Assessing online readiness for a professional master’s degree program in agricultural education




Needs Assessment, Professionals in Agricultural Service Agencies, Agricultural Education, Online Learning, Online Master’s Degree, Student Readiness, Student Motivation, Distance Education, Clemson University


Online learning is one form of distance education mediated through information and communications technology. We used a descriptive research design to develop and validate a multidimensional instrument to assess readiness and motivations for online learning. We provided a theoretical framework to better understand the concept of readiness for online learning and motivations to learn online. We assessed the need for a professional online Master’s degree in [Major] from [University] and participants’ experience with online learning. Participants in this study included 531 Cooperative Extension agents, Natural Resource Conservation Agency, Farm Service Agency employees, and School-based agricultural educators from [State], [State], and [State]. Of those, 96 participants completed the open-ended question. The study findings revealed that the survey instrument is a valid and reliable tool. Most participants reported a tendency for self-directed learning as they indicated having higher learning expectations performances. Individuals who perceive themselves as capable of performing a specific task or behavior have high levels of self-efficacy. Participants expressed that distance from campus—no need to relocate, and flexibility were their primary motivators to enroll in online learning. Many prefer using asynchronous technologies since they provide a more convenient environment where they can work at their own pace and better balance their work and school responsibilities. Results may also suggest that participants who are motivated to pursue an online degree place a high value on being self-directed learners since they can plan, monitor, and evaluate their own learning process.


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How to Cite

Rossi, M. M., Layfield, D., Donaldson, J. L., Luo, Y., & Agudelo, P. (2024). Assessing online readiness for a professional master’s degree program in agricultural education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 65(1), 140–156.



Journal of Agricultural Education