Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number3.  September 2022                              Pp.254-271

Full Paper PDF 

Applying Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM)
on Factors Affecting Language Students’ Desire to Learn 

Nor Shidrah Mat Daud
Department of English Language, Akademi Pengajian Bahasa,
Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia
Corresponding email:

Nuraihan Mat Daud
Department of English Language and Literature, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human
Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia (Retired)

Samshul Amry Abdul Latif
Department of Tourism, Kulliyyah of Languages and Management,
International Islamic University Malay

Jantima Simpson
Department of English, Faculty of Humanities, Naresuan University, Thailand


Received: 06/02/2022                        Accepted:08/09/2022                     Published: 09/24/2022

This study examines factors affecting students’ desire to learn the English language using Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM). This is to explain and predict students’ desire to learn. For this purpose, a questionnaire survey was conducted at two public universities in Malaysia and one in Thailand. The questionnaires were developed based on Gardner’s (2004) Attitude/Motivation Test Battery.  Only four subscales of the instrument were chosen for this study.  These were: desire to learn, instrumental motivation, foreign language anxiety and attitude towards foreign language.  It was found that although Attitude toward Foreign Language, Foreign Language Anxiety and Instrumental Motivation have small predictive relevance on Desire to Learn the English language, they are crucial in explaining the students’ desire to learn the language. The study indicates that the model is sufficiently reliable and consistent. When the groups were compared, the relationship between Instrumental Motivation and Desire to Learn was higher between International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) students but the difference is not significant where IIUM and Naresuan University (NU) students were concerned. This study serves to model a quantitative empirical research method to explain and predict factors affecting desire to learn.
Keywords: Attitudes towards foreign language, desire to learn, foreign language anxiety, instrumental motivation;
Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM)

Cite as:  Mat Daud, N.S., Mat Daud, N., Abdul Latif, S.A., & Simpson, J. (2022). Applying Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM)  on Factors Affecting Language Students’ Desire to Learn. Arab World English Journal, 13 (3). 254-271.


Ahmed, S. (2015). Attitudes Towards English Language Learning Among EFL Learners at UMSKAL.
Journal of Education and Practice, 6(18), 6-16.

Alpert, R., & Haber, R. N. (1960). Anxiety in Academic Achievement Situations. The Journal of  Abnormal and
Social Psychology, 61
(2), 207.

Alrabai, F. (2014). A Model of Foreign Language Anxiety in the Saudi EFL Context. English Language Teaching, 7(7), 82-101.

Al- Ta’ani, M. H. (2018). Integrative and Instrumental Motivations for Learning English as

University Requirement among Undergraduate Students at Al-Jazeera University/Dubai. International Journal of Learning and Development, 8(4), 89-105.

Alizadeh, M. (2016). The Impact of Motivation on English Language Learning. International Journal of Research in
English Education, 1
(1), 11-15.

Aspuri, N., Samad, I.  A., Fitriani, S.  S., & Samad, N.  M.  A. (2019). The Role of Instrumental

Motivation among EFL Students in Language Learning Process. Journal of English Education,  4(1), 48-53.

Bagozzi, R. P., & Yi, Y. (1988). On the Evaluation of Structural Equation Models. Journal of the

Academy of Marketing Science, 16 (1), 74–94.

Benson, P. (2011). Language Learning and Teaching Beyond the Classroom: An Introduction to the Field. In P. Benson, & H. Reinders (Eds.), Beyond the Language Classroom (pp. 7-16). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bernaus, M., & Gardner, R. (2008). Teacher Motivation Strategies, Student Perceptions, Student     Motivation, and English Achievement. The Modern Language Journal, 92, 387-401.

Brown H. D. (1994). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall. Inc.

Brown, H. D. (2000). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. New York: Longman.

Cahill, M. J. , McDaniel, M. A., Frey, R. F., Hynes, K. M., Repice, M., Zhao, J., & Trousil, R. (2018). Understanding the Relationship Between Student Attitudes and Student Learning. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 14(1), 1-16.

Chamber G. N. (1999). Motivating Language Learners. Bristol, U. K.: Multilingual Matters. Ltd.

Chee Hong, Y., & Ganapathy, M. (2017). To Investigate ESL Students’ Instrumental and Integrative  Motivation towards English Language Learning in a Chinese School in Penang:  Case Study.  English Language Teaching, 10(9), 17-35.

Cho, Y. G. (2013). L2 Learning Motivation and Its Relationship to Proficiency: A Causal Analysis of University Students’ EIL Discourses. English Teaching, 68(1), 37-68.

Coleman, D., Strafield, S., & Hagan, A. (2003). The Attitudes of IELTS Stakeholders: Student and Staff Apperception of IELTS in Australian, UK, and Chinese Tertiary Institutions. IELTS Australia Research, 5, 20-34.

Damavand, A. (2012). The Effects of Motivation Types (Instrumental and Integrative) on Writing Proficiency among Iranian IELTS Candidates. Zonguldak Karaelmas University Journal of Social Sciences, 7(15), 109–123.

