Examining Differences in Aviation Student Motivation During Blended Versus Online Asynchronous Courses

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Nick Wilson
Robert Stupnisky


This study evaluated responses to an adapted version of the Academic Motivation Scale (AMS; Vallerand et al., 1992) to collegiate aviation students at a midwestern university in the United States. The study is informed by Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000a) and sought to investigate the motivational differences of students according to their enrollment in one of two course delivery methods. The study compared two groups of senior-level undergraduate students enrolled in an undergraduate advanced aircraft systems course. Seven sections of face-to-face blended (n = 161) were compared with two sections of online, asynchronous (n = 43) to compare for potential differences in motivational attributes evaluated through the AMS. Despite differences in course delivery characteristics, such as the amount of peer-interaction and social-presence as well as the flexibility inherent to the online asynchronous course, results of independent samples t-test did not reveal any self-selection bias, or students with shared motivational characteristics to enroll in one delivery method or another. As other studies have shown differences in characteristics of students enrolled in online courses (Deming et al., 2012; Money & Dean, 2019; Nguyen, 2015), this result is an important addition to the research literature available to administrators, faculty and curriculum designers within the collegiate environment. To ensure effective course design, further study is warranted with instruments outside of the AMS to determine the presence of other potential student differences of those enrolled in online courses.

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