Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Student Engagement in Blended Learning Environments with Lecture-Based and Problem-Based Instructional Approaches

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Student Engagement in Blended Learning Environments with Lecture-Based and Problem-Based Instructional Approaches

Article excerpt

Introduction

The trend of decreasing student satisfaction from education in secondary/high school education and higher education context has drawn attention to the concept of student engagement. One of the important factors for student learning and personal development is students' level of engagement with academically purposeful activities (Kuh, 2001). Students' low engagement with academic activities is considered the main reason for dissatisfaction, negative experience, and dropping out of school in some of the previous research studies (Greenwood, Horton, & Utley, 2002; Legters, Balfanz, & McPartland, 2002; Perie, Moran, & Lutkus, 2005). Interventions to improve student engagement are mainly instructional solutions such as designing learning environments and utilization of engaging teaching practices.

Many personal, environmental, and instructional factors impact student achievement and personal development in educational institutions (Burkman, Tate, Snyder, & Beditz, 1981; Everson & Millsap, 2004; Walberg, 1984; Wenglinsky, 2002). Among them, educators have control over only instructional practices. By designing and implementing various instructional environments and practices, student learning and development could be improved. Research in higher education and secondary/high school education context alike has agreed that students' engagement with academically purposeful activities is one of the important factors for student learning and personal development in traditional and technology enhanced learning environments (Astin, 1993; Pace, 1980; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Jelfs, Nathan, & Barrett, 2004; Ginns & Ellis, 2007). Therefore, it is highly recommended that educational institutions and instructors direct their energy and resources to the methodologies and technologies to improve student engagement in their institutions (Hu & Kuh, 2002).

While secondary/high school education literature defines student engagement in three categories, higher education literature provides an umbrella definition for student engagement as students' involvement with academically meaningful activities (Kuh, 2001). Regardless of the definition and the context, the most important question to answer is, "What keeps students engaged in schools and colleges?" Reviewing voluminous research in higher education context, Chickering and Gamson (1987) put forward a framework to ensure students' engagement; "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education". According to this framework, students are more engaged when the instruction (a) increases the contact between student and faculty, (b) provides opportunities for students to work in cooperation, (c) encourages students to use active learning strategies, (d) provides timely feedback on students' academic progression, (e) requires students to spend quality time on academic tasks, (f) establishes high standards for acceptable academic work, and (g) addresses different learner needs in the teaching process. Similarly, Brophy and Good (1986) provided a review of research on teaching and teaching practices that aim to improve student learning and achievement. Although Brophy and Good (1986) did not use the term engagement, they provided recommendations similar to Chickering and Gamson (1987) for providing engaging instruction for students. According to Brophy and Good (1986), teaching practices that encourage active learning strategies, establish collaborative student work, contain challenging tasks, and provide prompt feedback help improve student achievement and learning in schools.

Past findings from various educational researches confirm that student engagement is an important construct for learning and personal development (Astin, 1993; Pace, 1980; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Jelfs, Nathan, & Barrett, 2004; Ginns & Ellis, 2007). Designing such learning environments requires utilization of instructional design strategies that address principles of student engagement. …

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