Original Research

Academic motivation and self-concept of undergraduate optometry students

Shivani Naipal, Taitem Wagner, Asmaa Solwa, Noxolo Ngubane, Sabeehah Mogalia, Anovuyo Mapoli, Mfanufikile Shezi, Sithembile Biyase, Nishanee Rampersad
Transformation in Higher Education | Vol 9 | a359 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/the.v9i0.359 | © 2024 Shivani Naipal, Taitem Wagner, Asmaa Solwa, Noxolo Ngubane, Sabeehah Mogalia, Anovuyo Mapoli, Mfanufikile Shezi, Sithembile Biyase, Nishanee Rampersad | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 January 2024 | Published: 05 July 2024

About the author(s)

Shivani Naipal, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Taitem Wagner, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Asmaa Solwa, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Noxolo Ngubane, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Sabeehah Mogalia, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Anovuyo Mapoli, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Mfanufikile Shezi, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Sithembile Biyase, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Nishanee Rampersad, Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Abstract

Academic motivation enables students to face challenges in their studies and is important for student performance. Academic self-concept refers to students’ perceptions of their competencies and ability to learn. The goal of the study was to evaluate academic motivation and self-concept of undergraduate optometry students. We used a mixed methods research design involving a self-administered questionnaire and follow-up semi-structured interviews. Saturated sampling was used to recruit participants. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics and thematic content analysis. The sample consisted of 166 participants aged between 18 years and 24 years with more females (n = 121) and fourth year students (n = 64). The mean score for extrinsic motivation (4.91 ± 1.42) was larger than the mean scores for intrinsic motivation (4.24 ± 1.48) and amotivation (1.58 ± 1.02). There was no difference in the mean scores for motivation between the different levels of study (p ≥ 0.122) or gender groups (p ≥ 0.100). The mean scores for academic confidence and academic effort were 4.45 ± 0.38 and 4.51 ± 0.69, respectively. The main factors that influenced student motivation were online learning, prospect of graduation, financial independence and support systems. Optometry students have positive perceptions of their academic capabilities and competence, and are motivated to engage in their studies. Students’ motivation was influenced by external factors such as higher salaries, prestigious jobs, affluent lifestyle and recognition. Optometry lecturers and curriculum developers should consider academic motivation and self-concept when interacting with students for optimal student well-being.

Contribution: This article focusses on academic motivation and self-concept of undergraduate students that may be of interest because of the ongoing corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the changes students have experienced for teaching and learning activities. Students must remain motivated to achieve their academic goals. Thus, this study can assist students to better understand how motivation affects their learning and what factors affect their motivation. Information from the study can also inform parents, lecturers and administrators on how to optimally support student growth and development as well as create learning environments better suited to the needs of students.


Keywords

academic motivation; academic self-concept; optometry students; academic motivation scale; academic self-concept questionnaire

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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