This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Empirical Evaluation of the Relationships between Student Characteristics and Online Learner Readiness among a Population of Prospective Online Students in a Post-Secondary Degree Program in Agriculture




Grill, Leslie Anne

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


An empirical research study was performed to identify potential relationships between five student characteristics and online learner readiness (as measured by the SmarterMeasure Learner Readiness Indicator survey instrument) among a population of current and prospective online students of a post-secondary degree program in AgRiculture at Auburn University. A population of 720 individuals were invited to participate in the study and a total of 223 individuals out of the 729 (30.6%) were included in the final voluntary sample for the study. There were 212 valid survey respondents, for a final response rate of 29.1%. Five independent variables representing student characteristics of gender, age group, whiteness, first generation status and previous experience in online courses status were analyzed against five scales of dependent variables representing validated online learner readiness constructs. Four steps of statistical analysis were performed in order to detect statistically significant relationships, specifically, the effect of the independent variables on both the groups of dependent variables as well as each individual variable (seventeen in all); descriptive statistics, partial correlations, MANOVA and Univariate Analyses of Variance, and Mann Whitney U tests. The mean scores and standard deviations for each of the five scales, seventeen subscales, and seven learning styles are presented. In addition, statistically significant results from the parametric and non-parametric analyses are presented. The summary of findings, implications, and the author’s recommendations for research and program administration conclude the work.