Advertisement

International Review of Education

, Volume 64, Issue 5, pp 585–606 | Cite as

Ghanaian mature students’ motivation to pursue degree programmes through distance education

  • Samuel Amponsah
  • Beatrice Ayorkor Torto
  • Samuel Kofi Badu-Nyarko
Original Paper

Abstract

Mature distance education students in Ghana, like part-time students all over the world, need to be motivated in order to enjoy their studies and succeed in what they do. In order to come up with incentives for such learners to join and complete a course, universities have to be aware of the characteristics and the socio-economic background of this group of learners and use an approach that best suits their needs at any given time. Based on Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Deci’s self-determination theory, the authors of this article investigate the factors that motivate mature students to engage in distance education and how their motivation is sustained throughout their studies. Using a survey questionnaire, the authors collected data from 210 mature distance education students (106 males and 104 females; aged 30+) of the University of Ghana. Interestingly, some of the authors’ findings depart from the norm in terms of adult learners’ motivations and what extant literature holds as typified in the work of Ryan and Deci. Adult learners more generally are described in the literature as being mainly intrinsically motivated (e.g. by the desire to learn for its own sake, for the enjoyment it provides, or the feelings of accomplishment it evokes). Interestingly, this survey reveals that mature distance education students who were enrolled in a higher education programme offered by the University of Ghana were mainly extrinsically motivated, giving career development as their top reason for course selection.

Keywords

mature students adult learning distance learners, distance education motivating forces 

Résumé

Motivation des étudiants adultes ghanéens pour suivre des programmes diplômants à distance – Les étudiants adultes en téléapprentissage au Ghana, comme tous les étudiants à temps partiel de la planète, ont besoin d’être motivés pour apprécier et réussir leurs études. Si elles veulent proposer des incitatifs qui encouragent ces apprenants à intégrer et accomplir un cursus, les universités doivent connaître les caractéristiques et le contexte socio-économique de ce groupe d’étudiants, pour adopter une approche répondant au mieux et à tout moment à leurs besoins. S’appuyant sur l’ouvrage anglophone Théorie de l’auto-détermination de Richard M. Ryan et Edward L. Deci, les auteurs de cet article explorent les facteurs qui motivent les étudiants adultes à s’engager dans une formation à distance, et de quelle manière leur motivation se maintient tout au long de leurs études. Au moyen d’un questionnaire d’enquête, les auteurs ont recueilli des données auprès de 210 étudiants adultes en téléapprentissage (106 hommes et 104 femmes âgés/ées de plus de 30 ans) à l’université du Ghana. Certaines observations des auteurs divergent curieusement de la norme en ce qui concerne les motivations des apprenants adultes et ce que la documentation caractérise comme typique dans l’ouvrage de Ryan et Deci. Les apprenants adultes globalement parlant y sont décrits comme étant en majorité motivés de manière intrinsèque (entre autres par le désir d’apprendre comme fin en soi, par le plaisir ou par le sentiment de réussite que l’apprentissage procure). Cette enquête révèle singulièrement que les étudiants adultes inscrits en téléapprentissage à un cursus d’enseignement supérieur proposé par l’université du Ghana étaient en majorité motivés de manière extrinsèque, ayant déclaré comme raison première pour le choix de leur cursus leur évolution de carrière.

