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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An analytical survey of participants in non-credit liberal arts extension classes Ganz, Lothar Benno


This study, an analysis of participants in university extension liberal arts non-credit courses at the University of British Columbia, is based on 1005 interviews which were given during the spring of 1968. The clientele has been described in terms of socio economic characteristics, motivation, participation in adult education, reactions about the scheduling of classes, and methods of obtaining information concerning the courses. The data were furthermore utilized interesting the hypothesis that no statistically significant differences at the one per cent level existed between males and females, between veterans and novices, or between non-committed and committed learners with respect to selected socio-economic and psychological characteristics and specified ways of obtaining information about extension courses. Participants differed from the general population in that they had a higher ratio of women to men, constituted greater percentages of people in each of the age categories from 25 to 54 years, possessed higher socio-economic status and were more actively involved in the formally organized life of their community. Learning-orientation—the desire to seek knowledge for its own sake—emerged as the prime motivator for most participants. Three-quarters of them reported previous involvement in adult education, and a similar proportion indicated strong intentions to enrol in future extension classes. One-half of the clientele were novices in university extension classes. Virtually all respondents resided in the greater Vancouver area, and spent less than thirty minutes travelling to class. Direct mailing techniques of promotional material influenced more participants than did newspaper advertising. Less than one-third of all respondents indicated that they had learned about classes through other people. Testing of the hypothesis revealed statistically significant differences between male and female participants with respect to educational level, goal-orientation, learning-orientation, interest in subjects, attendance during specified times of the day, preferences for starting times of classes, attendance on specified days of the week, interest in weekend seminars, and the type of announcement received for the course. Participants with prior experience in adult education differed significantly from novices in their distributions according to age, occupational ranking, income, social participation, type of announcement received for the course, and the extent of their use of the two step information flow. Committed and non-committed learners were significantly different from each other in the distributions according to marital status, income, learning-orientation, previous participation in university extension activities, interest in weekend seminars, and in their utilization of the two step information flow.

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