ArticlePDF Available

Student engagement in the educational interface: understanding the mechanisms of student success



Student success and retention continue to be of concern for higher education institutions. Wider participation, combined with lower completion rates for non-traditional students, highlights the need for new ways of understanding the student experience to ground policy and practice. This article provides this insight by drawing together a number of key constructs to refine a recent framework of student engagement. We argue that the transition metaphor, focusing on the first year, is limited because it depicts differences between students and institutions as both transient and temporal. Instead, we use a cultural lens to introduce the educational interface as a metaphor for the individual psychosocial space within which institutional and student factors combine and student engagement in learning occurs. Incorporating the interface into the existing framework of student engagement makes three contributions to our understanding of the student experience. First, the educational interface is a tangible way of representing the complex interactions between students and institutions, and how those interactions influence engagement. Second, the refined framework highlights four specific psychosocial constructs: self-efficacy, emotions, belonging and well-being, which, we contend, are critical mechanisms for mediating the interactions between student and institutional characteristics and student engagement and success. Finally, the refined framework helps to explain why some students with demographic characteristics associated with lower completion rates are retained and do go on to successfully complete their studies, while similar others do not. These three contributions, the interface, the key constructs within it being mediating mechanisms and their explanatory utility, provide focus for the design and implementation of curricula and co-curricular initiatives aimed at enhancing student success and retention, and importantly to evaluate the impact of these interventions.
Page 1 of 17
This is the accepted (post-print) version of the following published article:
Picton, C., Kahu, E. R., & Nelson, K. (2018). ‘Hardworking, determined and happy’: First-year
students’ understanding and experience of success. Higher Education Research & Development,
37(6), 1260-1273. doi:10.1080/07294360.2018.1478803
Student engagement in the educational interface: Understanding
the mechanisms of student success
Ella R. Kahu & Karen Nelson
Student success and retention continue to be of concern for higher education institutions.
Wider participation combined with lower completion rates for non-traditional students
highlight the need for new ways of understanding the student experience to ground policy
and practice. This article provides this insight by drawing together a number of key
constructs to refine a recent framework of student engagement. We argue that the transition
metaphor, focusing on the first year, is limited because it depicts differences between
students and institutions as both transient and temporal. Instead we use a cultural lens to
introduce the educational interface as a metaphor for the individual psychosocial space
within which institutional and student factors combine and student engagement in learning
occurs. Incorporating the interface into the existing framework of student engagement
makes three contributions to our understanding of the student experience. First, the
educational interface is a tangible way of representing the complex interactions between
students and institutions, and how those interactions influence engagement. Second, the
refined framework highlights four specific psychosocial constructs: self-efficacy,
emotions, belonging, and well-being, which we contend are critical mechanisms for
mediating the interactions between student and institutional characteristics and student
engagement and success. Finally, the refined framework helps explain why some students
with demographic characteristics associated with lower completion rates, are retained and
do go on to successfully complete their studies, while similar others do not. These three
contributions: the interface, the key constructs within it being mediating mechanisms, and
their explanatory utility, provide focus for the design and implementation of curricula and
co-curricular initiatives aimed at enhancing student success and retention, and importantly
to evaluate the impact of these interventions.
Key words: student engagement, transition, student success
Page 2 of 17
Student success, whether measured by grades, retention statistics, or qualification completion
rates, continues to be a concern of governments, higher education policy makers, leaders, and
practitioners. Low success rates are particularly concerning for under-represented groups of students,
which in Australia include Indigenous students and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds
(LSES), remote areas, and regional locations (Bradley, Noonan, Nugent, & Scales, 2008). Arguments
for attending to student retention and completion are varied and include social justice concerns that
see higher education as breaking cycles of social and cultural inequity and disadvantage (Devlin,
2013; Gale, 2011), politicised concern over the rising costs of uncapped higher education, and debate
over the balance between public and private investment and the return on that investment for
individuals and funding bodies (Baum, Ma, & Payea, 2013; Trow, 2006).
Student engagement is widely recognised as critical – simply put, students who are engaged
with their studies are more likely to be successful. However, the mechanisms contributing to the
individual student’s engagement have not yet been clearly articulated and the term engagement is
used differently in various contexts. We understand engagement as an individual student’s
psychosocial state: their behavioural, emotional, and cognitive connection to their learning (Fredricks,
Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004). This paper extends Kahu’s (2013) conceptual framework of student
engagement. While the original framework acknowledges the influence of both student and
institutional factors, it does not illuminate how those factors interact and impact on the underlying
psychosocial mechanisms that influence individual student success. Therefore it did not provide
specific focus for understanding how to design and implement curricula and co-curricular initiatives
that can enhance student success and retention.
By drawing on transition theory and cultural studies, we propose that individual student
engagement occurs dynamically within an educational interface at the intersection of the student and
their characteristics and background, and the institution and its practices. We contend that the
educational interface, when integrated into Kahu’s (2013) earlier framework, offers a cogent
explanation for the dynamic, complex, and individual nature of students’ psychosocial learning
experiences – and highlights mechanisms critical for engaging all students, and particularly non-
traditional students. Finally, we outline four psychosocial constructs (the mechanisms) that help
explain how students experience the educational interface and how that experience impacts on their
engagement and therefore success and retention.
The refined framework’s contribution to student engagement research is a tangible
representation of how and where the interactions between institutional and student factors occur. It
also offers a more comprehensive depiction of the psychosocial mechanisms that facilitate students’
connections or disconnections to their study. By describing these mechanisms, the refined framework
provides clarity for academic and professional practitioners about which mechanisms need to be
Page 3 of 17
activated by curricula and co-curricular initiatives to promote students’ engagement in learning. While
the scope of this paper is limited to the refinement of the framework, we are concurrently conducting
a programme of qualitative research investigating how the mechanisms in the interface influence the
engagement of a contemporary student cohort (see for example, Kahu, Nelson, & Picton, 2017, and
Picton, Kahu, & Nelson, 2017).
Student success
Reviews of higher education (e.g. Behrendt, Larkin, Griew, & Kelly, 2012; Bradley et al., 2008),
economic demands for a more highly skilled workforce to enable competition in the global economy,
as well as increasing evidence of the individual and societal benefits of higher education (Department
for Business Innovation and Skills, 2013), all trigger concerns over student success rates. The six year
completion rate is 67% in Australia (Edwards & McMillan, 2015), 59% in the United States (United
States Department of Education, 2015) and ranges from 46% to 80% in Europe (Quinn, 2013).
