Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Curriculum and Instruction
The purpose of this study was threefold: 1) to examine the effect of the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) instructional approach on Hospitality students' content knowledge (see chapter 1); 2) to examine the effect of the PBL instructional approach on Hospitality students' critical thinking and problem-solving skills (see chapter 1); 3) to examine the effect of the Problem-Based Learning instructional approach on students' attitudes and perceptions of problem solving in Hospitality settings, in order to increase the relevance of their learning and program of study. Students in a Hospitality management course in a large mid-west university participated in this study. This study used a mixed methods approach to collect and analyze data. There were six data sources used in the study: Pre- and Post-Content Knowledge Test, pre- and post- California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) applicable to 4-year-college students, pre- and post- Measure of Epistemological Reflection Survey (a validated tool used by permission from Dr. Baxter Magolda), PBL Rubric, students' reflection journals, and instructor's observation notes. Data were analyzed quantitatively by using SPSS Version 14 to compare the pre- and post-Content Knowledge Tests and pre- and post- California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST). A Wilcoxon signed ranked test, a non-parametric test, an equivalent of dependent test were used to determine a significant difference between the pre- and post-test results. Qualitative data were analyzed using the pre- and post-Measure of Epistemological Reflection (MER) survey, student reflective journal entries, and instructor's observation. The results showed that there was a significant difference between the content knowledge mean of the pre- and post-content knowledge test after teaching the students using PBL. The result also shows that there was no significant difference in the pre- and post-test of the California Critical Thinking Skill Test (CCTST) after teaching the students using PBL. The result also showed the students' problem solving skills improved after solving the four closed loop case problems. Students' perception and attitude of PBL were positive, although the students indicated some negatives, such as increase in work load, time wasted, uncertainty of their answers, and being confused at the beginning of the learning process, as this approach was new to them. Nevertheless, the findings indicated that PBL helps students to build a capacity for self-directed learning, foster team work, improve their communications skills, manage their learning time table, be active learners, find relevant and valuable information, and apply problem-solving skills. The students' attitudes and perceptions were positive and encouraging, despite encountering some issues during the intervention. These findings have theoretical, practical, and research implications.
This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.