Agronomy and Horticulture, Department of


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A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska, in partial fullfilment of requirements for the degree of Master of Science, under the supervision of Professor Deana Namuth-Covert and Professor Donald Lee, Lincoln, Nebraska May 2011.

Copyright 2011 Amy Lathrop


With the prevalence of online learning in education for both distance and campus-based students, it is critical to determine how to design electronic learning materials that tailor to student motivation and facilitate learning. Students were asked to complete an online plant breeding activity, motivation survey and an online learning quiz related to the activity. The control group of students was those who elected not to complete the activity, while the experimental group of students chose to complete the activity. Motivation scores were compared between control and experiment groups, courses, and gender using independent sample t-tests. Pearson correlations were also used to determine if correlations existed between various motivational aspects, motivation aspects and quiz scores, or overall motivation and quiz scores. Data analysis revealed correlations between motivation and quiz score; self-efficacy and quiz score, and active learning strategies and quiz score. Furthermore performance goal motivation does not differ between motivation levels. Only a difference in learning environment stimulation between males and females was uncovered. Using these findings instructors can better design online learning objects and alter the online learning environment to improve student performance in science education.

Advisers: Deana Namuth-Covert and Donald Lee