Of particular concern are the particularly poor outcomes for non-traditional students. For
example, in Australia, nine year completion rates are 69% for LSES students compared to 78% for
those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and 47% for Indigenous students compared to 74% for
non-Indigenous students (Edwards & McMillan, 2015). European research also highlights that LSES
status is the most significant factor associated with dropping out of higher education (Quinn, 2013).
Non-traditional students also often belong to multiple equity groups (for instance are Indigenous and
LSES) and are more likely to have other characteristics such as studying part time or lower academic
entry scores. These factors compound to further negatively affect completions (Edwards & McMillan,
2015). However, caution is required when implying that pre-existing factors such as SES or entry
scores are the reason for the poorer success of the individuals and the group as a whole. For example
as Kemp and Norton (2014) found, Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) scores are not a
measure of academic potential and students with lower-ATAR can achieve success. While these
student characteristics may be predictive factors, the relationship between them and student
completions is not directly causal: that is, a student’s SES status, ethnicity or entry score is not the
cause of their success or failure.
In a similar vein, students give a range of reasons for withdrawing from their studies including
quality, psychosocial, financial, practical, and academic (Coates, 2014). Of particular note, equity
group students more often cite finance and family obligations as reasons, whereas non-equity group
students’ reasons centre more on choice and lifestyle (Edwards & McMillan, 2015). However, as with
demographic factors, we do not yet fully understand the processes by which these factors influence
students’ university experiences and lead to withdrawal for some students but not for similar others. If
we are to understand these different outcomes, we need a better understanding of the mechanisms that
Page 4 of 17
explain the relationships between institutional and student characteristics, and student learning and
One known pathway to success is student engagement. In 1984, Astin was grappling with a
similar issue: a large body of research demonstrated that there were associations between educational
programmes and student achievement. But there was a missing linka ‘mediating mechanism’ that
would explain how institutional actions influenced student outcomes. Astin (1984) proposed student
involvement as that missing link. This idea was the seed for a large body of research on what is now
termed student engagement. However, while we now have considerable evidence that Astin was
correct in his estimation of the role of student engagement, we still do not fully understand the
complex ways that individual and institutional factors interact to influence that engagement. The
remainder of this article addresses this issue by integrating ideas from transition theory and cultural
studies to extend Kahu’s (2013) earlier framework of student engagement, to provide a richer
understanding about the complexity of students’ experiences and to provide a useful framework to
guide practice in the area of student success and retention.
Student engagement theory
Student engagement is key to student achievement and retention (Krause & Coates, 2008)
with notions of success and student engagement inextricably inter-twined. As Tinto (2014) says
succinctly, ‘engagement matters’ (p. 20). But engagement is a complex and contested construct with
multiple theories and a plethora of reviews (e.g. Trowler & Trowler, 2010; Zepke & Leach, 2010).
Kahu’s (2013) critical analysis of the literature identified three approaches to engagement:
behavioural, emphasising student behaviours and teaching practices (stemming from Astin’s early
work); psychological, viewing engagement as an internal psycho-social process with behavioural,
cognitive, and affective dimensions (for a review see Fredricks et al., 2004); and socio-cultural,
emphasising the broader social context of engagement (e.g. Mann, 2001). Drawing these approaches
together, Kahu (2013) proposes an integrative framework which emphasises engagement as a variable
state that is influenced by a wide array of student and institutional factors, as well as by the socio-
political context within which the students, teachers, and institutions are situated. The framework also
acknowledges the outcomes of engagement: It is through being engaged with their study that students
learn and thus not only acquire skills and knowledge, but also experience academic success and
personal growth.
Bryson (2014), like Astin (1984), suggests that student engagement is a black box and draws
on a metaphor of quantum mechanics to argue that the complexity of student engagement is such that
we cannot measure or map all of its properties. Like Kahu (2013), he argues that institutional factors
and structural factors in a student’s background are related to student engagement, and engagement
Page 5 of 17
results from the complex interplay between factors. However both these contributions are limited in
that neither has identified ‘mediating mechanisms’ underpinning that interplay – in order to improve
student success, we need to better understand how the various factors interact and impact student
engagement and therefore success. To address these limitations we turn to the body of literature
looking at student transitions and use those ideas to further refine Kahu’s (2013) conceptual
Transition theory
Transition theory aimed to understand why higher education, particularly the first year, is challenging
and why so many students therefore withdraw or fail in that year. It sought to provide practical
responses to the identified challenges. In some ways it is the opposite of engagement theory which
aims to explain why students succeed. Three broad theoretical explanations of the challenge are
evident (e.g. Devlin, 2013; Gale & Parker, 2014) and describe the ‘gaps’ between student and
institution differently and so offer different solutions. First, early theorising argued the problem was
insufficient skills. Often targeting ‘at-risk’ cohorts, this explanation assumed that, due to their
demographic characteristics, these students will have poorer literacy, numeracy, and academic skills
(Warren, 2002). The transition metaphor here depicts university staff as masters teaching student
apprentices the skills necessary for the trade of higher education. Solutions were co-curricular and
focused on filling the skills or knowledge gap through supplementary instruction or services (Wilson,
2009). However, this perspective is too narrowly conceptualised the difficulties many students face
extend beyond a lack of skills and in fact ‘speak to a cultural inequity’ (McKay & Devlin, 2014, p.
The second explanation, academic socialisation, argues students also need to be inducted into
the cultural ways of the academy (Lea & Street, 2006). Here the transition metaphor is a maze and
students leave or fail because they don’t know how to navigate. Despite increasingly diverse student
populations, the overarching academic culture continues to assume traditional young, white, middle-
class learners, thus making navigation more challenging for others (Read, Archer, & Leathwood,
2003). Solutions were delivered within the curriculum so that all students had the opportunity to
develop the skills and knowledge required to navigate the academy (Wilson, 2009). A key limitation
of these first two approaches is that both view the student as in deficit in skills and in cultural
understandings (Smit, 2012). In addition, socialisation assumes that students should be moulded to fit
the institution’s existing culture.
The third explanation, founded in critical discourse analysis, argues that learning also involves
identity and power (Lea & Street, 2006) and draws on Bourdieu’s (1997) ideas of habitus. Traditional
students bring not just economic capital, but also embody cultural and social capital which is valued
and represents power (Bourdieu, 1997). Educational institutions have maintained this order through
Page 6 of 17
institutional habitus, which favours the knowledge and experience of dominant groups (Thomas,
2002). For students whose embodied practices are not equally valued, institutional habitus can lead to
alienation (Mann, 2001). Indigenous knowledges in particular have not been valued by the Western
academy (Sefa Dei, 2000). Proponents of this view suggest we need to value what diverse students
bring and create space ‘not just for new kinds of students but also for the knowledges and ways of
knowing that they embody’ (Gale, 2011, p. 679).
