Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The online problem student is one who fails to benefit from the modern learning environment based on the information technologies. The purpose of this work was to find out whether psychological characteristics helpful for identifying problem students in a traditional classroom are the same in a new learning environment. The study was conducted with 123 graduate students, who took Dr. Toom’s online psychology courses within three consecutive semesters of 2013. The research methodology included an analysis of the students’ coursework and academic performance within the semester and mathematical analysis of the collected data. According to the results, four psychological characteristics can be considered valid and reliable for identifying online problem students: cognitive apathy, low self-organization, lack of learning motivation, and being uninformed. These negative characteristics are closely interconnected (correlation coefficients K=.54–.76) and highly correlate with students’ low academic achievement (correlation coefficients K=.50–.68). Based on the results the psychological portrait of the typical online problem student was described. The results can be useful for developing effective strategies for training and educating online beginners and problem students.

Publisher's Statement

Originally published in END 2014: International Conference on Education and New Developments: Proceedings, by WIARS. This material can be found here.