Date of Award

12-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Ralph G. Brockett

Committee Members

Schuyler Huck, Gina Phipps, Mary Ziegler

Abstract

With the knowledge age evolving, colleges and universities should be ever vigilant to assure that the pedagogies practiced are adequately preparing future workers with skills required to keep pace (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006). Business managers have identified self-direction and technology use as increasingly important in the 21st century (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2006), yet a gap in research of pedagogies that advance self-directedness and promote technology use has been found. To help identify new pedagogies, the purpose of this study was to identify the relationship between self-directed learning (SDL) and technology use of people entering the workplace. A sample of 572 recent university graduates represented the new workforce entrants.

Based on the Personal Responsibility Orientation (PRO)-Model of SDL (Brockett & Hiemstra, 1991), factors of self-direction were identified and measured by the Personal Responsibility Orientation -Self Directed Learning Scale (PRO-SDLS) (Stockdale, 2003). Attitudinal factors of technology use were measured by the Computer Technology Use Scale (CTUS) (Conrad & Munro, 2008).

Results of this study indicated that while significant relationships between SDL and technology use were found, the effect size of the model tested is low (less than .03). Hierarchical regression indicated the factors of SDL as predictors of computer self-efficacy, attitudes toward technology use and computer anxiety are significant in some cases but account for less than 7% of the variance for any one factor. Additionally, both instruments used in this study are relatively new. While reliability for the PRO-SDLS was found to be consistent with previous research, this study indicates that caution should be taken in using the CTUS. Based on these results, this study includes implications for practice as well as recommendations for future research.

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