Investigating E-Learning Motivational Strategies of Higher Education Learners against Online Distractors

Ali Erarslan, Meral Şeker


Exploring higher education learners’ e-learning experiences and the challenges they encounter is required to equip them with necessary skills and strategies to attain their academic goals (Cooper & Corpus, 2009). By identifying the types of and the frequency of exposure to distractors, the study was specifically geared towards finding out the level of motivational self-regulated strategies, including volition and goal commitment strategies, employed against online distractors during e-learning by higher education learners. The data were gathered through a questionnaire developed after a comprehensive literature review and semi-structured interviews (n = 38). The questionnaire was completed by higher education learners (n = 279), who were found to implement goal commitment and volition strategies at moderate levels despite the high frequency of exposure to distractors. The overall findings imply that equipping learners with motivational e-learning strategies encompassing goal commitment and volition strategies is necessary. This will require more in-depth research conducted to explore the role of self-regulated strategies in predicting learner engagement in the context of online learning.


Higher education, e-learning, self-regulated learning strategies, motivational strategies, online distractors

Full Text:



Abney, A. K., Cook, L. A., Fox, A. K., & Stevens, J. (2019). Intercollegiate social media education ecosystem. Journal of Marketing Education, 41(3), 254-269.

Achtziger, A., Gollwitzer, P. M., & Sheeran, P. (2008). Implementation intentions and shielding goal striving from unwanted thoughts and feelings. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(3), 381-393.

Allen, I. & Seaman, J. (2006). Growing by degrees: Online education in the United States, 2005. The Sloan Consortium.

Andrade, M. S. (2012). Self-regulated learning activities: Supporting success in online courses. In J.L. Moore (Ed.) International perspectives of distance learning in higher education (pp.111-132). InTech.

Andrade, M. S., & Bunker, E. L. (2009). A model for self-regulated distance language learning. Distance Education, 30, 47-61.

Arkorful, V., & Abaidoo, N. (2015). The role of e-learning, advantages and disadvantages of its adoption in higher education. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 12(1), 29–42.

Aydin, S. (2012). A review of research on Facebook as an educational environment. Educational Technology Research and Development, 60(6), 1093–1106.

Beishuizen, J., & Steffens, K. (2011). A conceptual framework for research on self-regulated learning. In R. Carneiro, P. Lefrere, K. Steffens, & J. Underwood (Eds.), Self-regulated learning in technology enhanced learning environments: A European perspective (pp. 3-19). Sense Publishers.

Blake, R. J. (2011). Current trends in online language learning. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 19-35.

Bonk, C. J., Lee, M. M., Reeves, T. C., & Reynolds, T. H. (2015). MOOCs and open education around the world. Routledge.

Bown, J., & White, C. J. (2010). Affect in a self-regulatory framework for language learning. System, 38, 432-443.

Broadbent, J., & Poon, W. L. (2015). Self-regulated learning strategies & academic achievement in online higher education learning environments: A systematic review. The Internet and Higher Education, 27, 1-13.

Chawinga, W. D. (2017). Taking social media to a university classroom: Teaching and learning using Twitter and blogs. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 14(3), 1-19. https://doi:10.1186/s41239-017-0041-6

Chen, H. (2006). Flow on the net – Detecting Web users’ positive effects and their flow states. Computers in Human Behavior, 22, 221–233.

Cohen, J. (1968). Weighted Kappa: Nominal scale agreement provision for scaled disagreement or partial credit. Psychological Bulletin, 70(4), 213–220.

Cooper, C. A., & Corpus, J. H. (2009). Learners' developing knowledge of strategies for regulating motivation. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30(4), 525-536.

Costley, J., & Lange, C. (2018). The moderating effects of group work on the relationship between motivation and cognitive load. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(1), 68-90.

Cronbach, L. J. (1951). Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika, 16(3), 297-334.

Darling-Hammond, L., Flook, L., Cook-Harvey, C., Barron, B., & Osher, D. (2019). Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development. Applied Developmental Science, 1-44.

Dembo, M. H., & Eaton, M. J. (2000). Self-regulation of academic learning in middle-level schools. The Elementary School Journal, 100, 473−490.

Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics. Oxford University Press.

Duckworth. A. L.. White. R. E.. Matteucci. A. J.. Shearer. A.. & Gross. J. J. (2016). A stitch in time: Strategic self-control in high school and college students. Journal of Educational Psychology. 108(3). 329-341.

Faizi, R., Afia, A. El, & Chiheb, R. (2013). Exploring the potential benefits of using social media in education. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 3(4), 50-53.

Field, A. (2005).Discovering Statistics Using SPSS. Sage Publications.