Darmawangsa, D., Sukmayadi, V., & Yahya, A. (2020). First-Year Students’ Communication Apprehension in Learning French as Foreign Language. Indonesian Journal of Applied  Linguistics, 10(2), 340-348. doi:

Diamantopoulos, A., & Siguaw, J. A. (2006). Formative versus Reflective Indicators in Organizational Measure Development: A Comparison and Empirical Illustration. British Journal of Management, 17(4), 263–282.

Dimitroff, A., Dimitroff, A., & Alhashimi, R. (2018). Student Motivation: A Comparison and Investigation of ESL and EFL Environments. International Journal of Curriculum and Instruction, 10(2), 1-14.

Dordinejad, F.G., & Ahmadabad, R. M. (2014). Examination of the Relationship Between Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety and English Achievement Among Male and Female Iranian High School Students. International Journal Language Learning and Applied Linguistics World, 6(4), 446-460.

Fan, J., & Feng, H. (2012). A Study on Students’ Learning Motivation of EFL in Taiwanese Vocational College. International Journal of Learning and Development, 2(3), 260-269.

Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating Structural Equation Models with Unobservable Variables and Measurement Error. Journal of Marketing Research, 39–50.

Gardner, R. C. (1985). Social Psychology and Second Language Learning: The Role of Attitudes and Motivation. London: Edward Arnold.

Gardner R. C., & Lambert E. W. (1972). Attitudes and Motivation in Second-Language Learning. Rowley, MA :Newbury House Publishers.

Gardner, R. C. (2004). Attitude/Motivation Test Battery: International AMTB Research Project.

Retrieved from:

Gardner, R., & MacIntyre, P. (1991). An Instrumental Motivation in Language Study: Who Says It Isn’t Effective? Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 13(1), 57-72. doi:10.1017/S0272263100009724

Getie, A. S. (2020). Factors Affecting the Attitude of  Students Towards Learning English as a

Foreign Language. Cogent Education, 7(1). doi:10.1080/2331186X.2020.1738184

Hashemi, M. (2011). Language Stress and Anxiety Among the English Language Learners. Procedia-Social Sciences and Behavioural Sciences, 30(2011), 1811-1816.

Horwitz, E.K., Horwitz, M.B., & Cope, J. (1986). Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety. The Modern  Language Journal, 70(2), 125-132.

Horwitz, E. K. (2001). Language Anxiety and Achievement. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 21, 112–126.

Hair, J. F., Howard, M. C., & Nitzl, C. (2020). Assessing Measurement Model Quality in PLS-SEM Using Confirmatory Composite Analysis. Journal of Business Research, 109, 101–110.

Hair, J. F. J., Hult, G. T. M., Ringle, C. M., & Sarstedt, M. (2017). A Primer on Partial Least  Squares Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) (2nd ed.). LA: Sage Publications.

Hair, J. J. F., Ringle, C. M. C., & Sarstedt, M. (2011). PLS-SEM: Indeed a Silver Bullet. The Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 19(2), 139–152.

Ivanova, B., Kirova, S., Kuzmanovska, D., & Tasevska, M. (2018). Investigation of Instrumental and Integrative Motivation of Learning Second/Foreign Language in Macedonia. Yearbook – Faculty of Philology, 9(12), 85–93.

Khorsheed, R. (2021). Youth Culture and EFL Students’ Development of Integrative Motivation. Theory
and Practice in Language Studies
11(4), 377.

Krashen, S. (1982). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition2. Pergamon Press.

Kumar, T. (2021). Desire to Learn, Learn to Shine: Idolizing Motivation in Enhancing Speaking Skill Among L2 Learners.
Cypriot Journal of Educational Science, 16(1), 411-422.

Lambani, M. N., & Nndwamato, N. M. (2018). University Foundation Students’ Motivational

Reasons for English Language Mastery. Gender & Behaviour, 16(1), 10931-10942.

Latif, M.A. (2007). The Factors Accounting for the Egyptian EFL University Students’ Negative Writing Affect. Essex Graduate Student Papers in Language & Linguistics, 9, 5782.

Li, H., Peng, M. Y., Yang, M., & Chen, C. C. (2020). Exploring The Influence of Learning  Motivation and Socioeconomic Status on College Students’ Learning Outcomes Using  Self-Determination Theory. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 849.

Liu, H. J., & Cheng, S. H. (2014). Assessing Language Anxiety in EFL Students with Varying Degrees of Motivation. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 11(2), 285- 299.

MacIntyre, P. D. (2017). An Overview of Language Anxiety Research and Trends in Its Development. In C. Gkonou, M. Daubney & J. Dewaele (Eds.), New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications (pp. 11-30). Multilingual Matters.

Mak, B. (2011). An Exploration of Speaking-In-Class Anxiety with Chinese ESL Learners. System, 39, 202–214.

