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Adult learner perceptions of the American Psychological Association's 14 learner-centered psychological principles in three contexts

Dissertation
Author: Kassandra Cline
Abstract:
This study examined adult learners' perceptions of the inclusion of the American Psychological Association's 14 Learner-Centered Psychological Principles in three contexts: a traditional college course, a business training session, and a vocational instruction site. These principles were designated in 1997 by the Learner-Centered Principles Work Group of the American Psychological Association. With continuing increases of and progression toward learner-controlled resources and opportunities, the transition from teacher-centered instruction to learner-centered instruction challenges educational practitioners and researchers to reach consensus on the characteristics of a learner-centered environment. A US Presidential Task Force deemed this identification of characteristics necessary for harmonized advancement for the inclusion of learner-centered principles into educational contexts. A researcher-developed survey instrument was used to collect data from a convenience sample of learners in the three contexts in the U.S. Midwest, with a response rate of 100%. Four-point Likert-type scales were used to measure respondent perceptions of the level to which the principles were included in their learning environment. The study survey included open-ended questions to gather perceived benefits and challenges as a result of the use of learner-centered instruction. Finally, demographics were collected to answer whether these representative attributes played a role in the difference of perception of the inclusion of the learner-centered principles. A matrix of the 50 Likert-scale questions was created to measure perceptions of how much the 14 principles were apparent in the three contexts. Descriptive statistics of means, frequencies, and percentages were used to report findings. The responses to the narrative section were itemized by main concepts and recurring themes. All three contexts measured positive for the inclusion of all 14 principles, indicating that the adult learners perceived that their educational environments were learner-centered. A variety of benefits and challenges were revealed as a result of the instruction. The study results indicated that the APA's 14 learner-centered principles can be applied to a traditional college classroom, a business training session, and a vocational instruction site.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Abstract ............................................................................................................................... iii Doctoral Committee ............................................................................................................ v Acknowledgments............................................................................................................... vi List of Tables ....................................................................................................................... xi Chapter 1. Introduction ........................................................................................................ 1 Statement of the Problem .............................................................................. 3 Purpose of the Study....................................................................................... 4 Research Questions ........................................................................................ 4 Significance of the Study ................................................................................. 4 Definition of Terms ......................................................................................... 7 Delimitations and Limitations of the Study .................................................. 10 Assumptions of the Study ............................................................................. 11 Organization of the Study ............................................................................. 12 2. Review of Selected Literature and Research .................................................... 13 Adult Learning Theory ................................................................................... 13 Learning Environments ................................................................................. 15 Traditional College Course Educational Environment .............................. 15 Business Training Session Educational Environment ................................ 16

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Vocational Instruction Site Learning Environment ................................... 18 Teacher-Centered Learning Environments ............................................... 20 Learner-Centered Educational Environments .............................................. 22 Characteristics ........................................................................................... 22 Summary ....................................................................................................... 42 3. Methodology ..................................................................................................... 45 Statement of the Problem and Purpose ....................................................... 45 Research Questions ...................................................................................... 46 Review of Selected Literature and Research ................................................ 47 Population ..................................................................................................... 47 Selection of Educational Environments ........................................................ 48 Instrumentation and Data Collection ........................................................... 49 Survey Critique .......................................................................................... 51 Distribution ............................................................................................... 51 Data Analysis ................................................................................................. 52 4. Findings ............................................................................................................. 53 Response Rates ............................................................................................. 54 Instructor Responses .................................................................................... 54 Presence of Learner-Centered Psychological Principles ............................... 56 Narrative Responses for the Benefits and Challenges .................................. 70 Traditional College Classroom .................................................................. 70

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Business Training Session ......................................................................... 73 Vocational Instruction Site ........................................................................ 76 Traditional College Classroom .................................................................. 79 Business Training Session ......................................................................... 81 Vocational Instruction Site ........................................................................ 83 Division by Demographics ............................................................................. 85 Gender ...................................................................................................... 86 Age ............................................................................................................ 88 5. Summary, Conclusions, Discussion, and Recommendations ............................ 94 Summary ....................................................................................................... 94 Statement of the Purpose ......................................................................... 94 Research Questions .................................................................................. 94 Review of Literature .................................................................................. 95 Methodology ............................................................................................. 97 Findings ..................................................................................................... 97 Conclusions ................................................................................................... 99 Discussion.................................................................................................... 100 Recommendations ...................................................................................... 104 Recommendations for Practice .............................................................. 104 Recommendations for Further Study ..................................................... 104 References ...................................................................................................................... 106

