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This study examines the impact of EFL learners’ learning experiences in a virtual classroom on their academic motivation and achievement. It also explores students’ reasons for changes in their motivations and their perspectives on learning a foreign language online. The study used the explanatory, sequential mixed-methods design. A total of 144 foreign-language learners at a state university in Turkey participated in this study. An online survey was used to collect students’ academic motivation scores at the beginning and the end of an academic term. Ten students from the decreased and the increased motivation groups were recruited for online semi-structured interviews. Besides motivation, students’ language development was measured using pre- and post-test scores on skill-based exams. Correlations show a moderate positive correlation between motivation and academic achievement. Motivation was also a significant predictor of students’ grades. The findings also showed that students’ motivation to learn English in a digital classroom decreased over time. Through thematic analysis of the qualitative data, three major themes emerged: motivation-related factors, negative attitudes towards online learning and the benefits of online learning. One common characteristic was that students would prefer face-to-face learning and they also believed that in-class and out-of-class interactions were limited in online learning.
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