Exploring University Students’ Online Learning Readiness: A Mixed Methods Study of Forced Online Learning

Keywords: institutional support, online learning, social influence, students’ readiness, technology accessibility


Background: Despite the advancement achieved in previous research into online learning, few studies have used both quantitative and qualitative data to examine how students’ readiness to learn online is affected by three different external factors, comprising (i) the degrees to which technology is available to students, (ii) the support provided by the institutions of learning, and (iii) the social influence affecting the students engaged in forced online learning in a pandemic situation.

Purpose: To fill this research gap, this study explored university students’ forced online learning readiness in relation to technological accessibility, institutional support and social influence during a pandemic, in an attempt to furnish insights into how educators can maximize the benefits of adopting online learning methods.

Method: A mixed methods research design was employed in this study. Quantitative data, elicited via self-administered questionnaires completed by 211 participants, was analyzed using the frequencies, means, standard deviations and Pearson correlation analysis involving the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 27. Qualitative data, elicited via 11 open-ended questions posed to 41 students through in-depth interviews, was then studied using a thematic analysis of the participants’ feedback concerning the three constructs in online learning.

Results: Our quantitative analysis showed that institutional support had the strongest positive correlation with online learning readiness, and this was followed by technology accessibility and social influence in relation to students’ readiness to learn online. Qualitative findings further indicated that students were largely concerned about Internet accessibility and the setting where their roles were restricted to being mere listeners in online sessions. Apart from being apprehensive about excessive online assignments, students also acknowledged that their online interactions were influenced by their friends and family members, and they would prefer practical work that could inspire them to reflect and engage actively with the course material given during the pandemic.

Conclusion: While lecturers can make online classes more interactive and discussion-generative, university administrators need to aptly facilitate their institution’s transition to the forced online learning mode, moderate social influence, improve the learning management system, and provide training to teachers and students on the use of emerging technology.


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Author Biographies

Loi Chek Kim, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia

Chek-Kim Loi obtained her PhD degree in linguistics from the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand in 2011. She pursued her postdoctoral program in the United Kingdom in 2014. She has published papers in Scopus-indexed journals such as Journal of Pragmatics, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Sage Open, Discourse Studies, Ibérica, GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies and Journal of Language Teaching and Research. Her research interests include genre analysis, academic writing, intercultural communication, bilingualism, discourse analysis, English for Employment and online learning.

Jason Lim Miin Hwa, Jiangsu University of Technology, China

Jason Miin-Hwa Lim was appointed as a full professor at the University of Malaysia Sabah in April 2020. He is an honorary director of the Centre for Applied Linguistics Studies at the Jiangsu University of Technology, China. His works have been published in System, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Discourse Studies, Ibérica, Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, ESP Today, Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, and English for Specific Purposes. He was a Fulbright Research Scholar at the University of Michigan, and a Research Fellow at the SEAMEO-RELC in Singapore.

Norazah Mohd Suki, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia

Norazah Mohd Suki is a professor of marketing and e-Commerce at Universiti Utara Malaysia. Her areas of interest include, green marketing, consumer behaviour, e-commerce, m-commerce, etc. She featured as the "World’s Top 2% Scientists" by Stanford University, USA since 2019 to date and has also earned recognition in the “Career-long World’s Top 2% Scientists” list. She is also the recipient of the recipient of Malaysia’s Research Star Award 2018, Highly Commended Paper in Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2015 and 2017, and the winner of the Seventh Annual Awards for Excellence in Research Journals. She has published more than 300 papers in refereed journals, book chapters, and books.

Lee Hock Ann, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia

Hock-Ann Lee is an associate professor at Labuan Faculty of International Finance, Universiti Malaysia Sabah. He received a PhD in Economics from the University of Nottingham. His area of research is primarily in financial economics and international finance. He has published articles in journals including Oxford Economic Papers, Applied Economics Letters, Global Economic Review and Economic Bulletin. He teaches courses on Financial Markets and Institutions, and International Financial Economics.

How to Cite
LoiC. K., LimJ. M. H., Mohd SukiN., & LeeH. A. (2024). Exploring University Students’ Online Learning Readiness: A Mixed Methods Study of Forced Online Learning. Journal of Language and Education, 10(1), 49-67. https://doi.org/10.17323/jle.2024.16016