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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Enrollment, a decision making perspective Musa, Musa B.


Adult enrollment rates in continuing education are low. This constitutes a major concern for program providers since financing of programs is based on enrollment. Adult education researchers have investigated the global concept of participation neglecting the question of enrollment decision making. Participation -- the act of taking part in a specific program is distinguished from enrollment--the process of deciding whether to pre-register in a program. This study examined what combination of selected personal and environmental variables "best" predicted enrollment decision making. Beginning with Vroom's (1964) force and valence propositions, modifications were made using the concept of importance (Parker and Dyer, 1976) and adding contextual variables to produce expressive-force and instrumental-valence models. The modified models provided the schema for testing the following hypotheses: (i) the predictive accuracies of the expressive-force, instrumental-valence and multiplicatively combined expressive-force and instrumental-valence model are equal and (ii) the predictive accuracies of the additive and multiplicative forms of the combined expressive-force and instrumental-valence model are equal for predicting an individual's enrollment decision making in a formal educational program. Mailed questionnaires were sent to 133 enrollees and 400 non-enrollees. Of these numbers, 95 and 114 respectively, were returned. Eighty-eight questionnaires were useable in each group. The data were analysed using SPSS Discriminant analysis computer program. Results showed that suitability of the scheduled time of a program and a potential participant's perception of his employer's attitude regarding his intention to participate were the primary predictors of enrollment decision making in the four modified models. Predictive accuracy was augmented marginally by valence in the additive model and, for each of the remaining models by the respective multiplicative combination of the expectancy variables. The mailed brochure was the promotional device most reported as the principal source of information about the program. To improve the likelihood of potential participants making positive enrollment decisions, programmers were urged: (i) to work closely with employers of their clientele to ensure the suitability of the timing of their programs; and (ii) to provide for expressive and instrumental objectives. The paramount importance of using contextual variables in enrollment decision making research was emphasized.

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