Transition theory highlights that alignment, or misalignment, between student and institution
is important for success. However, while transition theory usefully emphasises the importance of the
first year and highlights the need for institutions to adapt to diverse students, attrition is not limited to
the first year. For example 7.9% of Australian students dropped out after their first and before their
second year, and a further 13.8% dropped out in later years (Edwards & McMillan, 2015). The
experience of higher education is an ongoing ‘transformation of being’ (Barnett, 2007, p. 38). It
requires an iterative navigation of difference between the student’s individual habitus and the culture,
knowledge, and practices of the academy – and not just during the transition to higher education. Each
new learning experience has the potential to challenge students’ ways of being and thinking, and to
require students to bring their diverse identities and experiences to bear on new ideas. The transition
metaphor therefore does not capture the lived experience of learning as a dynamic and constant
reworking of the self (Quinn, 2010). Instead we need to ‘reconceptualise transition in a way that
reflects students’ lived realities’ (Gale & Parker, 2014, p. 747). To do that, it is useful to view the
experience of higher education through a cultural lens.
A cultural lens - the educational interface
The student deficit models of transition discussed draw on well-contested ideas of cultural
deficit. In 1971, Valentine proposed the theory of biculturalism – cultures were not mutually
exclusive, but rather people could be simultaneously socialised into two different ways of life. This
idea extends beyond ethnicity and parallels contemporary understandings of identity as a continuous
construction, with individuals moving between identities relating to their life roles (Hall, 2004). Dual
socialisation is facilitated by the degree of overlap, of norms and values, between identities. So in
education, students from high prestige schools with university educated parents have a greater overlap
between their existing identities and that of higher education student. This overlap facilitates learning
and encourages persistence (Kuh & Love, 2000).
Devlin (2013) terms the lack of overlap for non-traditional students as ‘sociocultural
incongruity’ and suggests a bridge, a joint venture between students, university, schools, and
government, is a useful metaphor for conceptualising what is needed. However, the bridge metaphor,
as with transition, suggests there is an end point. Nakata (2007), theorising indigenous student
experiences, argues that a ‘cultural interface’ is a theoretically useful metaphor:
Page 7 of 17
The Cultural Interfaceis a multi-layered and multi-dimensional space of dynamic
relations constituted by the intersections of time, place, distance, different systems
of thought, competing and contesting discourses within and between different
knowledge traditions, and different systems of social, economic and political
organisation. (p. 199)
Adapting this idea to describe the student experience and student engagement as an active
process within an ‘educational interface’ has much to commend it. First, it is a positive metaphor,
emphasising the importance of drawing on both ways of being, rather than focussing on any lack of
alignment between cultures or positioning the student as in deficit. Second, the concept of an
educational interface recognises the importance of student agency. As Nakata (2002) argues, this is
‘the place where we are active agents in our own lives where we make our decisions our life
world’ (p. 285). In the educational interface, the student is not a passive actor required to sacrifice
their existing ways of being; rather the goal is to negotiate the experience in between. Third, an
interface is not a transition, a temporary state; it is the place where students continue to experience
their world. The student is in a set of relationships within multiple educational settings and their sense
of self is dynamic and fluctuating, varying according to the situation being experienced. The
educational interface is a psychosocial space within which the individual student experiences their
education. Integrating the concept of the educational interface with Kahu’s (2013) framework of
student engagement discussed earlier, shines a light into Astin’s (1984) and Bryson’s (2014) black
box of student engagement and thus furthers our understanding of how different institutional and
student characteristics interact to influence a student’s engagement and success. Next we look more
closely at the student experience within the interface.
Experiencing the educational interface
Figure 1. Refined conceptual framework of student engagement incorporating the educational
Page 8 of 17
Figure 1 presents a refined version of Kahu’s (2013) conceptual framework of student
engagement, depicting the central role of the educational interface. The interface is the place where
students live and learn in higher education (Nakata, 2007); their experience is influenced by their
background, skills, and motivations, but also by the institutional and wider context. The factors shown
as student and institutional structural and psychosocial influences are not an exhaustive list, but rather
indicative of the types of factors in each category. It is within this micro-context, when institutional
and student factors align, that individual student engagement occurs. For instance, students engage
emotionally when the curriculum is linked to their interests, life experiences, and future selves (Kahu,
Stephens, Leach, & Zepke, 2014), and cognitive engagement occurs when the student feels their skills
align with the task at hand (Schunk & Pajares, 2004).
The student experience comprises of more than just their engagement however, as shown in
the revised framework. A search of the education literature for psychosocial constructs that strongly
influence student outcomes and which result from the interaction between institutional and student
characteristics reveals four constructs that illustrate important components of the student experience
within the interface. These are: academic self-efficacy, the student’s perception of their capabilities
for the task at hand; emotions, resulting from the student’s appraisal of their situation; belonging, the
connection students feel to the institution, discipline, and people; and finally well-being, stemming in
part from lifeload and stress. These four psychosocial constructs are best understood as mediating
mechanisms: student and institutional factors may interact to directly influence student engagement,
or engagement may be mediated via one of these four mechanisms. Next we briefly discuss how each
construct manifests within the educational interface and impacts on engagement and success. We also
highlight how each of these mediating mechanisms offer explanations for differences in outcomes for
non-traditional students.
Self-efficacy is an individual’s belief in their capacity to perform a given task, stemming from
a cognitive appraisal of personal and environmental factors (Schunk & Pajares, 2004). Self-efficacy is
critical to behaviour: ‘Unless people believe they can produce desired effects by their actions, they
have little incentive to act’ (Bandura, 1997, pp. 2-3). Academic self-efficacy influences student
motivation and learning through its impact on persistence, goal setting, and the use of self-regulatory
strategies (van Dinther, Dochy, & Segers, 2011). High self-efficacy increases student engagement and
success and, in return, engagement and success increase self-efficacy (Schunk & Mullen, 2012).
Viewing self-efficacy as occurring within the educational interface acknowledges the complex
array of intersecting institutional and student based factors, which influence a student’s belief in their
capabilities. It also highlights that self-efficacy may be one of the key mechanisms that could cause
non-traditional students to be less engaged. Middle class students have higher academic self-
Page 9 of 17
confidence than working-class students who often express anxiety about their academic abilities
(Crozier, Reay, & Clayton, 2010); this then influences their self-efficacy. Schunk and Mullen (2012)
also highlight the influence of family on self-efficacy – through cultural capital, encouragement, and
role models – as well as the influence of wider sociocultural factors such as socioeconomic status.
