Digital Learning and the Transition to Achieve: A Conversation with Dr. Michael Stroud

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After a mostly in-person fall semester, many instructors are now preparing to start the spring semester differently than they had anticipated. While the pandemic has presented many challenges to teaching and learning, instructors have found that the right digital learning system can make all the difference in maintaining engagement and supporting student success in the virtual classroom.

At the start of 2020, Macmillan Learning launched its new digital learning platform Achieve, and many instructors have already made the switch to it from Launchpad. The Achieve platform includes an interactive e-Book as well as expansive learning materials with pre-class, in-class, and post-class activities.We asked Dr. Michael Stroud, Professor of Psychology at Merrimack College, about digital learning and his switch to Achieve for Exploring Psychology

What have been some challenges with teaching–especially with online learning–since the pandemic startedPsychology Prof. Michael StroudPsychology Prof. Michael Stroud? How have you addressed them?

I’d say the biggest challenge is with student morale and engagement. Students do not seem to be as motivated to learn as before. The way I’ve addressed this is by focusing more on hands-on tasks for more engaging learning in the classroom. Students do not seem to be interested in hearing lectures, but rather creating projects instead. 

People are hesitant to embrace change, but what would you say are the benefits of moving to Achieve vs your experience with LaunchPad?

The user interface with Achieve is much more fluid. Finding activities and materials and assigning them is much easier as well. Achieve is essentially Launchpad with all the kinks worked out; it’s a cleaned up version, which makes content delivery much more seamless. 

We know that student engagement–especially now–is a large issue and so important to student success. How do products like Achieve fit into that?

It keeps students on task no matter what is going on in the classroom. This is especially the case for LearningCurve since it requires students to pay attention rather than mindlessly click. 

How have students responded to Achieve overall? 

Students love Achieve. They enjoy reading more for a purpose and with interactive activities rather than just reading plain text. 


This interview is part of a series focusing on how digital learning is being used in college classrooms and, in particular, what the transition to Achieve has been like.

About Achieve: Macmillan Learning built it’s new digital learning platform Achieve to help students of all abilities and backgrounds succeed. It offers the content, tools and insights about student success to do just that. Achieve was designed with active learning in mind, and can be used in traditional, online, hybrid, blended, or a fully “flipped” classroom, with options for both synchronous and asynchronous learning to support engagement. It was co-designed with more than 7,000 students and over 100 leading educators and learning scientists both at our company and on our independent review boards. Learn more about Achieve.