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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Failure to re-enroll in non-credit, university continuing education programs Clarke, John Murray Cordell

Abstract

The discipline of adult education has been concerned with factors affecting participation, particularly those factors influencing either enrollment or dropping out. Little attention has been devoted to the examination of factors which affect an adult's decision not to return to a subsequent course at the institution which he had attended previously. The purpose of this study was to identify the major factors or combinations of factors which may be related to the failure of adults to re-enroll in Extension programs at the University of British Columbia. The analytical survey method with a structured interview schedule was used to conduct the study. A random sample of 100 subjects was drawn from a population of 650 participants in non-credit Extension classes in the fall of 1966 who had not returned for another non-credit program over a subsequent three year period. The sample group did not appear to differ markedly with respect to those characteristics studied, from participants at similar institutions or from those who participate and return for subsequent courses at the Extension Department studied. Those characteristics of the sample which were cross-tabulated and found to be significantly related appear to be typical of university non-credit extension course participants. The majority of the reasons given for not returning were personal in nature as opposed to institutional and the five most frequently mentioned reasons were all personal. Lack of time because of business commitments was evidently the most important single factor preventing re-enrollment, followed by lack of time because of family commitments, involvement in courses elsewhere, lack of time because of other clubs or groups, and the inability to schedule time on a regular basis. The other factors mentioned by the subjects did not indicate a consistent theme, rather they formed a haphazard mosaic of isolated reasons about which no single explanation was evident. With one exception, the categories of reasons given for failing to re enroll were not associated significantly with the characteristics of the sample. In that one case, there did. not appear to be a suitable explanation of the relationship found between occupational change and the reason given for not returning. There is evidently no single identifiable institutional adjustment which could have aided re-enrollment by a large number of the non-participants.

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