Influences of Online Learning Environment on International Students’ Intrinsic Motivation and Engagement in the Chinese Learning


  • Fengxiang Zang
  • Mei Tian
  • Jingwei Fan
  • Ying Sun



online learing, motiviation, student engagment, international students, china, higher education


With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese teaching for international students in Chinese universities has largely moved online. Despite the comprehensive literature regarding the influences of environmental factors on domestic students’ learning in traditional learning environment, few studies have addressed the influences of online learning environment (OLE) on international students’ Chinese learning experiences. We focus on international students in intensive Chinese courses at a Chinese university, and explores the influences of OLE on these students’ intrinsic motivation (IM) towards and engagement in Chinese learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected from an online questionnaire survey and follow-up interviews. The results revealed that the participants had positive perceptions of the online Chinese learning environment, and that the participants had high levels of IM towards and engagement in their Chinese learning. The results  showed the positive impact of the participants’ perceived OLE on their IM  and engagement in Chinese learning. 

Author Biographies

Fengxiang Zang

FENGXIANG ZANG is a student in the School of Foreign Studies at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China. Her current research interests include international student experiences in China. Email:


Mei Tian

MEI TIAN (corresponding author) is a professor in the School of Foreign Studies at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China. Her current research interests include international student experiences in China. Her recent publications include academic experiences of international students in Chinese higher education (London: Routledge). Email:

Jingwei Fan

JINGWEI FAN is a lecturer and PhD student in the School of Foreign Studies at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China. Her research interests include international student experience in China. Email:

Ying Sun

YING SUN, masters’ student in TESOL at New York University, U.S. Her research interests include international students’ identity in China. Email:


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How to Cite

Zang, F., Tian, M., Fan, J., & Sun, Y. (2022). Influences of Online Learning Environment on International Students’ Intrinsic Motivation and Engagement in the Chinese Learning. Journal of International Students, 12(S1), 61–82.