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International Journal of Vocational Education and Training

Volume 17, Number 2


The International Vocational Education and Training Association Editorial Staff Editor: Davison M. Mupinga Associate Editor: Jennifer Schneider Typesetter: Christine Brooks Editorial Board Abouhakr Badawi Kuwait Jeanette Daines USA Curtis R. Finch USA Daniel L. Gilbert USA Jim Gleeson Ireland Phil Glenwright Hong Kong Johanna L. Lasonen Finland Doo H. Lim USA Richard W. Moore USA Ramlee B. Mustapha Malaysia Stamatis N. Paleocrassas Greece Maria G. Rodriguez-Calcagno USA Sterling Saddler USA Jan N. Streumer Netherlands Anatoli Tchaban Switzerland Kenneth S. Volk Hong Kong Past Journal Editors Dennis R. Herschbach Volumes 1-3 Alexander F. Thompson Volumes 4 and 5(1) Magnus M. B. Ross Volume 5(2) Curtis R. Finch Volume 6(1) Dennis R. Herschbach Volume 6(2) Clifton P. Campbell and Ernest W. Brewer Volume 7 Ernest W. Brewer and Clifton P. Campbell Volume 8 Ernest W. Brewer Volumes 9-16 Davison M. Mupinga Volume 17

Even though space does not permit us to include the names of many others who contributed their valuable time and talent in service to the Journal, we do thank them as well. Since 1993, they have served as associate editors; co-editors; guest, style, copy, and managing editors; managing reviewers; members of the editorial board; regional editors; and publishers. The International Journal of Vocational Education and Training is the official refereed publication of the International Vocational Education and Training Association (IVETA). It is published bi-annually and sent to members and subscribers. Regular individual membership dues are US $60.00 per year. For subscription information, change of address, or to purchase additional copies of the journal, contact Barbara Ann Herrmann, Executive Secretariat, IVETA, 186 Wedgewood Drive, Mahtomedi, MN 55115. Phone her at 651-7706719 or email her at iveta@visi.com.

ISSN: 1075-2455

International Journal of Vocational Education and Training


Volume 17, Number 2
The International Vocational Education and Training Association

President: Klaus W. Sodemann, German Agency for Technical Cooperation, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia President-Elect: Abel Modungwa, Botswana Training Authority (BOTA), Gaborone, Botswana Immediate Past President: David Fretwell, Scarcliffe Associates, Paso Robles, CA, USA General Secretary: Isaac T. Goodine, World Bank Group Speakers Bureau, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Executive Secretariat: Barbara Ann Herrmann, Educational Consultant, Mahtomedi, MN, USA

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Africa Patrick Nkanza Technical Education Vocational Entepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) Bird Cage Walk, Long Acres Lusaka Zambia Tel: +260 211 251040 Fax: +260 211 253382 East Asia & The Pacific Carmel Thompson Southern Cross International Learning Institute 21 Worley Drive Gilston Queensland 4211 Australia Tel: +61 7 5527 2001 Fax: +61 7 5527 2551 southernxconnection@ bigpond.com East Europe & Central Asia Olga Oleynikova Center for VET Studies 3, bld. 1, Goncharnaya str office 43 109240 Moscow, Russia Tel: +7 495 580 92 80 Fax: +7 495 698 09 82 observatory@sovintel.ru Europe Allan M. Lawrence International Business Development Walsall College, St Pauls Campus Walsall West Midlands WS1 1WY United Kingdom Tel: +44 1922 657132 Fax: +44 1922 651121 alawrence@walsallcollege. ac.uk Latin America & Caribbean Regina De Galhardi International Labor Organization (ILO) Darwin Nurn 31 Col. Anzures Darwin 11590 Mexico Tel: +5255 5250 3224 Fax: +5255 5250 8892 galhardi@oit.org.mx Middle East & North Africa Saleh Al Amr Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) P.O. Box 7823 Riyadh 11472 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Tel: +966 55 322 3400 Fax: +966 1 4039722 salamr@gotevot.edu.sa North America Robert (Bob) E. Norton Center on Education and Training for Employment The Ohio State University 1900 Kenny Road Columbus, Ohio 43212 USA Tel: 614-292-8481 Fax: 614-292-1260 norton.1@osu.edu South Asia Pramod Kumar Shrivastava Indo German Institute of Advanced Technology, IGIAT D. No. 38-22-29 Industrial Estate Kancharapalem, Visakhapatnam 530007-A.P. India Tel: 91-891-3258788, 6528786, +91-9246646001 (M) pkshrivastava@igiat.com; pkshrivastava@hotmail.com

