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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Descriptive study of the mobile instructional resource centre project : August 1973 to March 1974 Gobert, Robert Charles


The P.A. Woodward Mobile Instructional Resource Centre Project (MIRC) was a motorized educational delivery system used by the Division of Continuing Education in the Health Sciences at the University of British Columbia to provide learning opportunities for health professionals in their home communities. This study describes the project and analyzes its role in continuing education in the health field for those resident in the rural areas served by the project. The MIRC was a highway bus converted into a mobile continuing education facility containing three audio visual learning stations and over 1300 audio visual learning programs. Operated by a graduate adult education student, the MIRC visited 17 rural British Columbia communities between August 1, 1973 and March 31, 1974. During this period, data were obtained from 521 participants in 11 health professions and from 136 non-participants in seven health professions. Participation rates in the MIRC project were higher than those in other programs provided by the Division of Continuing Education in the Health Sciences during the same period whether examined by community or by professional category. MIRC participation rates were significantly higher among those professions for whom the Division provided other programs than they were among those for whom it did not. Participation rates were not related to distance from Vancouver but were higher for communities with smaller local hospitals. The MIRC project appears to have served a different set of individuals than did other Division programs. Direct costs were approximately four times as high but the expenses borne by participants and their employers were not considered. Participants and non-participants differed significantly with respect to sex, profession, location of employment, and number of professional books read. Reactions to the project, measured on a five-point scale, were favorable over-all. Significant differences among the professional groups were observed on two items and among various communities on all items. Reaction scores were not significantly related to participation rates or to the size of communities, but were higher in communities nearer Vancouver. By assigning ranks to eight alternative educational delivery systems, the respondents as a whole indicated that they preferred an audio-visual learning station in a hospital or in the MIRC project. Participants whose rankings were not related to those of non-participants preferred these same two systems. Non-participants preferred using a hospital library or attending courses outside their communities. Among the reasons given for not participating, most did not suggest ways in which the project could be altered to improve participation. It was concluded that the MIRC project is an acceptable and effective system for delivering continuing education opportunities to health professionals in rural British Columbia.

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