Case study 7 - Using technology to improve engagement, retention and attainment of student and employee cohorts in synchronous and asynchronous contexts

Davis, Katherine

Impact Summary

Using technology to promote the change from information giving lectures to a more interactive approach has shown a consistent improvement in student achievement. Introduction of asynchronous communication e.g. message boards, recorded lectures, use of social media, online forums for all modules offered a more inclusive curriculum. A similar approach to teach employee cohorts achieved changes in business strategy. Introduction of computer assessed examinations has made assessment more time and cost effective. Lessons learnt have enabled a faster change to online learning necessitated by COVID-19. Understanding of digital approaches to monitor online student attendance has ensured accurate measurement of retention. Students have embraced these changes and early indications of becoming more independent learners have been observed through assessment where a wider range of resources have been used.

Key Achievements

  1. Improved student engagement during lectures evidenced by student feedback and attendance.
  2. Online learning introduced quickly. For example, BH5004 CIP was available online in three weeks due to March COVID-19 lockdown that was used by multiple external clients.
  3. Employee cohorts reported an increase in self-confidence and ability to renew business strategy.
  4. Computer assessed examinations made modules with large student numbers cost effective.
  5. Improved student retention and achievement in modules over 10 years consistent with the introduction of digital learning.

Key Aims

The purpose of this work has been to deliver a curriculum that learners find engaging and stretching and was more inclusive. Universities use guided independent learning and fewer contact hours as a model for curriculum delivery and more recently have increased the number of students to over 200 for many modules. My keen interest in technology-based learning led me to believe that its use could make an impact on directed learning by introducing remote communication, hence encouraging deeper learning. It also had potential to make lectures more interactive leading to better student engagement, especially those who are less confident. The strategy was to develop online self-assessment to encourage deeper learning and improve grades and multiple-choice final assessments that removed subjectivity and would be fairer to the large numbers of students taking the module. By developing online learning more students can access the curriculum, the impact should be seen in increased student recruitment.


My approach was to ensure that my knowledge and skills in technology CPD were continually updated, to network and research current literature. Students and staff were kept informed of changes that I was making and given opportunities to discuss advantages and disadvantages. I measured the impact from student surveys and the uptake of my ideas by other colleagues. I gave presentations about my ideas to colleagues and was open to change. The clear improvement in student achievement and retention in my modules and the freeing up of lecturer time to devote to their research and administration was key to others recognising the power of technology for their own teaching. Keeping pace with a rapidly developing field and applying my knowledge to learning has underpinned my approach. My ability to implement change, learn from experience and share the results with colleagues was significant in enabling a sustained transition to digitally enhanced teaching learning and assessment.

Key Outcomes

The main outcomes were: • Increased learner engagement and hence improved retention and achievement figures compared to modules that were delivered without digital intervention • Expressions of interest from colleagues to upskill while gaining a personal reputation for technology expertise and improved lectures • Student interaction with each other through message boards encouraged critical thinking and reflection • Less confident students empowered to actively participate in formal lectures noted in student surveys • An unexpected outcome of a technological approach to learning has been the smooth transition to complete online learning necessitated by COVID-19 • An acceptance of alternatives to face to face presentations through narrated PowerPoint slides • Effected a change in module delivery and assessment from 0% using technology to enhance teaching and assessment to 98% in a period of 10 years

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page