Date of Award

1-1-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Higher Education

First Advisor

Franklin Tuitt

Keywords

academy, Air Force, learner-centered, learner-centeredness, military, motivation

Abstract

Considering today's expeditionary warfare, it is essential the United States military service academies produce cadets and midshipmen who are intrinsically academically motivated, intellectually curious, and ready to meet the diversity of "publics and parliaments" they may influence during worldwide deployments (Scheffer, 2007). Research shows teachers' learner-centered practices that focus on students' needs positively influence college students' academic motivation. The purpose of this study was to measure cadets' levels of academic motivation and perceptions of learner-centered practices at the United States Air Force Academy.

This was a quantitative correlational study examining the relationship between cadets' perceptions of five learner-centered domains of practice and seven domains of motivation. The study examined the relationship of class year and five extrinsic motivators to academic motivation. Three on-line administrations of the Assessment of Learner-Centered Practices, College Student Version, collected data from 731 Academy cadets in 23 core academic courses. A factor analysis modified the item definitions of the survey's learner-centered domains from previous research. The five newly-defined domains were generally considered analogues to previously-defined domains for the purpose of this study.

Results indicated the cadets perceived Academy professors to have higher than nationally-sampled levels of establishing relationships and encouraging challenge and responsibility, but lower levels in providing for individual and social learning needs. Cadets' levels of motivation were significantly lower than the national sample (n = 5,140) in task mastery, work avoidance, and epistemic curiosity but more positive than the national sample in effort avoidance. Regressions showed perceptions of learner-centered practices did significantly predict motivation, but the domains were highly collinear. The composite of perceptions of learner-centered practices accounted for 33% of the variance in positive motivation. The composite only accounted for 8% of the variance in negative motivation. Class year and five extrinsic motivators accounted for less than 2% of the variance in any motivation domain. Regressions showed a small moderating effect of extrinsic motivators on perceptions of practice, but the moderating effect was unclear.

This study provided previously-unavailable empirical data regarding academy students, which may be useful for other U.S. service academies. Recommendations for future ALCP research at the service academies are presented.

Provenance

Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Joel Leonard Witzel

File size

281 p.

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

Higher education, Educational psychology, Military studies

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