An Analysis of Student Engagement Patterns and Online Course Outcomes in Wisconsin. REL 2016-147
Angela M. Pazzaglia, Margaret Clements, Heather J. Lavigne, Erin T. Stafford
Student enrollment in online courses has increased in the past 15 years and continues to grow. However, little is known about students' education experiences or online course outcomes. These are areas of particular interest to the Midwest Virtual Education Research Alliance, whose goal is to understand how to support student success in online courses. Members of the alliance partnered with Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest to develop and conduct this study on how students engage in online learning and how student engagement patterns are associated with online course outcomes. Findings from this study may help inform policymakers, state and local education agencies, and online learning providers as they seek ways to support student success in online courses. This study analyzed learning management system data and student information system data for all core, elective, and Advanced Placement online high school course enrollments during the fall 2014 semester. The data were collected by Wisconsin Virtual School, a state-level online learning program that partnered with 194 Wisconsin districts to serve 5,511 student enrollments in 256 supplemental online courses during the 2014/15 school year. Analyses looked for student engagement patterns in online courses and the percentage of student enrollments that followed each pattern; differences among student engagement groups (groups of student enrollments that followed a given pattern) in course type taken, gender, or grade level; and associations between student engagement in online learning and online course outcomes. Engagement refers to behavioral engagement and was defined as the amount of time a student was logged in to the online course each week. Course outcomes were measured by the percentage of possible points earned in the course (which students' home schools use to assign a letter grade based on the local grading scale) and the percentage of course activities completed. Key findings include: (1) Student enrollments in online courses followed one of six engagement patterns, with average engagement ranging from 1.5 hours to 6 or more hours per week; (2) Most students (77 percent) steadily engaged in their online course for 1.5 or 2.5 hours per week; (3) Students who engaged in their online course for at least 1.5 hours per week typically earned a high enough percentage of possible points to pass the course; and (4) Students who engaged in their online course for two or more hours per week had better course outcomes than students who engaged for fewer than two hours per week. The following are appended: (1) Study methodology; and (2) Supplemental findings. [For the summary companion report, "An Analysis of Student Engagement Patterns and Online Course Outcomes in Wisconsin. Stated Briefly. REL 2016-157," see ED566959.]
Pazzaglia, A.M., Clements, M., Lavigne, H.J. & Stafford, E.T. An Analysis of Student Engagement Patterns and Online Course Outcomes in Wisconsin. REL 2016-147. Retrieved April 1, 2023 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/193991/.
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- Advanced Placement
- Core Curriculum
- Data Analysis
- Elective Courses
- electronic learning
- Elementary Secondary Education
- gender differences
- Hierarchical Linear Modeling
- High School Students
- Instructional Program Divisions
- learner engagement
- online courses
- Outcomes of Education
- Regression (Statistics)
- Statistical Significance
- Time on Task
- Virtual Classrooms