Transfer of learning and the cultural matrix: the interrelationship of culture, beliefs, and learning

PhD Thesis


Green, Jonathan Henry. 2015. Transfer of learning and the cultural matrix: the interrelationship of culture, beliefs, and learning. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

Transfer of learning and the cultural matrix: the interrelationship of culture, beliefs, and learning

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorGreen, Jonathan Henry
SupervisorO'Neill, Shirley
McIlveen, Peter
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages224
Year2015
Abstract

This study, conducted in an international college in Thailand, aimed to understand the transfer of learning from an undergraduate academic literacy programme to the disciplines. In so doing, it adopted a cultural matrix to investigate the interrelationship among students’ perceptions of transfer of learning, their personal beliefs about knowledge, knowing and learning, and their secondary school backgrounds. A three-part questionnaire, supplemented by purposive semistructured interviews, was used to collect data from all consenting students from the final course in a four-trimester programme. The first part of the questionnaire employed the Epistemic Beliefs Inventory (EBI) in gauging students’ beliefs about
knowing and learning, the second part comprised the Measure of Academic Literacy (MALT) , which measure students’ perceptions of transfer of learning from the
academic literacy programme to the disciplines, and the third part of the questionnaire surveyed students’ demographic details, specifically with regard to
their secondary school context. Data were then analysed to establish the interrelationship between these data sets. Open-ended questions to the MALT section of the questionnaire were analysed, and, in order to illustrate and further understand the data analysis from the questionnaire, trained interviewers conducted
semi-structured interviews.

Initial, factorial analysis of the EBI indicated a factor structure that differed from that of the US origins of the instrument, suggesting a relationship between culture and beliefs. While analysis indicated a significant low-moderate relationship between students’ beliefs about knowledge and learning and the transfer of learning,
no such association was detected between the beliefs and students’ secondary school background. The students’ multicultural backgrounds, coupled with ambivalent
beliefs, may provide an explanation for this. The findings, thus,give partial support for the application of the cultural matrix to transfer of learning.

The study makes an original contribution by applying the cultural matrix to learning in a previously unexplored way. In so doing, it aims to generate a general theory of transfer of learning while fostering a culturally pluralistic understanding of learners’ beliefs about knowledge and learning and the implications for such transfer. It also advocates an approach that supplements existing classroom-specific pedagogical methods with school-wide cultural management initiatives in order to
better effect transfer of learning.

Keywordslearning, cultural matrix, transfer of learning, culture, beliefs
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390102. Curriculum and pedagogy theory and development
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
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