IT Teaching Resources

An instructional framework for fostering student engagement in online learning

A guide with four recommendations for developing blended courses

Article Research Promising practices

Title: An Instructional Design Framework for Fostering Student Engagement in Online Learning Environments
Author: Samuel A. Helms

Key points

  • Student engagement in courses is associated with positive academic outcomes
  • Engagement in online spaces may present a unique challenge for academic outcomes
  • This article presents a four-phase framework (e.g., instructional need, instructional design, learning environments, and summative assessment) based on existing literature as a tool to design engaging online coursework

This article explores some of the literature on blended/hybrid learning and identifies recommendations for instructional designers and faculty. Terminology and definitions are discussed first including the debate between the words “blended” and “hybrid.” A working definition for the article is discussed but the article does not propose a standard definition for the field. The learning advantages of using a blended/hybrid format are identified from the literature including improved grades, retention and communication and teamwork. The recommendations are discussed in four broad categories: (a) face to face and online scheduling, (b) communication, (c) course content, and (d) other recommendations. The article concludes with a call for future research into blended/hybrid learning and how to best construct blended/hybrid courses from an instructional design standpoint.

What would this look like in a course?
  • Consider using survey tools to allow for student feedback.
  • Use interviews, conversations, and/or formal assessments to gauge student needs at the beginning of the course and throughout.

Helms, S. A. (2014). Blended/hybrid courses: A review of the literature and recommendations for instructional designers and educators. Interactive Learning Environments22(6), 804-810.