Of possums, hogs and horses: capturing duality of student engagement in eLearning

Morgan-Thomas, A. and Dudau, A. (2019) Of possums, hogs and horses: capturing duality of student engagement in eLearning. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 18(4), pp. 564-580. (doi: 10.5465/amle.2018.0029)

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The current preoccupation with activity and interactivity in pedagogical research on eLearning dangerously elevates the importance of students’ behavioural engagement, and insufficiently accounts for other forms of productive involvement in learning. We argue that theoretical developments on the concept of student engagement offer a critical opportunity to revise this stance and problematize online activity. Through the lens of engagement, we depict online engagement as a multi-dimensional concept that encompasses behaviour, emotion and cognition. We further argue that the focus of online engagement may be dual in nature: engagement with online pedagogies and, separately, with the substantive knowledge being acquired. This study draws on qualitative data from postgraduate management research students in an online research methods course. To tease out the complexity of engagement, we use evidence of online activity to categorize learners into three distinct types: hogs, possums and horses. We juxtapose these behavioural categories against narrative accounts of engagement in eLearning to reveal a rich set of textures of productive involvement in online learning as well as misalignment among behaviour, emotion and cognition. The findings challenge the privileged status of interactivity in online learning and open the possibility for disengagement that is not detrimental to learning.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Morgan-Thomas, Professor Anna and Dudau, Professor Adina
Authors: Morgan-Thomas, A., and Dudau, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Academy of Management Learning and Education
Publisher:Academy of Management
ISSN (Online):1944-9585
Published Online:28 March 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Academy of Management
First Published:First published in Academy of Management Learning and Education 2019
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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