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Regulation of Motivation: Students’ Motivation Management in Online Collaborative Groupwork


by Jianzhong Xu & Jianxia Du — 2013

Background: Online learning is becoming a global phenomenon and has a steadily growing influence on how learning is delivered at universities worldwide. Motivation of students, however, has become one of the most serious problems in one important aspect of online learning—online collaborative groupwork or online group homework. It is surprising to note that few empirical studies have focused on how to enhance and sustain student motivation to work together in online learning environments.

Purpose: The propose of the present study is to propose and test empirical models of variables posited to predict students’ motivation management in online groupwork, with the models informed by (a) research and theorizing on regulation of motivation and (b) findings from online groupwork that alluded to a number of factors that may influence motivation management in online learning environments.

Research Design: The study reported here used cross-sectional survey data.

Participants: The participants were 150 graduate students from 46 online groups in the southeastern United States.

Results: Results from the multilevel analyses revealed that most of the variance in groupwork motivation management occurred at the student level, with online groupwork interest as the only significant predictor at the group level. At the student level, the variation in groupwork motivation management was positively related to student initiative, including arranging the environment, managing study time, and help seeking. In addition, groupwork motivation management was positively related to feedback from the instructor and peers.

Conclusion: As most of the variance in online groupwork motivation management occurred at the student level rather than at the group level, online groupwork motivation management was largely a function of individual student characteristics and experiences. The present study further suggests that feedback and student initiative (arranging the environment, managing study time, and help seeking) play an important role in online groupwork motivation management. Consequently, it would be beneficial to promote feedback among the instructor and group members in the online groupwork process. In addition, it would be beneficial to encourage students to take more initiative in online groupwork settings to better manage their motivation.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 10, 2013, p. 1-27
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17141, Date Accessed: 3/23/2017 2:23:59 PM

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About the Author
  • Jianzhong Xu
    Mississippi State University
    E-mail Author
    JIANZHONG XU is a professor in the Department of Leadership and Foundations at Mississippi State University. His research interests focus on teaching and learning in the school and home setting, in home-school relationships, and in partnerships with culturally diverse families. Recent publications include two articles in American Educational Research Journal, titled “Models of Secondary School Students’ Interest in Homework: A Multilevel Analysis” and “Promoting Student Interest in Science: The Perspectives of Exemplary African American Teachers" (with L. T. Coats and M. L. Davidson).
  • Jianxia Du
    University of Macau
    E-mail Author
    JIANXIA DU is an associate professor in Faculty of Education at University of Macau. Her research interests focus on gender, race, and class in education and educational technology, and online collaborative learning. Recent publications include “Graduate Students’ Experiences of Online Collaborative Learning in Web-based Learning Environments” in International Journal of Information Communication and Technology Education and “The Quality of Online Discussion Reported by Graduate Students” in Quarterly Review of Distance Education.
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