The purpose of this study was to examine the needs and satisfaction levels of adult learners in a community college. Particular attention was focused on the differences in needs and satisfaction levels of adult learners enrolled in semester length courses to adult learners enrolled in an accelerated program. Eight areas were assessed using the Principles of Effectiveness in Serving Adult Learners model developed by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. These included outreach, life and career planning, financing, assessment of learning outcomes, teaching-learning process, student support systems, technology, and transitions.
A quantitative comparative research method was used to obtain and analyze the results. An existing Adult Learner Inventory developed by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and Noel-Levitz was used to collect the data from participants in the two cohorts. The Wilcoxon Signed Rank test and proportion testing was used for variable analysis and comparative purposes.
Five research questions and hypothesis were tested and three of the five had significant differences between the semester length students and the accelerated students in importance and satisfaction rates. All participants tended to have significantly lower satisfaction than importance score for many of the eight dimensions. The larger gaps indicate a greater degree of dissatisfaction with a dimension versus how important students felt that dimension was. The largest gap was career planning for semester students, and outreach for accelerated students. A large difference also existed in the gap amongst importance and satisfaction between the semester and accelerated length students on the outreach scale, suggesting that accelerated students had a much greater discrepancy between importance and satisfaction, wherein they were much less satisfied. A greater proportion of semester-length students had low importance and satisfaction on the outreach, life and career planning, and transitions scales than accelerated students. In addition, findings suggest that a significantly higher proportion of accelerated students had high importance and high satisfaction on the outreach, life and career, teaching-learning process, student support systems, and transitions dimensions of learning than semester-length students.
Recommendations were suggested as a result of the findings. Follow-up studies including quantitative and qualitative could add to the results of this research. Additionally, this study could be replicated at other like colleges as well and universities who have adult learners enrolled. Finally, more research focusing on adult learners in accelerated programs is needed to enhance the limited research that exists.
|Commitee:||Bissonette, Aimee, Feder-Lewis, Sonia N., McClure, Jack|
|School:||Saint Mary's University of Minnesota|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education Policy, Adult education, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Accelerated college courses, Accelerated degree programs, Adult learners, Adult students in college, Community college|
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