The Effect of a Preparatory Activity Meant to Foster the Activation of Prior Knowledge on a Learner’s Engagement in an Online Synchronous Learning Environment
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The purpose of this study is to test if prior knowledge activation is an underlying mechanism in the engagement of students during an online synchronous learning session. In this experimental study the participants in the experimental condition (n=14) drew a concept map of their knowledge on music theory during one minute before the start of the session. The participants in the control condition (n=14) did not perform this preparatory activity. Students’ level of engagement was coded during the first two assignments of the session using a coding scheme based on the ICAP-framework of Chi and Wylie (2014). The first assignment was a brainstorm activity, the second assignment was a CSCL assignment. The two conditions and two assignments were compared on their mean of observed engagement using two t-tests. Between the two conditions no significant difference was found, implicating that there was no effect of the preparatory activity on students’ engagement. Between the two assignments there was found a significant difference. This can either implicate that a CSCL assignment has a stronger effect on engagement than a brainstorm activity, or that a brainstorm activity fosters community forming and thereby has a positive effect on engagement in the activities that follow.