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Emmah Manyeki

Master of Education, University of Nairobi



Kenyan Universities like others globally have witnessed significant changes in the last decade of the twentieth century in terms of enrolment, composition of students, programs and modes of learning As part of this process of expansion and heterogenization, new groups of students who, for a complex range of social, economic and cultural reasons were traditionally excluded from or underrepresented in higher education, have come to participate in higher education in increasing numbers. Kenyan Universities are not exempt from this influx by adult learners. In response to the changing market place, University of Nairobi has expanded its programmes in answer to the demand and many staffs have joined en mass in most of these programs for various reasons. As more and more adults are mobilized to learn a new “Learning Age” dawn is breaking which engages, the researcher to revisit the frequently asked question, namely ‘What motivates adults to take part in and complete courses in continuing education and competence development?’ The present research is designed to face issues of motivation within the realm of adult education and learning in a theoretical and empirical mode. A case study of University of Nairobi library staff facilitated a re- look at the factors that motivate adults to learn. The study targeted staffs that recently had gone back to study. Data for this research was collected using questionnaires and interview schedule. Items and questions covered full range of the issues being measured. A total of 30 members out of 170 were interviewed. The six motivational factors identified by Morstain and Smart (1974) were used in the study. Descriptive statistics were used to identify the proportions of motivational factors utilizing the six motivational factors as the dependent variables, with age, gender, entry qualification and academic qualification as the independent variables. The study found out that that adult motivation to engage in learning is established upon a combination of motives which are intertwined. Motives have three major characteristics: they are plural, changeable and contingent upon the individual’s life context.

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