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Student Engagement In E Learning Environment Essay

2611 words - 11 pages

Learning is the foundation of development of social economy. Along with the development of Internet and information technology, the way of knowledge sharing has been changed. E-Learning is a revolution that is currently emerging (Zhang, 2003, p201). According to IBIS 2013 report E-Learning’s market size is estimated at $90.9 Billion and is estimated to grow at 23% in the next five years (IBIS, 2014). E-Learning refers to any type of learning situation when instructional content is delivered electronically via the internet when and where people need it (Zhang, 2003, p201). Many authors confirmed that E-Learning has its benefits. It meets people’s needs nowadays (author’s ...view middle of the document...

As explained earlier there are numerous benefits of e-learning, but an e-learning environment has its own set of challenges. Student disengagement in e-learning is a critical factor that needs to be addressed. In order to understand and improve student engagement in an e-learning environment we must first understand the factors that motivate students to undertake e-learning courses. Student’s motivation could be determined by extrinsic or intrinsic factors. Students that value grades and are less interested in the learning process are extrinsically motivated (Sansone & Smith, 2000). On the other hand intrinsically motivated students value the learning process and have an internal desire to learn, whereas reward and recognition is secondary (Vansteenkiste, Simons, Lens, Soenens, Matos & Lacante, 2004). According to Deci, Koestner and Ryan (1999) older students are intrinsically motivated and students in their late teens and early twenties are extrinsically motivated. The Study Process Questionnaire was developed by Biggs (1976) to understand the factors in learning. This process was later utilised by Recio (2004) to understand e-learning. This study by Recio (2004) highlighted deep approach and surface approach to learning. Deep approach to learning is characterised by one’s desire to understand, linking new ideas to existing knowledge and experience, and is inline with intrinsic motivation. Surface approach is characterized by individual’s ability to imitate information for a task or assessment and lacks reasoning. Surface approach is in line with extrinsic motivation. E-learning students are required to be more responsible for their learning and hence intrinsic motivation coupled with deep approach is critical for the completion of an online course (Knowles & Kirkman, 2007). According to Roffe (2002) a higher percentage of e-learning students are working professionals, have a prior learning history and are over 45 years old. But not all students are intrinsically motivated and instructors may have to use extrinsic rewards to engage students (Krause, Bochner and Duchesne, 2006).
Now that the motivational factors and demographics of e-learning students have been established, this can be utilised to understand and improve engagement of e-learning students. In an e-learning environment students are not physically present in a classroom or at the university, and inorder to improve their engagement they need to be integrated within the university’s setting (Towles, Ellis & Spencer, 1993). This can be achieved via phone calls from the faculty, pre-course orientation (Wojciechowski & Palmer, 2005), online chats in an informal setting (Carnevale, 2000) and we based student services. The contact with students needs to be based from an early stage of the course and needs to be on a regular basis.
In a traditional face to face class room setting, the instructor is more involved and has the freedom to engage the audience in a discussion. ...

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