ATHABASCA UNIVERSITY PARTICIPANTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF dtpr.lib. ATHABASCA UNIVERSITY PARTICIPANTS’ PERCEPTIONS

  • View
    2

  • Download
    0

Embed Size (px)

Text of ATHABASCA UNIVERSITY PARTICIPANTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF dtpr.lib. ATHABASCA UNIVERSITY...

  • ATHABASCA UNIVERSITY

    PARTICIPANTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF A

    COMPETENCY-BASED APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

    BY

    ANTONY E. RATCLIFFE

    A thesis submitted to the

    Athabasca University Governing Council in partial fulfillment

    Of the requirements for the degree of

    MASTER OF DISTANCE EDUCATION

    Athabasca, Alberta

    October, 2002

  • ii

    DEDICATION

    This thesis is dedicated to the students and teachers who come together on the learning

    journey. For those who want to learn, there are those who want us to be successful. In

    addition to the faculty and staff, we must always remember the contributions of our student

    colleagues to our learning. Particularly in distance studies and other forms of independent

    study, our ability to succeed is made possible by the support of others who are experiencing,

    or have experienced, the same challenges, barriers, and achievements. Some of these

    challenges involve the juggling of multiple work, family, and personal responsibilities. To

    my lovely wife, Lupe, and my son, Andrew, thank you for your understanding when the

    thesis has limited our family time. I can only hope that I can transfer a lot of what I have

    learned in the MDE program and thesis to competently guide Andrew as he embarks on a

    year attending grade 6 through a cyber school.

  • iii

    ABSTRACT

    This study examined a Competency-Based Apprenticeship Training (CBAT) Program

    providing Alberta electrician apprentices with self-paced training within set time parameters,

    on a classroom or distance delivery basis, encompassing self-study modules, computer-

    managed learning, skills labs, and tutoring. Theory classes were added for classroom-based

    apprentices. Program characteristics included elements from Mastery Learning, Keller’s

    Personalized System of Instruction, and Computer-Managed Learning (CML). A personal

    interview with 40 participating apprentices and 25 instructors identified factors that were

    deemed to promote or inhibit the success of CBAT and its apprentices. Recommendations

    support the self-paced program and the importance of the tutorial component. Full-time

    students may benefit from removing compulsory lectures and providing more freedom to

    select quiet study, lab skills, computer study, and other areas when needed. Distance and full-

    time students will benefit from increasing access to instruction and tutorial using computers,

    providing tools beyond e-mail and telephone for asynchronous or synchronous

    communications between students and instructors. Opportunities exist to take CBAT beyond

    the limited availability of human tutorial to computer-based tutorial, reducing the demand on

    resources for classroom-based CBAT apprentices and increasing access to tutorial services

    for those studying at a distance.

  • iv

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    The success of the MDE Program, and my completion of this thesis, is due to the

    commitment and expertise of the faculty, staff, and students whom I have worked. Special

    thanks are given to my thesis supervisor, Dr. Pat Fahy, for his teaching, direction, and

    encouragement throughout the program and the thesis preparation. I am pleased to have had

    Dr. Robert Spencer and Dr. Mohamed Ally as committee members. Both are representative

    of the high calibre of faculty in the MDE Program. Thanks to Glenda Hawryluk for her

    positive attitude and willingness to assist students in any way possible as the MDE Program

    administrator. Students of Athabasca University are extremely fortunate to have library staff

    that provide an exceptional service and handle individual requests in a personal way. A

    community of learners developed within the MDE Program, extending beyond graduation. It

    was comforting to know that these friends were only an e-mail away. In particular, Jill

    Campbell and Myrna Sears have continued to provide encouragement past their graduation.

    Thanks to Jim Sanders and the instructional and administrative staff at the Northern Alberta

    Institute of Technology Electrician Programs and to Alberta Learning for their input, support,

    and endorsement of the study. Last but not least, this study could not have been completed

    without the apprentices who gave up some of their valuable study time to participate for the

    benefit of future program participants.

  • v

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    CHAPTER I .............................................................................................................................. 1

    INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................... 1

    Statement of the Purpose ...................................................................................................... 4

    Research Questions............................................................................................................... 5

    Background to the Study....................................................................................................... 5

    Significance of the Study ...................................................................................................... 6

    Assumptions of the Study ..................................................................................................... 7

    Limitations and Delimitations............................................................................................... 8

    Operational Definition of Terms........................................................................................... 9

    Organization of the Thesis .................................................................................................. 11

    CHAPTER II........................................................................................................................... 12

    REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE.............................................................................. 12

    Competency-Based Education and Training ...................................................................... 12

    Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Competency-Based Approaches ..................... 16

    Mastery Learning ................................................................................................................ 17

    Individualized Instruction ................................................................................................... 22

    Keller’s Personalized System of Instruction....................................................................... 23

    Computer-Managed Learning/Instruction .......................................................................... 28

    Competency-Based Apprenticeship Training ..................................................................... 29

    Summary of Review of Related Literature ......................................................................... 43

  • vi

    CHAPTER III ......................................................................................................................... 46

    PROCEDURES AND METHODOLOGY............................................................................. 46

    Research Design.................................................................................................................. 47

    Participants.......................................................................................................................... 47

    Data Collection and Recording........................................................................................... 50

    Assessment of the Methodology......................................................................................... 51

    Summary of the Procedures and Methodology................................................................... 52

    CHAPTER IV ......................................................................................................................... 53

    ANALYSIS OF FINDINGS................................................................................................... 53

    Characteristics of the Population ........................................................................................ 53

    Analysis of Apprentice Questionnaires .............................................................................. 61

    Analysis of Instructors’ Questionnaires.............................................................................. 89

    Summary of Analysis of Findings .................................................................................... 106

    CHAPTER V ........................................................................................................................ 110

    CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................... 110

    Instructor Perceptions of Factors Promoting the Success of Apprentices ........................ 111

    Apprentice Perceptions of Factors Promoting the Success of Apprentices...................... 113

    Instructor Perceptions of Factors Inhibiting the Success of Apprentices ......................... 114

    Apprentice Perceptions of Factors Inhibiting the