UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Survey of graduates in adult education at the University of British Columbia White, Judith M.


The recent proliferation in the field of adult education and the scarcity of research about practising professional adult educators led to this follow-up study of the graduates of the Doctor of Education, Master of Arts, Master of Education, Master of Science (Agriculture) and Diploma programs in adult education at the University of British Columbia. The purposes of the study were to describe the graduates' demographic and occupational profile, to identify their career patterns and occupational changes since graduation, to describe their present work activities, to determine their perceptions of the adequacy of their training in adult education and to determine their learning needs and their continuing learning activities in adult education. Seventy-five per cent of the graduates participated in the study. The respondents were predominantly married males, aged thirty-nine, who had returned to graduate study after five years of work in the field of adult education. They held a variety of occupational titles, were employed by many different, mostly government-associated agencies, and the majority worked in large cities. Their work week averaged forty-three hours, twenty-five of which were spent in activities related to adult education. Respondents exhibited some definite trends in their career patterns over three time periods (before training, immediately after training and at present), specifically with regard to the type of employer and the extent of their work in adult education. The application of t-tests to grouped occupational prestige scores revealed that respondents did not perceive their present occupation to have greater prestige than the one they held immediately after training. The best single predictor of occupational mobility of the adult educators in this study as determined by multiple regression analysis was the number of years since graduation. A work activities list of fourteen items was used to identify respondents' occupational activities, the adequacy of their preparation for those activities and their learning needs. Work activities to which the total respondent group devoted the most amount of time were instructing adults, counselling adults, establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships, planning and developing adult education programs and continuing their own education. Activities to which they devoted the least amount of time were determining community needs and producing mass media programs. The M.Ed, respondent groups' work activities differed significantly from those of the M.A., M.Sc. and Diploma respondent groups. The respondents felt adequately prepared for ten of the fourteen listed work activities but reported that they needed to learn a moderate amount for eleven of the fourteen work activities. A positive relationship existed between their perceptions of their learning needs and the adequacy of their preparation for adult education activities. The two activities for which they felt most adequately prepared and for which they felt the strongest learning needs were continuing their own education, and planning and developing adult education programs. No relationship existed between the work activities respondents performed and their perceptions of the adequacy of their preparation for those activities, and there was no relationship between the work activities respondents performed and their perceptions of their learning needs for those activities. Respondents spent an average of 9.1 hours per week in continuing learning activities, approximately half of which were in activities directly related to adult education content. It appears that the professional training in adult education received by these graduate respondents adequately prepared them to perform a wide variety of occupational roles and work activities and to be continuing learners.

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