Title page for ETD etd-11012007-210852

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Chuang, Szu-Fang
URN etd-11012007-210852
Title The Influence of Confucian Philosophy on Adults' Preference for Learning: A Comparison of Confucian Adult Learners and Non-Confucian Adult Learners
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Donna H. Redmann Committee Chair
Geraldine H. Johnson Committee Member
John-Paul Hatala Committee Member
Michael F. Burnett Committee Member
John B. Henderson Dean's Representative
  • adult learner
  • training and development
  • confucian philosophy
  • learning preference
  • human resource development
Date of Defense 2007-09-28
Availability unrestricted
The primary purpose of this study was to determine the influence of the extent of agreement with the principles of Confucian philosophy on the learning preferences of students enrolled in a research extensive university in the southern region of the United States. This study also compared the extent of agreement with the Confucian philosophy and the extent of preferences for learning methods by cultural background (as defined by nonresident Far East Asians from Confucian-influenced countries, Asian Americans, and White Americans) of enrolled students.

The researcher used survey methodology to determine the current level (extent to which the subjects agreed with the principles) of Confucian philosophy and to describe the current preferences for learning of the students. Exploratory factor analysis was used to summarize the information regarding the 581 university students' levels of agreements with 45 statements of Confucian and their preferences for 33 learning methods. Pearson's correlation, one-way ANOVA, and independent t-test were utilized to determine whether an association exists between the levels of Confucian philosophy (as well as the preferences for learning methods) and selected demographic characteristics.

Three key conclusions emerged from the study. One, there are different levels of adults' agreement on the values of Confucian philosophy and, as the students agreed more with the philosophy, the higher preferences for individual learning, passive/traditional learning, active learning, and group learning methods. Two, age, gender, nationality, lengths of time working inside and outside of the U.S., and academic status influenced the students' values of Confucian philosophy and preferences for learning methods. Three, a universal agreement on the values of Confucian harmonious relationship and a universal preference for alternative learning methods were found (regardless of students' cultural background, length of time working in the U.S., and academic status). It is recommended that human resource development professionals, adult educators, trainers, and training designers use this study to understand the cultural difference between Westerners and Confucian adult learners and to develop and manage appropriate training programs that create culturally relevant approaches to learning while addressing the students' preferences for learning methods.

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