Redefining the Paradigm of Engagement for a Digital Age

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The purpose of this article is to determine in what manner technology use in higher education teaching and learning has changed current paradigms, in particular how students are engaged in learning. This critical review uses Kuhn’s cycle of paradigm change as the theoretical framework to examine the evidence in the literature, how paradigm paralysis has complicated change, and what innovators and early adopters have already been accomplishing with technology. Through a critical review, this article synthesizes studies that demonstrate anomalies, crisis, and revolution toward paradigm change. This study determined that digital tools have already redefined student engagement, that new digital pedagogies are emerging, and that learners have fundamentally changed. Further evidence suggests that the advent of virtual reality and environments have also nuanced the learner’s engaged experience to that of immersed. The implications of this paradigm change suggest developing widespread infrastructures across all higher education institutions as well as ensuring that resources and training are available for both faculty and students. Models of instructional systems and consistent student support will fulfill the full promise of engagement in the new paradigm.