Engagement in Online Learning among Thai and German Students: The Role of Classmates, Instructors, Technology and Learning Environments across Country Contexts


  • Christin Marie Grothaus Mahidol University, International College




Engagement, online learning, culture, Thai, German


Since the outbreak of Covid-19 an increasing number of educators around the world have been challenged to maintain student engagement in their country contexts, characterized by particular cultural values, institutional environments and use of technologies. This study explores the role of the country context in student engagement with online learning, comparing experiences of 9 German and 11 Thai students with help of in-depth interviews. Findings reveal differences in affective, behavioral and cognitive engagement across groups. Only German students experienced a decrease in affective engagement due to ineffective communication with peers and lecturers, utilizing fewer tools and being more concerned about privacy, which they associated with the country context they grew up in. The learning environment influenced affective and cognitive engagement differently. While German students felt exhausted as a consequence of increased self-study time and lack of guidance, Thai students, who spent more time studying via videoconferences, highlighted lack of concentration due to digital distractions as well as those from family members, which Thais lived with more often than Germans. Only Thai students stressed how worrying about classmates’ feelings reduced behavioral engagement, speaking up less during videoconferences, which they attributed to cultural values of being considerate and the need for social harmony. These and other findings are discussed considering the possible role of national- and cybercultures as well as of institutional contexts.


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Section II