Engagement Matters: Student Perceptions on the Importance of Engagement Strategies in the Online Learning Environment

Florence Martin, Doris U Bolliger


Student engagement increases student satisfaction, enhances student motivation to learn, reduces the sense of isolation, and improves student performance in online courses. This survey-based research study examines student perception on various engagement strategies used in online courses based on Moore’s interaction framework. One hundred and fifty five students completed a 38-item survey on learner-to-learner, learner-to-instructor, and learner-to-content engagement strategies. Learner-to-instructor engagement strategies seemed to be most valued among the three categories. Icebreaker/introduction discussions and working collaboratively using online communication tools was rated the most beneficial engagement strategy in the learner-to-learner category, whereas sending regular announcements or e-mail reminders and providing grading rubrics for all assignments was rated the most beneficial in learner to instructor category. In the student-content category, students mentioned working on real world projects and having discussions with structured or guiding questions were the most beneficial. This study also analyzed age, gender, and online learning years of experience differences on their perception of engagement strategies. The results of the study have implications for online instructors, instructional designers, and administrators who wish to enhance engagement in the online courses.


Online Learning, Student Engagement, Engagement Strategies, Interaction Framework

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v22i1.1092