Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Graduate School

Major Professor

John I. Liontas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sanghoon Park, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Phil Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yi-Hsin Chen, Ph.D.


adult refugees, E-learning, limited literacy, metacognition, motivation, multiliteracy skills


Adult refugees without print literacy are a diverse group. The reasons adult refugees lack print literacy varies widely among individuals. While meeting the needs of these adults is indeed important, instructors who work with these learners are frequently challenged to provide suitable e-learning environments in which these learners can thrive. Accordingly, the present study aimed to achieve four goals. First, it investigated the effectiveness of explicit metacognitive instruction within an e-learning environment in enhancing the motivational profile of adult refugees with limited literacy. Second, it researched the effectiveness of explicit metacognitive instruction accompanied with an e-learning environment in enhancing the metacognition of the adult learners. Third, it researched how these adult learners may be equipped to acquire reading, writing, numeracy, and digital literacy skills after receiving explicit metacognitive instruction in an environment where e-learning was involved. Fourth, it explored the perceptions of the participants on the ability of the explicit metacognitive instruction within an e-learning environment to enhance their motivation and metacognition and to help their learning.

The participants were 51 adult refugees from Haiti, Guatemala, Cuba, and El Salvador, who were placed in a literacy course based on their CASAS pre-test score at an adult education center. The purpose of this course is to deliver English language and literacy instruction for adult English language learners who are non-literate or semi-literate in their home language or any other language. Students who complete this course are expected to be capable of enrolling and participating in the first level (beginner level) of the Adult ESOL course. Employing explicit instruction within an e-learning environment, this study conducted independent t-test and ANCOVA statistical analyses for the quantitative data analysis and used semi-structured interviews for the qualitative data analysis.

The quantitative findings of this study showed that explicit metacognitive instruction within an e-learning environment significantly affects the motivation, metacognition, and multiliteracy skills of adult refugees who may have had little to no formal education in their first language. The qualitative findings confirmed that these adult learners found the metacognitive strategies used explicitly by the teacher in the classroom helped them with their learning. The participants also confirmed that being exposed to an e-learning environment improved their motivation and multiliteracies.