Computer-assisted English learning: Uncovering the relationship between motivation and self-regulation

Cong WANG, Sida ZHU, Haijing ZHANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Background: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, universities in Hong Kong have implemented online and hybrid teaching modes, making computer-assisted language learning (CALL) a primary way for English learning. Research on English learning motivation and self-regulation has seldom considered learners' emotions (satisfaction and preparedness) and the synchronic online courses in a CALL context. 

Objectives: This study analyses the relationship between Hong Kong university students' motivation and self-regulation by considering their emotions in computer-assisted synchronic online English courses. 

Methods: 311 Hong Kong university students were invited to complete two questionnaires that investigated students' motivation and self-regulation in computer-assisted online English courses. SPSS 26 was employed for exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to extract factors and exclude unsuitable items, and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was performed to verify the results of EFA. One-way ANOVA was conducted to detect the impact of personal emotion on motivation and self-regulation. AMOS 26 was adopted to construct a structural equation model (SEM) to explore the relationship between motivation and self-regulation in the CALL context. 

Results and Conclusions: The results show that satisfaction and preparedness positively correlate with online English learning motivation and self-regulation. Instrumentality-attitude significantly predicts all factors of self-regulation via SEM and goal setting significantly predicts all factors of motivation. With feasible English learning goals, Hong Kong university students are more proactive in learning English online where they actively interact with teachers and peers. 

Implications: Based on the L2 self-system (Dörnyei, The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition, 2005) and self-determination theory (Barnard et al., Internet and Higher Education, 2009, 12, 1–6), this study clarifies the relationship between motivation and self-regulation in the CALL context, expanding the application scope of the two theories. COVID-19 has changed the teaching mode greatly, calling for a revolution in language education and learning. This study provides significant pedagogical implications that benefit both learners and teachers in CALL post-COVID-19. Copyright © 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1860-1873
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number6
Early online dateJul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


Wang, C., Zhu, S., & Zhang, H. (2023). Computer-assisted English learning: Uncovering the relationship between motivation and self-regulation. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 39(6), 1860-1873.


  • Computer-assisted language learning
  • Hong Kong university students
  • Learning English as a second language
  • Learning motivation
  • Self-regulation
  • PG student publication


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