International Journal of Vocational Education and Training


Volume 17, Number 2

Table of Contents Message from the Editor The Effect of Organizational Learning Climate on Self-Directed Learning Yongho Park Education Service Agency Audits: Reinforcing the Need for Systematic Evaluation Frederick M. Nafukho, Carroll M. Graham, and Kit Kacirek Partnerships with Industry for Efficient and Effective Implementation of TVET Jeongwoo Lee Perceptions of College Students: The Relevance of Academic Programs to Current Jobs Mabel C.P.O. Okojie, Tinukwa Okojie-Boulder, and James Boulder Examining Stakeholder Perspectives on Integrating Open-Source and Freeware Technologies into Educational Programs Jeremy Dickerson and J. Burton Browning Reforming TVET Teachers Professional Development in Greece: A Needs-Based Policy Stamatis Paleocrassas, Kostas Tsiantis, Vassilis Dimitropoulos, Stavros Pagkalos, Giorgios Pavlidis, Alexis Nikolopoulos, and Xenia Tsaliagou Preferred Learning Styles of Working Adults Betsy Orr, Dale E. Thompson, Terri D. Owens, and Cecelia Thompson Chinas Vocational Education: An Insiders View in Light of Western Vocational Education Victor C. X. Wang Call for Papers Publication Guidelines 5 7

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108 121 122

Articles do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the International Vocational Education and Training Association or the Journals editorial staff, and no endorsement by the association or editorial staff should be inferred.

As a refereed journal, the International Journal of Vocational Education and Training depends on qualified individuals to serve as manuscript reveiwers. We send feature article manuscripts to three reviewers. So as not to overwork our reviewers, we need some of you to join us for a one-year term. If you have a record of publications, research experience, and an interest in gaining additional practice in the use of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, please submit your vita to Dr. Davison M. Mupinga, Editor, International Journal of Vocational Education and Training, School of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Studies, College of Education, Health and Human Services, Kent State University, P.O. Box 5190, 316 White Hall, Kent, OH 44242-0001, USA, Email: dmupinga@kent.edu.

Message From the Editor

Once again, this International Journal of Vocational Education and Training (IJVET) touches on current and relevant technical and vocational education and training (TVET) issues. I am indebted to a number of people for their help in the production of this journal, specifically the reviewers, authors, and editorial staff whose input is always valuable and critical to the success of this journal. Readers are reminded that articles published in this journal come from all over the world, and as such some authors do not speak English as a first language. While great care has been taken to correct the verbiage, there may be some errors that went unnoticed. Readers should also note that articles in IJVET do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of IVETA or the Journals editorial staff or reviewers. While this issue does not address all the pressing issues in TVET, what it does, and does well, is address a selection of timely issues. Aspects covered in this issue are: the effect of organizational learning climate on self-directed learning; the need for systematic evaluation; the importance of partnerships between TVET institutions and industry; the relevance of college courses to employment; stakeholders perspectives on integrating information and communication technologies into educational programs; reforming TVET professional development policies in light of the 21st century pedagogical developments; learning styles of working adults and a glimpse of vocational education in other countries, namely in China, and Greece. These articles provide readers with food for thought and current TVET practices in other countries. We have all seen and experienced the impact of the latest gizmos in social and educational settings, now is the time to find out how these impact the teaching and learning of TVET. The spring 2010 issue is devoted to the role of information and communication technologies in TVET. And so, keep an eye out for the next issue. Davison M. Mupinga IJVET Editor

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The Effect of Organizational Learning Climate on Self-Directed Learning


Yongho Park

Grand Canyon University, USA

Abstract
With the interest in the individuals self-directed learning (SDL) in the human resource development (HRD) field, several research studies have investigated the effects of organizational climate on SDL. The purpose of this study is to identify the effect of learning organization dimensions on SDL. The research was conducted in three Korean companies, which are in financial, service, and manufacturing industries. The results indicated that an information-sharing organizational learning climate is a meaningful factor influencing SDL. The implications for researchers and practitioners, as well as limitations, are also presented.

