Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Edward H. Kim


At a new military school, leaders worried that professional development (PD) for their novel curriculum did not induce consistent changes in their military instructors. Transformative learning theory suggested reconstructing frames of reference could help inform practices for military instructors. To fulfill the purpose of the study, current research provided a conceptual framework to assess the effectiveness of the PD effort. The research questions examined instructor perceptions of the school’s instructional strategy, their willingness to modify lessons, and to conduct assessments of learning outcomes. School leaders proffered 18 of their most effective instructors as a sample population for a case study. Data were collected from 10 participating instructors and compared with information from direct observation, student comments, and semi-structured interviews. Member checking, data triangulation, and a blind peer-review provided confidence in the 4 emergent themes of an inductive data coding process. Results pointed to strong instructor appreciation for PD and a desire for more. Instructor performance was influenced by peer coaching, a lack of developmental feedback, and inconsistencies in assessment strategies. Instructor collaboration efforts suggested the utility of a professional learning community (PLC) as a way to improve PD effectiveness. The results of this study apply to the broader military and higher education domains where PD programs are routinely found lacking. In terms of positive social change, skilled instructors significantly improve learner outcomes. Learners, with robust assessments of their competencies, should enhance the effectiveness and productivity of the communities they join as graduates. Effective PD is a way to accomplish this positive social change goal.

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