Somaville University Engagement has been pointed out as a major dimension of students’ level and quality of learning, namely in what concerns the improvement of their academic achievement, their persistence versus dropout, as well as their personal and cognitive. “The amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the academic experience” However, recent research reinforces the idea that student engagement is a complex, multifaceted and multidimensional meta-construct.
Cognitive engagement concerns the investment in learning, the effort implicated in understanding complex ideas, and one’s mastering of challenging skills, the cognitive dimension of engagement lacks attention from the literature. Several authors have related cognitive engagement to students’ use of cognitive strategies and considered the adoption of a deeper approach to learning, centered on understanding and connecting ideas, as these are both considered signs of students’ investment. When adopting a deep approach, students attribute personal meaning to the contents, by relating new ideas to their previous knowledge and experiences in the surrounding world. When a surface approach is adopted, students are likely to focus on the fulfillment of the requirements of a certain task with minimum effort, for example, using strategies based on memorization to reproduce the learning material later on . The adoption of a particular approach to learning, either deep or surface one, represents the students’ answer to personal or contextual factors related to specific subjects and to the perceived demands concerning a certain learning task. This responsive dynamic has been related to the student engagement construct as well, which is considered malleable and situational and is influenced by individual and contextual factors.
Behavioral engagement refers to the observable dimensions of student engagement, namely, the fulfillment of the rules, attendance at classes, and the accomplishment of the tasks assigned by the teachers. Analyzing students’ study time constitutes an important dimension of behavioral engagement, as it allows for a better understanding of the extent to which the academic outcomes derive from students’ decisions made after entering higher education or from previous background factors influencing them before their arrival at university. Class attendance is also an important dimension of behavioral engagement. To obtain high-quality academic outcomes, students are expected to attend the majority of classes, where contents are taught, and specific instructions about the material to study and skills to practice are provided.