Introduction
Previous literature had discussed how learning is a critical source of competitive advantage for organizations (Ellinger, 2004). Also, the scholarly literature has established that constructing environments that are conducive for learning can enhance organizational and individual performance (Ellinger, Ellinger, Yang, & Howton, 2002; Pfeffer & Veiga, 1999). Because of the rapid change in the modern society, individuals are increasingly challenged to become continuous learners and organizations are challenged to create environments fostering the individuals continuous learning (Ellinger, 2004; Dunlap & Grabinger, 2003). Furthermore, increased global competition and development of technology require that organizations become responsive in meeting the learning needs of individuals (Guglielmino & Guglielmino, 2001). Therefore, SDL and flexible training are regarded as the tools for meeting the demands related to the rapidly changing world. SDL has been defined as the learners psychological process that is purposively and consciously controlled, or directed, for the purpose of gaining knowledge
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and understanding, solving problems, and developing or strengthening skill (Long, 1994, p. 14). Regarding the research on the SDL, many researchers (Baskett, 1993; Foucher & Brezot, 1997; Kops, 1993; Maurer & Tarulli, 1994; Straka, 1999) have studied the environmental factors influencing SDL since the 1990s. These environmental factors are related to the various organizational components including people, structure, strategy, and policy. Some researchers have suggested that the work environment factors influencing SDL have similarities to the learning organization characteristics (Cho, 2002; Confessore & Kops, 1998). In their theoretical discussion, the connection between the learning organization and SDL was suggested. In other words, the previous studies reveal that if a company is a learning organization, it may provide the environment where SDL will flourish. If this suggestion can be identified empirically, it will have significance for both practitioners and researchers in the vocational training and education field. For professionals, the empirical evidence about that assumption can give guidance for maximizing the effectiveness of various organizational means of learning. Also, the researchers will be able to identify the theoretical hypothesis with those research outcomes related to the connection between the learning organization and SDL. Yet, researchers still appear to lack empirical consideration about the interactive relationship. Therefore, this study hypothesized and identified the relationship between learning organization dimensions and SDL.

Self-directed Learning
Houle (1961), Knowles (1975), and Tough (1978) may be regarded as pioneers in the SDL studies. These researchers focused on the learners internal cognitive activities. However, this trend later changed and SDL studies conducted after the 1980s emphasized the importance of the environment (Long, 1998; Spear & Mocker, 1984). Today, based on the importance of environment factors, SDL can be defined as the process of having initiative in serial learning activities, including planning, implementing, and evaluating in dynamic interrelation with the environment. Self-directed approaches to learning are of particular interest in the workplace because worker empowerment and self-directed teams have been emphasized (Wllens, Byham, & Wilson, 1991). Therefore, the scholarly literatures have revealed the characteristics of SDL in the workplace and SDL and management development (Confessor & Kops, 1998). Regarding the characteristics of SDL in the workplace, Candys (1991) argument provides implications for the discussion on that issue. Candy asserted that learning is a social activity and the learner is connected to the organization. Candys argument was confirmed in other studies. For example, Baskett (1993) found that SDL is more likely to occur in organizations where individuals are aware

The Effect of Organizational Learning Climate on Self-Directed Learning 9

of the organizations values and goals and where innovation is valued. On the usefulness of SDL, Long and Morris (1995) uncovered that both workers and organizations benefited from SDL activities. Furthermore, a number of researchers found the links between SDL and managers learning critically related to the management development in a organization. Kops (1993) found that managers regard SDL as relevant, meaningful, and valuable to their own current jobs and future careers. According to Kops, managers identified conditions in the organizations affecting their competency to learn in the self-directed way. Also, Vaill (1996) found that SDL is critical to the managers in organizations. He asserted that leaders engage in the complex learning process for determining the best series of actions in their organizations. Vaill suggested that this learning process is self-directed and learning for leaders should be a self-directed one.

Learning Organization
Since the term learning organization was popularized by Peter Senge in 1990, many definitions have proliferated (Handy, 1990). These various definitions have been based on different perspectives. For example, Pedler, Burgoyne, and Boydell (1991) used a learning perspective providing comprehensive aspects of learning at all organizational levels. They used the term learning company rather than learning organization. Because they believed that the term company is more convivial than organization, which is a mechanical sort of word, they used the concept of learning company in their research. Also, Senge (1990) took a systemic approach to identifying the principles of learning organization. Senge discussed the five disciplines of a learning organization -- personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, team learning, and system thinking. Among these five disciplines, Senge (1990) emphasized the importance of system thinking as the discipline fusing disciplines into a coherent body of theory and practice. For almost two decades, each of the different approaches to learning organization has contributed to the conceptualization of the learning organization. Even though there are various approaches to defining learning organization, many researchers have agreed that there are common characteristics of the learning organization (Phillips, 2003). In scholarly literature, needs for organizational change, reward for learning, effective communication, risk taking, and managing people as assets have been regarded as the common characteristics (Garvin, 2000; Marquardt & Reynolds, 1994; Phillips, 2003; Rowden, 2001; West, 1994). Regarding the characteristics of the learning organization, although Senge (1990), Pedler et al. (1991), Marqurdt and Reynolds (1994), and other researchers have discussed the dimensions of a learning organization, Watkins and Marsicks (1993, 1999) study has been widely discussed

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and regarded as the most comprehensive approach (Davis, 2005; Ismail, 2005; Tobin, 1993). In their model, Watkins and Marsick integrated two primary organizational components: people and structure. They identified seven action imperatives which can also be considered as the seven dimensions of a learning organization at different levels, including individual, team, and organization. The seven dimensions are creating continuous learning opportunities, promoting inquiry and dialogue, team learning, empowerment toward a collective vision, establishing an embedded system, system connection, and strategic leadership. In their study, the term dimension was used to reflect different aspects of constructing the learning organization (Marsick & Watkins, 1999). In the current study, Watkins and Marsicks model was used for investigating the learning organization variable.

Learning Organization and Self-directed Learning


With the increasing interest in SDL in the real workplace, some researchers have investigated the effect of organizational climate on SDL readiness (Ravid, 1987) and organizational factors which are conducive to SDL (Foucher & Brezot, 1997; Maurer & Tarulli, 1994). In recent studies, the environmental factors fostering SDL have been identified as supportive and challenging organizational settings, participative management style, supports for unplanned learning activities, building a network with colleagues, and resources available with easy access (Bartlett & Kotrlik, 1999; Baskett, 1993; Foucher, 1995; Kops, 1993; Straka, 1999). Especially, some researchers suggest the relationship between learning organization and SDL based on the similarity of these environmental factors for SDL and the learning organization characteristics (Cho, 2002; Confessore & Kops, 1998). Confessore and Kops (1998) reviewed the literature on learning organization and SDL topics and found that the work environmental factors facilitating SDL are very similar to those described as learning organization dimensions. They suggested that when SDL is an integral part of the organizational process and activities, success is more likely in building a learning organization. This suggestion was based on the similarities between the work environmental factors facilitating SDL and learning organization construction factors. Cho (2002) also proposed the bridges connecting SDL and the learning organization. He emphasized that self-directed learners are more likely to interact with others and with their environment. Furthermore, he pointed out that the interdependent and collective aspects of SDL have recently received more attention in the literature. Cho (2002) argued that the learning organization develops based on the foundation of interaction with others through a collec-

The Effect of Organizational Learning Climate on Self-Directed Learning 11

tive process, and this process connects the learning organization dimensions and SDL. Based on the aforementioned research, the relationship between learning organizations and SDL may be assumed for empirical investigation. However, there is still a lack of empirical evidence supporting the clear connections between learning organizations and SDL (Cho, 2002; Confessore & Kops, 1998). Therefore, this study aims to identify the relationship between learning organization dimensions and SDL.

Research Questions
Based on the discussion of self-directed learning and learning organization, the relationship between both research variables was hypothesized. Therefore, the research questions guiding this study are as follows: 1. What is the average score on the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS) for the sample composed of employees of Korean conglomerates? 2. To what extent do the learning organization dimensions influence SDL?

