Beyond Grades in Online Learning: Adaptive Profiles of Academic Self-Regulation Among Naval Academy Undergraduates

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Advanced Academics








© 2009 Sage Publications. Educational psychologists have long known that students who are motivated to learn tend to experience greater academic success than their unmotivated counterparts. Using a social cognitive view of self-regulated learning as a theoretical framework, this study explored how motivational beliefs and negative achievement emotions are differentially configured among students in a self-paced online course. Additionally, this study examined how these different motivation-emotion configurations relate to various measures of academic success. Naval Academy undergraduates completed a survey that assessed their motivational beliefs (self-efficacy and task value); negative achievement emotions (boredom and frustration); and a collection of outcomes that included their use of self-regulated learning strategies (elaboration and metacognition), course satisfaction, continuing motivation, and final course grade. Students differed vastly in their configurations of course-related motivations and emotions. Moreover, students with more adaptive profiles (i.e., high motivational beliefs/low negative achievement emotions) exhibited higher mean scores on all five outcomes than their less-adaptive counterparts. Taken together, these findings suggest that online educators and instructional designers should take steps to account for motivational and emotional differences among students and attempt to create curricula and adopt instructional practices that promote self-efficacy and task value beliefs and mitigate feelings of boredom and frustration.

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