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Appendixes A. Instructor Questionnaire .............................................................................. 120 B. Learner Perceptions Questionnaire ............................................................. 123 C. Matrix of Questions Measuring Learner Perception of Learner-Centered Characteristics ................................................................................................ 126 D. Institutional Review Board Informed Consent Statement ............................. 131 E. Learners’ Narrative Responses to the Perceived Benefits and Challenges of Learner-Centered Instruction ......................................................................... 134

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LIST OF TABLES Table

Page

1. Instructor Mean Scores Demonstrating the Presence of Each Learner-Centered Psychological Principle Designated by Educational Context ........................................ 55 2. Learner Mean Scores Demonstrating the Presence of Each Learner-Centered Psychological Principle Designated by Educational Context ........................................ 57 3. Frequencies and Percentages of Recorded Responses for the Traditional College Classroom ..................................................................................................................... 59 4. Frequencies and Percentages of Recorded Responses for the Business Training Session .......................................................................................................................... 63 5. Frequencies and Percentages of Recorded Responses for the Vocational Instruction Site ................................................................................................................................ 67 6. Gender Comparison of Mean Scores Demonstrating the Presence of Each Learner- Centered Psychological Principle in the Business Training Session ............................. 87 7. Age Comparison of Mean Scores Demonstrating the Presence of Each Learner- Centered Psychological Principle in the Traditional College Classroom ...................... 89 8. Age Comparison of Mean Scores Demonstrating the Presence of Each Learner- Centered Psychological Principle in the Business Training Session ............................. 91 9. Age Comparison of Mean Scores Demonstrating the Presence of Each Learner- Centered Psychological Principle in the Vocational Instruction Site ........................... 93

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CHAPTER 1 Introduction A Presidential Task Force determined the need for a universal standard of the principles that constituted a learner-centered educational environment. In 1990, there were 12 principles identified; in 1997, there were 14 (American Psychological Association, 1997). Those 14 Learner-Centered Psychological Principles designated by the Learner-Centered Principles Work Group of the American Psychological Association (APA) have since contributed to monumental reform in educational programs across America (Salinas & Garr, 2009). Studies have continuously shown that learner-centered educational contexts are producing better results than traditional settings for conventional determinants of school performance including achievement (Alfassi, 2004). There is a trend to shift the world of education from a teacher-centered classroom to one of learner-centeredness (Henson, 2003). A traditional structure of the classroom is to be teacher-centered (Fenwick, 2008). Traditionally, instructors have been the center of the educational environment in which the expert shares their information and experience with the students (Freire, 2005). This construct allows information to flow from the instructor to the learner but does not necessarily revolve around the overarching achievement of the individual (Phillips & Soltis, 2004). Learner- centered instruction focuses on the environment presented for the learner (Vella, 2002). This ideology focuses on four general factors including cognitive and

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metacognitive factors, motivational and affective factors, developmental and social factors, and individual differences factors (American Psychological Association, 1997). The APA’s Board of Educational Affairs determined 14 Learner-Centered Psychological Principles based on these factors. This study is premised on the potential for these principles to be applied in varied learning contexts, namely a traditional college course, a business training session, and a vocational instruction site. Instructors in a variety of capacities have the opportunity to create an environment conducive to a learner-centered approach. Traditionally, college courses have been led by instructors who contribute their knowledge to worthy students (Silvers, 1973). This vertical flow of communication is one-way and does not allow for many of the concepts based in learner-centered instruction (Horton & Freire, 1990). Historically, business training sessions have been more learner-centered than traditional classrooms because of the skills-based nature of the learning that takes place. As the trend in the realm of education has been shifting toward a more learner- centered environment, the active role of the instructor also has evolved (Arif, Smiley, & Kulonda, 2005). In the past, vocational instruction sites have been focused on the learning. Vocational education has relied on providing a specific skill set to individuals to immediately prepare them for employment. This preparation requires students to prove their mastery in a variety of ways and requires a learning environment in which students

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are the focus of the content (Boggs, 1996). A paradigm shift is underway for community college education to change from teaching to learning (Barr & Tagg, 1995). Together, all these venues of education are working toward incorporating a higher level of learner- centeredness. When learner-centered principles and practices are utilized in the educational environment, the level of motivation, learning, and achievement are all intensified (Cooper, 2010). Statement of the Problem The science and art of teaching in a variety of educational environments traditionally has been centered on the construct of teacher-centered instruction. Research has shown that when learner-centered instruction is utilized, instruction is more meaningful and what is learned lasts longer (Hooks, 2003; Salinas, Kane-Johnson, & Vasil-Miller, 2008). Educators and researchers in the field of education have been unable to present a uniform definition of what “learner-centered” means (Paris & Combs, 2000). This lack of consistency has been given direction by the APA whose Learner-Centered Principles Work Group of the Board of Educational Affairs (1997) classified 14 Learner-Centered Psychological Principles. While the definition of learner- centered environment varies among professionals, publications, and classrooms, these 14 principles gleaned from over a century of academic data determine factors that, when present, create effective education.

