Exploring Measures of Engagement in Open Online Work Based Learning: Towards Better Measures of Success in Open Online Learning Methods, Massive or Otherwise

By Colin Gray.

Published by The International Journal of Technologies in Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 5, 2015 $US5.00

This paper details an investigation into methods for measuring engagement in open, online, work based learning (WBL). The aim of this research is to define a reliable measure of engagement which can be used to assess the success of WBL courses. This study was carried out within one WBL course, run with 6 cohorts of students. Learning analytics detailing student activity were collated and used to test the following measures of engagement: 1. Total volume of activity per day, 2. Total number of daily participants, 3. Categorising participants by total course activity. The results showed that measure 1 provided detailed trends, but was easily biased by the activity of a small number of participants. Measure 2 showed similar trends, but mitigated the bias present in method 1 and displayed a much lower margin for error. Measure 3 provided insight into engagement trends, but lacked detail and showed a large margin for error. It was found that measure 2 was the most reliable indicator of engagement, and thus of success on a course. This finding allows researchers to more reliably measure engagement in open, online WBL, and can inform similar research in the field of MOOCs.

Keywords: Work-Based Learning, Online Learning, Student Engagement

The International Journal of Technologies in Learning, Volume 22, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.41-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 5, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 670.308KB)).

Colin Gray

Doctoral Researcher, Institute of Arts, Media and Computer Games, Abertay University, Dundee, Angus, UK