Forster, S., & Lavie, N. (2011). Entirely irrelevant distractors can capture and captivate attention. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18(6), 1064-1070.

Fox, A., & Bird, T. (2017). Any use? What do we know about how teachers and doctors learn through social media use? Open and Interdisciplinary Journal of Technology, Culture and Education, 12(2), 64–87.

Garrison, D. R. (2011). E-learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice. Taylor & Francis.

Gluchmanova, M. (2015). Application of e-learning in foreign language teaching at the technical university. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 174, 3144-3149.

Godwin-Jones, R. (2017). Smartphones and language learning. Language Learning & Technology, 21(2), 3-17.

Guan, S. (2014). Internet-based technology use in second language learning: A systematic review. International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning (IJCBPL), 4(4), 69-81.

Hara, N., & Kling, R. (1999). Students’ frustrations with a web-based distance education course. First Monday, 4(12).

Hill, J.R. (2002). Overcoming obstacles and creating connections: Community building in Web-based learning environments. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 14(1), 67–86.

Hofmann, D. W. (2002). Internet-based distance learning in higher education. Tech Directions, 62(1), 28-32.

Kalaycı, Ş. (2010). SPSS Uygulamalı Çok Değişkenli Istatistik Teknikleri [SPSS Multiple Variable Statistical Applications]. Asil Yayın Dağıtım.

Kampen, J. K., & Tamás, P. (2014). Overly ambitious: Contributions and current status of Q methodology. Quality & Quantity, 48(6), 3109-3126.

Kanfer, R. (1990). Motivation theory and industrial and organizational psychology. In M. Dunnette, & L. Hough (Eds.), Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, (pp. 75–170). Consulting Psychologists Press.

Katz, Y. J. & Yablon, Y. B. (2002). Who is afraid of university internet courses? Educational Media International, 39(1), 69–73.

Klimova, B., & Polakova, P. (2020). Students’ perceptions of an EFL vocabulary learning mobile application. Education Sciences, 10(2), 1-8.

Ku, D., & Chang, C. (2011). The effect of academic discipline and gender difference on Taiwanese college students' learning styles and strategies in web-based learning environments. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 10(3), 265–272.

Kuh, G. D. (2003). What we’re learning about student engagement from NSSE. Change, 35, 24–31.

Lavoie, J., & Pychyl, T. A. (2001). Cyber-slacking and the procrastination superhighway: A web-based survey of online procrastination, attitudes, and emotion. Social Science Computer Review, 19, 431–444.

Lekawael, R. F. J. (2017). The impact of smartphone and internet usage on English language learning. English Review: Journal of English Education, 5(2), 255-262.

Li, M.-H. (2007). Lessons learned from web-enhanced teaching in landscape architect studios. International Journal on E-Learning, 6(2), 2005–2008.

Lim, V. K. G. (2002). The IT way of loafing on the job: Cyberloafing, neutralizing, and organizational justice. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23, 675–694.

Locke, E. A., Latham, G. P., & Erez, M. (1988). The determinants of goal commitment. Academy of Management Review, 13, 23–39.

Maeroff, G. I. (2003). A classroom of one: How online learning is changing our schools and colleges. Palgrave MacMillan.

Manca, S. (2020). Snapping, pinning, liking or texting: Investigating social media in higher education beyond Facebook. The Internet and Higher Education. 44, 1-13.

Manca S., & Ranieri, M. (2016). Is Facebook still a suitable technology-enhanced learning environment? An updated critical review of the literature from 2012 to 2015. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 32(6), 503-528.

McCarroll, N., & Curran, K. (2013). Social networking in education. International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 4(1), 1–16.

Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K. (2009). Evaluation of Evidence-Based Best Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. U.S. Department of Education.

Mehlenbacher, B., Miller, C. R., Covington, J. S., & Larsen, J. S. (2000). Active and interactive learning online: a comparison of web-based and conventional writing classes. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 43, 166–184.

Mottarella, K., Fritzsche, B., & Parrish, T. (2004). Who learns more? Achievement scores following web-based versus classroom instruction in psychology courses. Psychology Teaching and Learning, 4(1), 51–54.

Njenga, J. K., & Fourise, L. C. H. (2008). The myths about e-learning in higher education. British Journal and Educational Technology, 39(7), 1–14.

Oxford, R. L. (2011).Teaching and researching language learning strategies. Pearson Longman.

Pallant, J. (2001). SPSS survival manual. Open University Press.

Paris, S. G., Byrnes, J. P., & Paris, A. H. (2001). Constructing theories, identities, and actions of self-regulated learners. In B. J. Zimmerman & D. H. Schunk (Eds.), Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: Theoretical perspectives (pp. 253- 288). Lawrence Erlbaum.

