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Enhancing Learner Engagement Using the Discussion Leaderboard: A Social Cognitive Perspective

Hong Shaddy
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

Abstract—Over half of the college students in the U.S took at least one online course in 2019-2020. It is ever more important to deliver an interactive quality experience to a growing online learning community. Asynchronous discussion forum is a widely used tool to help accomplish that goal and to develop reciprocity and cooperation among students, a foundational practice in education. However, it is often challenging to make online discussion forums a venue for meaningful learning. A review of the literature points to low student participation and engagement as a top challenge. This study applies social cognitive theory to address the issue. In social cognitive view, there are three sets of (triadic) determinants: personal factors, behavior, and environmental events interacting mutually in online discussion forums. The study posits that a leaderboard can trigger personal and environmental influences on learner behavior changes to foster discussion forum participation. A student-facing discussion leaderboard was implemented in a graduate engineering elective at a private research university in the U.S. in Summer and Fall 2021. The findings indicate the leaderboard intervention instigates the interaction between self-efficacy (personal factor) and social modeling (environmental influence) and contributes to the improvement of learner engagement. 
Index Terms—learner engagement, social cognitive theory, self-efficacy, social modeling

Cite: Hong Shaddy, "Enhancing Learner Engagement Using the Discussion Leaderboard: A Social Cognitive Perspective," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 219-223, December 2022. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.8.4.219-223

Copyright © 2022 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the article is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.