In the News

Student researches remote learning formats during COVID

Berghoff presents findings at Midwestern Psychological Association Conference, is keynote speaker at Manchester University Student Research Symposium

Robin BerghoffRobin Berghoff, a senior majoring in exercise science and psychology at Manchester University, did research – in real time – on the effects of remote learning on student performance, study habits and engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statistical analysis conducted by Berghoff and her research partners found that an online learning format that did not require college students to meet via Zoom or other platform at a set time was the most effective. Students in this asynchronous online format reported the highest levels of attention and engagement in their classes.

Berghoff compiled data collected over the 2020 fall and 2021 spring semesters from three surveys sent to undergraduate students enrolled at Manchester University. Focus groups and other methods were also used.

Final conclusions found that student engagement and attention in class were most significantly affected by COVID-19 remote learning, while overall performance and study habits remained unaffected.

Berghoff presented her research April 23 at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference, and she was keynote speaker at the Manchester Student Research Symposium the same day.

She wanted to determine how remote learning formats affected student performance at the northeast Indiana school and which of those was the best delivery method for students.

The data revealed that students felt disconnected from professors and classmates no matter what form of remote learning was used.

“A lack of discussions with professors and classmates as well as difficulty with professor accessibility and professor-student communication were reported by students on all three formats,” Berghoff said in a discussion board after her presentation at Manchester.

Berghoff will continue in Manchester’s Master of Athletic Training program this fall.

She hopes to continue her research to answer questions that arose. Is there a way to increase engagement and sense of connection in remote learning? Is asynchronous learning more effective because the choice leads to fewer distractions? What role does screen fatigue play? She also posed questions about how remote learning affects faculty. She would also like to examine how remote learning affects graduate programs.

For the media

To arrange an interview with Berghoff, contact Anne Gregory in media relations at

May 2021