Academic journal article Education

Does the Type of Campus Influence Self-Regulated Learning as Measured by the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ)?

Academic journal article Education

Does the Type of Campus Influence Self-Regulated Learning as Measured by the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ)?

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Non-traditional students enter or reenter the University environment for a variety of reasons (primarily economic and not social) and now currently make up between half and 75% of the students enrolled as undergraduates (Jamilah, 2002; Choy, 2002; Dill & Henley, 1998; Hoskins & Newstead, 1997). Previous research (Richardson, 1994) held to the myth that older or nontraditional students are at a disadvantage when returning to a university. However, Hoskins and Newstead, (1997) reported that non-traditional students have a slight advantage over traditional students and are reported to obtain better degrees on the average than younger students. Traditional students who are now entering the University setting must evaluate the type of campus structure and establish relationships and learning styles based on the social norms of that campus. This process of social adjustment and campus appraisal is then reflected in the academic success or failure of the student (Lee, Keough, & Sexton, 2002). Graham & Donaldson stated in 1999 that the population of "new learners," adult students, currently make up about 40 to 45% of the students enrolled as undergraduates. In less than 5 years, that number is reported to be between 50 and 75 % regardless of the type of university structure (Choy, 2002). The need for research on this rapidly growing population of students is gaining attention and researchers are now suggesting that research on college student development should focus attention on the nontraditional students in higher education; older students, students of color, and students who attend part-time while working (Evelyn, 2002; Graham & Donaldson, 1999). These students are considered non-traditional students. As nontraditional students continue to increase, the response from the academic community is to provide a variety of learning opportunities and diverse "mission statements" based on the type of university campus. Online education as well as distance learning has grown substantially in higher education (Miller and Lu, 2003). Regardless of campus type, how students integrate information based on the type of campus, and the type of student (traditional versus nontraditional) is worthy of investigation.

Adults have a self-concept of being responsible for their own lives and decisions, and need to know why they need to learn something before making the effort to learn (Knowles, 1984). Adults returning to college are quite capable students, although some students exhibit a set of characteristics that can be "misinterpreted as evidence of inability" (Slotnick, Pelton, Fuller, & Tabor, 1993, p. 9). Merriam and Brockett, (1997) clearly supported that knowing why adults choose to participate in programs and the barriers that they must overcome to participate, are essential for planning and development of educational programs. With the increase in non-traditional students, the need for additional research that will provide understanding and evaluation of the strategy use, motivation, learning techniques, and life skills of adult students is as critical to the future of universities in teaching, recruitment strategies, and student retention, as it is to the individual students.

Traditionally research on learning styles (also known as strategy use) and motivation has been done using specific populations. Those populations include elementary age students and high school students as well as traditional college students (Zimmerman, Bonner, & Kovach, 1996; Pintrich & Garcia, 1994; Garcia, 1995). The previous research indicated that most students depend on external motivation and are not systematic about studying, relying on idiosyncratic methods that they have devised over the years. According to research on adult learners, their motivation involves a variety of factors including personal interest and satisfaction, job improvement, employment requirement and their perception of personal value (Slotnick, Pelton Fuller, & Tabor, 1993; Knowles, 1985). …

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