Student engagement and disengagement in TEL – The role of gaming, gender and non-native students

  • Nina Bergdahl Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV), Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Jalal Nouri Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV), Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Keywords: student engagement, student disengagement, technology-enhanced learning, gender, gaming, non-native speakers


Student engagement is critical for learning. However, little is known about engagement and disengagement and particular social groups. Recent research has alerted that engagement in technology-enhanced learning (TEL) settings may manifest differently than engagement in analogue learning settings. This study explores how different social groups of upper secondary school students (n= 410) engage and disengage when learning with digital technologies. We used an instrument to approach dimensions of engagement and disengagement in TEL. Using thematic analysis, we identified cognitive, emotional, behavioural and social aspects of engagement and disengagement in eight-student interviews which together with theory, informed a questionnaire. Using statistical methods, we explored the relationship between engagement, disengagement and the social categories: gamers, gender and non-native speakers. We found significant differences between the groups. For example: that high-frequency gaming students were not as easily distracted as students reporting low-frequency gaming, that female students engaged in TEL in different ways than male students, and that non-native speakers displayed significantly fewer tendencies to engage in unauthorised uses of digital technologies than native speakers. Identifying indicators reflecting engagement and disengagement in TEL in social groups can inform successful practices that stimulate student engagement and can be used to avoid, or redeem, group-specific challenges that trigger disengagement.


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How to Cite
BergdahlN., & NouriJ. (2020). Student engagement and disengagement in TEL – The role of gaming, gender and non-native students. Research in Learning Technology, 28.
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