Affect represents a crucial element to learning, and learners differ markedly in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn. There are a variety of sources that can influence individual variation in affect including neurology, culture, personal relevance, subjectivity, and background knowledge, along with a variety of other factors presented in these guidelines. Some learners are highly engaged by spontaneity and novelty while other are disengaged, even frightened, by those aspects, preferring strict routine. Some learners might like to work alone, while others prefer to work with their peers. In reality, there is not one means of engagement that will be optimal for all learners in all contexts; providing multiple options for engagement is essential. For greater detail, please refer to the CAST UDL Guidelines on Engagement.
How do I involve students in the learning process?
Knowing that active participation is key to learning, consider adopting various ways that students can actively participate in class. Active participation strengthens learning and, ultimately, the effectiveness of your instruction.
Take-Away Engagement Strategy: The Pause Procedure
What: Short (4-minute) periodic breaks to review notes and or discuss course content.
Why: Increases accuracy of notes (Ruhl & Suritsky, 1995); higher exam scores and less need for sustained attention (Braun & Simpson, 2004).
How: Pause at natural breaks (15 minutes). Provide clear instructions, signal beginning and end of Pause Procedure, and include time for unresolved questions.