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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An investigation of the relationship between reasons for participation in continuing professional education and subsequent application of learning Cividin, Theresa Marie


Continuing professional education (CPE) is regarded by professionals, professional associations, and the public as a means of ensuring competent practitioners. It is of limited use to the professional and their practice if what is learned is not used in, or to improve practice. Thus a better understanding of whether professionals apply what they learn to practice, and why, is of interest to adult educators. This study explores the linkage between voluntary and non-voluntary reasons for participation in CPE and subsequent application of learning. This investigation involved analyses of data collected as part of a large-scale evaluation of the Centre for Substance Abuse Protection Training Systems (CTS). The evaluation focused upon application of learning as a consequence of participation in the CTS workshop. Questionnaires were used to collect data from CTS workshop participants on three separate occasions; before, immediately after and two to four months following completion of the workshop. The sample was comprised of 281 health care professionals (physicians, nurses, mental health counsellors and rehabilitation specialists). Chi-square tests for association revealed significant associations between three voluntary reasons for participation (need to do your job or volunteer activities differently, confirm what you are already doing is O.K., and chance to network with others) and application of learning. Non-significant associations were found between application of learning and one voluntary (general interest) and one non-voluntary (required by organization to participate) reason for participation. The three voluntary reasons for participation associated with application of learning imply intrinsic motivation as a linking factor in the association. Further analyses demonstrated that the data from the nursing sub-group influenced the data from the combined sample of health care professionals. Additional exploration of the nursing sample revealed that situational factors also contribute to application of learning. Greater application of learning was noted for participants who had previous training in substance abuse prevention, found the workshop useful and relevant, and had sufficient resources available at their workplace. It was concluded that in addition to intrinsic motivation, situational factors also influence application of learning.

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