College students’ self-regulation in asynchronous online courses during COVID-19

Jaeyun Han, Daniela K. DiGiacomo, Ellen L. Usher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, courses in higher education have increasingly been delivered via asynchronous online modalities. Although such modalities may allow instructors and students greater flexibility in how they engage with their courses, they increase the self-regulatory challenges learners experience. Students may feel less capable of regulating their learning in web-based modalities, which may increase procrastination and lower academic performance. Alternatively, students who procrastinate in their asynchronous courses may become convinced that they lack the self-regulatory skills needed to succeed. Little research has examined these relationships. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine these self-regulatory processes, the challenges students experience in asynchronous classes, and possible effects on academic performance. Undergraduate students (N = 1,216) attending a public U.S. university responded to closed–and open-ended survey items in Fall 2020. A cross-lagged panel model revealed the interdependency of self-efficacy for self-regulation and academic procrastination, and their relationship with course performance. Findings suggest that students’ beliefs in their self-regulatory capabilities and their procrastination behaviors are related to each other and jointly contribute to course performance. Students described time management difficulties as the most challenging aspect of asynchronous online learning. Integration of quantitative and qualitative data revealed several unique challenges experienced by students who had relatively higher or lower self-efficacy and procrastination. Overall, this study suggests implications for the timely support of college students’ self-regulation in asynchronous online learning courses during and after COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1440-1454
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Society for Research into Higher Education.


  • Self-efficacy for self-regulation
  • academic procrastination
  • asynchronous online learning
  • higher education
  • performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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