School of Education
Doctor of Philosophy
motivation, non-traditional, online, persistence, student retention
Reynolds, Jasmine Monique, "Motivation in Student Retention: A Phenomenology of Non-traditional Undergraduate Students in Online Learning" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4932.
The purpose of this transcendental phenomenology study was to understand the experiences of non-traditional undergraduate students taking online courses at a public or a private university in Virginia. The self-determination theory, which guided this study, explained the motivated behaviors of intrinsic and extrinsic needs that affect the determination in non-traditional students completing a task. Self-determination theory provided the theoretical framework to answer the central research question for this study as well as the sub-questions: (1) What are the lived experiences of non-traditional students while taking online courses at a public or private university in Virginia? (2) What influences non-traditional students at a public or private university in Virginia to persist in online learning? (3) What motivates non-traditional students at a public or private university in Virginia to attend online education? (4) What strategies would help drive non-traditional students at a public or private university in Virgnia to complete their online education? This study used a qualitative transcendental phenomenological design where two public universities and one private university were contacted, but due to the lack of participants from the public universities, all 13 participants came from a private university in Virginia. The data was collected through a screening questionnaire, questionnaire, semi-structured interview, and a journal prompt. The interviews were transcribed. The results provided four themes: self, online experiences, motivation, and strategies of non-traditional student’s experiences with taking online classes at a public or private university in Virginia. The study’s findings showed that there is a need for administrators and faculty to improve non-traditional students’ online retention.