Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Paul W. Thurston, PhD


Completion rates for web-based courses tend to lag behind their traditional classroom counterparts, sometimes as much as 40% (Carter, 1996; Phipps and Merisotis, 1999; Zielinski, 2000). Thurston and Reynolds (2002) employed motivational constructs to explain why some people persist while others drop out of web-based courses. Their analysis of 8 web-based courses and response from 497 active duty Air Force students indicated that completion goals, off-task distractions, availability of feedback for self-regulation, and continued confidence were important factors that distinguished those who completed their courses from those who did not. This study addresses the limitations of the previous study and then expands beyond persistence to assess the influence of motivational factors of on transfer of learning to the work environment and intentions to pursue e-learning courses in the future. A survey was administered to 1,946 active duty and civilian students who had enrolled in one of the 20 courses offered by the Air Force Institute of Technology s Virtual Schoolhouse. Results were analyzed using the LISREL (Joreskog and Sorbom, 1993) structural equational modeling program. Analysis of the 791 usable responses provided strong evidence for the hypothesized relationships. Practical and theoretical implications of this research are discussed.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number