12 Chen, Lambert, and Guidry, “Engaging online learners: The impact of web-based learning technology on college student engagement”


Chen, Lambert, & Guidry. (2010). Engaging online learners: The impact of Web-based learning technology on college student engagement. Computers & Education, 54(4), 1222–1232.


As technology has grown through the years, many instructors have begun to incorporate more and more technology into their courses. In this article, Chen, Lambert, and Guidry discuss the different forms of classes that include typical face-to-face learning, hybrid courses and online courses. Along with discussing the different forms on courses, the authors discuss the data from the study that was done that addresses the different factors that could affect a students decision to register for different courses, with the purpose of the study being learning technologies and the impact it may have on student engagement. The findings of the study presented in this article discusses the different factors that could play a role in a student’s decision to take courses online, in person or a hybrid course. Students who are racially or ethnically minorities or those who are part-time students were the ones more likely to take online courses, however, it is unknown if it is because the education is of a better quality or if it is because it is more convenient.

Key points

  • In order to have students succeed while in college, instructors need to “promote student engagement (Ehrmann 2004).”
  • Online courses can help students with basic computer skills, such as emails, chatting or online discussions, as well as becoming more critical and reflective learners.
  • Researchers argue that learning technology cannot replace the effects on face-to-face interactions and possible.
  • Three different types of learning
    • Face-to-face—physical classroom without online classroom management
    • Online—entirely online with no face-to-face contact
    • Hybrid/blended—learning that incorporates face-to-face learning with online learning, has three different categories
      • Enabling blends
      • Enhanced blends
      • Transforming blends
  • Certain factors may play a role in which type of courses students take, such as employment, financial support and childcare.


Following a survey taken by a total of 17, 819 freshman and senior students, Table 3 shows that 2.1% of students took Web-only courses, while 20.8% of students took face-to-face only courses. I feel like this makes sense, especially since some students may feel like they do not have the adequate skills to complete all courses online. 8% of students said they took hybrid-only courses, while 34.9% said they took all three delivery methods. By taking all three delivery methods, students could make sure that there is that engagement and motivation. Tables 4 and 5, include the freshman and senior student’s engagement in online learning activities. These tables also discussed how students who were “enrolled in online courses more frequently used both synchronous and asynchronous communication tools for instructional or learning purposes (Chen, Lambert & Guidry).” Table 7-11 discuss the different independent variables, the ratio of courses taken online and learning scales for freshman and senior students.

Discussion questions

  1. Thinking about your own educational background, which types of courses have you taken? What types of courses would you consider taking in the future? Why?
  2. What factors played a role in deciding which type of courses to register for?
  3. How was learning technology used in any course you’ve taken and did it help keep you engaged? How did it keep you engaged or not engaged?

Additional Resource

  • Yoo, S. J., & Huang, W. D. (2013). Engaging online adult learners in higher education: Motivational factors impacted by gender, age, and prior experiences. Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 61(3), 151–164. https://doi.org/10.1080/07377363.2013.836823.


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