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Exploring student engagement in virtual classrooms: a person-centred approach using cluster analysis

Kriti Priya Gupta (Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies NOIDA, Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Pune, India)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 13 December 2022

Issue publication date: 24 January 2023




The purpose of this paper is to identify student clusters based on patterns of behavioural, cognitive, emotional, collaborative and social engagement in virtual classrooms, within the context of higher education. The study also attempts to explore the differences amongst the student clusters with respect to various motivating and demotivating teaching behaviours.


The study relies on the self-determination theory to describe the dynamics related to various motivating and demotivating teaching behaviours and five different dimensions of student engagement in virtual classrooms. The data were collected from a convenience sample of 831 students from higher educational institutions in the Delhi – National Capital Region of India. Cluster analysis was performed to classify students into mutually exclusive groups based on five student engagement dimensions.


The findings revealed three student clusters: ‘fully-engaged’, ‘externally-engaged’ and ‘individually-engaged’ students. The findings also provided insights into varied correlations between specific dimensions of motivating/demotivating teaching behaviours and student engagement.


Considering the multi-dimensionality of student engagement as well as teaching behaviours, the study adopts a person-centred approach to understand different clusters of students in virtual classrooms and investigate the relationship between teaching behaviours and student engagement dimensions.



Gupta, K.P. (2023), "Exploring student engagement in virtual classrooms: a person-centred approach using cluster analysis", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 117-134.



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