The Perceived Effects on the Motivation, Anxiety, and Online Language Learning of Saudi EFL Learners during the Covid-19 Pandemic

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The University of Mississippi
Although many restrictions initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic are no longer imposed, massive changes across the globe have impacted online language learning afterward. Technology infrastructure, students’ and teachers’ digital literacy, and proper distance learning pedagogies were among the challenges of online learning during the pandemic. Nevertheless, valuable lessons can be learned from the pandemic to better handle online language learning classes in the future. Globally, increasing attention in the literature has been directed toward the effects of the pandemic on L2 learners’ different affective factors. Locally, this study focuses on the perceived impacts on Saudi EFL learners’ motivation, anxiety, and their online language classes. It describes the effects on 211 students in a Saudi university using an online questionnaire and student interviews. The study found that students were initially more anxious and demotivated because many were unfamiliar with their obligations in online classes. They complained about technology-related difficulties, such as weak and unstable connections to the Internet in online classes. They also talked about the misuse of some online classes and the abuse of online mode by cheating or breaching online exams. Most of them, however, were pleased with their online experience and viewed it as the future where learners can attend classes from anywhere. They reported using multiple online sources that made them more autonomous. The study suggested changes in teaching practices, language curricula, test types, and assignment options for future online language classes. Practical suggestions for pedagogy and future research were identified to provide insights beyond this study’s geographical and temporal limits.
Learning motivation, Learning Anxiety, Online Language Learning, Pandemic effects, Saudi EFL Learners