Moiinvaziri, M. (2009). Motivational Orientation in English Language Learning: A Study of Iranian Undergraduate Students. Retrieved from

Muslim, A., Hamied, F., & Sukyadi, D. (2020). Integrative and Instrumental but Low Investment: The English Learning Motivation of Indonesian Senior High School Students. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 9(3), 493-507. doi:

Piechurska-Kuciel, E. (2016). Polish Adolescents’ Perceptions of English and Their Desire to Learn It. In D. Gałajda, P. Zakrajewski, & M. Pawlak (Eds.), Researching Second Language Learning and Teaching From a Psycholinguistic Perspective (pp. 37–52). Springer.

Pham, T. (2021). Attitude and Motivation in Language Learning: A Review. Journal of English  Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 3(5), 64–72.

Riasati, M. J. (2011). Language Learning Anxiety from EFL Learners’ Perspective. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, Language Learning, 7(6), 907-914.

Ringle, C. M., Wende, S., & Becker, J.-M. (2015). SmartPLS 3.0. Bönningstedt. Retrieved from

Sadighi, F., & Maghsudi, N. (2000). The Relationship between Motivation and English Proficiency Among Iranian EFL Learners. Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 26(1), 39-52.

Sari, D. (2017). Speaking Anxiety As A Factor In Studying EFL. English Education Journal, 8(2), 177-186.

Scovel, T. (1978). The effect of affect on foreign language learning: A review of the anxiety research. Language Learning, 28, 129-142.

Sellick, A., & Bury, J. (2018). Cultural Differences in Attitudes Towards Foreign Language Study. Journal of Asia TEFL, 15(4), 1165-1173. doi:

Sevinç, Y., & Backus, A. (2017). Anxiety, Language Use and Linguistic Competence in an Immigrant Context: A Vicious Circle? International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 22(3), 1-19. doi: 10.1080/13670050.2017.1306021

Sultan, S., & Hussain, I. (2010). Significance of Instrumental and Integrative Motivation in Second Language Acquisition. Journal of Education Research, 13(2), 145-152.

Seven, M. A. (2020). Motivation in Language Learning and Teaching. African Educational Research  Journal, 8(2), S62-S71.

Shan, Y. (2020) Whether Successful Language Learners Require Intrinsic Motivation. Open Journal  of Modern Linguistics, 10, 549-559. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2020.105031.

Taber, K. S. (2018). The Use of Cronbach’s Alpha When Developing and Reporting Research

Instruments in Science Education. Research in Science Education, 48(6), 1273–1296.

Yeh Wai Man, H. (2014). An Investigation of the Relationship of Motivation, Attitudes and

Environment: Two Hong Kong ESL Learners’ Experience. In V. X. Wang, (Eds.), International Education and the Next-Generation Workforce: Competition in the Global Economy (pp. 194-207). IGI Global. http://doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-4498-4.ch011

Wang, W., & Zhan, J. (2020). The Relationship Between English Language Learner Characteristics and Online Self-Regulation: A Structural Equation Modelling Approach. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1-25.

Wenden, A. (1991). Learner Strategies for Learner Autonomy. Hertfordshire, UK: Prentice Hall.

Woodrow, L. (2006). Anxiety and Speaking English as a Second Language. RELC Journal, 37, 308-328. https://

Wu, K. (2010). The Relationship Between Language Learners’ Anxiety and Learning Strategy in the CLT Classrooms. International Education Studies, 3(1), 174-191.

Zhang, H., Dai, Y., & Wang, Y. (2020). Motivation and Second Foreign Language Proficiency: The Mediating Role of Foreign Language Enjoyment. Sustainability,12(4), 1-13.

Zheng, Y., & Cheng, L. (2018). How Does Anxiety Influence Language Performance? From the Perspectives of Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety and Cognitive Test Anxiety. Language Test Asia, 8(13).

Received: 06/02/2022
Accepted: 08/09/2022
Published: 09/24/2022     

Nor Shidrah Mat Daud received her Ph.D. in Education from University of Canterbury, New Zealand. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Linguistics, Akademi Pengajian Bahasa, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia. Her research activities and interests include language assessments, critical thinking in language learning and language pedagogy. ORCid ID:

Prof. Dr. Nuraihan Mat Daud is the Founding Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Management, International Islamic University Malaysia. She was also the Chair of the Malaysian Public Universities Council of Language Deans and was the Chair of the panel that developed the Benchmark Standards for Language Programs for Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA). ORCid ID:

Assistant Professor Dr. Samshul Amry bin Abdul Latif is currently attached with the Department of Tourism, Kulliyyah of Languages and Management, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in Pagoh campus. He graduated from the University of Otago, New Zealand.  His areas of interests include destination marketing, tourists’ behavior, tourism marketing and consumer boycott.  ORCid ID:

Jantima Simpson was Associate Dean, Academic and International Affairs, Faculty of Humanities, Naresuan University, Thailand. She is a research article reviewer for a number of English language journals in Thailand. She is also a member of Thailand TESOL. Her research interests include technology in a modern TEFL classroom, perception and motivation in language learning at all levels. ORCid ID: