Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies

Committee Director

Ginger S. Watson

Committee Member

John Baaki

Committee Member

Tae-Im Han


The rise of online course enrollments in higher education has highlighted the need to establish and validate effective online instructional strategies focused on improving learning outcomes and affective responses towards instruction. One such strategy, group-based context personalization, frames instructional materials within contexts relevant to shared interests among groups of students. This study sought to investigate the effects of group-based context personalization on learning outcomes and motivation towards the instruction when materials were contextualized based on a learner’s academic major.

This study employed a true experimental design to explore the effects of group-based context personalization on learning outcomes and motivation for 20 undergraduate fashion merchandising majors enrolled in a four-year institution in the East Central Region of the U.S. Participants were randomly assigned to either the personalization or non-personalization group. The personalization group received an online unit on fair use and copyright contextualized with fashion merchandising examples, while the non-personalization group received the same instructional materials but with general, education-related examples. Both groups completed Keller’s (2010) Instructional Materials Motivation Survey and a posttest that consisted of recall, general transfer, and fashion merchandising-related transfer questions. This study found no significant between-groups differences on learning outcomes or motivation towards the instruction, though the within-groups posttest performance on general education questions did approach significance over performance on fashion merchandising transfer questions. Suggestions for future research and implementation of group-based context personalization instructional strategies are provided.