Date of Award

Spring 1-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Rhonda Bishop

Third Advisor

Dr. Phillip Guy

Abstract

Learner-Centered (LC) teaching focuses on shifting the role of an instructor from a provider of information to a facilitator of learning. Several Missouri community colleges have declared themselves LC institutions through use of the term in their mission statements and/or strategic goals. Although a metric for demonstrating this commitment, in the form of a rubric created by Dr. Blumberg (2009) existed, it was not in common use at the time this study was conducted. Additionally, a void existed on how the traits of LC instructors differed, if at all, from the traits of more traditional instructors. This quantitative, causal-comparative study attempted to address these two issues. The survey instrument used in this study was designed to rate the use of LC teaching methods by faculty using, with permission, Dr. Blumberg’s rubrics. The survey also allowed the researcher to look for significant differences between faculty members’ use of LC teaching methods and his or her training in pedagogy, teaching experience, and academic discipline. Analysis of results indicated respondents rated themselves at a high level of transitioning toward LC teaching methods. Respondents who reported receiving training in pedagogy from professional development (PD) provided outside their employer and faculty in the field of Oral and Written Communication were associated with significantly more LC teaching methods. Respondents who reported receiving their training in pedagogy from employer-provided PD were associated with significantly less LC teaching methods. Notably, no significant difference in the use of LC teaching methods was found among respondents with differing years of teaching experience. These findings imply changes to PD strategies, curriculum, and hiring policies may be the most effective should an institution wish to increase the use of LC practices by its faculty.

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