These are all factors underpinning the challenges facing non-traditional student groups and we concur
with these authors that more research is needed on academic self-efficacy in non-traditional student
Appreciating students’ emotional responses is essential to understanding and theorising
student experiences (Linnenbrink, 2006). Emotions are situated and dynamic, and like self-efficacy,
the result of a subjective appraisal of the situation (Fredrickson & Cohn, 2008). Emotions therefore
occur within the educational interface, and viewing them this way enables a clearer understanding of
the complex roles emotions play. For example, Kahu et al. (2014) found that positive topic related
emotions, interest and enthusiasm, stem from life integrated learning: the intersection between course
material and the students’ personal or work interests and experiences. Similarly, task based emotions,
such as anxiety, depend on both the nature of the task and the student’s skills, personality, and past
experiences. Emotions within the interface also include social emotions, those related to people such
as admiration and empathy (Pekrun & Linnenbrink-Garcia, 2012).
The first year is a particularly emotional time for students. For non-traditional students, the
gap between their existing identities and experiences and the expectations and requirements of the
institution may result in more negative emotions. For example, lack of access to technology, concerns
over money, and families who do not understand the pressures of tertiary study are all factors that can
increase student anxiety and frustration and thus influence a student’s engagement and success. While
some anxiety can be a motivating force leading to greater behavioural engagement, chronic or
extreme anxiety can have a negative impact and lead to disengagement and withdrawal (Kahu et al.,
2014). Emotions are therefore another mechanism explaining differences between groups of students
and another illustration of the effects of the complex interactions within the educational interface.
The need for belonging, to have positive interpersonal attachments, is widely recognised as a
fundamental human need (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). In education settings, belonging is described
as the students’ connectedness to the institution, staff, and other students (Thomas, 2012), as well as
the discipline being studied. Linking to Bourdieu’s (1997) theory outlined earlier, belonging relates to
the degree of fit an individual perceives between their individual habitus and that of the institution and
is therefore usefully conceptualised as a component of the educational interface. Viewing belonging
as the outcome of both institutional and student factors recognises that belonging can manifest
Page 10 of 17
differently for each student depending on their background, their personality, and other aspects of
their experience. For example, mature-aged students have busy lives and may not seek a sense of
belonging to the institution (Wyatt, 2011).
Belonging may influence retention directly. As discussed earlier, despite wider participation,
academia still reflects traditional students. Others, who feel ‘alienated by academic culture itself’
(Read et al., 2003, p. 271), may choose to leave, regardless of how engaged they are with their study.
Belonging can also influence success through its impact on engagement. For example, that sense of
alienation may create anxiety, which then inhibits participation in classroom discussions hampering
both behavioural and emotional engagement. Belonging can also have a positive impact on well-
The final construct that we suggest is critical to understanding the educational interface is
student well-being, and its opposite, stress. Attending university is stressful: Stallman (2010) found
84% of Australian students reported elevated distress, and 19% reported high distress compared to 3%
of the general population. This stress can be caused by personal factors, institutional factors, or the
intersection between the two. For example, conflict between study and other commitments affects half
of first year Australian students (Baik, Naylor, & Arkoudis, 2015). Stress can inhibit engagement with
higher stress levels associated with lower academic motivation and enjoyment (Gavala & Flett, 2005).
Stress can also lead to withdrawal: 72% of first year Australian students who had seriously considered
withdrawing cited emotional health as an important factor (Baik et al., 2015).
As with the other three constructs discussed, viewing well-being as an interaction within the
educational interface, offers possible explanations for differences in the learning and persistence of
non-traditional students. In particular, well-being is more likely to be compromised for students who
belong to multiple equity groups (Edwards & McMillan, 2015). For example, high levels of paid
work, additional family responsibilities, or living far from campus (all characteristics of non-
traditional students) are all potential causes of stress, which can influence student success by
impeding student engagement.
As explained, recognising that student engagement and student learning occur within an
educational interface at the intersection of institution and student is theoretically valuable. It
illuminates some of the processes by which factors influence student success and helps us to
understand the additional challenges faced by non-traditional students. We do not claim that the four
psychosocial constructs depicted in the interface and discussed here are a definitive list of critical
intersections between student and institution. They are however those that are most dominant in the
current literature. In addition, while presented separately here for clarity, self-efficacy, emotions,
belonging, and well-being are not discrete elements of experience. The student experience of the
interface is complex and dynamic as Bryson (2014) reminds us, and there are many overlaps and
Page 11 of 17
interactions. One final benefit of viewing the student experience as occurring within an educational
interface is the alignment with another key development in higher education: students as partners.
It would be negligent not to acknowledge the work, mostly from the United Kingdom, calling
for institutions to create supportive environments for diverse student bodies and to distribute the
power more equitably by developing stronger relationships or partnerships between students and their
institution. For instance, Student Participation in Quality Scotland (Sparqs) defines partnership as ‘an
equal relationship between two or more bodies working together towards a common purpose,
respecting the different skills, knowledge, experience and capability that each party brings to the
table’ (Williamson, 2013, p. 8). Advocates argue that staff and students working together, whether in
governance, research, or teaching spaces, facilitate student engagement students (Healey, Flint, &
Harrington, 2014). Our revised framework acknowledges the criticality of relationships, specifically
including the construct as a key interaction within the ‘Psychosocial Influences’. The students as
partners literature, similar to research into other institutional practices such as relevant curriculum and
early intervention programs, does not illuminate the mediating mechanisms or psychosocial processes
that explain how these practices influence a student’s engagement and outcomes. Our framework, and
the educational interface in particular, provides that insight. For instance, including students as
partners in governance structures may give the student a sense of belonging to the institution, which
then leads to greater engagement with their study. Or including students as co-constructors of an
assessment task may increase their self-efficacy, leading to increased engagement and success.
Although our definition of student engagement is specifically focused on learning, the educational
interface embraces the notion of partnership, of academy and student working together in a productive
and cooperative relationship.
This article, by refining Kahu’s (2013) framework of student engagement, addresses the limitations of
the framework and increases its relevance and validity for understanding the student experience. It
makes three important contributions to the literature on student engagement and success. First, it
affirms that students’ engagement is influenced by the interactions between student factors and
institutional factors and by applying a cultural lens, represents the place that these interactions occur
as the educational interface. This representation aligns with an increasing emphasis on higher
education being a partnership between students and their institution. The interface also provides a new
way of understanding what institutions need to do to activate studentsacademic engagement. The
interface metaphor highlights students’ constantly changing experiences – for each new group of
students, with each new interaction, and on each new task.
