This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Achievement Goal Orientations and Resource Management Strategies of Adult and Traditional Learners




Lin, Xi

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


This study examined the achievement goal orientations and resource management strategies of adult and traditional learners. Based on Elliot and McGregor’s (2001) achievement goal theoretical framework and Pintrinch and colleagues’ (1991) self-regulated learning conceptual framework, this study examined the difference of achievement goal orientations and resource management strategies of these two student groups, and explored the relationship of these two sets of variables among the learners. It further investigated how the achievement goal orientations and the resource management strategies differ between adult and traditional learners. A quantitative research design was used to address five research questions. The Achievement Goal Questionnaire-Revised (AGQ-R) version (Elliot & Murayama, 2008) and Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1991) were used in this study. Participants were students enrolled at a large southeastern research institution in the U.S. during the Spring semester, 2016. Survey data was analyzed through one-way MANOVA, canonical correlation, and discriminant analysis. Results show that adult learners are more mastery approach-goal oriented than their traditional counterparts, whereas traditional learners are more performance goal-oriented. In terms of resource management strategies, adult learners prefer to use effort regulation strategies and manage their study time, while traditional learners often adopt peer learning and help seeking strategies. Moreover, the achievement goal orientations and resource management strategies have a moderate canonical correlation for both student groups. To be more specific, adult learners who have a strong mastery approach-goal orientation are more likely to manage their study time and have high commitment of achieving their study goals. Meanwhile, traditional learners with both types of mastery goal orientations are more often to adopt study time management, effort regulation, and peer learning strategies during their learning process. Lastly, effort regulation, peer learning, performance avoidance-goal orientation, and mastery approach-goal orientation could differ between adult and traditional learners. In other words, those who have a high level of mastery approach-goal orientation and/or spend more time and effort in study are more likely to be adult learners, whereas those who have a high level of performance avoidance-goal orientation and/or often study with their peers are more likely to be traditional learners. This study finally suggested that faculty should assist students properly based on their different achievement goal-orientations and learning strategies, especially in a mix classroom.