Impact of lecturers’ emotional intelligence on students’ learning and engagement in remote learning spaces: A cross-cultural study
Keywords:remote learning, emotional intelligence, learning and engagement, focus group, cultural differences
Higher education institutions have recently transitioned from face-to-face to online teaching and learning environments. However, academic staff lack sufficient training in applying emotional intelligence (EI) skills and strategies in online learning environments. Although literature addressing academics’ EI is sparse, some studies have suggested that lecturers’ EI greatly influences teaching and learning. This study used the concept of EI to understand students’ perceptions of how lecturers’ EI impacted their learning and engagement in an online learning environment. We conducted four online focus group interviews of 14 students pursuing a bachelor’s degree at two campuses of an Australian university, one in Melbourne and the other in Malaysia. Four main themes were identified using thematic analysis. Students discussed their perceptions and experiences on (a) vulnerabilities, coping and empathy; (b) relationships with lecturers, trust and safety; (c) communication, tone and voice; and (d) managing emotions of lecturers. Our findings suggest that lecturers’ EI impacted students’ learning and engagement in online learning spaces. However, the impact differs between Australia and Malaysia due to cultural differences. Drawing on the findings, we present online education good practices grounded in the theory of EI. Lecturers delivering online courses should consider employing these practices for effective teaching.
Implications for practice or policy:
- Higher educational institutions need to support lecturers in developing the necessary EI skills to engage students in online learning.
- Lecturers need to make meaningful attempts to develop positive relationships with students in online forums to support students’ engagement.
- Lecturers working in online learning environments need to support students to develop friendships and connections with their peers.
- Lecturers need to include regular discussion breaks during online lectures to allow students to share their opinions and experiences.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Dr. Asanka Gunasekara , Dr. Kristina Turner , Dr. Chorng Yuan Fung, Professor Con Stough
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