A comparison of traditional and non-traditional students enrolled in a junior/community college two-year degree program on the measurement of self-directed learning
The purpose of this study was to investigate the degree of self-directed learning demonstrated by traditional and nontraditional-adult students enrolled in three junior/community colleges' two-year terminal degree programs as measured by the subscores of the Oddi Continuing Learning Inventory (OCLI). During the spring of 1997, 78 traditional students and 100 nontraditional-adult students were administered the survey instrument. Findings revealed, according to mean and median scores of the OCLI, that there was a significant difference on the criterion variable of self-directed learning between the two groups of respondents. An examination of the univariate tests revealed that the primary difference between the two groups was on the subscale, Avidity of Reading with the nontraditional-adult students being more avid readers than the traditional students. No significant difference was noted for the General Factor and Self-regulating subscales of the instrument. Based on the findings of the study the conclusion was drawn that traditional students do not read relevant or current literature as frequently as the nontraditional-adult students. As a result of this study, the following recommendations were suggested (1) traditional students should be encouraged to read more serious literature; (2) traditional and nontraditional-adult students enrolled in Business and Office Technology programs should be encouraged to become more self-regulating; (3) instructors in two-year terminal degree programs should be encouraged to include relevant reading assignments in their classroom activities; and (4) instructors in two-year terminal degree programs should be introduced to self-directed learning techniques and should be encouraged to conduct classes so their students move from being teacher-dependent learners to being self-directed learners. The following are recommendations for further research: (1) additional research to determine to what extent instructors in a Business and Office Technology Program give serious reading assignments to their students; (2) additional research to determine to what extent instructors utilize self-directed learning projects/techniques in their classroom; (3) a similar study utilizing another technical two-year terminal degree program may provide greater insight into whether students in other majors are self-directed; (4) a different self-directed learning instrument, such as the SDLRS, to be conducted on Business and Office Technology majors as well as students enrolled in other two-year terminal degree programs; and (5) a study of the instructors employed in a Business and Office Technology Program as well as instructors employed in other two-year terminal degree programs to determine their opinions about self-directed learning.