Active Learning

A Revised Lesson Plan for Student Success


There’s growing concern among students, parents, educators, administrators, governments and employers: The return on investment in education needs bolstering, and that requires an updated perspective, new strategies and new metrics for student success.

For too long, students have been expected to master a defined body of information, mostly through memorization and recall. Student success has long meant coming up with correct answers on tests, getting passing grades, advancing to the next level of coursework and ultimately graduating on time.

But now, education thought leaders are adopting a different perspective on the issue of student success. Their efforts are fueled by concerns that new discoveries from cognitive and behavioral science aren’t being applied, and technology isn’t being adequately blended into teaching and learning. They’re troubled by student disengagement, which, according to Gallup, increases as students advance from grade to grade. They have growing concerns about the potential irrelevance of required subjects that only a small fraction of people now use in daily life and the amount of focus put on memorizing information that can be easily found online.

What’s more, in higher education, especially in the United States, there’s a dropout crisis. While more students are enrolling, more than 40 percent of those who begin at American four-year colleges don’t earn a degree in six years, and the dropout rate is even higher among community-college students, according to a report in The Chronicle of Higher Education. In other countries, dropout rates measure lower, but are still high enough to be concerning according to data compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Meanwhile, too many graduates are having trouble finding a job in their chosen fields, and studies show mounting clamor from employers who say that graduates lack the high-value skills needed in their organizations: critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity, as well as adaptability, empathy, leadership abilities and cultural sensitivity.

All of this is leading to awareness of the need for disruptive innovation in education. Old norms are giving way to a deeper, broader and more individualized perspective on what student success is and how to achieve it.

This is an excerpt of a story included in a new publication “rethinking success. sparking creativity.” by Steelcase Education. Start here to get the full story.


Get the Full Booklet

This new booklet published by Steelcase Education explores two key issues in education. The first is about stepping back, rethinking old norms and bringing disruptive innovation to learning spaces to help students succeed. The second article focuses on the creative process: helping students find new ways to think, make and ultimately share their ideas.

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