“People do remember their own ‘eureka’ moments”

Getting involved

Education can be more effective when students participate


FEBRUARY 2021 Industry Perspectives / Text by Toby Waters

Students in higher education are often eager to share their views, learn from other students’ real-life experiences, and get hands-on or real-world experience that will help them succeed in the workplace.

Raising your voice

Active class participation is known to be beneficial to learning. Lakeland University Japan (LUJ) takes every opportunity to get its students involved, as Alan Brender, the dean of LUJ, explains.

“To encourage students’ active participation, LUJ offers small-sized classes that focus on critical thinking and group discussions,” he says. “During the pandemic, we have been using online breakout rooms that encourage students to discuss topics among themselves and with their instructor. Many students use our online tutoring service, which lets them interact one-on-one with their peers.”

Greg Story, president of Dale Carnegie Training Japan, highlights the rigorous work his own trainers do to make them the best educators for their students.

“We conduct 250 hours of training so that our trainers learn how to engage adult learners. Information doesn’t stick when it’s just taught in lecture format, so ensuring that participants have ownership of the knowledge we teach is key,” he says. “People do remember their own ‘eureka’ moments, and we believe the job of the instructor is to ask carefully honed questions and draw out insights to prompt those moments.”

Planning for success

To give its students an advantage in the workplace, LUJ helps them to acquire the skills that businesses look for in employees.

“As well as offering college credits for work experience and internships, we encourage students to make PowerPoint presentations, write reports, prepare business plans, and participate in group projects for their classes,” Brender says. “To make informed career decisions, students are encouraged to investigate and summarise the education, skills, and personal qualities needed for various career options.”

Holding your attention

Teaching over the internet to keep students safe brings new challenges for educators, as Story explains.

“Moving online is simple, but keeping online learners engaged is diabolically difficult, as they can have so many distractions,” he says. “We directly call on participants for their thoughts, seek answers to questions in the chat, and then explore their ideas using supervised breakout rooms to keep people interested.”

Getting the most out of your education can be as simple as raising your hand.