Research Method
Sample

The population for this study was employees of a conglomerate operating in South Korea. The research sample of this study was selected from employees in three Korean companies in the financial, service, and manufacturing industries. The three organizations were all among the top 10 Korean conglomerates. The research sample was acquired randomly from each company and represented about 10% (n = 380) of the total employees working in each companys headquarters. One manager of the human resource department in each company helped to distribute the survey to the research sample. Initially, 380 individuals were mailed a survey designed to assess their SDL readiness and each companys learning organization dimensions, and 230 participants returned the survey. Of the 230 returned surveys, 217 were found to be effective for analysis. The final response rate was 57.1%. In terms of job positions of the participants, 57.6% (n = 125) were non-managerial employees, 23.5% (n = 51) were in the middle managerial level, and 18.9% (n = 41) were in the senior managerial level. The participants education level ranged from high school (n = 26, 12.0%) to two-year college (n = 22, 10.1%), undergraduate degree (n = 149, 68.7%), and graduate degree (n = 20, 9.2%). Fifty-seven percent of the participants (n = 124) were in the 30 to 39 age group. Also, participants were composed of 196 male (90.3%) and 21 female (9.7%).

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Instruments

To investigate the research questions, the research instruments, which were all originally written in English, were translated into Korean. The current researcher translated the research instruments. Then, to establish the validity, the translation and appropriateness to the research environment were checked by three HRD professionals, all of whom had a graduate degree or more than ten years HRD career experience. SDL, the dependent variable, was measured by Guglielminos (1977) Self-directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS), the instrument designed to assess the degree to which individuals perceive themselves to possess attitude and skills associated with the notion of readiness, an internal state of psychological readiness for SDL. The adult form of the instrument, a 58-item Likert scale, was used in the present study. The 58 question items used five-point Likert scales ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Especially, in this study, the Korean version of SDLRS SDLRS-K-96 developed by Kim and Kim (1996) was used because it had already been validated through several research studies in a Korean setting. Internal scale reliability for all measures was determined using Cronbachs alpha, and SDLRS showed the acceptable reliability ( = .93). The current study used Waktins and Marsicks (1993) research for constructing the questionnaire of the learning organization construct factors. In their study, Watkins and Marsick (1993) provided question items related to the imperatives of learning organization. Among those, 26 items were selected for this study based on the appropriateness to the purpose of this study. Those selected question items were modified and translated for collecting data. The twenty-six survey items used five-point Likert scales ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. After collecting the data, factor analysis employing a varimax rotation was used to select a number of learning organization dimensions because the instrument items were modified and translated. The results of the factor analysis and reliability of each learning organization dimension are presented in Table 1. As shown, the factor analysis using a varimax rotation produced a five-factor solution. Each learning organization dimension has greater than 1 eigenvalue. The results of PCA produced a five-factor scale that was successful in differentiating between the assessed factors; consequently, those learning organization dimensions were used for further analysis. Based on the meaning of the question items for each dimension, the five learning organization dimensions were identified as information sharing ( = .90; 15 items), risk taking ( = .79; 4 items), collaborative environment ( = .74; 4 items), support for learning ( = .73; 4 items), and reward for learning ( = .62; 3 items). These five dimensions were related to each distinct aspect of the learning organization characteristics. In addition, the produced factors displayed a clear pattern of item loadings and evidence of internal factor homogeneity.

The Effect of Organizational Learning Climate on Self-Directed Learning 13 Table 1. The Result of Factor Analysis and Factor Loadings for Learning Organization Dimensions (n=217) Question Q 13 Q 12 Q 15 Q 14 Q 17 Q 6 Q 19 Q 16 Q 9 Q 4 Q 26 Q 10 Q 23 Q 11 Q 18 Q 8 Q 7 Q 3 Q 5 Q 20 Q 21 Q 22 Q 24 Q 1 Q 2 Q 25 Eigen value Cronbachs Information Sharing .678 .665 .660 .649 .643 .590 .557 .493 .459 .442 4.870 0.900 Risk Taking Collaborative Support for Environment Learning Reward for Learning

.717 .678 .552 .500 .497 3.350 0.790

.745 .581 .579 .497 2.800 0.740

.706 .678 .545 .513 2.600 0.730

.718 .529 .462 2.000 0.620

Data Analysis

After the data from the participants were gathered, the research questions of this study were answered through descriptive analysis, correlation analysis, and multiple regression analysis.

Results
The mean SDLRS score for the research participants was 216.8 with a standard deviation of 20.6. The lowest score was 151 and the highest was 276. According to Durr, Guglielmino, and Guglielmino (1996), the average of adult SDLRS is 214, so this study samples score was very similar to that of the adult average level.

