Abstract—The purpose of this grounded theory study was to
identify and explain factors that motivate and assist adult
undergraduate students to both enroll and successfully
complete an online course. Deepening our understanding of the
motivation of adult, online students will assist faculty in more
effectively meeting the needs of their students. Understanding
the specific factors that motivate adult students to enroll in
online, undergraduate courses will assist program directors in
targeting their marketing and student recruitment efforts more
effectively. The new understanding of adult students’
motivation gleaned from this study is compared to existing
motivation theories, specifically self-determination theory, goal
theory, and expectancy-value theory. Similarities and
differences are critically examined and a new trellis theory of
online learning is presented.
Index Terms—Adult learning, goal setting, motivation, online learning.
B. Bannier is with Lake Region State College, Devils Lake, ND 58301 USA (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cite: Betsy J. Bannier, "The Trellis Theory of Adult Online Learning," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 12-17, 2014.