Factors that kept first-year students motivated at a university in Johannesburg during lockdown
Keywords:COVID-19 pandemic, external factors, first-year university students, internal factors, motivation
The academic achievement of first-year university students continues to be a concern and priority for higher education institutions in South Africa. The mandated lockdown in 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, compelled first-year students to adapt from face-to-face lecturers to emergency remote teaching. This study explored what has kept first-year students motivated to succeed at a university in Johannesburg during the lockdown period. Self-determination theory was used as the theoretical lens and analytical tool in this research. One hundred and seventy-five first-year students were selected using a purposeful sampling method to participate in this study. Data were collected using openended questionnaires. Responses were categorised by means of an emergent and a priori thematic analysis. The findings indicated that first-year students were internally motivated to succeed at university on the basis of attitude, competence and achievement based motivations. The findings also reported that reward, fear, power-based and affiliation motivations were important external motivators in making first-year students succeed. We recommend that universities continue to provide the various forms of additional support students have received during the lockdown period in order to enable students to remain motivated to succeed.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Moeniera Moosa, Peter JO Aloka
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