Carla Marie McFadden

Modern Studies

Coatbridge High

  • Digital Learning: Pupil Engagement

The Impact of Synchronous vs Asynchronous Teaching on Engagement


Pupil engagement is a main priority for all practitioners as it highlights how well pupils are progressing and achieving academically. This is backed up by research as Smyth (1980) suggested that pupils are more likely to achieve academically when they engage in lessons that are consistent within the classroom. It was the responsibility of all practitioners to ensure this consistency was carried over to online learning and that pupils continued to progress academically from home. Online learning required teachers to learn new teaching styles and techniques as teaching fully online had never been prepared for until now, therefore teachers had to participate in their own professional learning to allow pupils to receive a high quality of teaching and learning from home (Stewart, 2020).

All practitioners know the importance of pupil engagement before they put it into practice whether it is in class or online. Research studies have shown that there is a relationship between engagement and teacher behaviours (McWilliam et al, 2003) through teaching strategies, classroom performance and the use of student language. These aspects should still be considered when teachers are planning online lessons as the consistency will help the pupils stay engaged. Pupil engagement can be measured through attendance, class participation and task/homework results (Dixon, 2015) which also indicates how a pupil is achieving. Ensuring pupils were engaging and achieving during online learning was the main reason for conducting this research enquiry as it is important as a class teacher to know what level each pupil is at and what ways pupils prefer to learn, especially during online learning, as this increases engagement. Online learning was a new way of teaching for all practitioners, so using pupil voice to improve lessons was essential as well as tracking engagement to show how individuals are achieving and therefore this influenced this enquiry topic as the results can be shared amongst teachers to ensure high quality of teaching and learning would continue online.

This research was conducted to measure and encourage pupil engagement during online learning with the use of pupil voice to plan lessons effectively. This research was based on a mix of synchronous and asynchronous lessons and using different techniques to measure how pupils engaged depending on the structure of the lessons. The results will be used to better learning and teaching during online learning to ensure all pupils academic needs are met to further their online engagement.


The aim of this research enquiry was to measure the impact of pupil engagement when comparing synchronous and asynchronous lessons during online learning by looking at factors such as pupil attendance, feedback and quality of work submitted. Pupil voice was used to create a chain of lessons.

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