5 Ways to Support Flexible Learning Options from Anywhere


Students today are interested in convenient and flexible learning options. And increasingly, convenience and flexibility are perhaps even more important than the pedigree of a diploma. 

Choice is the future — and technology enhances all forms of learning, whether online, hybrid, or in-person. It makes sense then, that giving students options for where and how they learn gives them power over their trajectory. Doing so is an effective way to keep students engaged and empower them to succeed. 

When it comes to engagement, students in our 2022 State of Student Success and Engagement in Higher Education global report say that among the most impactful engagement strategies are hands-on instruction (51%) and experience-based learning (48%). 

That’s pretty similar to previous years in which hands-on instruction (2021: 53% and 2020: 47%) and experience-based learning (2021: 53% and 46%) also led the list. 

Additional factors that our respondents say increase student engagement include:

  • Interactive instruction

  • In-person instruction

  • Smaller class sizes

  • Project-based learning

  • Personalized instruction

  • Individual learning goals

  • A mix of online and in-person learning

When comparing responses across audiences and regions, significantly more than administrators (39%), students (43%) believe immediate feedback increases engagement. Additionally, Asia Pacific (APAC) institutions are significantly more likely to find a blended mix of online and in-person learning (44%) more impactful on student engagement than other regions. 

Perceptions on How an LMS Impacts Student Engagement

The use of a learning management system (LMS) increases two-way communication and student engagement, regardless of the course delivery type. 

Three-quarters of respondents believe their LMS positively impacts student engagement in classes and lectures (75%), significantly more so at APAC institutions (84%). Administrators (84%) are significantly more likely to find learning management systems positively impactful than students (73%).

Learning management systems are used for a multitude of purposes, most often for homework/assignments (79%), material sharing (78%), and tests/quizzes (78%). Latin American (LATAM) institutions (70%) are significantly more likely to use an LMS for conducting classes than other regions. 

Looking deeper, administrators are significantly more likely to use their LMS for communication (83%) than students (74%). When it comes to technology, 75% of students say it helps make their life more organized.

With so much demand on convenience, multiple course modalities, learning management systems, and modern education technology, institutions must find innovative ways to support today’s learners. 

Five Ways to Support Learning Options from Anywhere

Our findings make it clear that institutions should be adapting to meet learners where they are - both literally and figuratively, as happy students are more engaged students, and engaged students are successful students. Here are five ways to support flexible learning options from anywhere.

  1. Diversify your course offerings. Measure the balance of your available courses and continue to expand online offerings to meet diverse needs.

  2. Provide immersive learning experiences through interactive video, mobile apps, or other technology resources that are inclusive to all students and learning styles.

  3. Leverage technology for engagement by focusing on two-way communication, peer-to-peer collaboration, and immediate feedback for students.

  4. Gamify badges and certificates. Offer badges as rewards for achieving proficiencies to encourage continued student engagement.

  5. Maximize the capabilities of your LMS to increase student engagement and deliver dynamic learning experiences.

Choosing the Right LMS

There are a wide variety of options when searching for an LMS. Choosing the right LMS should be a strategic decision not based on savings alone. At a minimum, expect your LMS to provide:

– Easy customization, innovation, and expansion

– A chance to design the learning experience you want to deliver

– An all-inclusive cost structure

– Integration with all your learning tools via open APIs and compliance with the latest LTI standards

– Top-tier support at your fingertips every step of the way

Ultimately, our study shows that students are interested in personalized, engaging instruction in both virtual and in-person learning environments. Over time, emerging technologies such as virtual reality, immersive tools, and interactive video will continue to open new adaptive learning channels and mechanisms for student engagement. 

Combining these capabilities with collaborative tools that provide instant feedback, peer comments, and formative feedback loops creates more opportunities for increased engagement. 

Get More Insights

For the study, we worked with Hanover Research, seeking input from 7,572 students, administrators and faculty from 2-year, 4-year, public, and private higher education institutions across 23 countries. In fielding this survey each year, our goal is to define measurements of student success, identify factors for engagement, and shed light on the path ahead for higher education.

Interested in more findings from the 2022 State of Student Success and Engagement in Higher Education

Download the full report.

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