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Student perspectives of engagement in learning in contemporary and digital contexts
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Joanna TaiJoanna Tai, Robin BellinghamRobin Bellingham, Josephine Lang, Phillip DawsonPhillip Dawson
Increasing significance has been ascribed to student engagement, as a measure of success of both teachers and programs. However, since users of the term commonly tend not to explain, rationalise or problematise their understanding of engagement, its value to understand or transform learning may be limited. While clarification has occurred in conceptual work, there is a lack of empirical work that extends beyond understandings of engagement-as-behaviour, as well as insufficient work exploring what students understand engagement to be. Further, much work on engagement is rooted in physical campuses and face-to-face delivery, which represents an incomplete picture of how students actually engage in study. This article investigates student perceptions of engagement in two blended learning Initial Teacher Education programs. It offers a critical discussion of how research can be re-considered in light of changing learning contexts and changing understandings of ways to investigate engagement. The findings of this study support previous work that found multiple levels and meanings of student engagement exist. New complex and multidimensional models of engagement are proposed, which can open new possibilities for designing studies and analysing findings. This article argues that including and questioning physical, virtual and political contexts and power, affect, relationships, linearity and essential measurability are important features of new models of engagement.