NDLW – Learner Engagement in eLearning

As part of the National Distance Learning Week (NDLW), I had the privilege of giving a presentation at the 2015 NDLW conference organized by the University of South Carolina, Aiken.

The Actual Presentation

Pres cover

  • You can watch my presentation here. The sound is very faint in the first minute and a half (turn up the volume for that part).
  • I am also attaching the PowerPoint presentation that I used in my presentation.

The Idea Behind the Presentation

Roughly speaking, I went over three types of eLearner engagement:


  • content focused
  • the learner studies alone
  • 1 level of engagement: student-content


  • content focused
  • content goes back and forth between the instructor and the learner via mail/email
  • 2 levels of engagement: student-content, teacher-content (or perhaps you could say student-teacher)

“True” Distance Learning

  • learner focused
  • a group is studying at the same time and an instructor is facilitating/teaching
  • can be syncronous (same time) or, more typically, asynchronous
  • 3 levels of engagement: student-content, student-teacher, and student-student.

Enagagement Levels in Distance Learning

When it comes to the “true” distance learning, I looked at each level of engagement, as follows:

Student-Content (S-C)

  • key points of S-C engagement:
    • orientation at the beginning of the course such as an interactive syllabus and a scavenger hunt that gets students to locate key logistical aspects of the course
    • learning activities taking place throughout the course, including motivating outcomes, clear instructions, and grading criteria
  • I showed some implementation examples and highlighted some of the literature
  • I ended by recommending Design for How People Learn, a book I found very useful in putting together quality S-C interaction

Student-Teacher (S-T)

Student-Student (S-S)

  • key points of S-S engagement:
    • forming a learning community at the beginning of the course
    • working in teams throughout the course
      • the role of faculty and students in creating effective team learning experiences
  • I highlighted some of the literature
  • I ended by recommending 75 e-Learning Activities, a book I found very useful in putting together quality S-S interaction.

Sparks Worth Sharing

If this presentation brought any sparks of inspiration (or questions), please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

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