Learning Emotions in E-learning: How Do Adult Learners Feel?

Main Article Content

Lay Kee CH’NG


The rapid development of technology and the Internet accessibility have expanded the learning opportunities to everyone who has access to technology and the Internet. Higher education institutions have begun to integrate the use of technology into their education system, and this includes adult education. The experience of adult learners using technology to learn is an important knowledge to the field of adult learning. For decades, learning was mainly examined from the cognitive and motivational aspects and the affective processes have been ignored in the learning theories (Hascher, 2010; Kim, Park, & Cozart, 2014). The analysing of the functions of emotions among the middle-aged group for e-learning is necessary. Fourteen new students from first semester of a first-year programme in a private university, with ages ranging from 40–55 years, participated in the study. Face-to-face interviews were conducted and the participants have also submitted their journals about their emotions, learning process and experience, weekly. This study pointed out adult learners to be self and emotionally-conscious.

Article Details

How to Cite
CH’NG, L. K. (2019). Learning Emotions in E-learning: How Do Adult Learners Feel?. Asian Journal of Distance Education, 14(1), 34 - 46. Retrieved from http://www.asianjde.org/ojs/index.php/AsianJDE/article/view/288
Author Biography

Lay Kee CH’NG, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Dr Ch’ng Lay Kee has more than 7 years of experience in the field of educational technology. Lay Kee is currently leading a team of learning designers and multimedia designers on various projects in producing and editing instructional learning materials and various types of educational videos for higher education institutions. Her passion for e-learning and educational technology make her actively involved in presenting and publishing papers relating to ICT in education, instructional design and adult learning. Email: mousse2964@gmail.com


Artino, A. R. (2012). Emotions in online learning environments: Introduction to the special issue. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(3), 137–140. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com
Capdeferro, N., & Romero, M. (2012). Are online learners frustrated with collaborative learning experiences? The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(2), 26–44. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org
Carstensen, L. L., Pasupathi, M., Mayr, U., & Nesselroade, J. R. (2000).
Emotional experience in everyday life across the adult life span. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(4), 644–655. https://www.researchgate.net
Chen, C. M., & Wang, H. P. (2011). Using emotion recognition technology to assess the effects of different multimedia materials on learning emotion and performance. Library & Information Science Research, 33(3), 244–255. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com
Cherry, K. (2015). What are emotions? About health. Retrieved May 24, 2015, from http://psychology.about.com/od/emotion/fl/The-Expression-of-Emotion.htm
Cleveland-Innes, M., & Campbell, P. (2012). Emotional presence, learning, and the online learning environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(4), 269–292. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org
Glancy, F. H., & Isenberg, S. K. (2013). A conceptual learner-centered e-learning framework. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 13(3/4), 22–35.
Retrieved from http://www.na-businesspress.com/JHETP/ GlancyFH_Web13_3__4_.pdf
Goetz, T., Hall, N. C., Frenzel, A. C., & Pekrun, R. (2006). A hierarchical conceptualization of enjoyment in students. Learning and Instruction, 16(4), 323–338. Retrieved from http://kops.uni-konstanz.de/bitstream/handle/ 123456789/13754/goetz_enjoyment.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y
Hascher, T. (2010). Learning and Emotion: perspectives for theory and research. European Educational Research Journal, 9(1), 13–28. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com
Kenner, C., & Weinerman, J. (2011). Adult learning theory: Applications to non-traditional college students. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 41(2), 87–96. Retrieved October 28, 2014 from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ926365.pdf
Kim, C., Park, S. W., & Cozart, J. (2014). Affective and motivational factors of learning in online mathematics courses. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(1), 171–185. Retrieved May 11, 2015, from http://mathedseminar.pbworks.com
Knowles, M. S. (1984). Andragogy in action: Applying modern principles of adult education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Lin, C. I., Tang, W. H., & Kuo, F. Y. (2012). “Mommy wants to learn the computer”
how middle-aged and elderly women in Taiwan learn ICT through social support. Adult Education Quarterly, 62(1), 73–90. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com
Matuliauskaitė, A., & Žemeckytė, L. (2011). Analysis of interdependencies between students’ emotions, learning productivity, academic achievements and physiological parameters. Science: Future of Lithuania, 3(2), 51–56. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu
McDonald, P. L. (2012). Adult learners and blended learning: A phenomenographic study of variation in adult learners’ experiences of blended learning in higher education (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest LLC, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database (UMI No. 3502645).
Mohamad, M., Hussin, H., & Shaharuddin, S. (2015). Adult learners’ perceptions of designed hypermedia in a blended learning course at a public university in Malaysia. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 14(1). Retrieved from http://tojet.net/articles/v14i1/1414.pdf
Nielsen, L., Knutson, B., & Carstensen, L. L. (2008). Affect dynamics, affective forecasting, and aging. Emotion, 8, 318–330. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
Pappas, C. (2014). 6 tips to estimate your eLearning course length. Retrieved September 30, 2015, from http://elearningindustry.com/6-tips-estimate-elearning-course-length
Perry, R. P. (2011). The control-value theory of achievement emotions: An integrative approach to emotions in education. Emotion in Education, 13. Retrieved January 6, 2016, from https://kops.uni-konstanz.de/bitstream/handle/ 123456789/1647/G%C3%83%C2%B6tz.pdf?sequence=1
Rager, K. B. (2009). I feel, therefore, I learn: The role of emotion in self‐directed learning. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 23(2), 22–33. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com
Russell, J. A. (1980). A circumplex model of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39(6), 1161. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0077714
Sandanayake, T., Madurapperuma, A. P., & Dias, D. (2011). Affective e-learning model for recognising learner emotions. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 1(4), 315–320. Retrieved from http://www.ijiet.org
Santhi, R., & Rajesh Kumar, P. (2007). The need for participation in open and distance education: The Open University Malaysia experience. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education (TOJDE), 8(4), 102–113. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov
Sharma, R. C. (2018). Innovative Applications of Online Pedagogy and Course Design (pp. 1-451). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-5466-0
Shuck, B., Albornoz, C., & Winberg, M. (2013). Emotions and their effect on adult learning: A constructivist perspective. In S. M. Nielsen & M. S. Plakhotnik (eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth Annual College of Education Research Conference: Urban & International Education Section (pp. 108–113). Miami: Florida International University.
Sorić, I., Penezić, Z., & Burić, I. (2013). Big five personality traits, cognitive appraisals and emotion regulation strategies as predictors of achievement emotions. Psihologijsketeme, 22(2), 325–349. Retrieved from https://hrcak.srce.hr/108516
Tian, F., Gao, P., Li, L., Zhang, W., Liang, H., Qian, Y., & Zhao, R. (2014). Recognizing and regulating e-learners’ emotions based on interactive Chinese texts in e-learning systems. Knowledge-Based Systems, 55, 148–164. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com
Wang, M. J. (2014). The current practice integration of information communication technology to English teaching and the emotions involved in blended learning. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 13(3), 188. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov
Wang, M. J., & Chen, H. C. (2012). Emotions and pair trust in asynchronous hospitality cultural exchange for students in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology-TOJET, 11(4), 119–131.Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov.
You, J. W., & Kang, M. (2014). The role of academic emotions in the relationship between perceived academic control and self-regulated learning in online learning. Computers & Education, 77, 125–133. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com.
Zakaria, M. H. (2013). E-learning 2.0 experiences within higher education: Theorising students’ and teachers’ experiences in Web 2.0 learning (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Queensland, Australia). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net.