Kirsty Millar

Primary Teacher

St. John Paul II Primary

  • Digital Learning: Pupil Engagement

What impact does a digital reward system have on pupil engagement with Online Learning?


This enquiry set out to explore the question, ‘What impact does a digital reward system have on pupil engagement with online learning?’. As educators, addressing this question was pertinent, as it is our responsibility to ensure necessary steps are taken to increase participation and make remote learning engaging and motivating for our pupils. It is widely recognised that when learners are fully engaged in the learning process, intended outcomes are more likely to be achieved. In a recent report by Education Scotland (2021) it stated that ‘Schools report the engagement of children and young people in remote learning has improved since the first period of school closure in March 2020’ (Education Scotland, 2021.p.2). However, it has been widely reported that keeping pupils engaged and motivated during remote learning still remains a challenge.

Identifying pupil engagement as a key issue led to the joint practitioner group actively considering a range of strategies which were not currently being utilised and could potentially increase pupil motivation and engagement for the duration of the remote learning period. The Covid Education Recovery Group identified one of the key principles of remote learning as being: ‘approaches to assessment of learning and providing feedback that support and capture children’s and young people’s achievements in school and at home’ (2021, p.3). All practitioners involved in this enquiry agreed that ongoing dialogue, assessment, and feedback were already well established into the remote learning and teaching provision being delivered by them. However, to further praise and celebrate the children’s efforts and achievements, it was decided that a digital reward system would be implemented and the impact of this would be measured. Research and evidence suggest that when rewards are sincere, relevant to the task and are given for effort rather than results; then they can have a positive impact on learners (Crow and Small, 2011).


The aim of this enquiry was to evaluate the impact of implementing a digital reward system into the ongoing remote learning and teaching provision being delivered. More specifically, the enquiry aimed to improve pupil engagement, participation and motivation in Literacy teaching and learning experiences. In addition to this, it was anticipated that it would provide the children with a sense of accomplishment and allow them to see that their effort and hard work was still being recognised and celebrated.

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