Engagement in Online Learning among Thai and German Students: The Role of Classmates, Instructors, Technology and Learning Environments across Country Contexts
Keywords:Engagement, online learning, culture, Thai, German
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 an increasing number of educators around the world have been challenged to maintain student engagement in their country contexts, characterized by particular cultural values, institutional environments and use of technologies. This study explores the role of the country context in student engagement with online learning, comparing experiences of 9 German and 11 Thai students with help of in-depth interviews. Findings reveal differences in affective, behavioral and cognitive engagement across groups. Only German students experienced a decrease in affective engagement due to ineffective communication with peers and lecturers, utilizing fewer tools and being more concerned about privacy, which they associated with the country context they grew up in. The learning environment influenced affective and cognitive engagement differently. While German students felt exhausted as a consequence of increased self-study time and lack of guidance, Thai students, who spent more time studying via videoconferences, highlighted lack of concentration due to digital distractions as well as those from family members, which Thais lived with more often than Germans. Only Thai students stressed how worrying about classmates’ feelings reduced behavioral engagement, speaking up less during videoconferences, which they attributed to cultural values of being considerate and the need for social harmony. These and other findings are discussed considering the possible role of national- and cybercultures as well as of institutional contexts.
Ashwin, P. &, McVitty, D. (2015) ‘The Meanings of Student Engagement: Implications for Policies and Practices’, in A. Curaj, L.
Matei, R. Pricopie, J. Salmi and P. Scott (eds.) The European Higher Education Area: Between Critical Reflection and Future Policies, Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 343–359.F
Bedenlier, S. & Bond, Melissa & Buntins, Katja & Zawacki-Richter, Olaf & Kerres, Michael. (2020). Facilitating student engagement through educational technology in higher education: A systematic review in the field of arts and humanities. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. 36. 126-150. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.5477.
Binali T., Tsai, C. & Chang H. (2021). University students’ profiles of online learning and their relation to online metacognitive regulation and internet-specific epistemic justification, Computers & Education, 175. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2021.104315.
Bond, M., & B., S. (2019). Facilitating Student Engagement Through Educational Technology: Towards a Conceptual Framework. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 1, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.5334/jime.528.
Bond, M., Buntins, K.. Bedenlier, S., Zawacki-Richter, O. & Kerres, M. (2020). Mapping research in student engagement and educational technology in higher education: a systematic evidence map. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education. 17. 1-30. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-019-0176-8.
Case, J. M. (2008). Alienation and Engagement: Development of an Alternative Theoretical Framework for Understanding Student Learning. Higher Education, 55(3), 321-332. http://www.jstor.org/stable/29735185
Chen, L., & Guidry, K. (2010). Engaging online learners: The impact of Web-based learning technology on college student engagement. Computers & Education, 54(4), 1222-1232.
Dianne L. Conrad (2002) Engagement, Excitement, Anxiety, and Fear: Learners' Experiences of Starting an Online Course, American Journal of Distance Education, 16(4), 205-226. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15389286AJDE1604_2.
Englund, C., Olofsson, A. D., & Price, L. (2016). Teaching with technology in higher education: understanding conceptual change and development in practice. Higher Education Research & Development, 36, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2016.1171300.
Fredricks, J. A., Filsecker, M., & Lawson, M. A. (2016). Student engagement, context, and adjustment: Addressing definitional, measurement, and methodological issues. Learning and Instruction, 43, 1-4.
Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T., Archer, W. (2010). The first decade of the community of inquiry framework: A retrospective. The Internet and Higher Education. 13(1), 5-9. https://doi.org 10.1016/j.iheduc.2009.10.003.
Garrison, R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (1999). Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education. Internet & Higher Education, 2(2–3), 87–105. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1096-7516(00)00016-6.
Granberg, C. (2010). Social software for reflective dialogue: Questions about reflection and dialogue in student teachers’ blogs. Technology Pedagogy and Education, 19(3), 345-360. https://doi.org/10.1080/1475939X.2010.513766
Author, C. & Zawacki-Richter, O. (2020). Collaborative Online Learning in the Cultural Context of South East Asia: A Systematic Review. Hacettepe University Journal of Education, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.16986/HUJE.2020062020.
Author, C., Dolch, C. & Zawacki-Richter, O. (2021). Use of Digital Media in Higher Education across Country Contexts: A Comparison between Germany and Thailand. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET). 16(64). https://doi.org/10.3991/ijet.v16i20.24263.
Hall, E.T. & Hall, M.R. (1990). Understanding Cultural Differences: Germans, French and Americans. Intercultural Press, Boston.
Heflin, H., Shewmaker, J., & Nguyen, J. (2017). Impact of mobile technology on student attitudes, engagement, and learning. Computers & Education, 107, 91-99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2017.01.006.
Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T. & Bond, M. (2020). The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning.
Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1014.
Ikpeze, C.H. & Boyd, F.B. (2007). Web-Based Inquiry Learning: Facilitating Thoughtful Literacy with WebQuests. Reading Teacher, 60(7), 644-654. Retrieved December 14, 2021 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/100380/.
Kahu, E. R. (2013). Framing student engagement in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 38(5), 758-773. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2011.598505.
