“For students shall not live by Zoom alone”: psychological factors explaining the engagement of students during the COVID-19

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to obtain valuable insights into students’ engagement and experiences within the virtual learning environment, especially in the context of crises. Among the innumerable challenges people throughout the world faced during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, those of students in institutions of higher education needing to engage in online academic studies are of special interest. Using an online survey, this study could predict students’ online engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic through three theoretical frameworks: the students’ academic motivation to study, the Big Five personality traits, and loneliness, and with a new tool measuring the participation in the Zoom platform. Design/methodology/approach: To examine the psychological and technological factors predicting the students’ engagement, this study surveyed 547 students from different academic institutions of higher learning. Findings: Findings show that the less lonely the students felt, the less neurotic they were, and the higher they scored in levels of extroversion, agreeableness, consciousnesses and openness to experience, the greater their engagement in their academic studies. In addition, students who were older, more educated, with higher intrinsic motivation and lower lack of motivation were more engaged in their online academic studies. Finally, participating in classes through the Zoom platform and experiencing it positively was a significant predictor of higher academic engagement. Originality/value: Recognizing these factors can enable educators, institutions of higher learning, counselling services and students to obtain tools for higher engagement in online learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-564
Number of pages20
JournalInformation and Learning Science
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2024


  • BIG5
  • Higher education
  • Motivation
  • Online academic engagement
  • Zoom

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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