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Specifically, the managerial group (n = 92; M = 221.3) had a higher SDLRS level than the non-managerial group (n = 125; M = 213.6). Concerning the education level, participants with four-year-university degrees (n = 149; M = 218.4) had higher scores on the SDLRS than the other groups, including the high school group (n = 26; M = 209.2), the two-year-university group (n = 22; M = 215.0), and the graduate degree group (n = 20; M = 217.1). Regarding age, participants in their forties were the highest group (n = 56; M = 218.7). Table 2 reports the means and standard deviations as well as the correlation matrix for the variables. Pearsons product moment correlation coefficient was used to examine the interrelationship among the variables. The strength of the relationship between the overall learning organization dimensions and SDL (r = .333) was moderate (Cohen, 1988). The correlation was statistically significant. In addition, the results indicated that all five learning organization dimensions were significantly related to SDL and the correlation coefficient range from r = .212 to r = .338 (information sharing, r = .338, p < .01; risk taking, r = .251, p < .01; collaborative environment, r = .212, p < .01; support for learning, r = .299, p < .01; reward for learning, r = .251, p < .01).
Table 2. Descriptive Statistics and Correlation Analysis of SDL and Learning Organization Dimensions (n=217) M 1. Self-Directed Learning 2. Information Sharing 3. Risk Taking 4. Collaborative Environment 5. Support for Learning 6. Reward for Learning
**p<.01

SD .35 .45 .73 .75 .70 .72

1 .338** .251** .212** .299** .251**

3.74 2.09 2.83 3.19 3.06 3.16

.713** .710** .605** .661** .595** .458** .647** .587** .553** .600**

For further analysis, the presence of multicollinearity was tested through examining the variance inflation factor (VIF) for each of the five learning organization dimensions (independent variables) before running the regression analysis. Any VIF value over 10.0 generally indicates that multicollinearity may be a problem in the regression model (Montgomery, Peck, & Vining, 2006; Neter, Kutner, Nachtsheim, & Wasserman, 1996). Some other researchers suggested that a VIF of 4 or 5 is an indicator of multicollinearity (Miles & Shevlin, 2001). In this study, the largest VIF for the five learning organization dimensions was 3.352 (information sharing = 3.352; risk taking = 2.302; collaborative environment = 2.170; support for learning = 2.044; and reward for learning = 2.003); thus, the multicollinearity was not problematic. After checking the multicollinearity, a multiple regression analysis was conducted to identify the influence of learning organization dimensions on SDL. All learning organization dimensions were

The Effect of Organizational Learning Climate on Self-Directed Learning 15

entered together. Table 3 contains the results of the multiple regression analysis. The analyses reveal that only the information-sharing dimension influence on SDL was statistically significant (=.282, p<.05) in the regression analysis. The regression model indicated that 12.6% variance of SDL was explained by the learning organization dimensions.
Table 3. Hierarchical Regression Analyses for SDL and Learning Organization (n=217) beta Information Sharing Risk Taking Collaborative Environment Support for Learning Reward for Learning
Notes: F=6.099, p<.001; R2=.126; R2adj=.106

SE .357 .550 .650 .677 .870

.282 -.007 -.057 .126 .028

t 2.392 -.069 -.603 1.373 .307

Sig. .018 .945 .547 .171 .759

VIF 3.352 2.302 2.170 2.044 2.003

.853 -.038 -.392 .929 .268

Discussion
Several meaningful insights for researchers and practitioners can be drawn from the current study. Regression analysis revealed that the informationsharing dimension had a statistically significant influence on the SDL among the learning organization dimensions. This finding is compatible with those of the previous studies about organization factors which are conducive to SDL (Foucher & Brezot, 1997; Maurer & Tarulli, 1994; Ravid, 1987). Practically, this study suggests that the organizational climate for sharing the individuals knowledge and skills with colleagues may be imperative for fostering SDL. As previously mentioned, SDL does not mean the lonely self-study without the help of others. The results of regression analysis support this basic assumption of SDL. This result should be a helpful suggestion for the HRD practitioners who hope to construct fostering employees SDL in each organization. HRD practitioners activities that encourage individuals sharing new knowledge and skills may form an effective learning environment fostering individuals SDL. Also, organizations may find some helpful implications in managing their own talent, which is critical for success in modern society. In todays rapidly changing society, the individuals self-directed and continuous learning may be critical for the success of employees and organizations (Hall, 2002). The organizations efforts for constructing an environment for the active sharing of knowledge and skills (information sharing) among the employees may have an influence on the individuals learning. The appropriate strategies of constructing the learning environments may be discussed based on the learning organization concept which has been investigated with the specific factors or imperatives.

