Interact for What? The Relationship Between Interpersonal Interaction Based on Motivation and Educational Outcomes Among Students in Manufacturing Programs at Two-Year Technical Colleges

Hsun Yu Chan*, Xueli Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: This study explored the relationship between different types of interpersonal interaction, characterized by their underlying motivations, and educational outcomes among students in manufacturing programs at two-year colleges. While there exist several ways to classify interaction, motivation as an inherent attribute that fuels behaviors has been largely neglected. In this study, we developed a nuanced approach to differentiating types of interaction based on students’ underlying motivation and further investigated how different forms of interaction are related to educational outcomes. Method: We analyzed the Community College Survey of Student Engagement data and administrative records of 242 students entering manufacturing programs during 2011-2012 at four public two-year technical colleges in Wisconsin. The outcome variables were students’ cumulative grade point average (GPA) and their retention/graduation status as of spring 2013. A multiple regression model and a logistic regression model were separately estimated. Results: We found that interaction can be grouped into three categories that represent different underlying motivations: interaction as a response to curricular demands, interaction for broader educational purposes, and interaction for diverse experiences. Interaction for broader educational purposes was positively associated with GPA, but interaction as a response to curricular demands had a negative relationship with GPA. Diversity-related interaction moderated the relationship between college under-preparedness and retention/graduation status. Contributions: This study provides an in-depth examination of interpersonal interaction that is based in the context of students’ underlying motivations. Our findings shed fresh and nuanced light on the relationship between motivation-driven interactions and college outcomes, and inform two-year college administrators and instructors as they strive to provide an enriching learning environment where students interact with faculty and peers to not only navigate course requirements but also engage in activities contributing to their broader educational and career goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-48
Number of pages23
JournalCommunity College Review
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • college student success
  • community colleges
  • interpersonal interaction
  • manufacturing programs
  • motivation
  • two-year colleges

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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