Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

William Morris


The purpose of this action research was to determine if motivation and perception of adult learners enrolled in a GED program at the Small Town Adult Education Center in South Carolina were affected by the use of communicative technologies and improved student-teacher relationships. This study focused on three overarching research questions. The first question sought to explore how the use of communicative technologies affect adult learners’ perceptions of the educational environment for a GED program. The second question explored how and to what extent the use of communicative technology affects the quality of student-teacher relationships for a GED program. The final question sought to explore how the use of communicative technology influence adult learners’ motivation in a GED program.

This action research study included a combination of mixed methods allowing for the integration of both qualitative and quantitative data (Creswell, 2014). Data collection tools used included the Motivated Strategies Learning Questionnaire, Student Instructor Relationship Scale, and participant interviews. An evaluation study with triangulation was employed using pre and post survey data and inductive thematic analysis of participant interviews. The study included 26 adult learner participants selected from the pool of newly enrolled students in the GED program for the 2019-2020 school year.

Four primary themes emerged from the qualitative data analysis. First, prior student experience affects perceptions and willingness to participate in Adult Education. Second, Adult Education program structure and organization influence perception and willingness of adult learners to participate in Adult Education. Thirdly, adult learners’ desire consistent dialogue and collaboration with Adult Education programs and instructors, and the final theme developed was adult learners’ desire instructor access along with relevant and useful GED prep material. Participants’ thoughts on previous educational experiences, barriers to learning, communicative technology integration, and student-teacher relationships were captured before and after the intervention of communicative technologies. This study revealed that previous experiences do influence students of which we as educators and program leaders may be unaware of when it comes to understanding our students. How to connect and understand the barriers that our adult learners face are questions that could help us better serve our students and make meaningful connections. Barriers are not examined on a deep level as future research could be beneficial in the area of barriers and finding out why students struggle with completion and what motivates them to continue despite these challenges.


© 2020, Rebekah Leigh Hannon