Page 12 of 17
The second contribution the paper makes is to engagement theory. The presence of the
educational interface serves to remind us that student or institutional factors only rarely influence
student engagement separately and that the interplay between them is critical. For example, a lecture
engages a student when the delivery style matches the student’s personal preferences and/or the
content aligns with their interests. In addition, the interface provides clarity about how the interplay
can influence student engagement indirectly through the four mediating mechanisms within it. For
example, feedback on a student’s work increases the student’s self-efficacy which then improves their
engagement on future tasks. Or staff getting to know a student gives them a sense of belonging that
then facilitates engagement in the classroom. The four key constructs within the interface do not
guarantee engagement or success, instead they are mediating mechanisms that act to increase or
decrease the likelihood of engagement and therefore success. The identification of these key
mediating mechanisms provides focus for the design and implementation of learning and teaching,
and student experience enhancement initiatives. As the framework makes clear, there are a multitude
of interacting influences on engagement and often these will conflict, however we contend that
activating the mechanisms in the interface at the intersection of institutional and student factors is one
way of positively influencing student engagement.
The article’s third contribution is to our understanding of the experiences of non-traditional
students. Rather than viewing demographic characteristics as direct and negative influences on
engagement and retention, the interface highlights specific mechanisms that may help explain
differences in cohort outcomes. For non-traditional students, the limited overlap between their past
experiences and the context of higher education, or the conditions of their life, may mean their
experience with higher education is more challenging. As shown in the educational interface, these
challenges may be due to reduced self-efficacy, a lack of belonging, negative emotions, or decreased
well-being and increased stress. Each of these mechanisms can negatively impact on a student’s
engagement, inhibit their learning and then, in a downward spiral, lead to failure which further
reduces self-efficacy and belonging, as well as increases anxiety and stress. The bottom of the spiral is
withdrawal. The revised framework with the educational interface recognises the challenges faced by
non-traditional students. While we value their identities and existing knowledges we cannot hide from
the reality – that non-traditional students are less likely to complete higher education. However, there
are many very successful non-traditional students and the educational interface illustrates how student
engagement can be fostered for all students, and particularly for non-traditional students by adopting
institutional practices that activate these key mediating mechanisms.
The responsibility for students’ experiences in the educational interface lies with multiple
stakeholders. The framework is embedded within the sociocultural context highlighting the critical
role that government has to play; for example, policy that enables lower SES students with a greater
lifeload to study part time and still receive support would increase well-being. The institutional
context is also critical. It is through the curriculum that institutions mediate ‘student-institution
Page 13 of 17
interactions to enhance the broader student experience’ (Nelson, Kift, & Clarke, 2012, p. 125). Here
institutional flexibility is paramount – allowing students to study in ways that make their experience
of the educational interface more positive (Gale & Parker, 2014; Quinn, 2010). Finally, the student, as
an active participant in their own learning, has the central role to play. Learning is a partnership and
the experience of the interface is influenced as much by the student as it is by the institution. The
ongoing task of both student and institution is to facilitate working in the interface in order to learn
from each other and to draw on the strengths of both.
Page 14 of 17
Astin, A. W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of
College Student Personnel, 25(4), 297-308. Retrieved from
Baik, C., Naylor, R., & Arkoudis, S. (2015). First year experience in Australian universities: Findings
from two decades, 1994-2014. Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne Centre for the Study of
Higher Education.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York, NY: W H Freeman.
Barnett, R. (2007). A will to learn: Being a studen in an age of uncertainty. Maidenhead, United
Kingdom: Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.
Baum, S., Ma, J., & Payea, K. (2013). Education pays 2013: The benefits of higher education for
individuals and society. Retrieved from
Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as
a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497-529. doi:
Behrendt, L., Larkin, S., Griew, R., & Kelly, P. (2012). Review of higher education access and
outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Final report. Canberra, Australia:
Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.
Bourdieu, P. (1997). The forms of capital. In A. H. Halsey, H. Laudner, P. Brown & A. Stuart Wells
(Eds.), Education: Culture, economy, and society (pp. 46-58). Oxford, United Kingdom:
Oxford University Press.
Bradley, D., Noonan, P., Nugent, H., & Scales, B. (2008). Review of Australian higher education final
report. Canberra, Australia: Government Printing Service.
Bryson, C. (2014). Clarifying the concept of student engagement. In C. Bryson (Ed.), Understanding
and developing student engagement (pp. 1-22). Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.
Coates, H. (2014). Students’ early departure intentions and the mitigating role of support. Australian
Universities’ Review, 56(2), 20-29.
Crozier, G., Reay, D., & Clayton, J. (2010). Access, participation and diversity questions in relation to
different forms of post-compulsory further and higher education. In M. David (Ed.),
Improving learning by widening participation in higher education (pp. 62-94). London,
United Kingdom: Routledge.
Department for Business Innovation and Skills. (2013). The benefits of higher education participation
for individuals and society: Key findings and reports - 'The quadrants'. London, United
Kingdom: BIS.
Devlin, M. (2013). Bridging socio-cultural incongruity: Conceptualising the success of students from
low socio-economic status backgrounds in Australian higher education. Studies in Higher
Education, 38(6), 939-949. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2011.613991
Edwards, D., & McMillan, J. (2015). Completing university in a growing sector: Is equity an issue?
Australian Council for Educational Research. Retrieved from
Page 15 of 17
Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P., & Paris, A. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept,
state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 59-109. doi:
Fredrickson, B. L., & Cohn, M. A. (2008). Positive emotions. In M. Lewis, J. M. Haviland-Jones & L.
F. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (3rd ed., pp. 777-796). New York, NY: The Guilford
Gale, T. (2011). Expansion and equity in Australian higher education: Three propositions for new
relations. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 32(5), 669-685. doi:
Gale, T., & Parker, S. (2014). Navigating change: A typology of student transition in higher
education. Studies in Higher Education, 39(5), 734-753. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2012.721351
Gavala, J. R., & Flett, R. (2005). Influential factors moderating academic enjoyment/motivation and
psychological well-being for Maori university students at Massey University. New Zealand
Journal of Psychology, 34(1), 52-57.
Hall, D. E. (2004). Subjectivity. New York, NY: Routledge.
Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: Students as
partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York, United Kingdom: Higher
Education Academy.
Kahu, E. R. (2013). Framing student engagement in higher education. Studies in Higher Education,
38(5), 758-773. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2011.598505
Kahu, E. R., Nelson, K., & Picton, C. (2017). Student interest as a key driver of engagement for first
year students. In Proceedings of STARS: Students Transitions Achievement Retention and
Success Conference. Adelaide, Australia: STARS.
