Mid-Career Adult Learners in an Online Doctoral Program and the Drivers of Their Academic Self-Regulation
The Importance of Social Support and Parent Education Level
Keywords:academic self-regulation, adults, doctoral education, first-generation, social support
Adult professionals enroll in online graduate programs and rely on social support and on their ability to self-regulate to be successful. The literature on academic self-regulation among emerging adults (traditional college age) is ample, but we do not know how social support interacts with academic self-regulation among adult graduate students at mid-career, particularly among those students who are first generation college goers. This study addressed the following questions: (1) To what degree do parental education level and cohort progression predict academic self-regulation? and (2) What sources of social support – family, friends, loved one (significant other), and classmates – are predictive of academic self-regulation for adult students in an online doctoral program? Findings include evidence that the influence of parental educational level on academic self-regulation persists through midlife. Also, that perceived social support from family, friends, and peers predicts academic self-regulation. We conclude with implications for the design of online programs.
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