||Adult learners are a growing and increasingly diverse demographic in higher education. They bring vast life experiences to the educational environment, but present challenges related to the other roles and responsibilities adult learners assume through the course of daily life. Online learning is favored by many adult learners for its flexibility and ease of access, but it poses challenges which may present obstacles to the ways in which adults learn. The inter-relationships among these motivational factors may be comprehensively examined through a complex systems theoretical perspective. Complex systems theory presents an intriguing alternative for qualitative researchers interested in a descriptive framework which accounts for the multi-dimensional interactions, relationships, and group memberships adult learners possess. This study qualitatively explores the influencing and inhibiting motivational factors of adult learners in an online degree program. It reveals the relationships among participants' described complex systems. It demonstrates how adult learners use the dynamic interplay of their complex systems to support their educational endeavors and mitigate barriers to engagement and persistence. Data analysis reveals common motivational factors of adult learners. These are collated into four themes: the use of supporting, relational complex systems; the ability to balance roles and responsibilities; the mitigation of competing complex systems; and the concept of need as a motivational factor. Findings suggest adult learners were able to navigate their online programs through the support, balance, and relationships of their network of complex systems. These systems also functioned to diminish the impact of motivational barriers.