Tim Piper

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Smith, Thomas J.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Adult education


The purpose of this study was to develop and provide validity evidence for scores from an instrument that measures self-directed learning (SDL) in exercisers, and from a second instrument that measures choice of learning resources by exercisers. The three dimensions of SDL that guided this research, based upon the Oddi Continuing Learning Inventory (OCLI), were (1) proactive drive, (2) cognitive openness, and (3) commitment to learning. The two instruments developed for this dissertation will be termed the Self-Directed Learning for Exercise Scale (SDLES) and the Education Resource Assessment (ERA). Data were collected through online instruments administered to participants who were engaged in exercise but were not employed in an exercise science-related field or profession. All participants were recruited through direct contact, e-mail, and social media solicitation. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze data. Confirmatory factor analytic findings indicate that the SDLES did not fit the proposed three-dimensional structure. Subsequent exploratory factor analysis revealed that a two-dimensional factor structure for a reduced set of the SDLES items explained 55.81% of the variance. Confirmatory factor analysis of this 11-item, two-factor structure showed good fit, with internally consistent constructs. Binomial logistic regression indicated that the subscales significantly predicted individuals as autonomous exercisers (AEs) or novice exercisers (NEs). The composite SDLES scores also were significant predictors of an individual's classification; whereas the composite OCLI scores were not significant predictors of an individual's exercise status. Friedman test results indicate significant differences among the resources utilized by AEs. These resources included other exercisers, the Internet, athletic trainers and physical therapists, magazines, personal trainers, and group exercise classes. The resources utilized for NEs included other exercisers, the Internet, magazines, group exercise classes, athletic trainers and physical therapists, and mobile apps. The resources selected at significantly high rates by AEs included sport coaches (U = 33,403.00, p = .001), clinics (U = 34,834.50, p = .002), and research journals (U = 30,479.50, p < .001). The resources selected at significantly high rates by NEs included TV programs (U = 32,152.50, p < .001) and infomercials (U = 34,572.00, p = .001). Resource selection also was a significant predictor of exercise category chi 2(2) = 68.99, p ≤ .001), explaining 67.20% of the variance, correctly classifying 86.10% as AE and 35.00% as NE. Items on the ERA significantly predicted type of exercise, with AEs 1.53 times more likely to utilize research journals (chi2(1) = 9.17, p < .002), and NEs 1.347 times more likely to utilize infomercials (chi2(1) = 4.47, p < .035) and 1.272 times more likely to utilize TV programs (chi2(1)= 7.02, p = .008). The 11-item SDLES has a two-factor structure; possesses a high degree of internal consistency, reliably measuring the underlying two-factor structure; and possesses measurement and structural invariance, allowing for comparison of factor means with the same precision for each group. The SDLES subscales and summated scores significantly predict AE and NE categories. The OCLI scores do not predict AE or NE correctly. The ERA is useful for measuring learning resources for AEs and NEs and correctly predicts AE and NE categories.


Advisors: Thomas Smith.||Committee members: Robert Intrieri; Jorge Jeria.||Includes bibliographical references.


xv, 179 pages




Northern Illinois University

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