Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

Exploring the Relationship Between Learner Autonomy and Sustainability in Global Missions: A Case Study of Kenyan Leaders

Valerie J. Arguello
April 2012

This qualitative case study investigates Christian, African leaders' and pastors' perceptions of unhealthy dependency from their own personal experiences in a real-life leadership context. The intention of this study is to explore the relationship between learner autonomy and sustainability in global missions. The objective of this exploration is to observe emerging data that could provide insight about how autonomous learning promotes local sustainability. The aim of this research is to gain a better understanding of how the cycle of unhealthy dependency challenges in Africa could be possibly broken and avoided through the leadership development of learner autonomy (i.e., desire, resourcefulness, initiative, and persistence) with the intention of cultivating local development. This study accomplishes this aim by exploring the following question: How does learner autonomy contribute to the practice of local sustainability? This research attempts to enhance global leaders' and future missionaries' knowledge regarding sustainability perspectives and practices. Through case study research and thematic analysis, data suggest learner autonomy contributes to the six constructs of sustainability. Based on the findings and conclusions, a model is suggested for moving from unhealthy dependency toward sustainability. The model consists of four segments: (a) dissolving unhealthy mindset through local confidence—desire, (b) implementing local learning—resourcefulness, (c) developing greater capacities in local people—initiative, and (d) mobilizing local solutions and resources—persistence. Each component of learner autonomy is distinct and works with the other factors as a holistic unit. Overall, this study presents findings that demonstrate an initial connection between learner autonomy and sustainability.