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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Thornhill

Are we handing out participation ribbons? Engagement vs. Participation (2.4 A3)

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

In many of our classes, we have to rate participation. But does this practice really lead to better learning outcomes, or are we just giving a platform to the loudest? Does participation equal engagement? I would argue that it doesn't.

Our learners' responses to the activities we plan for them serve as evidence of participation. Engagement goes beyond that, however. Engagement implies more than just stating one’s own viewpoint or responding when addressed. It implies that the learner is collaborating and helping their colleagues broaden their knowledge and skills. It implies concern beyond oneself.

So, when we evaluate this course component, we may have to ask ourselves, "Is this learner just talking a lot, or are they saying anything substantive?" Are our learners only concerned with their own experiences or do they work to lift one another? Is it every learner for themselves or are we part of a learning community? I would opt for the latter every time.

Have a look at my take on an engagement rubric and leave your thoughts in the comments!

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