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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Relationships between motivational orientations and participant satisfaction with instructional environments Clarke, Grant Stewart


The literature on motivational orientations suggests that participants' reasons for taking courses possibly have an impact on their subsequent perceptions of and behaviour in those courses. Yet few studies have empirically investigated this relationship. Previous motivational orientation research has focused instead on variables that "predict" participation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which participant satisfaction with instructional environments is predicted by their motivational orientations. Subjects were 222 participants enrolled in general interest and largely non-credit courses in four institutions in lower mainland British Columbia. At the beginning of each course subjects completed the Education Participation Scale (EPS) which measures motivational orientations and a questionnaire eliciting socio-economic information. Toward the end of each course, most of which were eight to thirteen weeks long, participants completed a modified Personality and Educational Environment Scales (PEES) which measured their "satisfaction" with five aspects of their instructional environments: Other Adult Education Students; Myself; My Instructor; Course Content; and Course Setting. PEES ratings were factor analyzed to yield three factors resembling those produced by Boshier (1973): Sociability; Intellectual Potency; and Conventionality. Scores on each of these factors for each of the five environmental concepts were .used as the dependent variables in multiple regression equations where six EPS factor scores and socio-economic data were independent. Univariate; and-bivariate analyses were performed as well. The results of the analyses gave rise to the following conclusions. All the predictor variables accounted for less than eighteen percent of the variability in participant satisfaction with their instructional environments. This suggests that participants' motivational predispositions do not strongly determine satisfaction. If motivation and other "internal" psychological variables are not strong predictors of participant satisfaction, substantial amounts of variance must lie elsewhere. In speculating about sources of unexplained variance (in satisfaction) it is probable that the quality of instruction is a powerful determinant; a good instructor can induce high (or low) levels of satisfaction irrespective of participant motivation. Other external variables such as physical setting, climate, and so on, probably have minimal effects compared to those associated with the quality of instruction and the characteristics of the instructor. If correct, this conclusion suggests a need for behaviouristic, rather than mentalistic studies of participant satisfaction. In general, the variables employed did not explain large amounts of variability in satisfaction. However, satisfaction with "things" in the instructional environment was easier to explain than satisfaction with "persons." Theoretically, the study questioned the utility of trying to explain participant satisfaction in terms of internal variables. Practically, the study appeared to suggest that satisfaction largely stems from the influence of external (instruction-related) variables in interaction with internal variables. These external variables are probably under the control of the instructor.

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