Student adaptability, emotions, and achievement: Navigating new academic terrains in a pandemic

Event Details
Date: 17.12.2020, 18:00 o'clock - 19:30 o'clock 
Location: Digital, Link bei Prof. Dr. Dresel erhältlich, Zoom
Organizer(s): Prof. Dr. Markus Dresel, Prof. Dr. Ingo Kollar, Fach Psychologie
Topics: Erziehungswissenschaft, Lehrerbildung und Psychologie
Series of events: Psychologisches Forschungskolloquium
Event Type: Vortragsreihe
Speaker(s): Loderer, Raven Rinas, Martin Daumiller (Lehrstuhl für Psychologie)

Loderer, Raven Rinas und Martin Daumiller stellen Forschung zum Umgang von Studenten mit der Coronapandemie vor. Ihr Zoomvortrag ist Teil des Psychologischen Fachkolloquiums.


The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the higher education landscape. In spring 2020, students were forced to abruptly switch from traditional and familiar, to new and largely improvised distance learning formats. Initial evidence suggests that students handled these unprecedented academic changes differentially well, which can have important consequences for their emotional experiences and learning outcomes. This study examined whether individual differences in students’ capacity to adjust to situational uncertainty and novelty (i.e., adaptability; Martin et al., 2013) can help explain differences in their achievement-related emotional experiences (enjoyment, hope, anxiety, hopelessness) in a digital university course, and learning outcomes within that course. Eighty-eight university students rated their trait-level adaptability at the beginning of the 2020 spring semester (T1), as well as their mid-semester (T2) course-related achievement emotions. Additionally, we included their knowledge test scores as well as perceived learning gains at the end of the semester (T3). Mediation analysis indicated that adaptability was positively related to hope, and negatively to anxiety and hopelessness (controlled for prior experience with digital courseware). Hope was also positively related to students’ test scores and perceived learning at T3, but no indirect effects of adaptability on learning outcomes via hope emerged. While enjoyment was also positively related to students’ learning, anxiety and hopelessness were unrelated thereto. Our findings contribute to understanding individual differences in students’ responses to changing academic environments, and potential consequences thereof for their emotional well-being and learning. We will discuss implications for research and supporting students in navigating novel and uncertain academic situations.

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