Higher Education Strategy to Improve Student Engagement

Virtual CRITICAL THINKING Learning for Higher Education

It’s time for a new look at student engagement.

The challenge:

Recruiting your fall class has not been easy. The bigger challenge will be to enroll, engage and retain these students. 

Strength of student engagement is profoundly impacted by how students approach their classwork.  The degree to which students bring a motivation to learn, drive to succeed, curiosity and tolerance to learning determines how they will engage with problem-solving and new information. 

Engaging and retaining your incoming class will require stimulating cognitive as well as non-cognitive skills. Retention efforts must start well before the beginning of the semester.

A strategy to improve student engagement

1. Demonstrate your commitment to incoming students before they even arrive at campus or take their first remote class. Start fostering their engagement from the very first communication, highlighting the opportunities offered by your programs.

2. Don’t wait until classes start to provide tools to succeed at your institution. Critical thinking is the key to student engagement and success. An emphasis on building strength in critical thinking and problem solving could not be more important. Prior to attending classes, students are focused on how they can best maintain their academic trajectory. They need to understand how they might best negotiate and achieve planned goals. With strength in critical thinking, they will be able to respond as opportunities arise and find a path to success.

3. Incorporate virtual learning into your proactive student engagement and retention plans. Offer them a chance to improve their readiness for their coursework before classes start. Show newly admitted students you are committed to their success by offering them a self-development program that will prepare them for college level learning even before they arrive on campus. Developed by the internationally known expert in critical thinking, Dr. Peter Facione, this student success program is designed for today’s entering undergraduates.

4. Keep the program offering engaging, interactive and relevant. It is vital that students perceive that virtual lessons are meaningful.  Otherwise, the distractions possible with remote learning can severely limit your curriculum’s effectiveness. Student engagement starts with perceived relevance. Students often view a skills-based critical thinking program as making an investment in themselves.  They value the opportunity to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses. 

Developing solid problem-solving skills; being open-minded; committed; and strongly motivated to learn are competencies that they know they will need for academic and workplace success.  

5.  Use individual score reports to motivate student engagement and a self-improvement commitment. Individual reports help students see why critical thinking is important to them–and why the assessment is important for their future. It’s a win/win situation when students are motivated to engage in the assessment process.

STRONGER Me: a tool to strengthen student engagement and retention

Insight Assessment offers a proven ready to go virtual learning curriculum focused upon improving core critical thinking skills and mindset attributes, at the higher education level.

Developed by the internationally known expert in critical thinking, Dr. Peter Facione, the STRONGER Me is designed for today’s entering undergraduates.

This student success program provides your students with a ‘work remote’ option to build their reasoning skills and reinforce their lifelong learning mindset.  Students can easily direct their self-training efforts, preparing them for their college or university experience.  At the same time, they are also addressing gaps and expanding strengths necessary for their professional goals after graduation. 

The curriculum is a good match for newly admitted as well as current students. Completion of coursework can be used to determine student readiness for college-level learning along with identifying areas where additional development support would boost academic achievement.

The STRONGER Me is delivered asynchronously, online, through state-of-the-art technology, using tested tools and techniques to train and assess reasoning skills.

Virtual learning critical thinking curriculum

Designed for today’s higher education virtual learning, the INSIGHT Development Program (IDP) builds critical thinking for real-world problem-solving, learning, and decision-making. Learners can access all 19 IDP modules 24/7 using any online device.

Acknowledging that today’s students often combine college with family and job responsibilities, every module in this program draws examples from family life, education, and the workplace.  Students value the personal relevance of subject matter.

Every module is self-contained and can be organized to best fit the needs of a personal self-development program or an instructor-guided course.

Online assessment

The College Student Success (CSS) assessment is a two-part, discipline-neutral tool. Everyday scenarios are used to assess the strength of reasoning skills as well as the mindset required of successful learners and workers.   This research-based, validated assessment is calibrated to objectively measure 13 critical thinking skills and mindset attributes essential for academic success. INSIGHT assessments meet the highest standards of validity and reliability.

Optional individual reports enable student to identify their own strengths and areas for improvement.

Success shown with upward arrow with background of students jumping in celebration


Learn more about your incoming student cohort

STRONGER Me provides in-depth, individual and group-specific assessment reports. Individual reports provide analytics on the incoming students’ strengths and weakness in key skills and mindset attributes. Group reports help focus guide curriculum development..

Whether you wish to assess individuals or groups, Insight Assessment reports provide the data integrity and objective analysis you need to document thinking skills and attributes. Pretest- post-test options are available to extend the value of this initiative for documenting critical thinking program goals.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them – Albert Einstein


It’s time to advance thinking skills of higher education students

The paradigm has shifted.  We must all be prepared to think critically and creatively to keep learning going forward.  Standards do not have to be lowered to provide high-quality, engaging and effective virtual learning.  The STRONGER Me provides a proven, validated, ready to go curriculum for improving decision skills and fostering a robust thinking mindset. 

You can depend on Insight Assessment instruments to gather  criterion-based evidence of student thinking skills and mindset to showcase the value of your educational programs. 

If STRONGER Me enables you to move just a couple more students from “admit” to “enroll,” or from “at risk” to “retained,” it will have paid for itself and helped all STRONGER Me students along the road to college success.

Proactive student engagement actions now will help recruit, qualify, and retain your incoming class.  Better yet, provide them with the tools to thrive at your institution and in their later careers.

Contact us or call us today at 650-697-5628, to engage students in a valuable, skills-based virtual learning program for higher education.

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