Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
School of Teaching and Learning
Kevin R. Meyer
Jay C. Percell
Instructors often desire to be clear in their teaching. However, a new area of research raises the possibility that instructors can use ambiguity strategically in courses and assignments to foster improved learning outcomes in students. This study uses quantitative research methods to explore how student characteristics affect learning outcomes when presented with varying levels of instructor messaging regarding clear and ambiguous assignments. Specifically, the measured student’s tolerance for ambiguity, mindset, as well as learning orientation and grade orientation as well as the impact instructor messaging regarding assignments has on student’s learner empowerment and affective learning. Findings suggest that instructor messaging does impact student learning. Specifically, ambiguous assignments were more impactful than clear or strategically ambiguous assignments in most cases. Additionally, tolerance for ambiguity and learning orientation did relate to student learning, but mindset and grade orientation did not. Results of this study have implications for how and when instructors provide information regarding classroom assessments.
Wright, Anna M., "Let’s Be Perfectly Clear about Ambiguity: Exploring Instructor Use of Strategic Ambiguity To Enhance Student Work and Learning Outcomes" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 1148.