References

  1. Abdullah, M. M. B., Parasuraman, B., Muniapan, B., Koren, S., & Jones, M. (2008). Motivating factors associated with adult participation in distance learning program. International Education Studies, 1(4), 104–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Amponsah, S. (2010). The evolution and implementation strategies of the University of Ghana Bachelor of Arts Distance Education Programme [unpublished M.Phil thesis]. Legon: University of Ghana.Google Scholar
  3. Adcroft, A. (2011). The motivations to study and expectations of studying of undergraduate students in business and management. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 35(4), 521–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Badu-Nyarko, S. K., & Donkor, S. (2014). Tutorial needs of distance students in Ghana. Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies, 5(2), 242–251.Google Scholar
  5. Badu-Nyarko, S. K. (2013). Basic research methods in social science (revised ed.). Accra: Woeli Publications.Google Scholar
  6. Bennett, R. (2004). Students’ motives for enrolling on business degrees in a post-1992 university. International Journal of Educational Management, 18(1), 25–36.Google Scholar
  7. Borg, E., Kraft, R., & Sjunnesson, C. (2007). Work motivation and life stage: Is there a connection? Bachelor’s thesis in Business Administration, Växjö University, School of Management and Economics. Retrieved 10 May 2018 from http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:205333/fulltext01.
  8. Boshier, R., & Collins, J. B. (1985). The Houle typology after twenty-two years: A large-scale empirical test. Adult Education Quarterly, 35(3), 113–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burns, M. (2011). Distance education for teacher training: Modes, models, and methods. Washington, DC: Education Development Centre. Retrieved 11 May 2018 from http://idd.edc.org/sites/idd.edc.org/files/Distance%20Education%20for%20Teacher%20Training%20by%20Mary%20Burns%20EDC.pdf.
  10. Deckers, L. (2005). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson.Google Scholar
  11. Gouws, E. (Ed.). (2015). The adolescent (4th ed.). Cape Town: Pearson.Google Scholar
  12. Ginsberg, M. B., & Wlodkowski, R. J. (2010). Access and participation. In C. Kasworm, A. R. Rose, & J. Ross-Gordon (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 25–34). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Gboku, M., &. Lekoku, R. N. (2007). Developing programmes for adult learners in Africa. Hamburg: UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. Retrieved 14 May 2018 from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001567/156778e.pdf.
  14. Heikkilä, A., & Lonka, K. (2006). Studying in higher education: Students’ approaches to learning, self-regulation, and cognitive strategies. Studies in Higher Education, 31(1), 99–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Houle, C. O. (1961). The inquiring mind: A study of the adult who continues to learn. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  16. Iguisi, O. (2009). Motivation-related values across culture. African Journal of Business Management, 3(4), 141–150.Google Scholar
  17. Jong, M. (2009). A case study of learning motivation towards English language learning among form four secondary school students in SMK Jaya of Nanga district (unpublished thesis), University Malaysia Sarawak. Retrieved 13 May 2018 from https://ir.unimas.my/3291/1/A%20case%20study%20of%20learning%20motivation%20towards%20english%20language%20learning%20among%20form%20four%20secondary%20school%20students%20in%20SMK%20Jaya%20of%20Nanga%20district.pdf.
  18. Khalid, A. A. (2014). The influence of prerequisite grades on students’ performance: Further evidence from Kuwait. The Journal of Developing Areas, 49(5), 1–9.Google Scholar
  19. Knowles, S. M. (1980). The modern practice of adult education: Andragogy versus pedagogy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Cambridge Adult Education.Google Scholar
  20. Knowles, M. S. (1984). Andragogy in action: Applying modern principles of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  21. Lepper, M. K. (1988). Motivational considerations in the study of instruction. Cognition and Instruction, 5(4), 289–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lin, X., & Wang, C. H. (2015). Factors that affect returning to graduate school for international and American adult learners. Institute for Learning Styles Journal, 1, 40–53.Google Scholar
  23. Lunenburg, F. C. (2011). Expectancy theory of motivation: Motivating by altering expectations. International Journal of Management, Business and Administration, 15(1), 1–6.Google Scholar
  24. Marshall, H. H. (1987). Motivational strategies of three fifth-grade teachers. The Elementary School Journal, 88(2), 135–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mwaikokesya, M. J. (2014). Undergraduate students’ development of lifelong learning attributes in Tanzania. PhD Thesis, University of Glasgow. Retrieved 11 May 2018 from http://theses.gla.ac.uk/5018/.
  26. Naylor, K. M. (1996). Learning philosophy and approach. In V. Bianco-Mathis & N. Chalofsky (Eds.), The adjunct faculty handbook (pp. 15–25). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  27. Onuka, A. O., & Durowoju, E. O. (2011). Motivation and gender as determinants of achievement in senior secondary school economics. European Journal of Educational Studies, 3(2), 209–216.Google Scholar
  28. Pandya, R., & Tewari, P. (2010). Effective teaching strategies. In R. Pandya (Ed.), Adult and non-formal education (pp. 37–54). New Delhi: Gyan Publishing House.Google Scholar
  29. Perraton, H. (2000). Open and distance learning in the developing world. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Santrock, J. W. (2013). Adolescence (14th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  32. Simpson, O. (2008). Motivating learners in open and distance learning: Do we need a new theory of learner support? Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 23(3), 159–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Slavin, R. (2012). Educational psychology: Theory and practice (10th ed.). New York: Pearson.Google Scholar
  34. Sogunro, O. A. (2015). Motivating factors for adult learners in higher education. International Journal of Higher Education, 4(1), 22–37.Google Scholar
  35. Titmus, C. J. (Ed.). (2014). Lifelong education for adults: An international handbook. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  36. Torto, B. A. (2000). Learning needs of part-time adult students in Accra: Implications for distance education [unpublished M. Phil thesis]. Legon: University of Ghana.Google Scholar
  37. Torto, B. A., & Badu-Nyarko, S. K. (2009). Learning orientation of part-time adult learners in Ghana. Journal of Literacy and Adult Education, 4(1), 46–59.Google Scholar
  38. UG (2014a). Objectives and vision [of the University of Ghana Distance Education programme; webpage]. Retrieved 3 June 2017 from http://www.ug.edu.gh/distance/about/vision.
  39. UG (2014b). Brief history [of the Department of Distance Education of the School of Continuing and Distance Education webpage]. Retrieved 3 June 2017 from http://www.ug.edu.gh/distance/about/brief_history.
  40. Van der Kamp, M. (1996). European traditions in literacy research and measurement. In A. Tuijnman, I. Kirsch & D. A Wagner (Eds), Adult basic skills: Innovations in measurement and policy analysis (pp. 139–162). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V., and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Adult Education and Human Resource Studies, School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of EducationUniversity of GhanaLegonGhana
  2. 2.Institute for Distance and e-LearningUniversity of EducationWinnebaGhana

Personalised recommendations