Applying the lens of second language motivation research to interpret online learner amotivation and demotivation


  • Nigel Gearing University of Auckland



Amotivation, Demotivation, Online Learning Distance Student, Community of Practice


The aim of this article is to inform deep, contextualized insight into understanding why internal and external factors caused the amotivation of an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instructor’s attempts to acquire Korean online. Amotivation is a learner’s realization that either their current learning trajectory is too difficult or pointless, and demotivation is a specific trigger leading to amotivation (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2011). Patricia was one of 14 English L1 English speaking EFL instructors employed by a South Korean university to participate in my PhD in Applied Linguistics entitled Factors Affecting the Motivation to Learn Korean by EFL Professors Living Permanently in South Korea. She was the sole one-year longitudinal case study in this qualitative research and its only participant to self-study Korean online. I analyse her less than satisfactory experience through the theoretical lenses of Dörnyei’s (2009) L2 Motivational Self-System and Dörnyei and Ottό’s (1998) Process Model of Motivation.


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