Innovative teaching methods that foster higher education learning

As teachers attempt to adapt to various teaching methods now made available through technology and software, the question arises: “Which method works best for my student demographic?” The answer to this question lies in understanding the nuances of each one.

Let’s explore some teaching methods that help foster a more conducive environment for students and set teachers up as higher education gurus within their learning institutions.

What types of innovative learning opportunities are available?

Taking a broad view of the many new learning methods available to education leaders, we notice that some of them stand out as more successful than others. Learners enjoy an educational tutor who is flexible and willing to adapt to various teaching styles. This makes them more eager to learn and significantly eases their learning process once they find the one that suits them best.

Types of innovative learning available to educational leaders include:

  • Experiential learning: Learning through onsite interactions and the viewing or actual doing of a particular job.
  • Flipped classrooms: A self-learning form involving information review, peer discussion, and eventual classroom assessment.
  • E-learning: Corporate learning via online sources and the web.
  • Project-based learning: A hands-on approach that includes projects, job-related assignments, and active problem-solving.
  • Implementation of collaborative learning environments: A group discussion method, implementation, and summary.
  • Blended learning: A combination of classroom and electronic learning.
  • Jigsaws: Give each student or group a particular part of the learning process and help them collaborate with each other to discover the desired outcome.
  • Gamification: Transforming the learning process into a game learning style to emphasize a task-and-reward system.

Understanding all of these will provide a much broader perspective on what teachers can offer their learners going forward. Let’s look at each one more closely.

Experiential learning

Many students learn better by doing. As opposed to theoretical learning, practical application could be a game changer for education leaders who want to move away from traditional book learning as their only teaching method.

This may include field trips to institutions where learners can experience careers in higher education firsthand or at least be spectators to that environment. Learners can investigatevarious methods on completing their qualifications in their chosen field such as online programs as are offered by Rockhurst University. Potential students can enroll in an Online Doctorate in Education and Leadershipwhich would shape a student’s future as an education innovator. This is a doctorate program that can be completed within 2 years and concentrates in higher education, healthcare education, K-12 leadership, and organizational leadership.

Steps to this method of education include the learning process (theory), watching and experiencing the job and the environment (observation), theoretical implementation of what has been learned (conceptualization), and the eventual doing of said task (experimentation).

Flipped classrooms

A flipped classroom approach to teaching involves minimizing actual classroom time and focusing more on the study material. Some students benefit from taking the time to analyze information themselves and with their peers in the comfort of their own homes or dorm rooms.

After the review process is done, students should be given an incentivized project to work on before presenting it to the classroom. This can be done in groups or individually. This approach involves a vital element of self-learning, and students are motivated by the eventual assessment of their projects, which will determine whether they have understood the study material.


E-learning focuses solely on web and software-based material, assuming the fact that all the information the students need is already available at their fingertips. Students will receive their study material in digital form, and lectures, collaboration, and research will all be conducted online. This is an excellent form of education but requires a certain level of discipline in students.

Project-based learning

Learning by doing projects is a keen favorite among students who enjoy critical problem-solving. Subject-related projects are presented to individuals or groups as a large part of the learning process and subsequently assessed based on a particular desired outcome.

In a higher education context, project-based learning requires students to tackle projects that will align with the job they are studying to perform one day.

Collaborative learning environments

Many higher educational topics require a group effort to reach a specific outcome. For these subjects, collaborative learning is a highly effective way of developing teamwork and valuing appreciation of themselves and others.

Students are taught to rely on others, as well as accept that they themselves play an integral role in reaching the desired outcome. Students will learn from each other in this way and learn to contribute their own valued insights into a topic. Everything is done in a group, from assigning the discussion to the collaboration and solution to the pre-assessment report.

Blended learning

By implementing blended learning, higher education leaders can quickly assess which method works best for each student. This method involves a combination of electronic and digital learning together with more traditional classroom teaching.

Students will learn about a topic in a theoretical way, do their own research at home, and then interact with an expert in the field to gain a broad perspective on the subject. This is a popular and effective teaching method used by many institutions worldwide.


The jigsaw approach to teaching includes a collaborative learning strategy that forces students to rely on each other for the desired outcome. Each group or student is given a critical piece of the ‘puzzle’ and then depends on each other to complete a project or work out a solution.


Gamification is based on the premise that students learn better if there is a perceived reward at the end of their task. Boundaries, rules, pathways, and rewards can be implemented into any learning environment, making a seemingly boring learning process fun and exciting for students who require a high level of stimulation.

Wrapping up

Whether you focus on one of these methods or decide to combine several of them, remember to be flexible in your approach with each student. Learners respectively learn in different ways, and these methods will allow them to absorb information quicker and more effectively during their learning experience.


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