University of Oulu

Navigating toward an uncertain future : how students regulated goals during the emergency remote learning

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Author: Pham Thi Ngoc, Ha1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.1 MB)
Pages: 81
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : H. Pham Thi Ngoc, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-06-16
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Vuopala, Essi
Reviewer: Vuopala, Essi
Laru, Jari


This study aims to examine the goal-setting regulation of higher students in the context of emergency remote learning. Using Emergency Remote Learning (ERL), Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) and Achievement Goal Theory (AGT) as the main theoretical frameworks, this study sought to examine which type of goals students set during the pandemic, how the emergency remote learning influenced students’ goal setting and regulating, which challenges students confronted and strategies to successfully overcome them.

The thesis targets international higher students who started their studies in 2020, using qualitative methods and designed individual in-depth interviews to gain insights about students of 2020’s goals. Besides, a small set of quantitative data is also collected and analyzed to investigate the situated awareness of students about emergency remote learning.

The findings reveal several notable points. First, studying under the circumstance of emergency remote learning is not only in an emergency manner but also has a persistency characteristic, thus long time of online teaching might cause a relatively high extent of stress in students. Second, students in their first year (during the emergency remote learning) tended to pay more attention to their mastery ambitions. After the emergency remote learning, there was a tendency to shift goals to performance-orientation. Third, not all goal changes were related to the influence of emergency remote learning, since goal change is a natural phenomenon in life. Forth, among challenges confronted during the emergency remote learning, instructional challenges and emotional and motivational challenges are most repeated and notable. Fifth, students shared numerous useful tips and strategies to overcome the hard situation, noteworthily, some of them are avoidance-oriented.

The implications of this study include the potential for instructors to design their teaching to better facilitate students in emergency remote learning, especially to compensate for the shortcomings of support systems and ill-designed instructions. Besides, insights from the finding also contribute to furthering research on the consequences of emergency remote learning not only during but after the pandemic, focusing on goal-setting, one of the key elements of self-regulated learning.

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Copyright information: © Ha Pham Thi Ngoc, 2022. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.