Skip menu

Morning larks, night owls or hummingbirds? Understanding the influence of chronotype diversity on student engagement in learning

Wednesday 3 July: 5:30pm – 7:00pm, poster session



Associate Professor Antonia Girardi
Murdoch University, Australia

Dr Moira Watson
Murdoch University, Australia

Dr Tara Smith
Murdoch University, Australia



Online learning resources provide numerous opportunities for discourse between students and faculty and can help in developing learning communities. While there have been many studies that show engagement with online learning resources positively influences student performance, this engagement is less than uniform and continues to be a challenge to faculty who are continuously encouraged to enhance the online learning experience.  Factors that influence student engagement are many and include the instructor, the technology, class management, interaction, and learning design. Very little research to date has examined the impact of student variability when it comes to their engagement with online learning resources. In this study, we examine student chronotype – dispositions toward optimal timing of daily periods of activity – to identify patterns of engagement with online learning resources.

This was a two-phase mixed methods concurrent design. In Phase I, the patterns of peaks and troughs in student engagement with online learning resources were investigated using learning analytics. Phase II explored student factors influencing patterns of engagement with online learning resources using a series of group interviews with undergraduate and postgraduate business students.

The outcomes of Phase I show that the peak period for engagement with online learning resources was between 11 am and 3 pm, which appears somewhat contrary to other findings that support that students are either morning larks or night owls. Our study suggests that students are hummingbirds – engaging in the middle of the day.

Furthermore, the results showed no significant difference between genders, mode of study or access patterns. Outcomes of the group interview in Phase II support that individual and environmental factors can further explain engagement patterns. The role of the instructor was not a significant influence, which has implications for student-centred teaching practice and involving students as partners in learning. 


Presentation topic

Poster session

Print Friendly, PDF & Email