Pittinsky, M. S. (2003). The wired tower: Perspectives on the impact of the internet on higher education. Pearson Education.

Renn, R. W. (2003). Moderation by goal commitment of the feedback–performance relationship: Theoretical explanation and preliminary study. Human Resource Management Review, 13(4), 561-580.

Rourke, J.R. (2001). Online learning: Fad or fate? Principal Leadership, 1(9), 8–14.

Rozek, E., Kemper, S., & McDowd, J. (2012). Learning to ignore distracters. Psychology and Aging, 27, 61–66. https://doi.org10.1037/a0025578

Schrum, L.M. (2000). Guarding the promise of online learning. Education Digest, 66(4), 43–47.

Taskiran, A., Gumusoglu, E. K., & Aydin, B. (2018). Fostering foreign language learning with Twitter: Reflections from English learners. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 19(1), 100–116.

Thatcher, A., Wretschko, G., & Fridjhon, P. (2008). Online flow experiences, problematic Internet use and Internet procrastination. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(5), 2236-2254.

Tiryakioglu, F., & Erzurum, F. (2011). Use of social networks as an educational tool. Contemporary Educational Technology, 2(2), 135–150.

Veletsianos, G., & Houlden, S. (2019). An analysis of flexible learning and flexibility over the last 40 years of distance education. Distance Education. 40(4). 454-468.

Wan, C. S., & Chiou, W. B. (2006). Psychological motives and online games addiction: A test of flow theory and humanistic needs theory for Taiwanese adolescents. Cyber Psychology & Behavior, 9, 317–324.

Wang, C. H., Shannon, D. M., & Ross, M. E. (2013). Students’ characteristics, self-regulated learning, technology self-efficacy, and course outcomes in online learning. Distance Education, 34(3), 302-323.

Wang, J., Spencer, K., & Xing, M. (2009). Metacognitive beliefs and strategies in learning Chinese as a foreign language. System, 37, 46-56.

Winne, P. H. (2005). Key issues in modeling and applying research on self-regulated learning. Applied Psychology, 54, 232-238.

Waschull, S. B. (2001). The online delivery of psychology courses: attrition, performance and evaluation. Teaching of Psychology, 28, 143–146.

Watson, J. (2008). Blended Learning: The Convergence of Online and Face-to-Face Education. Promising Practices in Online Learning. North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL).

Wofford, J. C., Goodwin, V. L., & Premack, S. (1992). Meta-analysis of the antecedents of personal goal level and of the antecedents and consequences of goal commitment. Journal of Management, 18, 595–615.

Wolters, C. A. (2003). Regulation of motivation: Evaluating an underemphasized aspect of self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 38, 189−205.

Wolters, C., Pintrich, P., & Karabenick, S. (2003). Assessing academic self-regulated learning. Paper Prepared for the Conference on Indicators of Positive Development: Definitions, Measures, and Prospective Validity. https://www. childtrends. org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Child_ Trends-2003_03_12_PD_PDConfWPK. pdf.

Wolters, C. A., & Rosenthal, H. (2000). The relation between students' motivational beliefs and their use of motivational regulation strategies. International Journal of Educational Research, 33, 801−820.

Wong, L.H., Chai, C. S., & Aw, P.G. (2017). Seamless language learning¬: Second language learning with social media. Media Education Research Journal, 25(50), 9–20.

Xing, W. (2019). Exploring the influences of MOOC design features on student performance and persistence, Distance Education, 40(1). 98-113.

Zhang, J., Lou X., Zhang, H., & Zhang, J. (2019). Modeling collective attention in online and flexible learning environments. Distance Education, 40(2). 278-301,

Zhang, D., Zhao, J. L., Zhou, L., & Nunamaker Jr, J. F. (2004). Can e-learning replace classroom learning?. Communications of the ACM, 47(5), 75-79.

Ziegler, K., Hofmann, F., & Astleitner, H. (2003). Selbstreguliertes lernen und internet [Self-regulated learning and the internet]. Peter Lang.

Zimmerman B. J. (1989). A social cognitive view of self-regulated academic learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81(3), 329–339.

Zimmerman, B.J. (2008). Investigation self-regulation and motivation: historical background, methodological developments, and future prospects. American Educational Research Journal, 45(1), 166–183.

Zimmerman, B. J., & Schunk, D. H. (2008). Motivation. In D. H. Schunk & B. J. Zimmerman (Eds.), Motivation and self-regulated learning: Theory, research and application (pp. 1- 30). Lawrence Erlbaum.


Copyright (c) 2021 meral şeker

License URL: