Insights into postgraduate student behaviour, underpinned by motivational orientation, within an emergency remote teaching environment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Much of the world switched to emergency remote teaching (ERT) as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded and deciding which learnings to integrate into the return to normative practice, if any at all, is worthy of investigation. Opportunistic observation and inquiry into student behaviour in response to ERT can provide depth to our current understanding of pedagogical practice and theory. Here, we consider our students’ perception of workload, which dropped consistently between 2019-2022, alongside our students experiences and their self-regulation styles as defined by self-determination theory (SDT). Using SDT to consider how different self-regulation styles interacted with factors internal and external to the course allowed us to reflect on the impact of changes made to the teaching environment, and effects of the global pandemic. We found students preference asynchronous engagement with content that was designed to be synchronous, but issues with time management and pressure to work contributed to an imbalance that resulted in an increased perception of workload. Interestingly, how students reacted to and adapted to this imbalance differed depending on their self-regulation style. Understanding the changing needs of students is imperative to designing education effectively in our changing social climate. Evaluating course design to ensure delivery methods offer value to students and communicating the purpose of these design decisions is critical in an environment where education is competing with paid work. Ensuring students and teachers are aligned through the education process will be key to navigating the changing external pressures students are facing, helping to improve the student experience overall.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalAdvancing Scholarship and Research in Higher Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2023


  • Emergency remote education (ERT)
  • motivation
  • perceived workload
  • elf-determination theory
  • Synchronous/ asynchronous

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