Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Chair

Dr. Lilian Hill

Committee Chair Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 2

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 3

Dr. Thomas V. O'Brien

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 4

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate and identify the factors that either support or inhibit learning transfer among educators within K-12 professional learning communities (PLCs) as well as to obtain a better understanding of how adult education principles relate to teacher learning and job satisfaction within this environment. Although research regarding professional learning for educators within the K-12 setting is available, much of this research is not focused directly on adult education principles and often fails to examine learning transfer. The present study addresses both areas using a two-phase exploratory sequential mixed methods approach to obtain both qualitative and quantitative information about the above topics from teachers and other education professionals.

Qualitative data was collected in the form a case study that included a review of artifacts, observations, and interviews with approximately six educators. An analysis of the qualitative data identified a total of 32 factors associated with the promotion of learning transfer and 11 factors related to the inhibition of learning transfer within professional learning communities. These factors were grouped into categories focusing on the individual/learner, PLC design and implementation, and school/work environment. Following the completion of the qualitative phase of the study, each of the factors was incorporated into a survey instrument that was distributed to a larger population of educators. An analysis of the obtained survey data suggested that two work/school environment factors and three individual/learner factors were most closely associated with supporting learning transfer within PLCs. A lack of time was identified as the factor most closely association with the inhibition of learning transfer by survey respondents.

The knowledge gained in this study may be used to support the development of professional learning communities as well as other professional learning opportunities for educators. It may also be useful with regard to the development of a future model of K-12 teacher learning and a line of research that is grounded in adult education principles.

ORCID ID

orcid.org/0000-0001-6497-8823