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Examining Merits and Demerits of Master’s Virtual Programs of English formStudents’ Perspectives in light ofMotivation and Self-Efficacy

Zahra Fakour Rashid1,*, Behzad Ghonsooly2, Afsaneh Ghanizadeh1

1 Department of English Language,Faculty of Human Sciences, Imam Reza International University, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of English, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran



Introduction:Due to the current situation (coronavirus pandemic) as well as time and placerestrictions, the replacement of traditional classes with online courses is prevailing, andinstructors and learners rarely attend in a classroom. Thus, an unexpected immersion in virtuallearning revealed the advantages and disadvantages of virtual education. The present studyaimed to explore the merits and the demerits of the virtual master’s programsof English regarding students’perspectives on motivation and self-efficacy.Methodology:The researchers developed and validated an instrumentthat measured online students’self-efficacy and motivation toward virtual programs. Relying on the semi-structured interviews and open-endedquestions, the researchers developed a 21-item scale on a 5-point Likert scale. The designed scale was distributed among 151 students from four universities inMashhad, Iran. Exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis,as well as correlational analysis,wereperformed to answer the research questions. The SEM model was usedto explore the interrelationships among attitudes toward virtualprograms, self-efficacy, and motivation.Results:The obtained results indicate an acceptable level of reliability for the scale (0.82). The findings indicated that the independent variable,the virtual program of theuniversity,positively had a relationship with the dependent variables of the study, which were motivationand self-efficacy.Conclusion:Based on the findings, it can be concluded that virtual education still needs new expertise and more developed skills from educational designers and programmers to students and instructors.

1. Introduction:

As technology continues to permeate our daily lives, it becomes increasingly crucial to acquire and harness the modern knowledge that is intertwined with our world (Kellner, 2001). Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the limitations of time and location, there is a prevalent shift from traditional classroom settings to online courses, resulting in a reduced presence of instructors and learners in physical classrooms. Hills (2003) proposed e-learning as an effective approach for learners who are motivated and equipped to leverage the advantages of online learning. However, learning a language virtually can be challenging, and itis important to stay motivated to achieve your language goals.One common challenge is the lack of face-to-face interaction and social presence, which can lead to feelings of isolation and reduced motivation (Zhan& Mei, 2013).Therefore,the success of any creative application of technology in an educational program depends on the support and attitude of the participants.Additionally, technical issues and limited technological literacy among students may hinder their learning experience (Nim Park& Son, 2009). These factors can impact students’ self-efficacy and confidence in their abilities to navigate online learning environments.Research has shown a strong positive relationship between learners’ motivation and self-efficacy and their language learning outcomes in virtual programs.

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