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A grounded meta-analysis of adult learner motivation in online learning from the perspective of the learner

, Capella University, United States

Capella University . Awarded


While individual studies of online adult learner motivation from the learner's perspective have been conducted, to date, no comprehensive review has occurred, and thus, no meta-theories about online adult learner motivation from the perspective of the learner have been developed. Substantive theories on online adult learner motivation are essential to have as benchmarks against which best practices can be patterned to guide in the creation of online courses that better motivate learners to be successful. Grounded meta-analysis was used to examine 14 dissertations to identify themes about adult learner motivation from the learner's perspective, to determine if changes occurred in how online adult learner motivation was described during the period 1995 through 2005, and to develop best practices for course development to motivate online adult learners. This study found that adult learners choosing to enroll in online courses are intrinsically motivated, possess the ability to employ the cognitive strategies necessary to succeed online, value online learning, have high self-efficacy and set goals, but still may not be successful. Online courses that better motivate adult learners need to be well designed and frequently maintained, include extrinsic motivating factors such as grades, provide situational interest that builds on the experience-base adult learners bring to class, and allow learner personal control. Personal control for online adult learners not only includes the when and where to learn, but also the who to learn with. Some adult learners select online learning because they do not need and do not want to participate in social aspects of instruction, thus making socialization and collaboration activities demotivating factors for those learners. However, since some learners are motivated by online socialization and collaboration, making this type of interaction optional allows online adult learners control over their learning, which increases motivation.


Styer, A.J. A grounded meta-analysis of adult learner motivation in online learning from the perspective of the learner. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University. Retrieved October 19, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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