In prior posts, we’ve talked a lot about access as the fundamental building block of student success, the first step in the process of evolving student opportunity. But access alone doesn’t yield results.

What does access give you? Information. Resources. Raw inputs. Bricks with which to build. Learning requires putting them together to build something, to create a result. The act of learning is, therefore, the act of manipulating these resources. Combining. Organizing. Analyzing.

Teachers help students activate these raw inputs through instruction and facilitation. In order for our students to learn the skills necessary for success in a connected world, teachers need to incorporate both the digital technologies enabling these connections and the types of adaptive social and problem-solving skills that enable students to succeed in an ever-changing job market.

Here are a few ways that educators can achieve both goals:

  • Give students autonomy – Bring together online and in-person instruction with blended learning environments that use connected devices, video, apps, and learning platforms to get the best of both worlds. According to the U.S. Department of Education, blended learning is “optimized for collaboration, informal learning, and individual-focused study” and “allows students to have some control over time, place, path, or pace of learning.”1 In blended environments, students also have the tools they need to gauge their own progress through self-assessment.
  • Tailor learning to each student – Optimizing the content, style, and pace of instruction to the needs of each individual learner maximizes their unique strengths and makes learning “meaningful and relevant to [them], driven by their interests and often self-initiated.”2 To better personalize learning for each of their students, educators can leverage LMS platforms, learning apps, and integrations to tailor content, resources, and assessment to each individual student.
  • Facilitate team-based learning – If no man is an island, then no student can function solely as an individual in our hyper-connected world. Working with others to achieve a common goal is fundamental to successful learning. Collaboration tools and teamwork apps help students stay connected with their most important resources – each other – and organize their shared work effectively (and securely).

Each of these technology-enabled learning opportunities fuels student success by developing core academic competencies integral to sustainably learning how to learn.

To learn more about translating access into student engagement, check out the Empowered Education eBook

To learn more about Cisco’s solutions for education, visit www.cisco.com/go/education


  1. “Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education,” 2016 National Education Technology Plan, U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, January 2016, 8.
  2. Ibid., 7.




Rob Lothman

Marketing Specialist, Global Education