Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Situated Cognition; Basic Interpretive Inquiry; Instrument Development

Major Advisor

Dr. Scott W. Brown, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Dr. Michael F. Young, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Dr. Christopher H. Rhoads, Ph.D.

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The present study seeks to develop a situated construct of learner engagement within an instructional experience. Despite compelling potential benefits to instructional practice, extant learner engagement research has been limited to either within-the learner constructs or adding a simplistic behavioral component to a model and largely discounting the effects of diverse learning environments, instructional techniques and educational technology, and their collective effects on the learner’s attitudes, behaviors, perceptions, and performance while learning. The present study seeks to develop a construct of learner engagement applying a situated cognition theoretical framework to evaluate the effects of diverse learning environments on the learning experience by addressing the perceived dimensions and characteristics of learner engagement and developing a model of latent learner engagement construct using a learner-environment interaction as the unit of analysis.

This study employed an exploratory sequential mixed methods design. Based on qualitative data from 12 individuals engaged in industry learning and development of adults in professional settings and a comprehensive literature review, three factors were identified for the latent learner engagement construct: Affective Learner Engagement, Cognitive Learner Engagement, and Situated Learner Engagement. Using themes that emerged from the qualitative data, items were developed and subjected to content validation to produce an affective instrument to measure the learner engagement construct. Through a content validation, the initial instrument consisted of 17 revised items out of the original 87 candidate items and subjected to an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) using a 300-participant sample. The EFA results confirmed the hypothesized three dimensions and all items were retained. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was subsequently conducted with another sample of 300 participants. The identified three-factor structure of the learner engagement construct model showed an acceptable level of internal consistency, construct validity, and internal reliability. Moderate inter-item correlation indicated that additional inquiry into the construct domain as defined by the three factors may be required. The present study advanced beyond simple behavioral indicia in defining an environmental interaction as part of the learner engagement construct that will permit more substantive studies seeking to evaluate the relationship of learner engagement with individual and organizational outcomes.