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Purpose of the Study The purpose of the study was to describe the perceptions of adult learners regarding the presence of the APA’s 14 Learner-Centered Psychological Principles in three instructional contexts within the U.S. Midwest. Further, the study described adult learner perceptions regarding the benefits and challenges that are a result of the learner-centered instruction used within the educational environments. The contexts that were described are a traditional college course, a business training session, and a vocational instruction site. Research Questions The research questions that guided this study are as follows: 1. What are the learners’ perceptions of the presence of the APA 14 Learner- Centered Psychological Principles in their educational environment including a traditional college course, a business training session, and a vocational instruction site? 2. What are the learners’ perceptions of the benefits and challenges present as a result of the learner-centered instruction used? 3. What differences exist in learners’ perception within educational environments based on gender and age? Significance of the Study A learner-centered approach to instruction has not always been understood or accepted. At times throughout history, instructors and other educators have been

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mocked for working outside the traditional boundaries of delivery within traditional educational contexts (Phillips & Soltis, 2004). Learner-centered instruction differs from predefined pathways of teaching by presenting the instructor and the learner with another way of doing business (Reynolds & Werner, 1998). For centuries there have been debates about how teaching should proceed through lecture or other alternative approaches (Henson, 2003). This study described the adult learners’ perceptions of the presence of the 14 factors identified by the Learner-Centered Psychological Principles in three different educational environments. Reynolds (2006) stated that “learning is seen as multidimensional, and therefore affects the learners’ cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being” (p. 1). To follow these principles as identified by the APA are subdivided into four categories of cognitive and metacognitive, motivational and affective, developmental and social, and individual differences. Salinas, Kane-Johnson, and Vasil-Miller (2008) published a study that compared long-term learning and learner-centered instruction. While they did identify correlations of high achievement in learner-centered educational environments in higher education, they recognized that more studies need to be done in order to provide a more concrete declaration. Paris and Combs (2000) studied teachers’ perspectives on their meaning of learner-centered instruction. They recognized that many researchers and educators who use the term “learner-centered” do not internalize and delineate its meaning as utilized in their publication, educational setting, or other venue. They also identified the need

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for uniformity on what it means to be learner-centered for those who do provide a definition. The literature review did not reveal any studies that had been conducted to compare learner perceptions of the presence of the APA’s 14 Learner-Centered Psychological Principles in adult educational environments. This study provided a sample of adult learner perceptions on the presence of the APA principles in an identified learner-centered environment. These descriptive data provided a framework for an assortment of future study topics including whether the principles are being adopted by the instructors as well as recognition and evaluation of how the benefits and challenges of learner-centered instruction are recognized by the learners. Further, the literature review also did not identify an instrumentation of measurement of adult learner perceptions of the APA’s designated Learner-Centered Psychological Principles for the educational contexts selected. The environmental and individual consequences of learner-centeredness are greatly reduced if the intended effect of the principles is not perceived by the adult learners within each educational context. This study provided a basic survey which measured the adult learners’ perception of the presence of the principles.

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Definition of Terms To provide consistency throughout the study, the following terms are defined for clarity. Definitions without designated literature citations were developed by the researcher. Business Training Session: formal learning with clear goals that takes place within and is supported by an organization for a period of time for their employees. Learner-Centered Instruction: a teaching and learning context built within the framework of the Learner-Centered Psychological Principles which places students at the center of education, is contextual, provides a basis of learning to use throughout their life, is facilitated and evaluated by the instructor, and is not defined by time and place (American Psychological Association, 1997; Arizona Faculties Council (AFC), 2000; Cooper, 2010; Horton & Freire, 1990; Knowles, Holton III, & Swanson, 2005; Mahendra, Bayles, Tomoeda, & Kim, 2005; McCombs & Whisler, 1997; Mezirow, 1991; Paris & Combs, 2000; Yeaxlee, 1929). Learner-Centered Psychological Principles (American Psychological Association, 1997): “The following 14 psychological principles pertain to the learner and the learning process. They focus on psychological factors that are primarily internal to and under the control of the learner rather than conditioned habits or physiological factors” (p. 3).

