Eight steps to keep students engaged

Program Coordinator
eStudent Services
Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 8:30am (updated Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 10:42am)

The price of immediate information at our fingertips has become increasingly expensive. This expense has come at the cost of our attention spans, devolving to the point that keeping the attention of a goldfish has become easier. According to Attention Spans Consumer Insights, Microsoft Canada, the average attention span of a human has decreased from 12 seconds to eight seconds from 2000 to 2013. That is one second lower than the average attention span of a goldfish. 

A hurdle we have experienced at eStudent Services (eSS) has been how we can engage students to make them aware of our programs in eight seconds. With just over a half million students enrolled in higher education in Ohio, keeping that student population engaged and informed has been an impossible task, but with some help can be achieved. From an eSS perspective, here are eight simple steps to keeping engagement with your students in eight seconds or less:

  1. Get your social media footprint everywhere. Students today are on every outlet available, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and those platforms coming tomorrow. It is in your best interest to join them at their level by connecting on these platforms. If you are so inclined, use a social media manager to help operate your social footprint.
  2. Incorporate social media into all of your communications touchpoints. After you have created your social media accounts, you MUST share them with your students at every opportunity from online, in print, and via the social media outlets themselves. 
  3. Garner their attention. As a leader in your field, you should keep abreast of the trends and topics that students are interested in and relate to them. A simple way to do this is by monitoring what is trending on twitter and find ways to incorporate that into your message. 
  4. Engage your audience at least once per week or more if possible. Interactive conversations will prove beneficial to your social footprint. Provide exclusive content that cannot be found elsewhere online or otherwise.
  5. A picture is worth a thousand words so what is a video worth? A simple image can capture a program and a short video can explain more than an entire lecture. Creativity is a must today.
  6. Respond to your students when the opportunity presents itself. If you can personalize a response to a student, you will gain a follower and possibly an advocate. 
  7. Give them a drive to action. This could as simple as inviting them to an event or signing up for a service you offer.
  8. Finally, do not be afraid to adopt emerging technology. Your students are the front line troops in this field, you shouldn’t be far behind. 

I will leave you with this, “What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”  - Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize winner for Economics.