Kahu, E. R., Stephens, C. V., Leach, L., & Zepke, N. (2014). Linking academic emotions and student
engagement: Mature-aged distance students' transition to university. Journal of Further and
Higher Education, 39(4), 481-497.doi: 10.1080/0309877X.2014.895305
Kemp, D., & Norton, A. (2014). Report of the review of the demand driven funding system.
Department of Education. Retrieved from
Krause, K., & Coates, H. (2008). Studentsʼ engagement in first-year university. Assessment &
Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(5), 493-505. doi: 10.1080/02602930701698892
Kuh, G. D., & Love, P. G. (2000). A cultural perspective on student departure. In J. M. Braxton (Ed.),
Reworking the student departure puzzle (pp. 196-212). Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University
Lea, M. R., & Street, B. V. (2006). The "Academic Literacies" model: Theory and applications.
Theory Into Practice, 45(4), 368-377. doi: 10.1207/s15430421tip4504_11
Linnenbrink, E. A. (2006). Emotion research in education: Theoretical and methodological
perspectives on the integration of affect, motivation, and cognition. Educational Psychology
Review, 18(4), 307-314. doi: 10.1007/s10648-006-9028-x
Page 16 of 17
Mann, S. (2001). Alternative perspectives on the student experience: Alienation and engagement.
Studies in Higher Education, 26(1), 7-19. doi: 10.1080/03075070020030689
McKay, J., & Devlin, M. (2014). ‘Uni has a different language … to the real world’: Demystifying
academic culture and discourse for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Higher
Education Research & Development, 33(5), 949-961. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2014.890570
Nakata, M. (2002). Indigenous knowledge and the cultural interface: Underlying issues at the
intersection of knowledge and information systems. IFLA Journal, 28(5-6), 281-291.
Nakata, M. (2007). Disciplining the savages: Savaging the disciplines. Canberra, Australia:
Aboriginal Studies Press.
Nelson, K., Kift, S., & Clarke, J. (2012). A transition pedagogy for student engagement and first-year
learning, success and retention. In I. Solomonides, A. Reid & P. Petocz (Eds.), Engaging with
learning in higher education (pp. 117-144). Faringdon, United Kingdom: Libri.
Pekrun, R., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2012). Academic emotions and student engagement. In S. L.
Christenson, A. L. Reschly & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement
(pp. 259-282). New York, NY: Springer.
Picton, C., Kahu, E. R., & Nelson, K. (2017). Friendship supported learrning - the role of friendships
in first-year students’ university experiences. In Proceedings of STARS: Students Transitions
Achievement Retention and Success Conference. Adelaide, Australia: STARS.
Quinn, J. (2010). Rethinking 'failed transitions' to higher education. In K. Ecclestone, G. Biesta & M.
Hughes (Eds.), Transitions and learning through the lifecourse (pp. 118-129). London,
United Kingdom: Routledge.
Quinn, J. (2013). Drop-out and completion in higher education in Europe among students from
under-represented groups. European Commission. Retrieved from
Read, B., Archer, L., & Leathwood, C. (2003). Challenging cultures? Student conceptions of
ʽbelongingʼ and ʽisolationʼ at a post-1992 university. Studies in Higher Education, 28(3), 261-
277. doi: 10.1080/03075070309290
Schunk, D. H., & Mullen, C. A. (2012). Self-efficacy as an engaged learner. In S. L. Christenson, A.
L. Reschly & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 219-235).
New York, NY: Springer.
Schunk, D. H., & Pajares, F. (2004). Self-efficacy in education revisited: Empirical and applied
evidence. In D. M. McInerney & S. Van Etten (Eds.), Big theories revisited (pp. 115-138).
Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.
Sefa Dei, G. J. (2000). Rethinking the role of Indigenous knowledges in the academy. International
Journal of Inclusive Education, 4(2), 111-132. doi: 10.1080/136031100284849
Smit, R. (2012). Towards a clearer understanding of student disadvantage in higher education:
Problematising deficit thinking. Higher Education Research & Development, 31(3), 369-380.
doi: 10.1080/07294360.2011.634383
Stallman, H. M. (2010). Psychological distress in university students: A comparison with general
population data. Australian Psychologist, 45(4), 249-257. doi:
Page 17 of 17
Thomas, L. (2002). Student retention in higher education: The role of institutional habitus. Journal of
Education Policy, 17(4), 423-442. doi: 10.1080/02680930210140257
Thomas, L. (2012). Building student engagement and belonging in higher education at a time of
change: Final report from the What Works? student retention and success programme.
Tinto, V. (2014). Reflective practice: Tinto’s South Africa lectures. Journal of Student Affairs in
Africa, 2(2), 5-28. doi: 10.14426/jsaa.v2i2.66
Trow, M. (2006). Reflections on the transition from elite to mass to universal access: Forms and
phases of higher education in modern societies since WWII. In J. Forest & P. Altbach (Eds.),
Interntational handbook of higher education (pp. 243-280). Dordrecht, The Netherlands:
Trowler, V., & Trowler, P. (2010). Student engagement evidence summary. York, United Kingdom:
The Higher Education Academy.
United States Department of Education. (2015). The condition of education 2015. U.S. Department of
Education. Retrieved from
Valentine, C. (1971). Deficit difference, and bicultural models of Afro-American behavior. Harvard
Educational Review, 41(2), 137-157.
van Dinther, M., Dochy, F., & Segers, M. (2011). Factors affecting students’ self-efficacy in higher
education. Educational Research Review, 6(2), 95-108. doi: 10.1016/j.edurev.2010.10.003
Warren, D. (2002). Curriculum design in a context of widening participation in higher education. Arts
and Humanities in Higher Education, 1(1), 85-99. doi: 10.1177/1474022202001001007
Williamson, M. (2013). Guidance on the development and implementation of a Student Partnership
Agreement in universities. Edinburgy, United Kingdom: Spraqs.
Wilson, K. (2009). The impact of institutional, programmatic and personal interventions on an
effective and sustainable first-year student experience. Paper presented at the 12th Pacific
Rim First Year in Higher Educaiton Conference, Townsville, Australia.
Wyatt, L. G. (2011). Nontraditional student engagement: Increasing adult student success and
retention. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 59(1), 10-20. doi:
Zepke, N., & Leach, L. (2010). Improving student engagement in post-compulsory education: A
synthesis of research literature. Wellington, New Zealand: Teaching and Learning Research
... Student engagement as a concept has evolved over the years because of its importance in educational settings especially as a tool for supporting teaching and learning activities that could lead to student success, increased student retention and academic achievement (Kahu & Nelson, 2018;Paulsen & McCormick, 2020;Snijders et al., 2020). The literature on student engagement suggests that it represents a multidimensional and contested set of theories (Kahu & Nelson, 2018) that also serve to explore how students could be assisted to adjust to the learning environment (Quaye et al., 2019); resolve educational concerns regarding high dropout rates and low achievement rates (Ajjawi et al., 2020); enhance institutional support systems and quality interaction between staff and students (Li & Xue, 2023;Paulsen & McCormick, 2020); and improve student retention (Tight, 2020). ...
