Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

James Berger (Director), John Moore, Judy Pierce

Degree Program

Department of Educational Administration, Leadership and Research

Degree Type

Master of Arts of Education


Over the last two decades, research has identified factors that foster versus undermine human motivation and well being with important implications for learning and performance. Much of the research is concerned with intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation and autonomous versus non-autonomous learning environments. The data suggests that learning and performance are often significantly enhanced in autonomy-supportive environments that foster intrinsic motivational perspectives. This study examines the lived experience of Abraham Lincoln in the context of his adult learning motivation, forming a qualitative narrative around his adult educational experiences. It was hypothesized that Abraham Lincoln benefited from learning experiences with high levels of both intrinsic motivation and autonomy-supportive contexts. Results indicate that Abraham Lincoln experienced near total autonomy in his learning activities and that most of his adult learning activities were intrinsically-motivated. A discussion section explores the relevance of the findings to select topics in adult education.


Cognition and Perception | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Leadership | Educational Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts