The Effect of Motivation, Anxiety, and Instructor Behaviors on Help-Seeking  Attitudes and Classroom Confidence in a Virtual Learning Environment 

Patrick Robertson and Dr. Amira Ibrahim 


Although help-seeking behavior has been shown to predict better learning outcomes, learners often don’t utilize the help that is available to them. Previous researchers found that motivational factors had the greatest influence on help-seeking behavior.  However, data showing students with anxiety disorders were more likely to seek mental health support suggests that test and trait anxiety may have a similar influence on academic help-seeking.  In addition, previous research has shown that cues from the learning environment can improve attitudes toward help-seeking, suggesting a potential role of instructor behaviors on help-seeking attitudes.  The present study assesses the effects of motivation, anxiety, and instructor behaviors on help-seeking attitudes and classroom confidence.  630 university students were surveyed on their academic experience during the initial quarantine period of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The survey employed a variety of measures to investigate the students’ experience of virtual learning, including the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire, Test Anxiety Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Trait Version, Online Student Engagement Scale, and Instructor-Learner Interaction Scale.  Two hierarchical multiple regression analyses were employed to determine whether motivation, anxiety, and instructor behaviors predict students’ (1) attitudes toward help-seeking and (2) classroom confidence.  The analysis revealed that motivational factors significantly accounted for 22% of the variance in help-seeking behavior while anxiety and instructor behaviors did not significantly predict help-seeking scores. In addition, motivational factors, anxiety, and instructor behaviors significantly accounted for 38%, 2.3%, and 8.6% of the variance in classroom confidence respectively.


Session 1 – 1:30p.m. – 2:45p.m.

Room C – Sierra 2411 

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