Student Motivation and Virtual Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Author Name(s)

    Christabelle Angeles

    Faculty Advisor(s)

    Amira Ibrahim


    The popularity and availability of online classes in higher education has increased in recent years for numerous reasons. While students may have more flexibility in online classes, students may also find it more difficult to stay motivated with their classwork in virtual courses. Motivation plays an influential role in online learning for college students. Previous research highlights the importance of student motivation as students who are highly motivated, goal-oriented, and actively engaged are more likely to succeed in completing their online courses, while students who are less motivated and optimistic are more likely to drop out of their courses (Hamm et al., 2018). In addition, previous research highlights the experience of college students who most likely voluntarily enrolled in online classes. The purpose of this study is to understand the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of college students mandated to complete online courses during the fall 2020 semester of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Online surveys were distributed to college students during the fall 2020 virtual semester at a Southern California state university to assess the interaction between class standing, and intrinsic and extrinsic motivation on grades by utilizing questions from the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). Findings reveal that class level was significantly associated with grades, with graduate and fifth-year plus Undergraduates having higher grades than freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors during fall 2020. In addition, intrinsic motivation was significantly associated with grades, those with higher intrinsic motivation achieving higher grades during fall 2020. However, there was no significant interaction between class level and intrinsic motivation on grades. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation did not have a significant impact on grades, but, there was a significant interaction and impact between class level and extrinsic motivation on grades.



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