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An Evaluation of Boredom in Academic Contexts Open Access


Other title
academic boredom
learning outcomes
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Tze, Man Chung
Supervisor and department
Klassen, Robert (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Parrila, Rauno (Educational Psychology)
Hall, Nathan (Educational and Counselling Psychology)
Daniels, Lia (Educational Psychology)
Wimmer, Randolph (Educational Policy Studies)
Rossiter, Marian (Educational Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
School and Clinicial Child Psychology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The impact of academic boredom on learning and achievement has received increasing attention in the literature because academic boredom is associated with lower academic outcomes. In this dissertation, academic boredom was examined in three separate articles. The first article presents a meta-analysis that explores the relationship between students’ academic boredom and their motivation, study strategies and behaviours, and performance. The overall results showed a significant (negative) relationship between the key variables, moderated by age. Boredom experienced in class had greater negative impact on students’ academic functioning than boredom experienced during studying. In addition, a significant differential impact of boredom on academic motivation, study strategies and behaviours, and achievement was found. The second article examines changes in academic boredom over time in a sample of 144 university students. The article a) examines the patterns of change in two types of academic boredom (learning-related and class-related) and in four types of student engagement (vigor, absorption, dedication, and effort regulation); b) examines how the trajectories of boredom and student engagement relate to one another; and c) evaluates the influence of perceived autonomy support on the pattern of change in boredom. Results of latent growth curve analysis showed that learning-related boredom, vigor, and absorption remained relatively stable over time, whereas both class-related boredom and effort regulation showed a linear change, a pattern of increase and a trend of decrease, respectively. Interestingly, students’ dedication decreased at the beginning and increased when approaching the end of the course. Results also revealed the negative impact of perceived autonomy support on class-related boredom experience, and the fact that changes in boredom in class were linked with changes in both effort regulation and dedication. The third article presents a boredom scale validation. The article investigates the validity of the English Precursors to Boredom Scales (E-PBS) in a sample of Canadian college students and examines the criterion-related evidence between the E-PBS and students’ self-efficacy for self-regulated learning (SESRL) and achievement. Findings showed that the factor structure and item loadings of the E-PBS were comparable with those found in samples from Germany, where the scale was initially validated. Results also indicated significant negative associations between SESRL and four antecedents to boredom (i.e., boredom due to being over-challenged, lack of meaning, opportunity costs, and general boredom tendency). However, only one significant negative correlation involving students’ achievement emerged; that is, the correlation between achievement and being under-challenged was significant and negative. Taken together, the three articles in the dissertation show the importance of understanding academic boredom in learning contexts. The key findings of this three-article dissertation and implications for future research are discussed in the General Discussion and Conclusion.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Tze, V. M. C., Klassen, R. M., & Daniels, L. M. (2013, April). Evaluating the effects of boredom on learning: A meta-analysis. Paper presented at the annual conference of The British Psychological Society, Harrogate, United KingdomTze, V. M. C., Klassen, R. M., & Daniels, L. M. (2014). Patterns of Boredom and Its Relationship With Perceived Autonomy Support and Engagement. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 39, 175-187. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2014.05.001Tze, V. M. C., Daniels. L. M., & Klassen, R. M. (2014). Examining the factor structure and validity of the English Precursors to Boredom Scales. Learning and Individual Differences, 32, 254-260. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2014.03.018

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