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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Motivational orientations and adult education Blakley, Barbara Beryl


The earliest participation research, concentrated on descriptive characterization of the "typical" adult education participant. It is now generally accepted that this individual is from the upper levels of society in terms of education and socio-economic status, is under forty years of age, works, full time and usually at a white collar occupation, is married and a parent, and lives in an urban (or suburban) area. This information is interesting and useful, but does not tell why people participate in adult education. This study examines psychological and demographic variables and relates them to motivational orientation as measured by the Education Participation Scale (Boshier, 1976) to determine some of the reasons people participate in adult education. The purpose of this study was to correlate psychological, demographic, and economic variables with motivation to participate in adult education. A secondary purpose was to test the validity of the Education Participation Scale as a measure of motivational orientation. The Education Participation Scale was used to measure motivational orientation. The Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, the Barron-Asch Independence of Judgement Measure, Shostrom's Personal Orientation Inventory, and Wilson and Patterson's Conservatism Scale were used to measure 15 psychological variables. Demographic and economic data were collected from the respondents. Respondents were 140 participants registered in general interest adult education courses sponsored by five agencies in the lower mainland of British Columbia. Regression and discriminant function analyses were performed to determine the amount of observed variance in motivational orientations explained by psychological and demographic variables, and to investigate the validity of the Education Participation Scale. The results indicate that motivational orientation can be predicted by different combinations of variables. The most important predictors were psychological variables such as Shostrom's "view of man" and time competence. Neuroticism and level of family income were the next most important predictors. All together, the investigated variables accounted for about 25 percent of the variance in Education Participation Scale scores, The results provide a measure of support for the predictive (75%) and the construct (,77) validity of the Scale. Social Welfare, Cognitive Interest, and Social Contact best discriminated between the clientele of the five agencies, Evidence for construct validity was provided by such results as the finding that people motivated by Escape/ Stimulation are more neurotic and have lower self regard than subjects who were not highly motivated by Escape/Stimulation. It was concluded that since 25 to 30 percent of the variance in Education Participation Scale scores is explained by the investigated variables and about ten percent by measurement error, about 65 percent is still unexplained. Two alternatives could account for this finding. Either other variables account for the greater part of the variance, or the Education Participation Scale measures factors which exist on their own. Perhaps Cognitive Interest, for example, is a psychological variable in itself. The implications of the findings are that psychological variables are important predictors of motivational orientation, and should therefore be taken into account when motivation for participation in adult education is considered. A further implication, however, Is that variables other than those investigated may be equally important. Programming based solely on popular course content is not likely to satisfy all motives underlying participation. Because psychological variables are more important than other investigated variables in prediction of motivational orientation, concentration on the economic and demographic characteristics of the clientele of an agency to determine policy and programming is inappropriate. The finding that the clientele, of the five participating agencies can be so clearly distinguished implies that it may be possible to characterize the clientele of other agencies in a similar manner. On the basis of this study, it was recommended that practitioners assess the motivational orientations of their clientele to provide more effective prograrrming for them, and to increase the clientele served. It was recommended that in future research other variables such as intelligence, alienation, and cultural adjustment be explored to determine their correlation with Education Participation Scales. An exploration of the intercorrelations between the Scales should be made, and changes in motivational orientation during the course of an educational activity examined.

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