• An examination of learning resulting from a transition from a directed to a self-directed work environment

      Chalmers, Heather.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2001-07-09)
      ~ This study focuses on the process of self-directed learning that individuals go through as they adapt to new work situations. This is a study of how one critical incident, specifically the transition from a traditional office structure to a home office structure, affected employees and what their learning process was as they adapted to the new environment. This study has 3 educational foundations: adult learning, self-directed learning, and the social context from which the learning will occur. Six women and 2 men were interviewed approximately 1 year following the transition. Analysis of the data revealed 5 themes of: impacts of the self-directed environment on participants' personal lives, their roles, skill set, productivity, and the physical environment; support offered by the organization, family, and office administration; personal development, specific learning needs, and personal skills; boundaries as they relate to family and work; and skill set and orientation requirements of new home office employees. The findings revealed the learning processes of the 8 participants. The learning processes of these participants were discussed within a theoretical framework of the learners, their immediate surroundings, and the larger social environment. The results indicated that the transition from a directed work environment to a self directed work environment is a complex, interrelated process. An element found throughout the theoretical framework is that of control. A second critical element is the need for participants to have a clearly defined work role and an opportunity to engage in discussion with peers and the community. Further findings reinforced the importance of climate and found that the physical environment is a key factor in a successful selfdirected work environment. The findings of this study revealed that no one factor makes an individual function successfully in a self-directed work environment, but that it is a complex interplay among the leamer, their immediate surroundings, and the social environment that will have the greatest impact on success. Recommendations are made which can be used to guide organizational leaders in facilitating employees' transition from a directed to a self-directed work environment. Additionally, recommendations are made for further research in the area of self-directed work environments.
    • The examination of predictors of success in two programmes requiring self-direction /

      Dal Bello-Haas, Vanina Pia Maria.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 1992-06-09)
      The new Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy programmes, based in the Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) are unique. The teaching and learning philosophies utilized are based on learner-centred and selfdirected learning theories. The 1991 admissions process of these programmes attempted to select individuals who would make highly qualified professionals and who would have the necessary skills to complete such unique programmes. In order to: 1 . learn more about the concept of self-directed learning and its related characteristics in health care professionals; 2. examine the relationship between various student characteristics - personal, learner and those assessed during the admissions process - and final course grades, and 3. determine which, if any, smdent characteristics could be considered predictors for success in learner-centred programmes requiring self-directed learning skills, a correlational research design was developed and carried out. Thirty Occupational Therapy and thirty Physiotherapy smdents were asked to complete 2 instruments - a questionnaire developed by the author and the Oddi Continuing Learning Inventory (Oddi, 1986). Course grades and ratings of students during the admissions process were also obtained. Both questionnaires were examined for reliability, and factor analyses were conducted to determine construct validity. Data obtained from the questionnaires, course grades and student ratings (from the admissions process) were analyzed and compared using the Contingency Co-efficient, the Pearson's product-moment correlation co-efficient, and the multiple regression analysis model. The research findings demonstrated a positive relationship (as identified by Contingency Coefficient or Pearson r values) between various course grades and the following personal and learner characteristics: field of smdy of highest level of education achieved, level of education achieved, sex, marital stams, motivation for completing the programmes, reasons for eru-oling in the programmes, decision to enrol in the programmes, employment history, preferred learning style, strong selfconcept and the identification of various components of the concept of self-directed learning. In most cases, the relationships were significant to the 0.01 or 0.(X)1 levels. Results of the multiple regression analyses demonstrated that several learner and admissions characteristic variables had R^ values that accounted for the largest proportion of the variance in several dependent variables. Thus, these variables could be considered predictors for success. The learner characteristics included: level of education and strong self-concept. The admissions characteristics included: ability to evaluate strengths, ability to give feedback, curiosity and creativity, and communication skills. It is recommended that research continue to be conducted to substantiate the relationships found between course grades and characteristic variables in more diverse populations. "Success in self-directed programmes" from the learner's perspective should also be investigated. The Oddi Continuing Learning Inventory should continue to be researched. Further research may lead to refinement or further development of the instrument, and may provide further insight into self-directed learner attributes. The concept of self-directed learning continues to be incorporated into educational programmes, and thus should continue to be explored.
    • Exploring the events that engage graduate students in transformative learning /

