Gender Differences in the Motivational Profile of Undergraduate Students in Light of Self-Determination Theory: The Case of Online Learning Setting

Aseel Ajlouni, Saleh Rawadieh, Abdallah AlMahaireh, Ferial Abu Awwad


Motivation has a vital role in successful learning and has garnered the interest of numerous scholars in a wide array of contexts, especially education. Despite such influence, literature in motivation has inconsistent findings with regard to gender. Also, shifting to online learning as a consequence of COVID-19 has impacted students’ academic motivation. This study is novel as it is the first to classify motivation types according to self-determination theory among Jordanian undergraduates in online learning environment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, it examined the motivational Jordanian undergraduate profile and investigated the same in relation to gender. This study employed a quantitative approach with a web-based questionnaire. The study sample comprised 433 undergraduates who were enrolled in online courses offered at the University of Jordan. The data were collected in September of the academic year 2021–2022 using the academic motivation scale. Mann–Whitney U test was performed to examine gender differences in motivation type. Results demonstrated significant gender difference in motivation types. Females had more self-determination (U = 19,106, p = .024), intrinsic motivation to experience stimulation (U = 17,030, p = .000), identified regulation (U = 14,997, p = .000), and introjected regulation (U = 17,557, p = .000), while males had more amotivation (U = 17,557, p = .000). Implications of this study can inform online instructors and decision-makers to carefully consider online learning settings and employ intrinsic motivation strategies to boost students’ self-determination and enhance their motivation quality.


Motivation; Online Learning; Self-Determination Theory; Academic Motivation Scale; Gender Difference

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