Alumna Cannonier receives Research & Scholarship award from University Professional and Continuing Education Assocation for dissertation study


LSU College of Human Sciences & Education’s School of Leadership and Human Resource Development (SLHRD) alumna Dr. Nicole Cannonier has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Research & Scholarship award presented by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA).

This award recognizes the significant implications in the field of continuing higher education for Dr. Cannonier’s dissertation study entitled, “Self-direction in adult learning: Effect of locus of control and program design on learner motivation and training utility.”

“I remain thankful to SLHRD for the opportunities I have had to develop as a teacher and scholar,” said Dr. Cannonier. “Garnering the prestigious Board of Regents/SREB graduate fellowship with the assistance of Dr. Burnett is where it all began for me. Without it, I do believe things may have turned out quite differently. I always say that I was fortunate that Dr. Bates and I shared a similar research interest, as he took me under his wing as his advisee and helped me develop my teaching and research abilities.“

In her dissertation research, Dr. Cannonier used a sample of 277 adult learners participating in job-related training offered by LSU’s Continuing Education. Her research asked two questions. First, do adults desire opportunities for self-direction in learning, and, if so, can that preference for self-directed learning be predicted by personality? Second, given a particular level of preference for self-directed learning opportunities, how will learners respond in terms of evaluating the usefulness of the training for their job needs and motivation to improve their training-related job performance if their learning preferences are met, or not me, through instruction?

Dr. Cannonier found that adults do prefer to have control over features such as setting learning goals, deciding the learning content, determining how the learning will progress, and playing a larger role in the overall learning experience. Learners also rated their perceived utility of training higher when there was a match between their self-directed learning preference and what was required of them during training.

More importantly, the study showed that learners generally were more motivated and judged training more favorably when given opportunities to get involved in their learning and that these opportunities could be simple in their design to still have positive effects. 

Dr. Cannonier is now an assistant professor of management in the College of Business Administration at Savannah State College.

The UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA now serves more than 395 institutions, including most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. The association serves its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA builds greater awareness of the vital link between adult learners and public policy issues.