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Another implication of this study may be in HRD research on the relationship between the learning organization and SDL. As previously mentioned, the lack of empirical research on this relationship prevents researchers from forming a clear foundation for this subject. The empirical evidence presented in this study sheds light on the relationship between the learning organization and SDL and the influence of the learning organization dimensions on SDL. This evidence identifies the hypotheses of several previous studies on this relationship (Cho, 2002; Confessore & Kops, 1998). On the basis of this studys results, the researcher may investigate more specifically the research problems regarding the relationship between the organizational learning climate and SDL with other variables, including some demographic ones (age, position, education, and career experience). Even though there are practical and theoretical implications, this study also has limitations in sampling and instruments. Specifically, this study used some selective items from Watkins and Marsicks (1993) research. For collecting data for the learning organization, a more validated tool should be used. In addition, generalization of the study results should be applied cautiously because the research population was quite limited. Therefore, based on these limitations, some suggestions may be proposed for future study. First of all, the use of validated and fully constructed instruments for the learning organization dimensions may be recommended. Selective items of the earlier version of the Dimensions of Learning Organization Questionnaire (DLOQ), developed by Watkins and Marsick, were used in this study. Using the full version of the DLOQ may give a more comprehensive approach to the concept of learning organization. Secondly, studies with organizations composed of diverse groups and individuals with different backgrounds will be able to provide more widely applicable and comparable research results. This approach will help to generalize the research results to other practical and theoretical settings. Thirdly, other researchers may use different learning organization models for investigating the relationship between the learning organization and SDL. Several other learning organization models have already been suggested in the literature review section of this study. Different models that have different theoretical assumptions and frameworks will provide a new approach to the research about the learning organization and SDL. Lastly, future studies may consider the differences in SDL among the various demographic variables including age, gender, education, and job position. In the current study, only a descriptive analysis was conducted for the average of SDL in the research sample. In future studies, the inferential statistical method may be used for investigating the SDL itself.

The Effect of Organizational Learning Climate on Self-Directed Learning 17

References
Bartlett, J. E., & Kotrlik J. W. (1999). Development of a self-directed learning instrument for use in work environment. Journal of Vocational Education Research, 24(4), 185-208. Baskett, M. (1993). Workplace factors which enhance self-directed learning. A report of a project on self-directed learning in the workplace. Montreal: Group of Interdisciplinary Research on Autonomy and Training, University of Quebec. Candy, P. (1991). Self-direction for lifelong learning. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Cho, D. (2002). The connection between self-directed learning and the learning organization. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 13(4), 467-470. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Confessore S. J., & Kops, W. J. (1998). Self-directed learning and the learning organization: Examining the connection between the individual and the learning environment. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 9(4), 365-375. Davis, D. (2005). The learning organization and its dimensions as key factors in firm performance. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Dunlap, J., & Grabinger, S. (2003). Preparing students for lifelong learning: A review of instructional features and teaching methodologies. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 16(2), 6-25. Durr, R., Guglielmino, L. M., & Guglielmino, P. J. (1996). Self-directed learning readiness and occupational categories. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 7(4), 349-358. Ellinger, A. D. (2004). The concept of self-directed learning and its implications for human resource development. Advances in Developing Human Resource, 6(2), 158-177. Ellinger, A. D., Ellinger, A. E., Yang, B., & Howton, S. W. (2002). The relationship between the learning organization concept and firms financial performance: An empirical assessment. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 13(1), 5-21. Foucher, R. (1995). Enhancing self-directed learning in the workplace: A model and a research agenda. Montreal: Group of Interdisciplinary Research on Autonomy and Training, University of Quebec. Foucher, R., & Brezot, F. (1997). Self-directed learning in health care institution: An analysis of polices and practices, In H. B. Long & Associates (Eds.), Expanding horizons in selfdirected learning. Norman, OK: Public Managers Center of University of Oklahoma. Garvin, D. (2000). Learning in action: A guide to putting the learning organization to work. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Guglielmino, L. M. (1977). Development of the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale, Unpublishd doctoral dissertation, University of Georgia, Athens. Guglielmino, P. J., & Guglielmino, L. M. (2001). Moving toward a distributed learning model based on self-managed learning. S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 66(3), 36-43. Hall, D. T. (2002). Careers in and out of organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Handy, C. (1990). The age of unreason. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Houle, C. O. (1961). The inquiring mind. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Ismail, M. (2005). Creative climate and learning organization factors: Their contribution towards innovation. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 26(7,8), 639-654. Kim, J. J., & Kim, K. S. (1996). Developing and utilization the instrumentation to measure self-directed learning readiness for elementary school teacher. The Study of Social Education, 2(1), 1-23. Knowles, M. S. (1975). Self-directed learning: A guide for learners and teachers. New York: Association Press. Kops, W. J. (1993). Self-planned learning efforts of managers in an organizational context. In H. B. Long & Associates (Eds.), Emerging perspectives of self-directed learning. Norman,