      Mindorff, Deborah.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2000-05-21)
      This research explored the events that engaged graduate students in transformative learning within a graduate program in education. This context was chosen because one objective of a graduate program is to facilitate critical thinking and transformative learning. The question ofhow adult learners perceive and experience learning steered the direction ofthis study. However, the purpose ofthis research was to study critical incidents that led to profound cognitive and affective changes as perceived by the graduate students. Specifically, the questions to be answered were what critical incidents happened to graduate students while in the Master ofEducation program, how were the incidents experienced, and what transformation resulted? The research design evolved over the course of a year and was highly influenced by previous empirical studies and criticisms oftransformative learning theory. The overall design was qualitative and phenomenological. A critical and interpretive approach was made to empirical data collected through a critical incident questionnaire and in-depth interviews. Inductive analysis allowed theory to be built from the data by making comparisons. New questions emerged and attention was given to social context, the passage oftime, and sequence ofevents in order to give meaning and translation ofthe participants' experiences and to build the interpretive narratives. Deductive analysis was also used on the data and a blending ofthe two forms of analysis; this resulted in the development ofa foundational model for transformative learning to be built.The data revealed critical incidents outside ofthe graduate school program that occurred in childhood or adult life prior to graduate school. Since context of individuals' lives had been an important critique of past transformative learning models and studies, this research expanded the original boundaries of this study beyond graduate school to incorporate incidents that occurred outside of graduate school. Critical incidents were categorized into time-related, people-related, and circumstancerelated themes. It was clear that participants were influenced and molded by the stage oftheir life, personal experiences, familial and cultural conditioning, and even historic events. The model developed in this document fiom an overview ofthe fmdings identifies a four-stage process of life difficulty, disintegration, reintegration, and completion that all participants' followed. The blended analysis was revealed from the description ofhow the incidents were experienced by the participants. The final categories were what were the feelings, what was happening, and what was the enviromnent? The resulting transformation was initially only going to consider cognitive and affective changes, however, it was apparent that contextual changes also occurred for all participants, so this category was also included. The model was described with the construction metaphor of a building "foimdation" to illustrate the variety of conditions that are necessary for transformative learning to occur. Since this was an exploratory study, no prior models or processes were used in data analysis, however, it appeared that the model developed from this study incorporated existing models and provided a more encompassing life picture oftransformative learning.
    • Facilitating self-directed learning: the nurse educators' perspective

      Bilsky, Millie.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 1991-07-09)
      The concept of self-directed learning was examined from the nurse educators' perspective. One structured interview, lasting between one and one-and-a half hours, was conducted with each of 14 nurse educators in two community college continuing education programs in nursing. One community college program encourages selfdirected learning; the other encourages self-study and active participation in the teaching/learning process. All 14 interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Verbatim transcripts were analyzed for themes, patterns, and relationships utilizing analyst-constructed typologies. six prerequisites or necessary conditions for facilitating self-directed learning in a community college continuing education program in nursing were identified. ~he crucial issue in facilitating self-directed learning was found to be the issue of teacher-control.
    • Instructor support for self-directed learning in higher education

      Wilcox, Susan M. P.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 1990-07-09)
      This study addressed the problem of instructor support for self-directed learning, specifically, learner-directed program planning, within a classroom setting in higher education. A combination of survey, interview, document analysis, and observation was used to assess and evaluate the attitudes and practices of a sample of full-time faculty at an Ontario university. Eighty-seven percent of the study sample reported instructional beliefs, values, and expectations that were not supportive of self-directed learning, especially in terms of student participation in program planning. Planning was seen as the responsibility of the instructor. Instructors were least open to student participation in the planning of the evaluation of learning. However, there was considerable stated support for other of the basic principles of adult education. The remaining 13% of the study sample reported instructional beliefs, values, and expectations that were fully supportive of self-directed learning. Instructional practices were analyzed in relation to the instructors' stated beliefs. Although practices reflected, in many instances, instructors' statements of support, there were some significant discrepancies between apparent support for the concept of self-directed learning and actual classroom practice. Both beliefs and practice were compared to a research model of self-directed learning. Most instructors did not have a concept of self-directed learning as comprehensive as that described in the research model. Instructor support for self-directed learning was profoundly influenced by the university setting. It was concluded that more strenuous attempts to research, enhance, and promote instructional and institutional support for self-directed learning in higher education are warranted.
    • Transformation in teaching : listening to every voice

      Pauchulo, Ana Lia; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2002-07-09)
      Action research is a methodology that supports practitioner research. This study is an exploration of one researcher's practice using the living-theory approach to action research. Initially, my focus was to improve my practice by asking how I can facilitate transformative learning experiences with the teachers with whom I work. As part of this search, I examined the contradictions between my espoused and implicit values. In keeping with the evolving nature of my inquiry, I unveiled the telos that constituted the impetus for my search, which began as a tension about the quality of my interactions and ended as a quest to find my voice among the others'. I used personal narratives, journal entries, a videotaping session, interactions with critical friends and interviews with colleagues and administrators to engage in a process of continuing self- and interactive reflection. Throughout my study, I explored how theoretical concepts intertwine with personal experiences. In the final chapter, I share the possible connections between my living educational theory and a more general theory of transformative learning. I conclude my study with a look at the transformation process I underwent as a result of the study and the new questions I formulated as I began the action research spiral again.