The Self-Directedness and Motivational Orientation of Adult Part-Time Students at a Community College
Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Teaching and Leadership
Continuing education, Participation, College education, Onondaga Community College
Increasing numbers of adults are attending college on a part-time basis, consistent with a blended life plan of concurrent activities involving work, education, leisure, and family responsibilities. By virtue of the fact that adult college attendance is usually voluntary, a research premium has been placed on reasons for participation. Self-directed learning has also emerged as a primary focus of adult education research. This kind of learning activity, planned, conducted, and evaluated primarily by the individual learner, is seen by many as an important component of a blended life and learning plan.
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between part-time students' perceptions of self-directed learning readiness and their ascribed reasons or motivational orientations for participation in college education.
Ninety-five part-time students from Onondaga Community College, all of whom were at least 25 years old, participated in the study. The mean age of the sample was 35.17 years, 65.3% were female, and 66.3% indicated that high school was their highest completed level of formal education. Each subject was administered the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS) and the Education Participation Scale (EPS).
Findings indicate a significant, positive correlation between the motivational orientation of Cognitive Interest and self-directed learning readiness (r = .31; p < .05), as well as a number of significant, positive correlations (p < .05), between Cognitive Interest and factors of the SDLRS identified by the author of the instrument. Both Cognitive Interest and self-directed learning are linked in the literature to a growth or life space orientation for meeting the challenges and changes of adult life. All other motivational orientations were negatively correlated with self-directed learning readiness. Gender emerged as a possible influencing variable, with females significantly (p < .01) more ready for self-directed learning, and significantly more inclined to identify Cognitive Interest as their primary reason for participation.
It is suggested that both instruments are valuable research and diagnostic tools, and that a determination of self-directed readiness and motivational orientation can help to match student characteristics with appropriate activities, courses, programs and policies. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
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Reynolds, Michael Merle, "The Self-Directedness and Motivational Orientation of Adult Part-Time Students at a Community College" (1985). Teaching and Leadership - Dissertations. Paper 129.