MS Proposal by Sibley Lyngaard

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Name: Sibley Lyndgaard

Master’s Thesis Proposal Meeting

Date: Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

Time: 3:00PM

Location: J.S. Coon Building, Room 217



Ruth Kanfer, Ph.D. (Georgia Tech)


Thesis Committee Members:

Ruth Kanfer, Ph.D. (Georgia Tech)

Julia Melkers, Ph.D. (Georgia Tech)

Phillip Ackerman, Ph.D. (Georgia Tech)


Title: Using Selection, Optimization, and Compensation (SOC) Theory to Develop and Validate a Measure of Adult Online Learning


Abstract: In the coming decades, increasing numbers of adults are expected to pursue mastery of technical skills and qualifications, driven by shifts in the nature of work available and the trend towards longer working lives (Cappelli, 2015; OECD, 2006). Affordable, high quality online education is expanding accessibility for this type of continued education (Goodman, Melkers, & Pallais, 2018). The objective of the proposed project is to investigate how individual differences in self-regulatory strategy use influence the ways in which adult learners navigate their educational experience. Selection, Optimization, and Compensation (SOC) theory (Baltes & Baltes, 1990) is a broad metatheory of adult development which posits that individuals pursue goals using the three primary strategies of goal selection, environmental optimization, and compensation for resource loss. Consistent with the social cognitive perspective (Bandura, 1986), the most adaptive implementation of these strategies varies based on characteristics of the person, goal, and environment (Freund & Riediger, 2001; Jopp & Smith, 2006). In the proposed project, the development of a SOC-based measure of strategy use during adult online learning will permit analysis of more “macro” self-regulatory strategies (e.g., continuing to persist despite limited resources in the pursuit of a larger goal such as making a career change) that have been previously shown to predict achievement in online learning contexts (e.g., Broadbent & Poon, 2015) and that contribute to lifelong learning and occupational adjustment. Items identifying SOC behaviors will be developed from archival interviews with adults enrolled in an online Masters of Computer Science (OMSCS) program. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analytic procedures will be used to develop the SOC in Adult Learning Measure. Additional variables (i.e., demographic, personality, self-efficacy, sense of belonging) will be deployed in a sample of OMSCS students in combination with the new measure to provide initial validation as well as to explore patterns of SOC strategy use in adult online learners. Implications for theoretical advancement and workforce development are discussed.



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Created: 09/05/2019
  • Modified By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Modified: 09/05/2019