Self-determination, self-efficacy, and attribution in FL online learning: An exploratory survey with university students during the pandemic emergency

Michela Gronchi


Investigating foreign language motivation is a primary concern within the field of online learning. As the COVID-19 outbreak has determined the shift from face-to-face to distance learning, the past year has seen the rapid spread of internet technologies in the academic sector. This study aims to investigate the effects that these rapid changes are having on FL motivation, especially as regards autonomous and controlled motivation, demotivation, self-efficacy, and attributions for success or failure in Foreign Language (FL) online courses. To shine new light on these issues, this study presents the data collected through an exploratory survey with 76 University students in Italy attending FL courses as part of their curriculum of studies. Results indicate that students’ participation in the FL academic activities is determined by both controlled and autonomous motives. Only a minority of them experienced demotivation in online learning. As regards self-efficacy, students learning FLs online seem to experience a high sense of self-reliance, consistently with previous studies in this field. In line with this self-efficacious attitude to learning online, respondents appear to attribute their success or failure in the FL online courses mostly to dispositional factors.

Parole chiave

FL motivation ; FL online learning ; Self-efficacy ; Self-determination ; Attribution

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