Jun Liu

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Roth, Gene L.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Chinese language--Study and teaching (Higher)--China--Shenyang (Liaoning Sheng)--Foreign speakers--Case studies; Self-managed learning--Case studies


This study provides a systematic and holistic description of the learners of the Chinese Self-Taught Higher Education Examination (STHEE). The study specifically explored the learning strategies used by participants, examined the factors that attributed to their passing examinations, and investigated what participants have gained from the learning experience. The information and insights gained from the study provide useful data for promoting discussion and research of STHEE, self-directed learning, learning how to learn, and lifelong learning. A qualitative case study method was employed. In-depth interviews were used to collect data. Interviews were conducted in Chinese and audio-taped upon the agreement of participants. The tapes were then transcribed and translated into English. Member checks and an external reviewer were used to ensure the accuracy of the transcriptions and the results of the research. The data revealed that similar learning strategies were utilized by participants during their preparation for STHEE examinations. Besides the commonly used learning strategies for learning in general, a unique strategy of choosing courses was employed by STHEE participants. The data also showed that planning was central to learning strategies used by participants. Different factors affected participants to pass examinations, including formulating a clear learning goal, psychological preparation, personal characteristics, motivation, consulting outside learning resources, and support and encouragement from family members and friends. Psychological preparation and motivation were the major factors attributed to their passing STHEE examinations. Participants benefited greatly from the learning process. They gained new knowledge and improved learning skills, and they were able to use the knowledge and skills in their jobs, in their studies in the university, and in their daily lives. Most importantly, they increased their ability of self-directed learning, found an appropriate learning method, and learned how to leam, from which they would benefit for the rest of their life. During and after the preparation for STHEE examinations, participants changed in many aspects. Perhaps what changed the most was their attitude toward learning and the awareness of themselves as lifelong learners.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [140]-147).


vi, 156 pages




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