Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Daly, R.


Psychology, Clinical.




A systemic-constructivist theory is developed and an experiential instructional method that is coherent with the theory is designed, implemented, and evaluated. Systemic-constructivist theory is based upon general systems theory and constructivist theory. Individuals are viewed as actively involved in understanding their world through psychological structures that are continually being revised in the context of experience. From this perspective, experiential transactions with the world are viewed as the core referents of both language and conceptual abstractive processes. The systemic-constructivist theory provides the structure from which experiential instructional method is derived. A pilot study and two experiments were carried out to evaluate the systemic-constructivist instructional method. In the pilot study, data were obtained for the purpose of refining the instructional method and developing scoring criteria for the two experiments. In Experiment 1, experiential exercises were utilised to teach the systemic-constructivist constructs to professionals and graduate students. In a pretest, posttest, and follow-up test, participants were asked to define the systemic-constructivist constructs and apply the systemic-constructivist constructs to four written interpersonal scenarios. Two scenarios were presented at pretest; two scenarios were presented at posttest; and one of the pretest scenarios was utilised again at follow-up. The interpersonal scenarios were presented in reversed order for half the participants to insure against the possibility that one set of scenarios was more difficult than the other set of scenarios. Kappa and intraclass coefficients provided interjudge reliabilities for the ratings of two judges. Judges were blind to whether they were rating pretest or posttest data. Paired t-tests were used to evaluate learning. In Experiment 2, a sample of undergraduate students was randomly assigned to four instructional conditions--an experiential condition, lecture condition, reading condition, and a no-instruction control condition. The instructional conditions were matched for curriculum content, duration, time of day, and practice exercises. The same questionnaires, scenarios, and procedures that were used in Experiment 1 were used in the instructional conditions of Experiment 2. The experiential instruction condition of Experiment 2 matched the experiential instructional method used in Experiment 1. Two judges blind to whether they were rating pretests or posttests, and also blind to instructional condition, rated the test data. Pretest, posttest, and follow-up test data were analysed using repeated measures ANOVAs, one-way ANOVAs, planned comparison tests, and Scheffe post hoc comparison tests. Systemic-constructivist constructs were learned by participants instructed by the experiential instructional method. However, in a between-condition comparison of pretest to posttest improvement, the reading condition demonstrated greater improvement than either the experiential condition or the lecture condition. It is proposed that the superiority of the reading condition was due to the experiential congruence between the instructional method (reading) and the dependent measure (written test). "Experiential congruence" is a term that is proposed to refer to the degree of experiential similarity between the method of teaching, a skill and the measure for assessing whether the skill has been learned. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1995 .H63. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 57-07, Section: B, page: 4709. Adviser: Raymond Daly. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1995.