... Student engagement as a concept has evolved over the years because of its importance in educational settings especially as a tool for supporting teaching and learning activities that could lead to student success, increased student retention and academic achievement (Kahu & Nelson, 2018;Paulsen & McCormick, 2020;Snijders et al., 2020). The literature on student engagement suggests that it represents a multidimensional and contested set of theories (Kahu & Nelson, 2018) that also serve to explore how students could be assisted to adjust to the learning environment (Quaye et al., 2019); resolve educational concerns regarding high dropout rates and low achievement rates (Ajjawi et al., 2020); enhance institutional support systems and quality interaction between staff and students (Li & Xue, 2023;Paulsen & McCormick, 2020); and improve student retention (Tight, 2020). Although student engagement could lead to student success (Bowden et al., 2021;Kahu & Nelson, 2018), teacher-student relationships are particularly necessary for promoting student academic success (Parnes et al., 2020). ...
... The literature on student engagement suggests that it represents a multidimensional and contested set of theories (Kahu & Nelson, 2018) that also serve to explore how students could be assisted to adjust to the learning environment (Quaye et al., 2019); resolve educational concerns regarding high dropout rates and low achievement rates (Ajjawi et al., 2020); enhance institutional support systems and quality interaction between staff and students (Li & Xue, 2023;Paulsen & McCormick, 2020); and improve student retention (Tight, 2020). Although student engagement could lead to student success (Bowden et al., 2021;Kahu & Nelson, 2018), teacher-student relationships are particularly necessary for promoting student academic success (Parnes et al., 2020). The advantages of supportive relationships between teachers and students include students' social development, students' subject-specific performance, satisfaction, wellbeing, and motivation to learn (Aspelin & Jonsson, 2019). ...
Full-text available
This study examines how student engagement and social relationships between teachers and students may enhance the learning experiences of students in a South African university. Two separate sets of semi-structured interviews were held with 27 university teachers and 51 students respectively. The findings revealed that that the relationships between the behavioural and cognitive dimensions of student engagement and social relationships between teachers and students are motivated by good relational communication; relational pedagogy; good inter-relational culture; teacher relational competences (cognitive, behavioural and inter-cultural); and teacher demonstration of care. The current study adds to the literature on relational pedagogy and student engagement by highlighting the importance of inter-relational culture and teacher relational competences to the behavioural and cognitive development of university students. Moreover, when students and particularly, first generation students, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and students from rural communities develop good relationships with their teachers, they are set to have positive learning experiences.
... Dengan adanya kegitatan orientasi ini, diharapkan mahasiswa baru dapat saling mengenali teman sebaya dan lingkungan sosial sehingga dapat mempermudah beradaptasi pada lingkungan. Sementara bagi universitas kegiatan orientasi ini merupakan bagian dari berkontribusi pada kepuasan dan retensi mahasiswa (Kahu & Nelson, 2018). Kegiatan orientasi ini diharapkan dapat menyatukan antar mahasiswa baru sehingga dapat menumbuhkan ikatan yang lebih kuat dengan universitas. ...
... Keterlibatan siswa telah menjadi faktor penting dalam memprediksi keberhasilan pendidikan (Altschwager et al., 2018) . Keterlibatan siswa telah mendapat perhatian yang semakin besar di Universitas dan semakin banyak diteliti, diteorikan, dan diperdebatkan dalam pencapaian dan pembelajaran siswa (Kahu & Nelson, 2018) . Menurut (Chapman, 2002) keterlibatan sebagai kognitif siswa, partisipasi aktif dan komitmen emosional yang terkait secara khusus dengan pembelajaran mereka. ...
Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui peran mediasi social brand engagement pada hubungan experiential marketing terhadap word of mouth (WOM). Penelitian ini menggunakan metode kuantitatif dengan teknik purposive sampling. Sampel pada penelitian ini sebanyak 311. Metode pengumpulan data yang digunakan pada penelitian ini menggunakan kuesioner dengan menggunakan google form. Analisis Data pada penelitian ini menggunakan Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) menggunakan SmartPLS 3.0. Hasil pada penelitian ini menunjukan bahwa experiential marketing berpengaruh pada social brand engagement, experience marketing juga berpengaruh pada word of mouth. Penelitian ini juga menunjukan bahwa social brand engagement berpengaruh pada word of mouth dan social brand engagement memediasi hubungan experiential marketing pada social brand engagement.
... University education is a line of research with a long tradition that aims to provide scientific knowledge to improve teaching in higher education, raise its quality, and achieve better rates of academic success and performance as well as labor market insertion [1][2][3]. Entities such as [4] have collected evidence from key educational indicators, which point out that 10.2% of students drop out of education and training prematurely. In addition to this figure, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in its annual report "Education at a Glance 2022. ...
Full-text available
Burnout is one of the major problems in higher education and is linked to a decline in students’ academic performance and achievement. Burnout, when prolonged over time and added to stress and high workloads, promotes the intention to drop out of studies, which translates into negative consequences for individuals and groups. Academic engagement is proposed as an effective alternative to offer solutions to improve the quality of education and counteract current negative trends. This study is based on a correlational–descriptive research design. It aimed to find out to what extent students feel engaged in their university studies and to identify and analyze possible correlations between engagement and specific classroom variables. To this end, a sample of 764 college students was studied. The result showed that students feel connected to and interested in their studies and that the area of knowledge impacts student engagement. They also indicate how learning strategies used in the classroom positively impact academic engagement.
... According to Kahu (2013), the concept of student engagement refers to the level of both physical and psychological energy that students dedicate to their educational experience. In contrast, Kahu & Nelson (2018) posited that the construct under consideration encompasses the temporal and cognitive investments made by students in their academic pursuits and other activities that serve educational objectives. The diverse interpretations presented here illustrate the complex and multifaceted character of student engagement, which commonly encompasses behavioral, emotional, and cognitive dimensions ( The behavioral aspect of student engagement encompasses the active involvement of students in various academic, social, and extracurricular endeavors (Dogan, 2015). ...