Kahn, P.E. (2014). Theorising student engagement in higher education. British Educational Research Journal, 40(6), 1005-1018.
Karabulut‐Ilgu, A., Jaramillo Cherrez, N., & Jahren, C. T. (2018). A systematic review of research on the flipped learning method in engineering education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 49(3), 398-411.
Kemp (2020). Digital 2020: Global Digital Overview. https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2020-thailand
Klemenčič, M. (2017). From Student Engagement to Student Agency: Conceptual Considerations of European Policies on Student-Centered Learning in Higher Education. Higher Education Policy, 30, 69-85.
Komin, S. (1991), Psychology of the Thai people: Values and Behavioral Patterns, Research Center, National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA): Bangkok.
Martin, F., & Bolliger, D. (2018). Engagement matters: Student perceptions on the importance of engagement strategies in the online learning environment. Online Learning Journal, 22, 205-222. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v22i1.1092.
Martin, A. J., & Dowson, M. (2009). Interpersonal relationships, motivation, engagement, and achievement: Yields for theory, current issues, and educational practice. Review of Educational Research, 79, 327-365.
Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review, 98, 224–253. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.98.2.224.
Moore, J. L., Dickson-Deane, C., & Galyen, K. (2011). E-learning, online learning, and distance learning environments: Are they the same? The Internet and Higher Education, 14(2), 129-135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2010.10.001.
Perez, M., Ayerdi, V., & Arroyo, Z. (2018). Students Engagement and Learning Through the Development of Didactic Models for Mechanical Engineering, Universal Journal of Educational Research, 6(10). 2300-2309. https://doi.org/10.13189/ujer.2018.061029.
Imsa-ard, P. (2020). Thai university students’ perceptions towards the abrupt transition to ‘forced’online learning in the COVID-19 situation. Journal of Education Khon Kaen University, 43(3), 30-44. https://doi.org/10.14456/edkkuj.2020.x.
Poondej, C., & Lerdpornkulrat, T. (2020). A study of gamification concept of innovative learning. Journal of Education Naresuan University, 22(2), 84-97. Retrieved from https://so06.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/edujournal_nu/article/view/104390.
Redmond, Petrea & Abawi, Lindy-Anne & Brown, Alice & Henderson, Robyn & Heffernan, Amanda. (2018). An Online Engagement Framework for Higher Education. Online Learning Journal 22. https://doi/10.24059/olj.v22i1.1175.
Reeve, J., & Tseng, C.-M. (2011). Agency as a fourth aspect of students’ engagement during learning activities. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36(4), 257-267. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2011.05.002.
Salaber, J. (2014). Facilitating student engagement and collaboration in a large postgraduate course using wiki-based activities. The International Journal of Management Education. 12, 115-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijme.2014.03.006.
Schindler, L., Burkholder, G., Morad, O., & Marsh, C. (2017). Computer-based technology and student engagement: a critical review of the literature. International Journal of Educational
Technology in Higher Education, 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-017-0063-0.
Smidt, E., Bunk, J., McGrogy, B., Li, R., & Morgan, T. (2014). Student Attitudes about Distance Education: Focusing on Context and Effective Practices. The IAFOR Journal of Education. 2, 40-64. https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.2.1.02.
Song, H. & Yuen, M. C. (2008). Educational blogging: A Malaysian university students' perception and experience. ASCILITE 2008 - The Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education.
Rashid, T., & Asghar, H. M. (2016). Technology use, self-directed learning, student engagement and academic performance: Examining the interrelations. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 604-612. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.05.084.
Trompenaars, A., & Hampden-Turner, C. (1998). Riding the waves of culture: Understanding cultural diversity in global business. New York: McGraw Hill.
Trowler, V., & Trowler, P. (2011) Student Engagement Toolkit for Leaders, London, UK: Leadership foundation for higher education and Higher Education Research and Evaluation.
Reschly, A. L., & Christenson, S. L. (2012). Jingle, jangle, and conceptual haziness: Evolution and future directions of the engagement construct. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly, & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 3-19). Springer Science + Business Media. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-2018-7_1.
Young, S., & Bruce, M.A. (2011). Classroom Community and Student Engagement in Online Courses.
Weidlich, J., & Bastiaens, T. J. (2019). Designing sociable online learning environments and enhancing social presence: An affordance enrichment approach. Computers & Education, 142, 103622. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2019.103622.
Zawacki-Richter, & Qayyum, A. (2019). Open and distance education in Asia, Africa and the Middle East: national perspectives in a digital age. Springer.
Zweekhorst, M. & Maas, J. (2015). ICT in higher education: students perceive increased engagement. Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education. 7, 2-18. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-02-2014-0022.
Copyright (c) 2023 Christin Marie Grothaus
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
As a condition of publication, the author agrees to apply the Creative Commons – Attribution International 4.0 (CC-BY) License to OLJ articles. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
This licence allows anyone to reproduce OLJ articles at no cost and without further permission as long as they attribute the author and the journal. This permission includes printing, sharing and other forms of distribution.
Author(s) hold copyright in their work, and retain publishing rights without restrictions