This study was initially planned to be a single study using the Principles of Adult Learning Scale (PALS) by Conti (1978), surveying students and alumni of a four-year university. These plans were redirected to conducting a meta-analysis, utilizing 30 years of dissertations that utilized the PALS instrument. The motivation for this study was to determine if educators might be a collaborative resource to aid corporate trainers in developing a learner-centered training program. College instructors could become corporate consultants if they reinforced the learner-center approach. A learner-centered instructor would inquire and recognize the inconsistencies in the trainer's teacher-centered training materials. This motive was based on first-hand experience with Acme Corporation. There were 108 dissertations identified. Eighteen were not retrieved, and 35 dissertations did not meet the inclusion criteria. Fifty-five dissertations were used with nearly 5,300 subjects. A complete list was provided by name and ProQuest number with exclusion reasons. The retrieved dissertations were grouped: (a) four-year colleges; (b) two-year colleges; (c) other educators. The third group consists of educators with a Masters or a Doctorate degree and teaches adult students outside of the traditional college environment. The results showed that PALS composite mean was statistically significant for each group, and within one standard deviation of the norm mean (M = 146). Conti and Welborn (1986) categorized these as intermediate teacher-centered. The seven factors were analyzed, and the mean was less than one standard deviation and teacher-centered and several factors were not significantly different from the factor's norm mean. No scores were found to be learner-centered. Linear regression analysis was performed over three decades of dissertations to determine if there was a trend towards learner-centered style. The results indicate no correlation exists.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational technology; Employees -- Training of; Educational evaluation; Teaching -- Methodology

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Gen, Ray;