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Factor 1: Nature of the learning process – The learning of complex subject matter is most effective when it is an intentional process of constructing meaning from information and experience. Factor 2: Goals of the learning process – The successful learner, over time and with support of instructional guidance, can create meaningful, coherent representations of knowledge. Factor 3: Construction of knowledge – The successful learner can link new information with existing knowledge in meaningful ways. Factor 4: Strategic thinking – The successful learner can create and use a repertoire of thinking and reasoning strategies to achieve complex learning goals. Factor 5: Thinking about thinking – Higher order strategies for selecting and monitoring mental operations facilitate creative and critical thinking. Factor 6: Context of learning – Learning is influenced by environmental factors, including culture, technology and instructional practices. Factor 7: Motivational and emotional influences on learning – What and how much is learned is influenced by the motivation. Motivation to learn, in turn, is influenced by the individual’s emotional states, beliefs, interests and goals, and habits of thinking. Factor 8: Intrinsic motivation to learn – The learner’s creativity, higher order thinking, and natural curiosity all contribute to motivation to learn. Intrinsic motivation

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is stimulated by tasks of optimal novelty and difficulty, relevant to personal interests, and providing for personal choice and control. Factor 9: Effects of motivation on effort – Acquisition of complex knowledge and skills requires extended learner effort and guided practice. Without learners’ motivation to learn, the willingness to exert this effort is unlikely without coercion. Factor 10: Developmental influences on learning – As individuals develop, there are different opportunities and constraints for learning. Learning is most effective when differential development within and across physical, intellectual, emotional, and social domains is taken into account. Factor 11: Social influences on learning – Learning is influenced by social interactions, interpersonal relations, and communication with others. Factor 12: Individual differences in learning – Learners have different strategies, approaches, and capabilities for learning that are a function of prior experience and heredity. Factor 13: Learning and diversity – Learning is most effective when differences in learners’ linguistic, cultural, and social backgrounds are taken into account. Factor 14: Standards and assessments – Setting appropriately high and challenging standards and assessing the learner as well as learning progress – including diagnostic, process, and outcome assessment – are integral parts of the learning process.

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Teacher-Centered Instruction: traditional practice of education in which the teacher is the center of the classroom which provides one-way dialogue from teacher to student (Arif, Smiley, & Kulonda, 2005; Freire, Pedagogy of freedom, 1998; Mahendra, Bayles, Tomoeda, & Kim, 2005). Vocational Education: instruction that is intended to provide learning for a specific vocation, occupation, or career (Princeton University, 2010; The 'Lectric Law Library, 2010). Delimitations and Limitations of the Study The study was limited by the following conditions: 1. The list of principles identified in the study were not an exhaustive list of all factors that affect the creation of a learner-centered environment. 2. The study was limited by the adult learner populations selected. a. The instructors of the specific learning environments were selected by a two-stage process. They were first identified by the researcher as learner-centered. Second, they self-identified as providing a learner-centered educational environment reflective of the Learner-Centered Psychological Principles of the selected educational context which they represent (American Psychological Association, 1997). b. Educational environments were limited to (1) the traditional college course, (2) business training session, and (3) the vocational instruction site.

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3. The study was limited by the adult learners’ understanding the terminology of the instrument utilized to measure their perceptions of the learner-centered principles in their educational context. 4. The study was limited by the honesty and clarity with which the adult learners provided their responses to the instrument of measurement. 5. Due to the limited population of the study, conclusions were not generalized to any of the learning environments measured or to learner-centered educational contexts. Assumptions of the Study The following assumptions were made regarding this study: 1. It was assumed the Learner-Centered Psychological Principles as defined by the American Psychological Association determine if an environment is learner-centered (1997). The APA stated that not all 14 factors need to be present, nor can they exist alone to create a learner-centered environment. Instead, an environment may have a portion of the principles present to be learner-centered. A portion of the principles present made the context neither fixed as a teacher-centered nor learner-centered instructional environment but instead made a claim to a spot on a continuum between absolute teacher-centered and absolute learner-centered. 2. It was assumed the concepts of the Learner-Centered Psychological Principles as provided by the APA are transparent enough for the researcher to analyze their

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meaning within the research, clearly communicate the principles to the adult learners, and synthesize the information to result in the findings. 3. This study did not include prejudice or judgments regarding the preference of learner-centered versus teacher-centered environments on the part of the researcher. This study measured solely the learners’ perceptions of the presence of the APA’s 14 Learner-Centered Psychological Principles within three educational contexts. Organization of the Study The study is arranged in five chapters. Chapter 1 includes an introduction to the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, significance of the study, definition of terms, limitations, and assumptions. Chapter 2 presents a functional review of the literature including adult learning theory, learning environments, teacher-centered instruction, learner-centered instruction and the focus of the study: the Learner-Centered Psychological Principles. The research methodology is presented in Chapter 3 describing in detail the population, sample, instrumentation, data collection, and data analysis. The survey results and descriptive findings of the study are presented in Chapter 4. The study concludes in Chapter 5 as a summary of the study, conclusions, discussions, and recommendations for future study are presented.

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CHAPTER 2 Review of Selected Literature and Research Chapter 2 reviews current literature relating to the APA’s 14 Learner-Centered Psychological Principles. The chapter presents a brief introduction to the theory of learner-centered instruction. The somewhat unique definition of the APA 14 Learner- Centered Psychological Principles is described as a basis for adult learning to occur within a learner-centered educational environment. Further presented is an explanation and definition of the contexts which were studied in this research, including a traditional college classroom, a business training session, and a vocational instruction site. Finally, the chapter provides a topical analysis of teacher-centered instruction versus learner- centered instruction and the APA’s Learner-Centered Psychological Principles. Adult Learning Theory The world’s earliest teachers followed adult learning theory by incorporating learner-centered instruction into their educational environments. Plato practiced learner-centered principles by continually being immersed in the education of those around him through participation in dialogue filled with stories, illustrations, and examples (Plato & Grube, 2002). Dialogue is a key to successful adult education (Brookfield & Preskill, 2005). Throughout history and throughout contexts learner- centered principles have been prevalent within adult education environments (Phillips & Soltis, 2004).

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Meaningful experiences allow an individual to utilize an idea, instill a practice, or just try something new to create an experience that can be learned from (McCombs & Whisler, 1997). Within a traditional educational environment, textbooks provide a framework for which to review and consider the information. Experiential learning provides an opportunity to put that knowledge into practice (Dewey, 2005). Instructors are not termed “educators” unless they are able to socially and holistically educate the student which requires more than finite domain knowledge. “Adult education practice is not simply technical but is better characterized as a social practice…thus what is foundational to good practice is not simply technical expertise but the capacity for wise and prudent action” (Cervero & Wilson, 2001, p. 270). Through simulated learning environments, learners and teachers combine power to apply their experiential practices together (McCombs & Whisler, 1997). This learning requires the essence of a learner-centered educational environment (Jarvis, 1987). Reisetter and Boris (2004) claimed three types of interactions which are crucial to an effective learning environment: “learner-instructor, learner-learner, and learner- content interactions” (p. 280). This learner-centered approach allows the context to be mutually stimulating which reinforces the student and teacher to be “jointly responsible for a process in which all grow” (Freire, 2005, p. 80). While most good designs are flawless on paper, adult learning experiences include the human element with the erratic surprise of a continuously altered path (McCombs & Whisler, 1997). Education is

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an ever-changing field of theories and practices; to do what is right is to incorporate a balanced power heuristic within an atmosphere conducive to learner-centered contexts (Hooks, 2003). Successful adult learning requires a learner-centered educational environment (Reynolds, 2006). Learning Environments Traditional College Course Educational Environment College education as formal adult education is defined as learning which “takes place in educational institutions and often leads to degrees or credit of some sort” (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999, p. 21). The traditional college classroom context that was used is a university in the U.S. Midwest. Technology, globalization, online learning, hybrid options, and non-traditional learners have transformed the modern college course. Reynolds (2006) asserted a mindset shift beginning in the early 1990s from the teacher controlling the learners and the process to a focus on the student as the hub of the learning process. College classrooms, traditionally the most teacher-centered educational environments, have strived to make this perspective shift as well. Educators are seeing that the context is as important as the content which requires consideration of the personal domain of the student in the learning (Henson, 2003). This inclusion is integral to a learner-centered environment (Hyland, 2006).

