Effectiveness, efficiency, engagement: Mapping the impact of pre-lecture quizzes on educational exchange

Keywords: blended learning, student engagement, online quizzes, impact mapping, mixed-methods, course transaction space


Our study addresses a systemic issue facing higher education – a lack of rigorous educational research alongside new technology-assisted ways of teaching and learning. The issue highlights the disciplinary disconnect as many academics do not research outside their discipline, yet are tasked with educational modernisation through trying out new educational technology. Addressing this issue, we present our conceptual framework, the course transaction space (CT-space), and use it to analyse the impact of an intervention we designed that involved the use of regular online pre-lecture quizzes in a university mathematics course. The aim of the intervention was to optimise the effect of distributed (spaced) practice on long-term retention. Our findings suggest that a relatively small change in course instruction can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of educational exchange. Our analyses of data from multiple sources provide evidence that our intervention resulted in a sustained increase in the frequency of students’ engagement with the content, increased attendance of lectures, and improved grades. Additionally, we discuss the impact of our intervention on the quality of student engagement with reference to competence related beliefs and self-efficacy. Finally, we discuss how our intervention can be used in other contexts for supporting an evidence-based approach to teaching and learning.

Implications for practice or policy 

  • For teachers designing an intervention with the aim of improving students’ learning engagement during a course of tertiary study, we advise incorporating a series of frequent low stakes online quizzes with low level of difficulty.
  • For students, these will act as an incentive, enabling improvement in the frequency of their learning engagement and its quality.
  • The course transaction space (CT-space) model can be used to explore and analyse the impact of a variety of interventions introduced in tertiary courses through the lens of engagement.


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How to Cite
Evans, T., Kensington-Miller, B., & Novak, J. (2021). Effectiveness, efficiency, engagement: Mapping the impact of pre-lecture quizzes on educational exchange. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 163-177. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.6258