Thesis

Experience and learning

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between experience and learning. With specific emphasis placed on cognitive load theory concepts related to the relationship between experience and learning and the third precept of andragogy, "the role of the learners' experiences" (Paas, Renkl, & Sweller, 2004; Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2012, p. 65). The development of learning theory, adult learning theory, andragogy, cognitive psychology, and cognitive load theory are included in the literature review. Training and experience evaluations from the human resources field and competency based education's uses of experience are also touched upon in the literature review. The study was conducted at a U.S. Marine occupational training school using two different courses and three separate classes. Pre and post instruction surveys were used to gather pre, post, and experience information; as well as identify both experienced participants and non-experienced participants. Results from the experienced and non-experienced participant's answers' on both the pre-instruction and post-instruction surveys as well as the final unit scores were all analyzed for comparison. Very little relationship and association between experience indexes and unit scores was found in data from either course. Strong and moderate relationships were found in data from the electronics course between experience indexes and self-report of benefits to the learning process indexes. Moderate and weak relationships were found in data from the driver's course between experience indexes and self-report of benefits to the learning process indexes. The discussion suggests reasons for no correlations between experienced participants answers and academic outcomes and suggests reasons for the correlations found between the experience indexes and the self-report of benefits to the learning process indexes. Problems, limitations, and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

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