Charlie Houston

Primary Teacher

Cleland Primary

  • Digital Learning: Pupil Engagement

What happens to engagement in online learning when a reward system is introduced?


This research enquiry has been conducted at a time when the educational system is shifting from ordinary classroom teaching to online remote learning, with teachers and pupils alike having to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic. This research focuses on the current national educational issues that have been prevalent during the past year. This enquiry is an opportunity to gain further knowledge on remote teaching and learning and how we can encourage engagement from children with their online lessonsIt was noted by our Practitioner Enquiry Group that no matter the stage of primary education teachers were involved with, the engagement for online learning was lower than in a respective classroom environment. Collectively we agreed that installing a reward system to encourage engagement might potentially increase the children’s motivation and help increase online connection. The hopes were that children would engage with the class in the same way they would when in the physical classroom environment. 

As teachers, it is imperative to create an environment that nurtures and motivates learners. Enterprising teachers create a learning environment and give feedback that will enhance the pupils’ eagerness to learn and help remove perceived boundaries for the pupils (Dweck, 2007). Mclean (2003) states that the teacher’s job is not to motivate students to achieve but to provide the opportunities for achievement that will be motivating. Brooks, Brooks, and Goldstein (2012) argue that motivated students feel that teachers genuinely care about them as individuals and want them to learn and to succeed. 


The enquiry aimed to explore how to increase engagement in an online classroom. How can teachers motivate children to engage in virtual discussions, lessons, and tasks when a screen and distance is dividing the teacher from the children? How do teachers work to help combat the multiple unknown variables, the varied environments, supports, and pressures that are ongoing in a student’s life? To answer the above questions and attempt to increase engagement, the enquiry group came up with a reward system hoping to encourage children to take part in various online activities and discussions and in return, they would be suitably rewarded for doing so.  

Download Practitioner Enquiry