Instructure Study Suggests that Louisiana Higher Ed Students Prioritize Career Readiness, Holistic Development

·8 min read

State of Student Success & Engagement in Louisiana Higher Education points to evolving student perceptions of educational needs

SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Instructure, the maker of Canvas, today released a new study highlighting key higher education trends in Louisiana. The study, developed in coordination with Hanover Research, gives a timely and insightful view into how 114 higher education students in Louisiana define student success and engagement. Student respondents are focused on career readiness, skill competency, educational goals and relevant job placement. To view the report, visit this page.

Instructure official logo (PRNewsFoto/Instructure)
Instructure official logo (PRNewsFoto/Instructure)

In an era marked by rapid change and increased reliance on new technology and evolving instructional strategies, Louisiana educators are working to meet the unique educational needs of their students. The study found that while in-person classes are still popular, the number of hybrid and online remote learning courses being offered is becoming an important factor for students as they choose a college or university. Students also want their institutions to focus on their holistic development. This includes personal instruction and the effective delivery of online learning from faculty. The results of the study highlight the importance of a holistic approach to education that meets the needs of today's students.

"While grades remain an important measure of student success, administrators and faculty in Louisiana are increasingly focused on student well-being and on preparing students to enter the workforce," said Ryan Lufkin, VP of Product Marketing at Instructure. "Institutions are actively working to provide a more comprehensive education that is relevant to the academic and employment goals of each student. Whether through in-person, online, or hybrid learning opportunities, institutions that adapt to and seek to support the whole student will help prepare students ready to make a positive impact in the job market."

The research revealed six key trends that parents and educators in the state of Louisiana feel are important to teaching and learning in higher education:

1.     Career readiness is priority No. 1 for students.
These Louisiana students are laser-focused on career readiness and having the skills to gain post-graduation employment. Some 79% of respondents view career readiness as the top determinant of success. Over 75% of the student respondents also rated skill competency, educational goals, recent graduate employment rates and relevant job placement as the top determinants of success.

2.     Student preference for in-class, online, or hybrid learning continues to evolve.
The ability to take online classes in a remote or hybrid learning environment is becoming a deciding factor in which institutions students choose to attend. But their preferences for hybrid (43%) and in-person (37%) classes and fully online remote learning (20%) don't always align with the learning environments being offered at their institution.

Dr. James H. Ammons, Jr., executive vice president and chancellor of Southern University at New Orleans, commented on this key finding: "The Southern University System just moved to Canvas because we were looking for a robust cloud-based and user-friendly LMS.  We are convinced that our students will enjoy the web-based interfaces and capabilities and its natural adaptability for mobile computing. In addition, faculty and students will have 24/7 technical support. Canvas takes advantage of the enormous advances in remote learning modalities and puts these enhancements in the hands of the users."

3.     Students want their institutions to focus on their holistic development.
Students want an enhanced learning experience that includes personalized instruction and the effective delivery of online learning from faculty. In fact, 94% of the 100 Voices respondents say that holistic development such as self-discipline, communication, knowledge and personal reflection are important to student success and 53% say this will become more important over the next 12 months.

University of Louisiana System president Dr. Jim Henderson said: "The university has long been dedicated to the holistic development of individuals. The rapid advancement of technology has made the necessary development even more complex but our institutions are committed to ensuring our graduates have the competencies required for life and career success."

4.     Students still feel the impact of COVID, but there are reasons for optimism.
Unsurprisingly, 73% of student respondents believe COVID-19 negatively impacted student engagement. Some 66% believe it negatively affected academic progress and 63% said that it negatively impacted career readiness. The good news is that these impacts appear to be lessening when compared to Instructure's global 2021 State of Higher Education report which spanned 18 countries and included input from 7,687 students, administrators and faculty. Respondents to the Louisiana survey also believe the impact will decline further over the next 12 months.

5.     Access is the key to engagement and success.
Access to the internet and technological devices are two key socioeconomic factors that fuel student engagement and success, according to over 80% of the 100 Voices respondents. Students express a clear interest in mobile learning capabilities, though some struggle to maintain consistent access to WiFi and the technology that would foster learning. While 69% of students feel engaged in the classroom, only 29% of students from self-identified lower economic classes said it was very easy to stay engaged. As is always the case, making education accessible is an important part of the effort to close the equity gap among students.

6.     Students want connection.
It's clear that students in Louisiana crave connection and flexibility around learning modalities, yet connection means different things to different students. Relevant top factors that students believe will increase engagement include hands-on instruction (46%), smaller class sizes (44%), a sense of community (37%), in-person instruction (34%), teamwork assignments (32%), strong friendships (30%) and personalized instruction (30%).

"Higher ed institutions, like Tulane SoPA, can help create connections and a sense of community for students while building interpersonal relationships through small class sizes that allow rich faculty-student and student-student interactions, or by providing a curated student experience such as an in-person three-day residency to complement an online graduate program," said Ilianna H. Kwaske, associate dean for academic affairs at Tulane University School of Professional Advancement (SoPA) in relation to this finding. "Offering robust services, such as academic and career advising, also fosters connection while supporting student success."

Ronni Tyger, director of Tulane SoPA learning design & development, emphasizes the need for universities to understand students' need for both connection and flexibility: "By collaborating with faculty subject matter experts to design learning experiences that intentionally put the student's experience first, we develop opportunities to increase inclusivity and a sense of connection for students across all modalities. Adding synchronous course meetings throughout the semester to all our online courses has brought students and instructors together and has established a sense of community while enhancing learning."

SURVEY METHODOLOGY
The survey was fielded in April of 2022 and was cleaned and analyzed by Hanover Research. After fielding and data cleaning, the study consisted of 114 qualified, completed responses, with 35 respondents attending a two-year program and 74 respondents. We performed statistical significance testing across segments with a 95% confidence level. For any questions regarding the underlying methodology or data, please contact studentsuccess@instructure.com.

ABOUT INSTRUCTURE
Instructure (NYSE: INST) is an education technology company dedicated to elevating student success, amplifying the power of teaching, and inspiring everyone to learn together. Today the Instructure Learning Platform supports tens of millions of educators and learners around the world. Learn more at www.instructure.com.

ABOUT HANOVER RESEARCH
Founded in 2003, Hanover Research is a global research and analytics firm that delivers market intelligence through a unique, fixed-fee model to more than 1,000 clients. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, Hanover has been named a Top 50 Market Research Firm by the American Marketing Association every year since 2015. To learn more about Hanover Research, visit www.hanoverresearch.com.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This press release contains "forward-looking" statements, which are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the potential, timing, and examples of any strategic alternatives. These statements are not guarantees of future performance, but are based on management's expectations as of the date of this press release and assumptions that are inherently subject to uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements include the risk factors described in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on February 22, 2022 and other documents filed with the SEC and could cause actual results to vary from expectations. All information provided in this press release is as of the date hereof and Instructure undertakes no duty to update this information except as required by law.

CONTACT:
Brian Watkins
Corporate Communications
Instructure
801-610-9722
brian.watkins@instructure.com

 

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SOURCE Instructure