expedites students’ mastery of key concepts and subject content through the integration of talents. The module lecturers introduced students to these innovative designs to ensure collaborative learning and effective student engagement. The key findings articulated that these aspects, namely role-playing exercises, group projects, peer-to-peer learning, use of talents, peer feedback, and so forth, have the potential to improve student performance and academic success. The implication of this study is that students learn to work together, delegate responsibilities, improve participation, and communicate effectively to attain a common goal. Using these strategies, lecturers promote collaboration among students and foster a more engaging and interactive learning experience. This paper further recommends the integration of students’ talents as an effective strategy to foster student engagement and collaborative learning to track and monitor at-risk students at an early stage.

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