Motivation and Learning Outcomes: A Study of Incoming Exchange Students at Queen's University
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The purpose of this study was to measure the relationship between the motivation and learning outcomes of incoming exchange students at Queen’s University. The majority of research on study abroad programs measures the learning outcomes of U.S. students abroad in courses and programs designed exclusively for them. What is lacking is research on participants in exchange programs where incoming students study alongside, and are immersed in a similar living environment to, local students. The present study adds to the literature on study abroad by providing information about motivation and learning outcomes resulting from participating in an exchange. Using a pre-test/post-test research design, this study examines how both motivation and learning outcomes vary by gender, program of study, region of origin, duration of study and first language. The Study Abroad Goals Scale was used to measure motivation in the pre-test (n = 182) and the Global Perspectives Inventory (GPI) measured learning outcomes in both the pre- and post-test of incoming exchange students to Queen’s university in the 2009-2010 academic year (n = 98). Results indicate that the strongest motivation of the incoming exchange students was Cross-Cultural, followed by Academic and Personal/Social. Motivation differences were found in each independent variable except for gender indicating that motivation to study on exchange is not uniform among all participants. Findings from the measures of the GPI did not indicate any significant changes between the pre- and post-test. This suggests that participation in an exchange program does not necessarily lead to student development and that program administrators may need to implement proactive learning interventions to enhance the exchange experience for students.