Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Agricultural Education and Studies

First Advisor

Larry D. Trede


The purpose of this study was to determine similarities and differences in students' perceptions towards learning in two senior-level farm management experientially based capstone courses, similar in content, but vastly different in delivery and teaching methods. A secondary purpose was to determine if there was a favorable means for teaching farm business management concepts to young adult learners.;The objectives of the study were: (1) To examine selected demographic characteristics of the students enrolled in these two experientially-based capstone courses. (2) To determine the effectiveness of these two capstone courses using Crunkilton's criteria. (3) To identify the effectiveness of experiential learning, learning outcomes, and knowledge/skill enhancement as it occurs, using students' perceptions towards these courses. (4) To compare students' attitudes towards the effectiveness of various teaching and delivery methods used in each course and its impact upon their learning in an experiential setting.;A survey was developed and conducted to evaluate the AGEDS 450, Farm Management and Operation and ECON 430, Advanced Farm Business Management courses at Iowa State University. This survey was administered at the conclusion of the respective courses. The survey was administered at the end of the Fall 2003 semester to 61 students enrolled in ECON 430 and 37 students in AGEDS 450. Additionally, 31 students in the Spring 2004 AGEDS 450 course completed the survey. Therefore, responses were received from 61 ECON 430 students and 68 AGEDS 450 students.;Data analysis was accomplished through the use of demographic characteristics, means, standard deviations, rankings, and analysis of variance (ANOVA). The major discussion and findings indicated a favorable rating for using experiential learning within capstone courses in undergraduate agricultural education, specifically farm management. The data revealed positive student responses to capstone course effectiveness, learning outcomes, knowledge/skills enhancement, and delivery methods within the two courses. The study also provided some justification for the use of adult learning principles with undergraduate agricultural students.;A recommendation for further study and increased use of experiential learning, capstone courses and adult learning theory was provided. Implications within experiential learning, agricultural education and adult learning are also included.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Charles Russell Steiner



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

135 pages