How can you leverage the Time-on-Activity data to help students better self-regulate their time?

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How can you leverage the Time-on-Activity data provided in two of our most used insight cards on the Achieve Dashboard to help students better self-regulate their time? 

Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task. -Chickering & Gamson (1987) 

“Time on task” metrics typically try to capture the amount of time students spend attending to or actively engaging in course-related or learning-related tasks (2; 3). 

Research suggests that time on task is positively related to student learning in computer-based environments (4; 5; 6). But students may need support to learn good time management skills or habits (1; 7; 8). 

Educators can leverage technology to help students better self-regulate their time. For example, instructors can use Achieve insights to review student time on task and then intervene by sharing resources or study suggestions, encouraging students to spend additional time, etc. as they deem appropriate. Goal Setting and Reflection Surveys in Achieve can also help students set goals and reflect on their time spent doing on-task behaviors like studying for class. 

Beyond amount of time spent, the quality of time spent also influences academic performance (9). To help students engage in quality time-on-task behaviors, instructors may consider the following (10; 11): 

➢ Thoroughly explain the demands of the task (e.g., assignments, homeworks, projects). Students often struggle to appropriately assess the demands of the task at hand (7). 

➢ Provide rubrics, criteria, or examples and model desired skills, where appropriate. This gives students an idea of what it looks like to have mastered given knowledge or skills. 

Scaffold or guide students through more demanding learning outcomes or goals. Students may need assistance, and improvement-oriented guidance, as they practice using new knowledge or skills. 

➢ When they’re ready, give students opportunities for independent practice. Engaged time-on-task is imperative during this time when students are working on tasks without assistance from instructors or peers. 


1.Chickering, A. W. & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 3-7. 

  1. Carroll, J. B. (1963). A model of school learning. Teachers College Record, 64, 723-733. 3. Prater, M. A. (1992). Increasing time-on-task in the classroom: Suggestions for improving the amount of time learners spend in on-task behaviors. Intervention in School and Clinic, 28(1), 22-27. 
  2. Cho, M. H., & Shen, D. (2013). Self-regulation in online learning. Distance Education, 34(3), 290-301. 
  3. Krause, U.-M., Stark, R., & Mandl, H. (2009). The effects of cooperative learning and feedback on e-learning in statistics. Learning and Instruction, 19(2), 158-170.
  4. Wellman, G. S., & Marcinkiewicz, H. (2004). Online learning and time-on-task: Impact of proctored vs. un-proctored testing. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 8, 93-104. 
  5. Ambrose, S., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & M. K. Norman, (2010). How learning works: 7 research-based principles for smart teaching. John Wiley & Sons. 8. Pascarella, E. T. & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research, Volume 2. Jossey-Bass. 
  6. Romero, M. & Barberà, E. (2011). Quality of e-learners’ time and learning performance beyond quantitative time-on-task. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(5), 125-137. 
  7. Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective education. ASCD. 
  8. Popham, W. J. (2009). Instruction that measures up: Successful teaching in the age of accountability. ASCD.
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