Academic burnout among Open Distance e-Learning students during the COVID-19 pandemic




Study engagement, Academic burnout, Online distance education, COVID-19 teaching transitions, Utrecht Work Engagement Scale for students, Oldenburg burnout inventory for students


The transition to online learning at a time of intensive efforts to ensure that the academic project continued under the trying conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic placed intense pressure on both staff and students, increasing their workload. The increased workload placed students at a risk of burnout. While most burnout research focuses on the workplace, there is growing recognition that study activities can have a similar impact on students. The study drew on the conceptualisation of various authors on burnout which is conceived as three subdomains, namely, emotional exhaustion, cynicism and feelings of low accomplishment or inefficacy. This study made use of a cross-sectional survey design. The sample for the study was drawn from students at an Open Distance e-Learning (ODeL) institution in South Africa using a census sampling approach. The findings of this study show relatively low levels of burnout and high levels of study engagement among respondents. This is despite most respondents reporting being employed while studying. Furthermore, the relationship between dropout intention and burnout was weak but significant. Further areas of research in this field could include students from contact institutions, or a focus on postgraduate students who are employed while studying or explore gender differences among students in different fields of study.


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How to Cite

Fynn, A. (2022). Academic burnout among Open Distance e-Learning students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Perspectives in Education, 40(4), 70-88.



Research articles