Student Engagement and Its Impact on Achievement in a Blended Learning Environment in Malaysia

Main Article Content

Jasmine Selvarani EMMANUEL
Phalachandra BHANDIGADI
Lay Kee CH’NG


Wawasan Open University (WOU) provides working Malaysians access to quality higher education via Open Distance Learning (ODL). As admission of students involves students from diverse backgrounds, including diversity of ability, age groups and educational backgrounds, WOU faces the real challenge of effectively engaging and supporting these students so that they are retained in the system and are successful in their studies. Krause (2005) explains that when students are not receiving targeted assistance, they may fail to engage, ultimately resulting in failure to persist and succeed. Engagement is closely aligned with student dissatisfaction and potential to withdraw from study. The purpose of this paper is to share the efforts made by Wawasan Open University to enhance the levels of student engagement in five factors in terms of participation in Tutorial classes, Learning Management System (LMS), WhatsApp Groups, and Communication with the tutor through mails and telephone, and motivation and Interest in learning activities. This intervention was carried out for a starter (enabler) course called Learning Skills for University Studies. About 600 students enrol in this course every semester. The tutors who are the first contact persons in Open Distance Learning were oriented about the student engagement process and the process of rating the students on a 10-point scale on the 5 factors stated above. The findings indicate that three factors (Students’ participation in tutorial classes, participation in the Learning Management System and motivation and Interest) out of the five factors had significant relationships with all the three components of assessment.

Article Details

How to Cite
EMMANUEL, J. S., BHANDIGADI, P., & CH’NG, L. K. (2019). Student Engagement and Its Impact on Achievement in a Blended Learning Environment in Malaysia. Asian Journal of Distance Education, 14(1), 56 - 67. Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Jasmine Selvarani EMMANUEL, Wawasan Open University, Penang,

Jasmine Selvarani EMMANUEL has 36 years of academic experience in both the public and private sectors. She served as Head of the English Department at three schools and was also a English Language Resource personnel at state and national levels, with the National Curriculum Development Centre and the Schools Division (Ministry of Education) as a curriculum trainer. She then moved on to become the Deputy Vice-President (Academic Affairs) and the Head of the School of English and Pre-University/Compulsory Studies, Disted-Stamford College, Penang. She has also written curriculum packages and books for language institutions and the corporate industry related to Workplace Communication Skills and other English Language, intercultural communication, interpersonal and soft skills courses. She is currently the Deputy Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Wawasan Open University, Penang, Malaysia. Her research interests include adult education, open educational resources and communication skills.

Phalachandra BHANDIGADI, Wawasan Open University

Phalachandra BHANDIGADI is a Professor of Education in School of Education, Languages and communications at Wawasan Open University. Before joining Wawasan he served as Professor and Head, Department of Education, Dean of Instruction and Director of International Diploma in Guidance and Counselling (IDGC) in the Regional Institute of National Council of Educational Research and Training at Mysore, India. He served in the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi for 5 years. The major thrust of activities during 30 years of his association with NCERT and IGNOU included Development of Curriculum, Teaching, Research and capacity building of personnel of different States of the country in developing instructional materials (print and non-print), delivery of materials/instruction to the target groups through face to face and through distance mode (Radio, Television and Video Conference) and training in actual conduct of video conference. He was affiliated to Ohio State University, USA in connection with the award of Fulbright Scholarship (Post-Doctoral Research) for Teacher Education - Distance Mode.

Lay Kee CH’NG, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Lay Kee CH’NG has more than 7 years of experience in the field of educational technology. Lay Kee is currently leading a team of learning designers and multimedia designers on various projects in producing and editing instructional learning materials and various types of educational videos for higher education institutions. Her passion for e-learning and educational technology make her actively involved in presenting and publishing papers relating to ICT in education, instructional design and adult learning.


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