Motivation contributes to experiences of remote teaching and learning, and well-being
Experiences of remote teaching and learning were defined to include experiences of the transition to, and experienced strain of, remote teaching and learning, as well as experienced sense of alienation. Positively ambitious and moderately motivated students had the most positive attitude towards remote teaching and learning, while the most negative attitude was held by disengaged students.
“Utility-oriented and disengaged students experienced the highest levels, and positively ambitious students the lowest levels of strain. Sense of alienation and feeling like an outsider was most experienced by utility-oriented, disengaged and struggling ambitious students, and least by moderately motivated and positively ambitious students,” Niemivirta says.
Well-being was examined from the perspectives of student motivation, mental exhaustion, and depressive symptoms.
“Positively ambitious and struggling ambitious students experienced the highest levels of motivation. Utility-oriented and disengaged students, on the other hand, experienced the highest levels of mental exhaustion. Disengaged students also reported most symptoms of depression,” Niemivirta continues.
Evaluations of remote teaching and learning also predicted student well-being, and those associations remained similar regardless of motivation.
“A positive evaluation of the transition to remote teaching and learning was associated with engagement, experienced strain with mental exhaustion and, in particular, sense of alienation with depressive symptoms,” Juntunen notes.
Students’ different experiences should be identified and taken into account
The study shows that the consequences of the pandemic for teaching and learning were experienced differently by students depending on their general motivation and experienced strain.
“Internal motivation and a positive attitude towards change seemed to be act as a buffer against the strain caused by the exceptional situation. However, an emphasis on external motivation and experienced studies-related strain in particular were associated with considerably weaker coping. Especially sense of alienation was highlighted as a risk to well-being,” Niemivirta says.
Students have experienced the consequences of the pandemic for their studies in different ways, and for some, the experience has been a very positive one.
“Still, the diverse associations of experienced strain and sense of alienation with lower well-being indicate that it is important to ensure that students don’t feel left alone in these kinds of situations,” Niemivirta points out.
Although university students have returned to campus, the project will continue.
“At least this autumn still, we’ll be collecting data on students’ experiences to see what kind of a mark the pandemic has left,” Niemivirta concludes.
Juntunen, H., Tuominen, H., Viljaranta, J., Hirvonen, R., Toom, A., & Niemivirta, M. (2022). Feeling exhausted and isolated? The connections between university students’ remote teaching and learning experiences, motivation, and psychological well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Educational Psychology. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01443410.2022.2135686