Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Todd Lilly

Second Advisor

Rhonda Jeffries


The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 forever changed the landscape of the world, especially education. Due to the guidelines the pandemic caused, education abruptly moved the e-learning setting in the Spring of 2020, when students and teachers had to quickly adjust to new methods of teaching and learning. As a result, students were bearing the responsibility for their own motivation for learning as they took on the of learning from home (Rake & Dunn, 2010, p. 79). Therefore, this study seeks to better understand four high school honors students changes in motivation as the school environment changed to e-learning, determine what internal and external motivations guided them, and how teachers could support them during their e-learning experience. This study was conducted using a narrative inquiry method to understand the motivation of honor students when the school environment changed to e-learning. Self-Determination is the main theoretical lens through which the data is discussed, however, Social Constructivism, Flow Theory, and Social Presence Theory are also explained, as it relates to motivation, relationships, work ethic, and presence.

Study results provide insights to the researcher and others to benefit from or conduct research on student motivation in virtual settings.