First Advisor

Nancy Perrin

Term of Graduation

Summer 1998

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Educational technology, Motivation in education, Learning



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 136 pages)


Technology plays an increasing role in college courses. Student experiences and outcomes may be significantly altered by high-tech course presentation and flexible formats. Models from psychology, such as Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory are useful for understanding quality of experience. Dweck's motivation theory explains why some students may not experience the flow state during school work. The purposes of this study were to: 1) Determine if students in technology-enhanced courses differ from other students on the experience of flow, 2) Test the relationship between flow, motivation orientation, and time-on-task, and 3) Test the relationship between motivation orientation, time-on-task, and student outcomes.

Forty college students were randomly selected from four technology-enhanced and four control courses at Portland State University. Participants carried a two-way pager for eight days and responded with their activity when paged. Participants also completed a flow questionnaire and motivation questionnaire.

No significant differences were found for the conditions of flow between technology-enhanced and control courses. Two linear regressions were used to test the relationship between the conditions of flow, motivation orientation, and time-on-task. The model for time-on-task for attending class was significant at p=.032; as goal clarity increased and/or as the balance of challenges and skills increased, time-on-task increased. Zero-order correlations for time-on-task for studying showed that as learning goals and/or feedback clarity increased, studying increased.

Eight multiple linear regressions tested relationships between conditions for flow, motivation orientation, and results of flow. The models for concentration while studying and attending class were both significant. For attending class, increased learning goals were related to increased concentration. Increased learning goals and increased performance goals were related to increased concentration while studying.

Many of these results are consistent with previous research on flow, motivation, and student outcomes. While there were no differences found between technology-enhanced and control courses, technology contains many tools which may positively influence improved student outcomes.


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