Unit 1 Activity 0 Learner Engagement

Beyond Time-on-Task

Note that the assigned book Eight Myths of Student Disengagement begins with Myth 1: It's easy to tell who is engaged. As teachers, it is important to expand our horizons on how to gauge learner engagement. For example, the author emphasizes multiple times that the most common measures of engagement, time-on-task and time-off-task, are limited in their ability to determine true engagement.

For example:

"Some researchers have focused on the behavioral dimension and have equated engagement with on-task behavior (Greenwood, Horton, & Utley 2002). Others argue that engagement needs to include both an emotional and a behavioral dimension (Finn, 1989; Skinner & Belmont, 1993). In a more recent review of the literature, my colleagues and I present a multidimensional view of engagement that includes behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement (Fredricks et al., 2004). We argue that including all three dimensions gives a richer picture of how learners think, feel, and act in the classroom."


"Why Engagement Is More Than On-Task Behavior: The reality is that in most classrooms, different configurations of behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement occur, and engagement in one dimension does not necessarily translate to others. Having a quiet and orderly classroom is an important goal for many facilitators. As a result, many teachers equate compliance and on-task behavior with engagement. However, just because a learner participates and follows the rules, it does not necessarily mean he or she is deeply invested in learning."

As you read this book, take note of ways you as a facilitator can look beyond the time-on-task metric and delve deeper in learner engagement. As you look ahead to your assignments, look for measures and activities that provide you a more complete picture of engagement with your learners. If you pick an observation tool that utilizes time-on-task, look for ways to broaden it to include other aspects of learner engagement.



Throughout this book, the authors occasionally ask you to conduct a survey. While it may be initially easier to type up your surveys and print them, I would encourage you to take the time now to set up an online survey tool to use for this class. Once it is set up, it will be easy to come back and create a new survey. In the long run, it will be a huge time-saver, and you can use it for classroom quizzes or formative assessments outside the realm of this class.

If you already have an online tool for surveys, feel free to use that service. If you don't currently use one, the book lists several options in Table 1.2--feel free to use any on the list. If you don't have a preference, I recommend you use either Google Forms (you need a Google account) or Microsoft OneDrive Excel Survey (you need a Hotmail.com or Outlook.com account).

South Dakota teachers who have a K12.sd.us account already have access to either of these services if their district IT Department has switched the service on.

To learn how to set up and use these tools, I direct you to the WebProductivity Class: