Date of Award

4-1995

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Brinkerhoff

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Humbert

Third Advisor

Dr. James Sanders

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Thelma Urbick

Abstract

Employers have shown a growing interest in problem solving skill in addition to specific occupational skills (Carnevale, Gainer, and Meltzer, 1990). Learning expectations are defined as attitudes involving the self-conception of one's ability to respond to difficult situations, and learning from problem situations is defined as the ability to organize specialized knowledge so that it can be applied to a new situation. The purpose of the study was to examine relationships among these two variables and performance in a situation requiring the application of occupational knowledge under a novel set of conditions. The study was carried out at the Industrial Machine Tool program of the Regional Manufacturing Technology Center in Battle Creek, Michigan.

A problem scenario was constructed involving a request to set up a machine to cut a part which the trainees had previously learned to produce; however, the scenario required use of an unfamiliar method and provided information in an unfamiliar manner. Eighteen subjects responded to the scenario and completed instruments measuring learning expectations and learning from problem situations. The Intellectual Achievement Responsibility scale (IAR) (Crandall, Katkoksy, and Crandall, 1965) was used to operationalize learning expectations. The IAR requires a choice between internal and external assessments of responsibility for positive and negative intellectual outcomes. A three question interview following the problem scenario was used to operationalize learning from problem situations. The interview questions concerned the concepts necessary to apply previously acquired knowledge to the scenario.

There was a significant positive correlation between performance on the problem scenario and the results of the follow-up interview. There was no correlation between total IAR scores and both performance on the problem scenario and learning from problem situations. However, there was a significant positive correlation between the IAR scale for positive outcomes and performance on the scenario and a significant negative correlation between the IAR scale for negative outcomes and the results of the followup interview. These results indicate that the organization of occupational knowledge is related to the ability to apply it to new situations. However, the results do not support the hypothesized relationship between learning expectations and learning from problem situations.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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