Shaun McAree

Primary Teacher

St. Bernadette's Primary

  • Digital Learning: Methodologies

Use of reward systems as part of online learning


The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the world of education. Eyles (2020) suggests, “Evidence from unexpected temporary school closures and reduced instruction time suggests school closures will reduce educational achievement, both in the short and long term.” In light of further school closures, the need for quality remote learning in order to prevent the widening of the attainment gap is clear. This enquiry will form a focus around the engagement of pupils in online learning and whether or not the introduction of a reward system would promote higher levels of engagement. The ‘Secret Student’ reward system would be used for this enquiry. The children in the class would be made aware that one student had been chosen at random as our Secret Student. The incentive behind this system is the anonymity of the Secret Student and the notion that it could be anyone in the class. If the elected pupil were deemed to have worked to the best of their ability and completed tasks to a high standard, then they would be eligible for a prize at the end of the week. Wiliams (2012) states that the implementation of such a system is an effective way of encouraging children to be accountable for their own behaviour and helping them to work well in the hope of receiving an award.


The aims of this enquiry were to:

  • Encourage children to engage with remote learning by implementing an anonymous reward system
  • Discover whether or not this reward system would not only encourage children to engage, but submit more tasks as a result
Download Practitioner Enquiry