Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin Winslow

Third Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Foushee


Andragogy is not dead; it may be simply lying dormant until its essential component, self-directed learning, revives it again. The fact is that self-directed learning can be formal or informal. This mixed methods study explored the informal side of self-directed learning, concentrating on self-help (a popularized form of personal development goalsetting). Despite a thriving self-help market, several personal development goal-setting programs focus more on goal achievement, little on goal planning, and even less on the individual. A comparative analysis of autonomous, guided, and self-directed personal goal-setting programs determined if self-directedness maximizes self-efficacy. Additionally, the researcher’s original Self-Directed Goal Theory and an extensive review of previous literature further investigated what role (if any) adult education, demographics, goal characteristics, self-regulation, personal development areas, goal timing, self-monitoring, locus of control, motivation, cognition, and virtue cultivation plays in self-efficacy enhancement and overall goal success.


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