User Experience Research

Does a traditional learning environment provide better student engagement than a virtual environment?

Virtual learning is becoming an increasingly popular option for education (Ginder, 2018). While education has traditionally required students to attend educational institutions in person, advancements in technology now allow students to learn and attend classes remotely. While there is a lot of research that has been done for virtual learning (Pellas N., 2014; Boschman F., 2017), not much has been studied about the differences in engagement levels between virtual and traditional learning environments. This study seeks to determine if traditional learning is more effective at keeping students engaged than virtual learning. We sought to accomplish this by measuring levels of engagement gained through an online survey through Qualtrics. Graduate students enrolled in Human-Computer Interaction at Iowa State University were recruited as participants for this study. Data were analyzed using a Mann-Whitney U test, which showed that traditional learning provided higher levels of engagement for students over virtual learning. This research provides further evidence that key elements of engagement exist at higher levels in traditional learning environments, which research has shown (McCarthy 1990), impacts the likelihood of student success.

Credits: Yun Dong, Betsy Araujo Grando, Drew Swanwick

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