Student engagement with computerized practising: Ability, task value, and difficulty perceptions

Ilja Cornelisz*, Chris van Klaveren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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A prerequisite for low-stakes activities to improve learning is to keep students engaged when confronted with challenging material. Comparing a personalized and non-personalized version of computerized practising, this study experimentally evaluates the relationships between student effort and ability across different dimensions of task perceptions. Students practise longer when the task is perceived to be not too difficult. Students assigned to a personalized version of the tool have a lower success rate while practising, but this does not translate to differences in practice intensity, task perceptions, or summative test scores. In a personalized practising environment, perceived interest and usefulness both have the potential to promote engagement, albeit in different ways. Students with a lower level of subject-specific ability find the tool more interesting and, particularly, consider the non-personalized tool difficult but useful. Instead, in the personalized condition, it is the group of students with higher prescores who value the tool as relatively useful. These results indicate that more students will remain engaged with adaptive practising if software takes into account such differences. Multiple approaches and algorithms may thus be necessary to optimally adapt practising to individual learners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)828-842
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number6
Early online date17 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


The authors declare that this research is part of a project (nr. 405‐14‐510) funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientic Research (see: about‐nwo/what+does+nwo+do/funding).

FundersFunder number
Netherlands Organisation for Scientic Research


    • computerized practising
    • personalization
    • task difficulty
    • task value


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