The impact of remote teaching on statistics learning and anxiety

Ellen May Marshall, Bilal Mahmood, Craig Alexander, Mitchum Bock, Diane Haigney, Eilidh Jack, Diarmuid Verrier


In March 2020, staff and students at UK universities had to suddenly transition from on-campus teaching to remote learning as a result of the pandemic, which continued throughout the 2020/21 academic year. Unlike traditional online learners, students may lack the motivation or confidence to learn as effectively online particularly for modules such as statistics which students often find difficult or stressful face to face.

This paper uses survey results from students studying elective and compulsory statistics modules in the 2020/21 academic year to gain an insight into remote learning of statistics from the students’ perspective.

When compared to previous face to face teaching of statistics, students were less likely to actively engage with material, ask for help or work with peers remotely. Emotional wellbeing, motivation to learn, statistics anxiety and having a suitable learning environment all impacted on being able to learn statistics remotely. Although statistics anxiety in online teaching situations was generally lower, there was no evidence to suggest anxious students would benefit from online learning going forward.


statistics education; motivation; statistics anxiety; remote learning; online learning

Full Text:



Artino, A. R., 2008. Motivational beliefs & perceptions of instructional quality: Predicting satisfaction with online training. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24(3), pp.260-270.

Ching, Y., Hsu, Y., & Baldwin, S., 2018. Becoming an online teacher: an analysis of prospective online instructors' reflections. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 29(2), pp.145-168. Available at: [Accessed 8 April 2022].

Cruise, R. J., Cash, R. W., & Bolton, D. L., 1985. Development and validation of an instrument to measure statistical anxiety. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Statistical Education Section, Chicago, IL.

DeVaney, T., 2010. Anxiety and Attitude of Graduate Students in On-Campus vs. Online Statistics Courses. Journal Of Statistics Education, 18(1).

Earp, M. S., 2007. Development and validation of the Statistics Anxiety Measure (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Denver.

Finney, S., & Schraw, G., 2003. Self-efficacy beliefs in college statistics courses. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 28, pp.161-186. https:///

Hara, N., & Kling, R., 2003. Students’ distress with a web-based distance education course: An ethnographic study of participants' experiences. Turkish Journal of Distance Education, 4(2). Available at: [Accessed 8 April 2022].

Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., & Bond, A., 2020. The difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning. Available at: [Accessed 14 October 2021].

Horzum, M.B., Kaymak, Z.D. & Gungoren, O.C., 2015. Structural Equation Modelling Towards Online Learning Readiness, Academic Motivations, and Perceived Learning. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 15 (3), pp.759-770.

Hung, M. L., Chou, C., Chen, C. H., & Own, Z. Y., 2010. Learner readiness for online learning: Scale development and student perceptions. Computers & Education, 55, pp.1080-1090.

Keller, J. M., 1999. Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching & Learning, 78, pp.39-47.

Keller, J. M., 2008. First principles of motivation to learn and e3-learning. Distance Education, 29(2),175-185.

Marshall, E.M, Rowlett, P., Verrier, D. & Hunt, T., 2021 Can pre-course anxiety and attitudes predict grade? MERI research symposium proceedings 2021, pp.30-31.

Martin, F., & Bolliger, D., 2018. Engagement Matters: Student Perceptions on the Importance of Engagement Strategies in the Online Learning Environment. Online Learning, 22(1).

Deslauriers, L., McCarty, L.S., Miller, K., Kristina Callaghan, K., & Kestin, G., 2019. Measuring actual learning versus feeling of learning in response to being actively engaged in the classroom. PNAS, 116(39), pp.19251-19257.

Onwuegbuzie, A.J. and Wilson, V.A., 2003. Statistics Anxiety: Nature, etiology, antecedents, effects, and treatments--a comprehensive review of the literature. Teaching in higher education, 8(2), pp.195-209.

Paris, S., & Turner, J., 1994. Situated Motivation and Informal Learning. Journal Of Museum Education, 22(2-3), pp.22-27.

Park, J.-H., & Choi, H. J., 2009. Factors influencing adult learners' decision to drop out or persist in online learning. Educational Technology & Society, 12(4), pp.207-217. Available at: [Accessed 8 April 2022].

Paulus, T., & Scherff, L., 2008. "Can anyone offer any words of encouragement?" Online dialogue as a support mechanism for preservice teachers. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 16(1), 113-136. Available at: [Accessed 8 April 2022].

Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D. A., Garcia, T., & McKeachie, W. J., 1991. A manual for the use of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire. Ann Arbor, MI: The Regents of the University of Michigan.

Sese, A., Jimenez, R., Montano, J-J., & Palmer, A., 2015. Can attitudes towards statistics explain anxiety explain student performance? Revista de Psicodidatica, 20(2), pp.285-304.

Shroff, R. H., Vogel, D. R., Coombes, J., & Lee, F., 2007. Student e-learning intrinsic motivation: A qualitative analysis. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 19(1), 12.

Wighting, M. J., Liu, J., & Rovai, A. P., 2008. Distinguishing sense of community and motivation characteristics between online and traditional college students. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 9(3), pp.285-295. Available at: [Accessed 8 April 2022].



  • There are currently no refbacks.