LessonLoop Research and Resources

Research proves that engaged students learn more.

Research Proves That Engaged Students Learn More

Engaged Students:

  • Actively learn knowledge and skills
  • Interact in a supportive and meaningful way with others and class content
  • Experience excitement, interest, and joy

Why is Student Engagement Critical?

  • Student engagement is a precursor to learning (Rajabalee & Santally et. al., 2019).
  • Student feedback surveys are better predictors of academic growth than principal observation and teacher self-ratings (Hanover Research 2013).
  • Students of educators with the most favorable student engagement scores were demonstrated to learn the equivalent of 4.6 months more in math per school year (MET Project, 2012).

Research-Based Solution to Increase Student Engagement

Our Approach

We have created a real-time actionable measure of student engagement coupled with personalized Tips and research-based instruction strategies (RBIS) which allow educators to immediately improve learner engagement and educational practice in accordance with learning theory research on effective teaching practices. Research is embedded into our Student Engagement Survey (SES) and is the foundation of our RBIS.

Student Engagement Survey (SES)

SES was developed through a literature review, an expert panel, and pilot testing. SES reliability was tested using Cronbach’s alpha (Cronbach, 1951). This process yielded a valid and reliable overall student engagement scale and nine categories, to help assess student engagement weaknesses in time to revise an educator’s instructional approach within a semester.

We created a definition for each category, a best practice/instructional goal, and questions directly linked to the evidence base of educational research. For example, our cognitive category includes a question on student perception of the amount of active learning in a lesson (i.e., the process of learning through activities and/or discussion in class, as opposed to passively listening to an expert or reading).

Research demonstrates that active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics (Scott Freeman, et. al., 2014). The SES question on the cognitive category linked to active learning is shown below.

Cognitive Category: Active Learning SES Question

I learned through activities and/or discussion in class, as opposed to passively listening to my teacher during this class lesson.

Answer choices
Strongly Agree, Agree, Somewhat Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree

Research demonstrates that active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics (Scott Freeman, et. al., 2014). The SES question on the cognitive subscale linked to active learning is shown below.

Cognitive Category: Active Learning RBIS

Research-Based Instructional Strategies (RBIS)

RBIS are instructional practices where research has proven their effectiveness in improving learner outcomes. We have compiled a database of RBIS which will improve the score for each question on our Student Engagement Survey, such as the active learning strategy shown below:

Active Learning Strategy: Promote active student learning through class discussion.

Research Citations:

  1. Hamann, K., Pollock, P. H., & Wilson, B. M. (2012). Assessing Student Perceptions of the Benefits of Discussions in Small-Group, Large-Class, and Online Learning Contexts. College Teaching, 60(2), 65–75. https://doi.org/10.1080/87567555.2011.633407
  2. Murphy, P. K., Wilkinson, I. A. G., Soter, A. O., Hennessey, M. N., & Alexander, J. F. (2009). Examining the effects of classroom discussion on students’ comprehension of text: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(3), 740–764. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015576

LessonLoop Tips Are Designed To Improve Instruction Based On RBIS

Our Tip Masters and Instructional Coaches have access on the LessonLoop platform to our RBIS database and incorporate relevant instructional strategies into their coaching Tips. We continuously review education research sites and journals to add new instructional strategies with a focus on these sources:

Our Research Luminaries

We gratefully applaud the work of John Hattie and Robert Marzano who have pioneered and made possible the increased incorporation of educational research into instructional practice by synthesizing and translating a tremendous amount of complex social science into easily understandable strategies.


*John Hattie’s Visible Learning Metax effect size is the standard deviation from the mean outcome of an intervention. Based on Hattie’s meta-analysis research, which includes calculating average effect sizes across multiple similar studies, an effect size greater than 0.4 has the potential to accelerate positive student outcomes. Effect sizes greater than 0.7 have the potential to considerably accelerate student outcomes.

