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Measuring Student Engagement in Technology-Mediated Learning: A Review

Using digital technology to deliver content, connect learners, and enable anytime, anywhere learning is increasing, but keeping students engaged in technology-mediated learning is challenging. Instructional practices that encourage greater engagement
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  Running head: MEASURING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT Article Source:  Henrie, C. R., Halverson, L. R., & Graham, C. R. (2015). Measuring student engagement in technology-mediated learning: A review. Computers & Education , 90 , 36Ð53. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2015.09.005 1 This is a prepublication draft of the article to appear in: Henrie, C. R., Halverson, L. R., & Graham, C. R. (2015). Measuring student engagement in technology-mediated learning: A review. Computers & Education , 90 , 36Ð53. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2015.09.005 Online at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131515300427  Measuring Student Engagement in Technology-Mediated Learning: A Review Curtis R. Henrie a* , Lisa R. Halverson a , and Charles R. Graham a   a Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602, USA *Corresponding author. Email address: curtis.r.henrie@gmail.com  MEASURING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT Article Source:  Henrie, C. R., Halverson, L. R., & Graham, C. R. (2015). Measuring student engagement in technology-mediated learning: A review. Computers & Education , 90 , 36Ð53. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2015.09.005 2 Abstract Using digital technology to deliver content, connect learners, and enable anytime, anywhere learning is increasing, but keeping students engaged in technology-mediated learning is challenging. Instructional practices that encourage greater engagement are essential if we are to effectively use digital instructional technologies. To determine the impact of innovative instructional practices on learning, we need useful measures of student engagement. These measures should be adaptable to the unique challenges to studying technology-mediated learning, such as when students learn at a distance or in a blended learning course. In this review, we examine existing approaches to measure engagement in technology-mediated learning. We identify strengths and limitations of existing measures and outline potential approaches to improve the measurement of student engagement. Our intent is to assist researchers, instructors, designers, and others in identifying effective methods to conceptualize and measure student engagement in technology-mediated learning.  Keywords : distance education and telelearning, distributed learning environments  MEASURING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT Article Source:  Henrie, C. R., Halverson, L. R., & Graham, C. R. (2015). Measuring student engagement in technology-mediated learning: A review. Computers & Education , 90 , 36Ð53. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2015.09.005 3 Measuring Student Engagement in Technology-Mediated Learning: A Review 1. Introduction Technology-mediated learning experiences are becoming the norm for todayÕs students.  Numerous one-to-one tablet and laptop initiatives are promoted by schools and governments around the world (Clark & Svanaes, 2014; Fuhrman, 2014; Tablet initiatives , 2014). The number of students taking online and blended courses continues to increase (Aud et al., 2012; Parsad & Lewis, 2008; Picciano, Seaman, Shea, & Swan, 2012; Staker, Chan, Clayton, Hernandez, Horn, & Mackey, 2011; Watson, Pape, Murin, Gemin, & Vashaw, 2014). Grants worth thousands and millions of dollars have been awarded by federal and private institutions for research and development of intelligent tutoring systems, digital educational games, and other systems designed to personalize instruction and engage learners (e.g., DÕMello & Graesser, 2012; Goldsworthy, Barab, & Goldsworthy, 2000; Kafai, Tynes, & Richard, 2014; STEM Grand Challenge , 2012; Woolf, Arroyo, Cooper, Burleson, & Muldner, 2010). Helping students engage in learning is an important issue for research in instructional technology. High dropout rates for online courses and MOOCs continue to be a challenge (Jordan, 2014; Patterson & McFadden, 2009; Rice, 2006; Roblyer, 2006). Tools are being developed to try to identify students who may be disengaging from instruction and are thus at risk of dropping out (Bienkowski, Feng, & Means, 2013; Long & Siemens, 2011). Other researchers have studied how innovative instructional practices impact student engagement in technology-mediated experiences (e.g., Chen, Lambert, & Guidry, 2010; Junco, Heiberger, & Loken, 2011; Liang & Sedig, 2010). Determining how to best use people and technology to engage learners in meaningful and effective learning experiences is an important endeavor for researchers today.  MEASURING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT Article Source:  Henrie, C. R., Halverson, L. R., & Graham, C. R. (2015). Measuring student engagement in technology-mediated learning: A review. Computers & Education , 90 , 36Ð53. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2015.09.005 4 Research that improves the design of instruction needs good measures of student engagement to evaluate the efficacy of instructional interventions. Several publications review methods and identify issues that need to be addressed to improve the measurement of student engagement (Betts, 2012; Fredricks et al., 2011; Fredricks & McColskey, 2012; Samuelsen, 2012). These publications tend to focus on self-report measures of engagement, particularly quantitative scales. But yet to be addressed are ways that student engagement can be measured in relation to the methodological issues unique to technology-mediated learning experiences. For example, observational measures implemented in classrooms where all students are present in one location would be challenging to arrange for an online course in which students learn separately and at a distance. Additionally, technology affords us with new methods to measure student engagement in ways both scalable and minimally disruptive to learning, such as using computer-generated data of user activity with a learning system (Aleven, Mclaren, Roll, & Koedinger, 2006; Baker et al., 2012; DÕMello & Graesser, 2012). The purpose of this review is to examine approaches to measuring student engagement in technology-mediated learning experiences and to identify issues needing attention to improve the measurement of engagement in such settings. 1.1 Background Student engagement has been defined as investment or commitment (Marks, 2000;  Newmann, 1992; Tinto, 1975), participation (Kuh, Kinzie, Buckley, Bridges, & Hayek, 2007), or effortful involvement in learning (Astin, 1984; Pekrun & Linnenbrink-Garcia, 2012; Reschley & Christenson, 2012; Terenzini, Pascarella, & Lorang, 1982). Researchers have used various terms to define this idea, including  student engagement,   academic engagement  ,  school engagement  , and learner engagement   (Reschley & Christenson, 2012). Some would argue that each of these  MEASURING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT Article Source:  Henrie, C. R., Halverson, L. R., & Graham, C. R. (2015). Measuring student engagement in technology-mediated learning: A review. Computers & Education , 90 , 36Ð53. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2015.09.005 5 terms takes on different nuances in definition. For example, learner engagement could be considered a broad term that includes learning both in and outside of formal academic settings, whereas student engagement would focus solely on academic learning. We use the term student engagement, as our interest is in academic learning. Student engagement has been studied at the level of learning within a single activity, focusing on what is happening in the moment, to the level of a studentÕs whole school experience. Skinner and Pitzer (2012) developed a model that best explains the levels at which student engagement has been studied, as well as the general outcomes of interest at those levels. At the broadest level is institutional engagement, which focuses on activity in social institutions in general, such as school, family, and church. Outcomes of this level of engagement are character development and pro-social orientation. Moving deeper, research can focus on engagement in all school-related activities, such as involvement in clubs, sports, or other student organizations and activities as well as academic work in the classroom. The outcomes of this engagement are a sense of belonging in school and lower risks of dropout. Engagement can then  be focused on involvement in a specific course, or even on a specific learning activity, the outcome being academic achievement and learning. Skinner and PitzerÕs framework of student engagement is useful for identifying the purpose and scope of various measures of engagement, from factors specific to a single learning activity to broader institutional concerns. For instance, the National Survey of Student Engagement (Kuh, 2001) is best suited for studying institution-level engagement, with questions focused on learnersÕ general experience in school. Institution-level measures would be inadequate to identify insights as to how a specific learning activity affected learner engagement in a course.
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