The effect of Self-Directed Learning on the relationship between Self-Leadership and Online Learning among university students in Turkey

Keywords: self-leadership, self-directed learning, online learning, online learning attitude, university students, structural equation modeling (SEM)


More and more people across the world seek a university education. Therefore, universities offer full or partial distance undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to meet that demand. Distance education has become more widespread with advances in the Internet and computer technologies and online learning and teaching software (e.g., Learning Management Systems). The spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which broke out in early 2020, has also played a significant role in the increased popularity of distance education. Therefore, investigating and reporting upon university students’ self-leadership (SL) behaviors, self-directed learning (SDL) skills, and online learning (OL) attitudes in such learning environments is both timely and critical. This empirical study used a relational survey model to investigate SL, SDL, and OL among university students. The sample consisted of 835 students in Turkey. Data were collected using the “Self-Directed Learning Scale (SDLS),” “Revised Self-Leadership Questionnaire (RSLQ),” and “Online Learning Attitude Scale (OLAS).” Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson coefficient, Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). SL was moderately and positively correlated with SDL and OL. SDL was moderately and positively correlated with OL. SDL played a fully mediating role in the relationship between SL and OL. SL predicted OL in both the indirect and total effect model. This study addressed university students’ perceptions and tested a model to provide empirical evidence for the relationships and predictions of SL, SDL, and OL. Therefore, it is believed that the results will help advance the constructs of SDL, SL, and OL paradigms.

Received: 07 March 2020
Accepted: 17 November 2020


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Author Biography

Mehmet Durnali, Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University, Turkey

Has been working in the state education sector since September 2004 taking different roles. Currently, Dr. Durnalı has been working for the Faculty of Education, Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University (Zonguldak, Turkey) since October 2019 as Assistant Professor. He is a deputy principal of Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University Educational Studies Research and Application Center as well. Before, having two years’ experience in teaching as an ICT teacher, he was an assistant principal for two years. Then, he had worked for the central bodies of the Ministry of Turkish National Education as a project developer and executive officer between 2008 and 2019. He was a part-time lecturer for the Faculty of Education at Hacettepe University for a semester. Mainly, he has published several edited books, book chapters, articles and conference papers in the field of the faculty members’ job satisfaction and perceptions of organizational politics, Turkey’s higher education system and international students, university students’ academic motivation, educational administration, organizational behaviours, technological leadership. Dr. Durnalı has a B.Sc. degree from faculty of education awarded by Boğaziçi University in 2004, an M.A. degree in 2015 and a Ph.D. degree in 2018 in educational administration awarded by Hacettepe University, Turkey. Mail:


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How to Cite
Durnali, Mehmet. 2020. “The Effect of Self-Directed Learning on the Relationship Between Self-Leadership and Online Learning Among University Students in Turkey”. Tuning Journal for Higher Education 8 (1), 129-65.