Engaging Learners Online in COVID-19: An Actionable Framework

A year ago, the Lab had just released The Learner Revolution, a whitepaper sharing learnings from five years of work with 125+ institutions on how higher ed leaders must position their institutions to improve learner outcomes, support learners’ economic mobility, and ultimately thrive in a rapidly changing landscape of learning options. Fast forward, and today COVID-19 has accelerated the forces necessitating these changes, most acutely impacting those students—like low-income learners, parent learners, first gen students, and others from historically underserved and underrepresented groups—who were already in need of a redesign of higher ed to enable their success.

This spring, educators quickly pivoted to deliver online learning, and now with semesters wrapping up, they are turning their attention to the summer and fall terms. As schools face potential plunges in enrollment and major decisions about operations, budgets, and student experience, they confront a crucial question: how can they keep learners engaged? Drawing on insights from the Lab’s work, as well as our team’s experience building learner engagement in online environments, we created an actionable framework to help schools retain and support learners through this crisis.

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