Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Instructional Technology

Major Professor

William A. Kealy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James White, PhD

Committee Member

Jeffrey Kromrey, PhD

Committee Member

Charles Lyman, MS


elearning, motivation, academic achievement, goal setting theory, personality


The current study investigates instructional design factors that can be manipulated to enhance learner motivation. A goal-based approach to enhancing motivation is discussed, along with current theory concerning the goal orientation an individual learner brings to an instructional situation. The efficacy of Prospect Theory as a cognitive mechanism underlying the valuation of effort toward a goal is discussed, and an experiment is presented in which goal messaging is manipulated based on the predictions of Prospect Theory as well as Goal Setting Theory. A Web-based tutorial consisting of ten sections of text, each with a recall test, was used. An ability goal orientation was found to impact section quiz scores. Both goal message framing and goal difficulty level were found to interact with an ability goal orientation to impact performance on section quizzes. A learning goal orientation was found to interact with goal difficulty to impact section quiz scores. The author concludes that while the study supports the use of goal messaging to enhance motivation, such manipulations by educators must be made in light of the goal orientations a learner brings to the instructional setting.