The aim of this research work is to find the impact of student engagement, the quality of the relationship between the faculty and students, and student loyalty on higher education by conducting a systematic review. The data for this research work have been collected from the major databases, which include JSTOR, PubMed, Google Scholar, and EBSCO. This research work targeted the peer-reviewed journal articles that were published in the English Language from 2013 to 2023. The research works contain empirical data analysis included in this work for conducting the systematic review on the basis of inclusion and the exclusion criteria the PRISMA analysis used for the screening of the literature. In the initial stage, 289 primary articles were selected related to this research, and after the removal of the duplicates, the number of articles was reduced to 250; in the next stage of screening, 190 articles were excluded because the researcher did not find these articles relevant to the objectives of the study. The abstract of the remaining 60 studies analyzed, and 20 more articles have been excluded at this stage. The remaining 40 articles go through a comprehensive full-text review for the assessment related to suitability for inclusion in the study. After the completion of the assessment, the ten articles have been finalized for the final review. The results extracted from the review indicate that student engagement, the quality of student-faculty relationships, and student loyalty have a positive and significant association with the quality of higher education. The recommendations of this research are that the comprehensive review must be conducted at the primary school level and also at the secondary school level.
... Furthermore, the working-class students who found friendship formation more straightforward with greater opportunities for socialising reported 'lucky' financial situations and the ability to socialise within a strict budget. Researchers have argued that 'student participation in social activities should be organised with much regard for those who have difficulties due to their socio-economic status' [33]. However, while the working-class students who lived at university commented on their financial precarity, it appeared that their greater proximity to other students made socialising more feasible. ...
Full-text available
Friends are critical for students’ academic and social integration at university. However, socio-economic disparities in the likelihood of successful friendship formation have been highlighted with a number of barriers to ‘making friends’ for working-class students identified, with attendant concerns about the impact of this on their retention and progression. Yet, the ways in which working-class students may successfully make friends at university through circumventing barriers is under-researched. This chapter offers a contribution to this gap through semi-structured interviews with 14 second and third year working-class students from three UK institutions. The participants reflected upon what had helped and hindered friendship formation. Eleven of the 14 participants had at least one friend and nine of these participants had been open to making friends when they started university. The thematic analysis highlighted: persistence, proximity to the university and shared academic identities supported forming friendships. The participants believed participating in social activities was a key mechanism for making friends but that was largely perceived to be inaccessible. Future studies should explore how degree programme design can aid in making friends for students unable to access wider university experiences.
... Research indicates that giving students a sense of autonomy and control over their learning assists them in managing their lifeload (all pressures of life) balance and, as a result, improves their engagement with their course material (Taylor et al., 2020). The lifeload is mentioned as a crucial factor impacting student engagement (Kahu & Nelson, 2018). ...
... To sum up, active investment of mental power in learning, positive attitude towards the usefulness of video lectures would be beneficial for learners. Previous studies have already pointed out that student engagement is one determinant to a student's academic success, cognitive development, and the quality of education (Kahu & Nelson, 2017;Zhoc et al., 2018). Therefore, high cognitive and emotional student engagement would presumably enhance learners' performance. ...
Full-text available
A total of 169 Chinese college students were divided into high proficiency and low proficiency learners according to a College English Test, and watched one of three short fully captioned English videos, thus producing six groups: (1) High proficiency + L2 (n = 25), (2) High proficiency + L1 + L2 (n = 24), (3) High proficiency + L1 (n = 33), (4) Low proficiency + L2 (n = 29), (5) Low proficiency + L1 + L2 (n = 30), (6) Low proficiency + L1 (n = 28). The participants’ retention and transfer were assessed first. SPSS analyses revealed that L1 + L2 caption group with high proficiency performed the best retention, while L2 caption group with low proficiency achieved the highest retention, and there was no significant difference in transfer. Afterwards, a factor design was employed and three dimensions of student engagement were evaluated with the same participants, suggesting significant results in cognitive student engagement with a median effect size, represented by investment in learning and positive attitude as indicators. This research attempts to explore the incorporation of behavioral, emotional, and cognitive student engagement when measuring learning effectiveness of content-based instruction video learning, highlighting the significance of cognitive student engagement in the studies of captioned videos.
Full-text available
Student engagement has been labelled as the latest buzzword in the field of higher education. As it gains wide recognition as critical to learning improvement and student development, the ways contributing to engagement appear to be necessary to fully understand the definitions and potential factors. Therefore, this article employed a method of tripartite analysis to ideas on portrait engagement and comprehensively synthesized impacting variables which can empower learning engagement. Findings demonstrated an operational definition of student engagement as well as a conceptual framework illustrated in three broad factors including socio-cultural integration, structural variables and psychological dimension. The operational definition and conceptual framework provided deep insights into student engagement and implies educators systematically devise courses and teaching practices.
The purpose of this chapter is to review research studies of active learning and student engagement and provide a current understanding of the issues and challenges pertinent to online teaching and learning. In addition to an overview of active learning and student engagement, the review also discusses instructional strategies for the effective use of student engagement and active learning in online courses and learning activities. The content of this chapter will provide the readers with insight and fundamental considerations to enhance student engagement and promote an active learning approach in online teaching.
Full-text available
Much has been written about the challenges faced by first year students at university. This paper adds to that literature by exploring student interest, known to be associated with persistence and learning. Using data from a qualitative study following 19 students through their first year at a regional Australian university, the paper examines the antecedents and consequences of student interest. Findings show the students’ existing individual interests and goals interact with the teaching environment to trigger situational interest. Situational interest then enhances behavioural and cognitive engagement and leads to better learning and grades. Perceived relevance of the learning task is shown to be a particularly important determinant of student interest. Students’ emotions, self-efficacy, and their sense of belonging are also important factors in explaining the links between student interest, the teaching environment, and student engagement.
Enhancing the student experience, and in particular student engagement, has become a primary focus of Higher Education. It is in particularly sharp focus as Higher Education moves forward into the uncertain world of high student fees and a developed Higher Education market. Student engagement is a hot topic, in considering how to offer ‘value’ and a better student experience. Moreover it is receiving much attention all over the world and underpins so many other priorities such as retention, widening participation and improving student learning generally.
Perceptions of stress and discomfort in the university environment and the relation between these perceptions and academic enjoyment/motivation and psychological well-being were examined in a sample of 122 Maori psychology students at Massey University. The moderating effects of perceived control and cultural identity were also considered. Major findings were that: (a) individuals reporting high stress, more feelings of discomfort at university, and a lower sense of academic control, were significantly more likely to be experiencing a lowered sense of well-being, and reduced feelings of academic enjoyment and motivation; (b) under conditions where there is a high sense of academic control, those with a high sense of comfort with university report significantly higher well-being that those with low comfort; (c) there were no moderating effects of cultural identity. Providing a comfortable academic environment that students' perceive as culturally-congruent increases perceived psychological well-being and academic enjoyment and motivation.