Importance of Engagement in Online Learning Environments

Learner engagement is essential for successful online training. When learners are engaged, they are more likely to be motivated to take online courses, absorb the content being shared and achieve their learning goals.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to learner engagement in online learning, including:

  • Relevant and engaging content. Learners are more likely to be engaged when the content is relevant to their interests and presented in a way that is engaging and stimulating.
  • Active learning opportunities. Learners are more likely to be engaged when they have opportunities to actively participate in the learning process while immersed in an online course. This can be accomplished via activities, such as virtual discussions, group projects, practical exercises and simulations.
  • Personalized feedback: Learners are more likely to be engaged when they receive personalized feedback on their work while in an online course. This input can help learners identify their strengths and weaknesses and make adjustments to their learning strategies.
  • Supportive learning environment: Learners are more likely to be engaged when they feel supported by their instructors and peers while taking advantage of online training opportunities. This support can be provided through online forums, chat rooms and virtual instructor “office” hours.

Research on Learner Engagement and Online Learning Completion Rates

A number of studies have shown that learner engagement is positively correlated with online learning completion rates. For example, a study by the Babson Survey Research Group found that students who were more engaged in an online course were more likely to complete that training. The study also discovered that students who were more engaged were also more likely to report that they had learned a great deal in online learning opportunities and would recommend the courses to others.

Another study, conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that students who were more engaged in an online course were more likely to earn higher grades. The study also determined that students who were more engaged were more likely to be satisfied with their online learning experiences.

Therefore, by providing relevant, contextualized and engaging online course content, active learning opportunities, personalized feedback and a supportive learning environment, learner engagement will increase and as a result, online learning completion rates will also rise.


I launched FedLearn, in part, to deliver relevant and contextualized content aligned to the U.S. Department of Defense and Intelligence Community—and the government contractors that support their missions. As you will learn in my next blog post, the construction of new knowledge and understanding via online training (and FedLearn’s ability to measure this capability on our artificial intelligence-powered online learning platform) and the ability to apply new skills at work are the gateway to a skilled workforce in the DoD, Intelligence Community, government contractor companies and beyond.

Dr. J. Keith Dunbar
Founder and Chief Executive Officer


  • Babson Survey Research Group. (2019). Online Learning Report 2019. Babson Park, MA: Babson Survey Research Group
  • Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., & Bakia, M. (2010). “The Effectiveness of Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis of the Research.” Teachers College Record, 112(9), 2139-2166