GoGuardian believes the digital learning environment must be at its core an engaging learning experience, so we conducted a field research study with over 350 educators and students across the country to better understand and define student engagement. GoGuardian’s focus on understanding engagement is a reflection of our commitment to student outcomes. In fact, research demonstrates that high levels of student engagement are related to “higher grades, achievement test scores, and school completion rates”.¹ Additionally, engaged students typically have “lower rates of delinquency, substance use, and depression”.¹ Given these benefits and protective factors, GoGuardian is committed to understanding engaging digital learning experiences.
As a first step, GoGuardian’s Research & Insights team sought to understand the behaviors and emotions that define engaged and disengaged learning and to identify the factors that influence student engagement. While there is extensive literature on engagement going back to the 1980s, there is not a single agreed upon model or definition of engagement.² ³ Given the varying engagement models in existence, GoGuardian designed a field research study to elicit insight from users (teachers, school leaders, students, and IT Admins) about how they define and describe engagement.
In order to conduct this study on engagement, we used a qualitative study design to capture the experiences, opinions, and perspectives of the participants. Given the lack of a consistent definition for engagement in the research⁴ and, rather, the ubiquitous perspective that engagement is a multidimensional concept, we felt it was critical to document the nuanced experiences of the target population: students, teachers, school leaders, and IT Admins in K-12 schools. Furthermore, this qualitative approach allows us to capture a more holistic understanding of the human experience in the selected environment.⁵
After completing the open coding analysis of the field research notes, we identified 43 themes. These 43 themes were further grouped into a four-part framework. This holistic framework provides us a lens through which to understand the factors that contribute to and emerge in an engaging learning environment.
As the world of digital learning accelerates, GoGuardian believes it is critical that we study and understand the impact of the digital learning experience on student outcomes. Our research and insights are focused on understanding how the digital learning experience can be improved to maximize achievement in the classroom while unleashing curiosity.
At GoGuardian, we believe the internet is a learning tool and that education solutions are only as valuable as the impact they provide. So as Researchers, it is our job to conduct experiments and gather insights on the impact of the digital learning experience on students and schools.