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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An evaluation of a three-week adult education program for commerical fishermen Drew, Graham Arthur

Abstract

The Technical Fisheries Short Course has been administered by the Department of Extension at The University of British Columbia for fifteen years with funds provided by the federal government. The content of this three-week adult education program for commercial fishermen is designed with emphasis on the scientific rather than vocational aspects of fisheries. It was the purpose of this study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Short Course in terms of new knowledge acquired and attitudes which were modified during the time it was offered. The study population consisted of 117 fishermen composed of 22 students of the 1969 Class (Group I); 40 non-students (Group II); and 55 former students (Group III). Data for Group I was collected by the use of six objective instruments and one subjective discussion session. Two of these, a knowledge-attitude test and a socio-economic instrument, were used to collect data for the other two Groups. Knowledge acquisition and attitude change for Group I was measured by administering the knowledge-attitude test in the pre and post situations. It was shown that learning did occur as average knowledge scores improved from 18.0 in the pre-test to 31.0 in the post-test out of a possible total of fifty. Although there were sixty-seven individual attitude changes to eight statements concerning governmental bodies, the overall Class attitude score remained virtually unchanged at 22.2 in the post-test from 22.4 in the pre-test out of a total of forty. By means of multiple stepwise regression it was shown that 30% of post-knowledge was dependent on pre-knowledge. By logic it is assumed that some of the remaining 70% was due, directly or indirectly, to exposure to the educational experience. Analysis of variance tests with socio-economic data provided some statistically significant results, but because of only one or two replies in the categories causing the significance these are not reported and further studies with larger populations are indicated. Group I fishermen showed a preference for vocationally-oriented subjects (unlike previous classes), but at the same time indicated an interest in and understanding of academic and research oriented content. In terms of interest and value ratings of the subjects offered the program content met the needs of the participants and they believed that what they had learned would help them to increase their financial returns from fishing. The results indicate the need for establishing instructional objectives and providing guidance to some instructors on teaching techniques. Other results based on the study are that consideration should be given to scheduling the program earlier in the year and that more advance publicity about the Short Course is required. The knowledge-attitude test and the socio-economic Instrument were also administered to Groups II and III (non-students and former students). As most of the Group I fishermen came from metropolitan areas in the lower mainland and on Vancouver Island an attempt was made to determine if the knowledge and attitude they possessed were representative of these factors for fishermen from metropolitan areas in general (Group II). Within the limitations of the study it was found that Group I knowledge was similar to that of Group II as determined by average group scores. On the same basis Group I attitude differed significantly at p.05 from that of Group II. Analysis of the data from the knowledge-attitude test and socioeconomic Instrument showed that Group I fishermen were more representative of Group III fishermen (former students) than they were of Group II fishermen (non-students). It was also determined that no significant difference existed between the knowledge scores of former students and post-test knowledge scores of Group I. This suggests a retention factor and reveals an area for further research. It was concluded on the basis of the factors studied that the 1969 Short Course was a success. The results indicate that certain modifications in content, instruction and format would have enhanced its effectiveness. The study also confirmed the difficulties faced by an adult education program administrator in concurrently conducting evaluative research. While the collection of evaluative data can be accomplished with comparative ease its interpretation and presentation becomes a problem in terms of the time and expense involved, a problem which can only be corrected by the provision of research funds. Other implications for research are a study of the application by students of knowledge gained at the Short Course and a study of the attitudes held by fishermen toward government regulatory agencies. Repeated evaluative studies of the Short Course using the same instruments established for this study are recommended. Communications research to determine if the program is influencing a much wider population than the fishermen who attend is also suggested. This empirical study provides a benchmark on which the research suggested can be built.

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