Trifecta of Student Engagement: A Framework for Engaging Students in Online Courses

Trifecta of Student Engagement: A Framework for Engaging Students in Online Courses

Heather J. Leslie (University of San Diego, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1622-5.ch004

Abstract

This chapter describes a framework adapted from Michael Moore's three essential areas: student-content interaction, student-student interaction, and student-instructor interaction for engaging students in online courses. To be fully engaged in an online course, students need to be engaged with the course curriculum content, with their peers, and with their instructor. When students are engaged in all three areas, it is referred to as the Trifecta of Student Engagement. This chapter incorporates literature on each area of the Trifecta of Student Engagement: student-to-content engagement, student-to-student engagement, and student-to-instructor engagement as well as some suggested synchronous and asynchronous digital tools.
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Background

One of the major conduits of student engagement in online courses is interaction (Wanstreet, 2009). Interaction allows students to exchange ideas and construct meaning individually and with course participants. Further, interaction in online courses has shown to have a direct impact on student satisfaction, student achievement, and learning outcomes (Durrington, et al., 2006; Bernard et al., 2009). In his seminal research, Michael Moore (1989) outlined three types of interaction in online courses: learner-content interaction, learner-learner interaction, and learner-instructor interaction. Student-content interaction is “the process of intellectually interacting with content that results in changes in the learner’s understanding, the learner’s perspective, or the cognitive structures of the learner’s mind” (Moore, 1989, p. 2). Learner-learner interaction is the process of learners collaborating and communicating information with peers, which can be especially valuable in the areas of application and evaluation (Sharp & Huett, 2006). Learner-instructor interaction “is widely considered essential by educators and students alike. This interaction type includes three tasks to be performed by the instructor: to stimulate interest and motivation; to organize application of student learning; and to counsel, support, and encourage each learner” (Sharp & Huett, 2006, p. 4). It is important to note that the quality of interaction, including personalization and meaningful communication, impacts student satisfaction with the overall learning experience (Eom & Wen, 2006). A framework for student engagement, based on the three types of interaction, is referred to as the Trifecta of Student Engagement (Figure 1). This framework proposes that students, to be fully engaged in a course, need to regularly and meaningfully interact with their course curriculum content, with their peers, and with their instructor.

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