First Advisor

Cardon, Vilma B.

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The purpose this research was to explore how an intentionally scaffolded hybrid counseling theories course facilitated cognitive complexity development for counselors in training (CITs). A qualitative portraiture case study design was utilized to illuminate CITs experiences regarding the impact of face to face and online learning on the development of cognitive complexity in the context of theoretical application. Data were collected in five ways: (1) pre, mid, and post questionnaires; (2) online reflection journals and discussion responses; (3) case study and treatment plan; (4) final reflection paper; and (5) individual or dyadic qualitative interviews. Developmental portraits were constructed from the data for each of the 15 participants. Three clusterings of case based themes emerged across participant portraits. Participants demonstrated cognitive complexity development through increased ability to monitor personal reactions, increased awareness of multiple valid perspectives, increased attempts to correct for biases and limitations, and increasingly accurate appraisals of personal strengths and limitations. Implications related to the use of critical and contextual constructivist pedagogy to foster development of cognitive complexity in relation to multicultural and social justice advocacy competencies are discussed. Recommendations for counselor educators who wish to design hybrid or flipped learning environments designed to foster cognitive complexity are provided.


Cognitive Complexity, Counselor Education, Development, Flipped Classroom, Hybrid Online Learning, Pedagogy


318 pages


Fall 2016 Graduate Dean's Citation for Outstanding Thesis, Dissertation, and Capstone

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