Lee A. Wynne

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

David P. Biros, PhD


E-Learning Technology is being used to train and educate a myriad of personnel. Evidence shows, however, that completion rates among e-learners are lower than that of traditional learners. Motivational theory is applied to this problem to explain why e-learners initiate, sustain and terminate behavior. In particular, an integrative motivational model, that highlights distal and proximal processes, is introduced to identify and measure those factors most likely to influence e-learning completion rates. Findings offer recommendations that may be useful to e-learning instructors, administrators, and designers. Three research questions were used to investigate motivational theory and its relation to e-learning completion rates. Eight courses were analyzed along with 497 responses received from an on-line survey. Data was coded according to whether the student completed or dropped the course. Statistical analysis showed that e-learners are more likely to invest their time, talent, and energy when they encounter fewer technical problems, less distractions, and more environmental support from supervisors and instructors. Furthermore, lengthy modules and low self-efficacy were found to decrease the motivational tendency to persist. Overall, results proved that motivational theory can be used to predict and explain those factors most likely to influence a person's desire to "go the distance" with e-learning. Practical and theoretical implications of the research are discussed.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number