Exploring Student Perceptions of Engagement in Online Learning within Higher Education Institutions: A Comprehensive Systematic Review

  • Nthabiseng Khoalenyane Languages and Social Sciences Education, University of Zululand, South Africa
  • Oluwatoyin Ayodele Ajani Languages and Social Sciences Education, University of Zululand, South Africa
Keywords: Social Cognitive Theory; Online Learning; Engagement; Student Perceptions


The expansion of online learning in higher education has fundamentally changed how students engage with education. This systematic review aims to uncover students' perceptions of engagement in online learning. Synthesising diverse research provides a comprehensive understanding of factors shaping student viewpoints and interactions. The review examines perceptions, challenges, strategies, and implications of engagement, significantly enhancing online learning environments. The study adopted social cognitive theory as a theoretical framework to provide an understanding of the phenomenon. Methodologically, the review employs a rigorous approach, searching critical databases for relevant articles. Factors influencing engagement emerge, including student-centred design, seamless technology integration, collaborative interactions, intrinsic motivation, and timely feedback. Challenges, such as technical issues and time management, are also revealed, impacting engagement. Effective strategies are identified, encompassing active learning, personalised pathways, virtual communities, transparent communication, and continuous feedback. Implications extend to educational practice and policy, emphasising the need to address challenges, optimise strategies, and create dynamic online ecosystems aligned with student needs. The review emphasises the policy discourse's role in fostering engagement and effective online education strategies. In conclusion, this systematic review analyses student perceptions regarding engagement in online higher education. It explores factors, challenges, strategies, and implications, serving as a valuable resource for lecturers, researchers, and policymakers seeking to enhance online learning and promote student success in the digital age.


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How to Cite
Khoalenyane, N., & Ayodele Ajani, O. (2023). Exploring Student Perceptions of Engagement in Online Learning within Higher Education Institutions: A Comprehensive Systematic Review. International Journal of Social Science Research and Review, 6(11), 62-81. https://doi.org/10.47814/ijssrr.v6i11.1740