An Exploration of Attitudinal and Situational Factors Related to Intrinsic Motivation and Autonomy in Teacher Education Students

Alfred P. Rovai, Michael K. Ponton, M. Gail Derrick, Nancy Rhea Wiggers, Jenny Sue Flannagan


Teachers who are autonomous in their learning are able to serve as both role models and facilitators of autonomy in their students. Because the manifestation of autonomy in pursuit of individual learning goals often spurs intrinsic motivation, this study used multiple correlation analysis in order to determine how well attitudinal and situational factors in teacher education students (N = 320) were related to intrinsic motivation as a proxy measure for learner autonomy. The attitudinal factors used were three components of extrinsic motivation, amotivation, classroom community, school community, and self-esteem; the situational factors were student status (undergraduate or graduate) and course type (online or face-to-face). Study results suggest that the most important factors related to intrinsic motivation are the three types of regulation associated with extrinsic motivation, graduate student status, enrollment in an online course, and self-esteem. In particular, online students were more intrinsically motivated than face-to-face classroom students. Possible explanations for this result are that (a) students with greater levels of intrinsic motivation self-select online versus face-to-face courses or (b) online instructors, course design, and pedagogy are better able to strengthen intrinsic motivation (and, by assumption, learner autonomy) in students.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Alfred P. Rovai, Michael K. Ponton, M. Gail Derrick, Nancy Rhea Wiggers, Jenny Sue Flannagan

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Education ISSN 1948-5476


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