A. Khan, M. Mahmood, M. Maqsood

National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad (PAKISTAN)
One of the main causes of drop outs in colleges and universities is students’ disengagement from studies.It has, therefore, been revealed that the students’engagement not only boosts academic performance but also increases the retention rate.Creating and sustaining an engaging learning environment at this level is quite a challenging task. To address this issue, a quasi experimental approach is applied in five expository lectures of Graduate Entrepreneurship course to judge the engagement levels of students.

A total of 59 volunteer students aged between 22 to 23 were involved in the research. Students were divided into two groups of different sizes. In one group Universal Design for Learning-infused learning method was applied while in other group non-UDL infused teaching method was applied.

The aim of the research is to embed three essential principles of UDL (many ways of representation, action and expression, and engagement). The research is divided into three phases. In pre-intervention phase, students assessed their own learning styles via Visual-Audio-Kinesthetic (VAK) assessment. Thrice a week UDL principles-infused lectures were delivered considering all students’ needs and learning styles. During the intervention phase, students received UDL-infused instructions. Finally in post-intervention phase, data was collected through various methods for further analysis.

Kahn’s model of Engagement was adopted for further assessment of student engagement. In Kahn’s model, students-self assessment is based on three constructs of engagement, i.e. cognitive, physical and emotional.

The outcome of experiment was analyzed to visualize the engagement level after completing the experiment. A semi structured interview was also conducted to collect feedback from the instructor who was teaching both the groups with different teaching approaches.

The findings suggested that the students demonstrated high level of physical engagement after receiving a UDL-infused instructions than the conventional instructions However, students of both groups showed equal emotional and cognitive gains.

This study contributes significantly to the existing literature and helps future researchers to further explore the avenues of UDL principles in higher education and its correspondence with student engagement.