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Business Training Session Educational Environment The definition of a business training session is defined by the author for the purpose of this study as formal learning involving the “development of skills, knowledge, attitudes, or competencies through instruction or practice” (National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 2009, n.p.) that takes place within and is supported by an organization for a period of time with a clear goal in mind for a designated group of employees (Princeton University, 2010). Background Globalization has changed the face of business over the past few decades. Due to the amount of knowledge available, business transacting across the globe, and the workers who are expected to stay abreast of how this impacts their specific positions, employees are required to continually “learn at the speed of change” (Jackson, 2001). Ultimately, this change has altered the way businesses look at disseminating information, and the resultant learning which occurs in the workplace (Fenwick, 2008). This evolving role of education in the workplace requires that workers be more skilled; “increasing demands in technology, communications and global interactions require adults to continually expand their set of skills and continue to learn” (DTI Associates Inc., 2004, p. 3). This surge has created an explosion of reorganizations within companies and global organizations to support development. The amount of knowledge affecting

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business across the globe has resulted in a need for knowledge workers in many large companies (Awad & Ghaziri, 2004). The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is dedicated to the development of the human resource employees who are responsible for developing employees, including providing education in the workforce. This organization is over 250,000 strong worldwide in over 120 countries (Society for Human Resource Management, 2010). The necessity for a company dedicated to the development within organizations is tantamount to the importance of successful learning occurring within the workforce (O'Neil, 2009). The American Society for Training and Development (2010) estimated that U.S. organizations spent approximately $135,000,000,000 on employee training and development in 2007. Depending on the industry, the cost per employee for training ranges from $594 to over $1,200 (American Society for Training and Development, 2010; Bares, 2008). With the size of this investment in training and development, it is logical that business and industry expect a return on their investment—learning must take place. To help ensure the content and its context are meaningful to the learner, professional organizations have been broadening their instructional scope and transitioning to a learner-centered environment (Rone, 2008). This has been depicted by the increase of use in “formats such as simulations, instructional games, and social networking sites” (American Society for Training and Development, 2010, n.p.).

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Vocational Instruction Site Learning Environment Vocational education has been defined as formal instruction that is intended to provide learning towards a specific vocation, occupation, or career (Princeton University, 2010; The 'Lectric Law Library, 2010). Reynolds (2006) asserted that community colleges will play a vital role in the pursuit in the field of education for learners to be in control of their own learning through learner-centered instruction. Background From the earliest of time, vocational training, which serves to prepare one for a specific career, has been present. Historically, professions have used it as a staple for employee preparedness (Hyland, 2006). Community colleges offer a myriad of degrees in vocational training including careers such as electrician, early childhood educator, carpenter, accountant, automotive care specialist, nurse, office administrator, construction manager, masseuse, beautician, plumber, journeyman, and much more (Metropolitan Community College, 2010; Northeast Community College, 2010; Western Iowa Tech Community College, 2010). In 1993, The Wingspread Group on Higher Education identified the shifting paradigm to a more learner-centered educational environment. They instructed future educators and shared their belief in that “putting learning at the heart of the academic enterprise will mean overhauling the conceptual, procedural, curricular, and other architecture of postsecondary education” (1993, p. 14). Vocational education institutions have strived to work toward implementing this

Full document contains 156 pages
Abstract: This study examined adult learners' perceptions of the inclusion of the American Psychological Association's 14 Learner-Centered Psychological Principles in three contexts: a traditional college course, a business training session, and a vocational instruction site. These principles were designated in 1997 by the Learner-Centered Principles Work Group of the American Psychological Association. With continuing increases of and progression toward learner-controlled resources and opportunities, the transition from teacher-centered instruction to learner-centered instruction challenges educational practitioners and researchers to reach consensus on the characteristics of a learner-centered environment. A US Presidential Task Force deemed this identification of characteristics necessary for harmonized advancement for the inclusion of learner-centered principles into educational contexts. A researcher-developed survey instrument was used to collect data from a convenience sample of learners in the three contexts in the U.S. Midwest, with a response rate of 100%. Four-point Likert-type scales were used to measure respondent perceptions of the level to which the principles were included in their learning environment. The study survey included open-ended questions to gather perceived benefits and challenges as a result of the use of learner-centered instruction. Finally, demographics were collected to answer whether these representative attributes played a role in the difference of perception of the inclusion of the learner-centered principles. A matrix of the 50 Likert-scale questions was created to measure perceptions of how much the 14 principles were apparent in the three contexts. Descriptive statistics of means, frequencies, and percentages were used to report findings. The responses to the narrative section were itemized by main concepts and recurring themes. All three contexts measured positive for the inclusion of all 14 principles, indicating that the adult learners perceived that their educational environments were learner-centered. A variety of benefits and challenges were revealed as a result of the instruction. The study results indicated that the APA's 14 learner-centered principles can be applied to a traditional college classroom, a business training session, and a vocational instruction site.