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  • Examining learner-centered coach education

    Kyle Paquette

    Thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

    In partial fulfillment of the requirements For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Human Kinetics

    School of Human Kinetics Faculty of Health Sciences

    University of Ottawa

    © Kyle Paquette, Ottawa, Canada, 2018

  • Doctoral Dissertation: Kyle Paquette



    No doctoral dissertation happens without the support of many people. Given the duration of most doctoral programs, it is no surprise that for many students, there will be some people who are part of their journey from the beginning, whereas others will have entered their lives throughout their PhD tenure and will have made significant contributions to their growth and achievement. This is certainly true when your journey to completion lasts eight years :) Let me begin by acknowledging the people who have been with me from the start. First, I would like to acknowledge the unwavering support, belief, patience, and guidance of my supervisor, Dr. Pierre Trudel. The truth is, under the supervision of most other professors, I would either have not completed this dissertation or not amassed the professional development and experiences I have in the past eight years. Pierre, I am truly grateful to have been coached by you. I would also like to acknowledge the support and feedback from my committee members, Dr. Diane Culver, Dr. Penny Werthner, and Dr. Martin Camiré. I could not have asked for a more encouraging and understanding committee. To my family and friends, particularly my parents, brother, uncle and Tiago, thank you for the confidence and trust you showed in me throughout my lengthy tenure as a doctoral student. I would also like to thank Golf Canada, the PGA of Canada, and all the participants who volunteered for my study, with a special thanks to Glenn Cundari and Gary Bernard for their invaluable contributions.

    Now, for the people who joined in throughout my journey. I began my doctoral studies as a bachelor, and I am now the proud father of two beautiful sons, Reid and Davis. My aspiration to provide opportunity and to be a model of resilience and resolve for you is truly what fuelled the completion of this dissertation. Next, I would like to acknowledge Gerry Peckham and Curling Canada for creating the opportunity for me to thrive as a developing practitioner. Gerry, I believe your mentorship and the learning that has resulted from it are equivalent to receiving a second PhD. I would also like to acknowledge all of the incredibly determined and passionate high-performance athletes and coaches who I have had the privilege of working with throughout the past eight years. Please know that you have helped to shape who I am by inspiring me to strive for lifelong fulfilment, personal well-being, and high performance. What I have learned in service of supporting your aspirations has profoundly and forever influenced my own.

    Last, in a category of her own, I would like to acknowledge the enduring love and support from my strong and beautiful wife, Kayla. Throughout the past eight years, you have lovingly and selflessly adapted your support strategies to match my ever-changing needs and pursuit of passion projects. Your tolerance of my abundant, and often irrational, optimism is a testament in itself of your devotion for me and my aspirations. I am forever grateful for you.

  • Doctoral Dissertation: Kyle Paquette



    At the center of all coach education initiatives and programming is the coach. Although the study of traditional coach education programs has yielded rather discouraging findings, coach education can be significant in its contribution to coach development when coaches are addressed as learners and their unique learning needs and orientations are recognized and prioritized. Indeed, the conversation has shifted to the application of learner-centered (LC) approaches. The purpose of this doctoral dissertation was twofold: to explore the contribution of using the LC theory, including a well-established learner-centered teaching (LCT) framework, to support coach education; and to examine the LC initiatives of a coach education program. An immersion in the LC literature was followed by the collection of multiple sources of data: program documents (n = 5), coach survey data, in-depth participant interviews (coach development administrators, n = 14; learning facilitators, n = 6; coaches, n = 10), and audio- visual material. Program documents (449 pages) were analyzed using a summative content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005) based on Blumberg’s (2009) LCT framework, and the interview transcripts (521 single-spaced pages) were analyzed using thematic analysis (Braun, Clarke, & Weate, 2016). The findings are presented in three articles and an additional findings section. The first article presents a theoretical overview of the LC literature linked to current perspectives and issues in coach education, including validated framework for facilitating LC change and assessment. The second article looks at the evolution and current LC status of Canada’s golf coach education program, a distinguished program within the Canadian sport system. The third article, using composite vignettes, presents the coaches’ and learning facilitators’ perception of their experiences participating in the LC designed program. In the additional findings, the CDAs’ biographies and perceptions of their experiences participating and contributing to the design of the program are presented along with the challenges they faced. The main points from the findings in this dissertation are as follows: (a) given the strong conceptual links and evidence-based foundation, LCT offers a coherent and sensible framework to guide the study and design of coach education; (b) there were lessons to be learned when looking at the history and evolution of the coach education program; (c) the creation and implementation of LC program benefitted from leaders who understood and subscribed to a constructivist view of learning; (d) the LCT approaches were dependent on the role and effectiveness of the learning facilitators; (e) coaches’ and facilitators’ perceptions of LCT approaches and engagement in the program varied according to their cognitive structures, specifically their learning orientation; and (f) more broadly, the program’s impact and effectiveness was influenced by the dynamic and complex interplay between the program design, delivery, and coach engagement. The findings contribute to the emerging body of literature on the use of constructivist learning principles to support coach education; they provide scholars and practitioners with a robust framework to guide the study, design, delivery, and assessment of LC coach education; and they share the exemplary efforts, experiences, and challenges of a sport federation who successfully adopted a high degree of LCT within its coach education program. Finally, based on the findings and the coach education and LC literatures, a fourth article is presented in the discussion that offers a collection of practical recommendations for CDAs to support LC coach education. Keywords: Coach education, constructivism, facilitation, learner-centered, learning

  • Doctoral Dissertation: Kyle Paquette


    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Introduction to the Dissertation 1

    Introduction 2

    Research Purpose 3

    Epistemology 3

    Chapter 2: Theoretical Frameworks 5

    Jarvis’ Theory of Lifelong Learning 6

    Moon’s Generic View of Learning 8

    Learner-Centeredness 11

    Chapter 3: Review of Literature 19

    Sport Coaching 20

    Coach Development 24

    Coach Education 29

    Chapter 4: Research Context 35

    Golf Coach Education in Canada 36

    Chapter 5: Research Approach 40

    Case Study Approach 41

    Participants 43

    Data Gathering 46

    Data Analysis 51

    Qualitative Quality 53

    Chapter 6: Findings 57

    Article 1 59

  • Doctoral Dissertation: Kyle Paquette


    Abstract 60

    Introduction 61

    Part 1: A Look at the LC Literature 62

    Part 2: Five Dimensions of LCT Framework 68

    Part 3: Considerations for Leading LC Coach Education 74

    Conclusion 79

    References 81

    Recommendations for Applied Practice 87

    Article 2 88

    Abstract 89

    Introduction 90

    Method 95

    Part 1: Program Evolution 98

    Part 2: Program Assessment 106

    Discussion 113

    Conclusion 120

    References 123

    Article 3 129

    Abstract 130

    Introduction 131

    Method 136

    Findings 139

    Discussion 151

  • Doctoral Dissertation: Kyle Paquette


    Conclusion 156

    References 158

    Additional Findings 164

    Program Assessment 164

    CDA Composite Vignette 179

    Chapter 7: Discussion and Conclusion 189

    General Discussion 190



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