Nadia Gillen

Primary Teacher

Tannochside Primary

  • Digital Learning: Pupil Engagement

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


During the period of online learning when children were learning at home, it was of the upmost importance to keep children engaged. It is inevitably a difficult task to keep children engaged without having any face-to-face contact, however it was at the forefront of planning. Education Scotland published documentation which emphasised the importance of encouraging engagement. The format of learning should remain the same as or as close to the learning in the classroom, in order to encourage the children to engage fully. (Education Scotland 2021) To engage the children in online learning: live lessons, pre-recorded lessons, PowerPoint presentations and online videos. North Lanarkshire Council has provided weekly documentation, within which it states the importance of supporting children’s achievement during this period of online learning. Within the How good is our school 4 document (Education Scotland 2015), it states that positive reinforcement is critical in underpinning good classroom management. Within a classroom setting positive rewards are frequently used. Therefore, this should be continued where possible while using a digital platform as this helps create continuity and positive reinforcement for the children. The Scottish National Attainment Challenge prioritises children’s attainment in Numeracy, Literacy and Health and Wellbeing; all of which have been the focus during this period of online learning.

Professor Dylan Wiliam believes that attainment can be raised through implementing several different methods within the classroom setting. It had been noted that attainment and achievement together, go hand in hand. Children who achieve well, gain higher levels of attainment. Wiliams found that IQ increases when children are fully engaged and participate well in lessons (Wiliam, 2014). The Curriculum for Excellence (CFE) supports Wiliams claim that through increasing engagement, attainment will be raised. The aim of CFE is to raise standards of achievement for all children. The “Building the Curriculum 5: A framework for Assessment” document states that standards of achievement can be raised through improved pupil engagement (Education Scotland, 2011).

This practitioner enquiry focuses on the impact on pupil engagement while using positive digital rewards in Literacy. Within the classroom setting, children are used to Star Writer certificates, so moving this on to an online platform kept it familiar for the children. The use of a virtual ‘Wow Wall’ is a different and new way of providing children with a reward.


The aims of this enquiry were to:

  • Encourage engagement in Literacy through virtual rewards.
  • Gain a higher level of engagement from the whole class.
Download Practitioner Enquiry