Degree Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Jerry Robicheau


Colleges and universities are being held to a new standard of accountability and performance while at the same time are pressured to increase enrollment and graduation rates. Many institutions have turned to online education as a way to bolster enrollment. However, retention of online students is a challenge. As institutions look for creative ways to engage, retain, and motivate students to persist, motivational design models are being discussed as a retention strategy. The purpose of this quantitative study is to identify principles of instructional design that online undergraduate business students find most motivating at one small private university in the Mid-west of the U. S. More specifically, this study will use John Keller’s Instructional Materials Motivation Survey (IMMS) as a framework to assess student motivation by measuring the four instructional components of attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction. The research methodology will include the 12-item survey that will be emailed to the 422 online undergraduate students currently enrolled in the online business program. The responses of the survey will be collected through an online survey. Because the survey is rank order, the Spearman Correlation will be selected to test relationships between the variables. Also, the Kruskal-Wallace test will be used to test the correlation between the 12 items on the survey and the demographic information of age, gender, ethnicity, first-generation student status, grade point average (GPA), academic program and academic level.

The outcome of the survey will measure if there is a relationship between motivation and the four conditions of instructional design. Further, the survey results will test if there is a relationship between motivational instructional preference when demographic criterion are considered. The results of the research study will provide one small private university in the Mid-west of the U. S insight to the variables that online business students find relevant and motivating within their online classroom.