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Academic engagement, also known as student, or learner, or school engagement, is a
complex and multidimensional construct (Conduit, Karpen, and Farrelly 2016; Fredricks,
Blumenfeld, and Paris 2004; Kahu 2013) that varies from one learning environment
to another (Martin et al. 2015; Pöysä et al. 2018; Shernoff et al. 2016). The
construct of academic engagement has been differently viewed and defined based on
four perspectives: the behavioural perspective, which focuses on student behaviour
and institutional practice; the psychological perspective, which emphasises different
aspects of student engagement (i.e. emotion, behaviour, cognition, and conation); the
socio-cultural perspective, which highlights socio-cultural contexts where students are
socialised and schooled; and the holistic perspective, which broadens the view of academic
engagement by combining the previously-stated perspectives together (Kahu
2013). However, three underlying constructs have appeared across multiple studies
and have become popular in the research area (Conduit, Karpen, and Farrelly 2016; Fredricks,
Blumenfeld, and Paris 2004; Kahu 2013). These subconstructs are affective, behavioural,
as well as cognitive engagement. Affective engagement refers to students’ interest
in academic activities and their senses of belonging to the university (Fredricks, Blumenfeld,
and Paris 2004; Kahu 2013). Behavioural engagement is defined as time and effort
students invest in learning, interaction students have with their teachers and classmates,
and university-related activities students are engaged in (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, and
Paris 2004; Kahu 2013). Finally, cognitive engagement refers to deep approaches students
apply during the learning process (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, and Paris 2004; Kahu 2013).
Deep learning approaches can be viewed as students’ abilities to connect new information
to their existing knowledge or experiences, paraphrase and summarise what
they have learned, relate ideas to each other, and create new concepts from what is
taught (Filius et al. 2019; Fredricks, Blumenfeld, and Paris 2004; Pintrich et al. 1991).