I think therefore I, wait what is that over there?

A brief overview of engagement theory and it’s importance as a foundation for the completion of continuing professional development courses by paramedics

The foundation of our applied research projects is an education theoretical framework. This framework is compared to the blueprint for a house by Grant & Osanloo (2014) and “the foundation from which all knowledge is constructed (metaphorically and literally) for a research study.”

For my research project, I will be exploring in detail the question: “what elements are required in the design of online continuing education courses to ensure the engagement of the working paramedic as a learner?” As part of the investigation and preparation to date, I have researched and reviewed several theoretical frameworks. Three frameworks continue to guide my professional practice as an education leader: constructivism, engagement theory, and self-determination. In my opinion, all are required for the successful design of education courses and will be explored through a literature review and as potential secondary questions. However, engagement theory appears to be most appropriate for the primary foundational framework of my research project.

Engagement theory outlines the learners’ participation and interaction with the learning material, activities, and community (Meece et al., 1988) as these “engagement techniques may be one key to making online learning productive for the institution but, more importantly, ensuring that students are successful“ (Meyer, 2014). A significant amount of research on the correlation between engagement and student success exists (Bryson & Hand, 2007), which is why I have chosen it as my foundational framework. By researching methods that may be utilized to engage the working paramedic as a learner, I intend to develop a resource for educators that would allow for improved student retention and success.

Several of the questions that I am looking to answer during my research include:

  • What role does a community of inquiry have in the creation of engaging education materials?
  • How does self-determination factor into student success?
  • How can a course be developed to include critical elements of self-determination identified in the research, such as competence, connection or relatedness, and autonomy (Ryan & Deci, 2000)?

Thank you for taking some time out of your day.

Have you been aware of your engagement with regards to the completion of a course or course element?  Have you had experience integrating this framework into your professional practice?  Please comment below.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Image by C Technical from Pexels used under an open license.


Bryson, C., & Hand, L. (2007). The Role of Engagement in Inspiring Teaching and Learning. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44(4), 349–362. https://doi.org/10.1080/14703290701602748

Grant, C., & Osanloo, A. (2014). Understanding, Selecting, and Integrating a Theoretical Framework in Dissertation Research: Creating the Blueprint for Your “House.” Administrative Issues Journal: Connecting Education, Practice, and Research, 4(2), 12–26. https://doi.org/10.5929/2014.4.2.9

Meece, J. L., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Hoyle, R. H. (1988). Students’ Goal Orientations and Cognitive Engagement in Classroom Activities. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(4), 514–523. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5957.1993.tb00290.x

Meyer, K. A. (2014). Student Engagement in Online Learning: What Works and Why. In Student Engagement Online: What Works and Why (pp. 1–14). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1002/aehe.20018

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78. https://doi.org/10.1037110003-066X.55.1.68