Increasing learner engagement in online learning through use of interactive feedback: Results of a pilot study

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Conference Proceeding

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Technologies for eLearning continue to evolve and provide additional mechanisms for teaching and facilitating learner engagement. As the number of engineering courses and programs provided in an online format continues to increase, the need for evaluating the efficacy of these eLearning tools also increases. One of the main concerns in online learning is learner persistence, so technologies and pedagogies that support persistence are especially important. A growing body of literature suggests that when students feel connected and supported, they are more likely to continue with a program. Finding ways to accomplish this support and engagement for online programs then is a significant factor in program delivery. In this paper we report on the results of a pilot study that examined the use of text-based and interactive feedback using the framework of the Community of Inquiry (COI) Model. This model includes elements of cognitive presence, social presence and teaching presence which are associated with student engagement, connectedness and support. The pilot was conducted over two semesters in an online engineering course at the University of Cincinnati. Students were provided both traditional text-based feedback on assignments and interactive feedback. Surveys were administered to measure students' response to both forms of feedback and to gauge how both forms of feedback impacted elements of the COI Model. The pilot study indicates that feedback has the greatest impact on teacher presence with smaller association with social presence and cognitive presence. The use of interactive feedback was certainly appreciated by the students but perhaps of more importance is timeliness of feedback and personalizing feedback to the individual. Student engagement is improved with the use of interactive feedback but the effort to provide this type of feedback may not be warranted for all courses.

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings





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