Related Research

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2015). Teachers know best: What educators want from digital instructional tools 2.0. http://k12education.gatesfoundation.org/resource/what-educators-want-from-digital-instructional-tools-2-0/

Brenner, L. (2015, October 27). 3 ways to increase student engagement in your classroom. ISTE. https://www.iste.org/explore/Innovator-solutions/3-ways-to-increase-student-engagement-in-your-classroom

Bryk, A. S., Gomez, L.M., ,Grunow, A. , LeMahieu, P.G. (2015). Learning to improve: How America’s schools can get better at getting better. Harvard Education Press.

Carini, R.M., Kuh, G.D., & Klein, S.P. (2006). Student engagement and student learning: Testing the linkages. Research in Higher Education, 47(1), 1-32. http://www.jstor.co/stable/40185882

CAST (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2. http://udlguidelines.cast.org

Chen, P.D., Lambert, A.D., & Guidry, K.R. (2010). Engaging online learners: The impact of Web-based learning technology on college student engagement. Computers & Education, 54, 1222-1232. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131509003285?via%3Dihub

Chi, M. T.H., & Wylie, R, (2014). The ICAP framework: Linking cognitive engagement to active learning outcomes. Educational Psychologist, 49(4), 219–243, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2014.965823

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2016). e-Learning and the Science of Instruction, Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. Wiley Online Library. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/book/10.1002/9781119239086

Davis, T. & Thomas F. V. (2020). The impact of multimedia in course design on students’ performance and online learning experience: A pilot study of an introductory educational computing course. Online Learning Journal, 24(3). https://olj.onlinelearningconsortium.org/index.php/olj/article/view/2069

Digital Promise (2020). Suddenly online: A national survey of undergraduates during the COVID-19 pandemic. https://digitalpromise.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/ELE_CoBrand_DP_FINAL_3.pdf

Dixson, M. (2010, June). Creating effective student engagement in online courses: What do students find engaging? –– Vol. 10, No. 2, 1-13, Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Vol. 10, No. 2. ERIC. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ890707

Dixson, M. D. (2015). Measuring student engagement in the online course: The online student engagement scale (OSE). Online Learning, 19(4), 143-157. https://olj.onlinelearningconsortium.org/index.php/olj/article/view/561

Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School Engagement: Potential of the Concept, State of the Evidence. SAGE Journals. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.3102/00346543074001059

Fredericks, J. A., & McColskey, W. (2012). The measurement of student engagement: A comparative analysis of various methods and student self-report instruments. In S.L. Christenson et al. (eds.) Handbook of Research on Student Engagement (763-782t. Springer.https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-2018-7_37

Follman, J. (1995). Elementary public school pupil rating of teacher effectiveness. Child Study Journal, 25(1), 57–78.

Gawande, A. (2010). The checklist manifesto: How to get things right. New York: Picador.

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Handelsman, M.M., Briggs, W.L., Sullivan, N. & Towler, A. (2005). A measure of college student course engagement. The Journal of Educational Research, 93(3), 184-191.

Hanover Research. (2013). Student perceptions surveys and teacher assessments. Washington, DC. Retrieved fromhttp://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/Hanover-Research-StudentSurveys.pdf.

Kyriakides, L. (2005). Drawing from teacher effectiveness research and research into teacher interpersonal behaviour to establish a teacher evaluation system: A study on the use of student ratings to evaluate teacher behavior. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 40(2), 44–66. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/EJ768695.pdf

Marzano, R.J. (2003). What works in schools: Translating research into action. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Marzano. R.J., Pickering, D.J., Pollock, J.E. (2000). Classroom instruction that works; Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA; Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

McLeod, S. (2019). The Zone of Proximal Development and Scaffolding. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/Zone-of-Proximal-Development.html

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NAIS Report on the 2017 High School Survey of Student Engagement. (2017). NAIS. https://www.nais.org/articles/pages/research/2017-high-school-survey-of-student-engagement-(hssse)/

National Association of Independent Schools. (2017), NAIS report on the 2017 high school survey of student engagement. https://www.nais.org/articles/pages/research/2017-high-school-survey-of-student-engagement-(hssse)/

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