18 International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 17 No. 2 OK: Oklahoma Research Center for Continuing Professional and Higher Education of University of Oklahoma. Long, H. B. (1994). Resources related to overcoming resistance to self-direction in learning. In R. Hiemstra & R. Brokett (Eds.), Overcoming resistance to self-directed learning in adult learning. New Direction for Adult and Continuing Education, no. 64. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Long, H. B. (1998). Theoretical and practical implications of selected paradigms of selfdirected learning. In H. B. Long & Associates (Eds.), Developing paradigms for self-directed learning. Norman, OK: Public Manager Center of the University of Oklahoma. Long, H. B., & Morris, S. (1995). Self-directed learning in the business and industry: A review of the literature 1983-93. In H. B. Long & Associates (Eds.), New dimensions in self-directed learning. Norman: Public Managers Center, College of Education, University of Oklahoma. Marquardt, M. J., & Reynolds, A. (1994). The global learning organization. New York: Irwin. Marsick, V. J., & Watkins, K. E. (1999). Facilitating learning organization: Making learning count. Brookfield, VT: Gower. Maurer, T. J., & Tarulli, B. A. (1994). Investigation of perceived environment, perceived outcome, and person variables in relationship to voluntary development activity by employees. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(1), 3-14. Miles, J., & Shevlin, M. (2001). Applying regression & correlation: A guide for students and researchers. Thousands Oaks, CA: SAGE. Montgomery, D. C., Peck, E. A., & Vining, G. G. (2006). Introduction to linear regression analysis (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Interscience. Neter, J., Kutner, M., Nachtsheim, C. J., & Wasserman, W. (1996). Applied linear statistical models (4th ed.). Burr Ridge, IL: Irwin. Pedler, M., Burgoyne, J., & Boydell, T. (1991). The learning company: A strategy for sustainable development. London: McGraw-Hill. Pfeffer, J., & Veiga, J. E. (1999). Putting people first for organizational success. The Academy of Management Executive, 13(2), 37-48. Phillips, B. T. (2003). A four-level learning organization benchmark implementation model. Learning Organization, 10(2,3), 98-105. Ravid, G. (1987). Self-directed learning in industry. In V. J. Marsick (Eds.), Learning in the workplace (pp. 101-118). London: Croom Helm. Rowden, R. W. (2001). The learning organization and strategic change. S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 66(3), 11-17. Senge, P. M. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of learning organization. New York: Doubleday. Spear, G. E., & Mocker, D. W. (1984). The organizing circumstance: Environmental determinants in self-directed learning. Adult Education Quarterly, 35(1), 1-10. Straka, G. A. (1999). Conceptions of self-directed learning: Theoretical and conceptual considerations. Germany: Waxmann. Tobin, D. R. (1993). Re-education the corporation. New York: Oliver Wight Publication. Tough, A. (1978). Major learning efforts: Recent research and future directions. Adult Education, 28(4), 250-263. Vaill, P. (1996). Learning as a way of being. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Watkins, K. E., & Marsick, V. J. (1993). Sculpting the learning organization: Lesson in the art and science of systemic change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Wellens, R. S., Byham, W. C., & Wilson, J. M. (1991). Empowered team: Creating self-directed work groups that improve quality, productivity, and participation. San Francisco: JosseyBass. West, P. (1994). The concept of the learning organization. Journal of European Industrial Training, 18(1), 15-21.

Education Service Agency Audits: Reinforcing the Need for Systematic Evaluation
Fredrick M. Nafukho Carroll M. Graham Kit Kacirek

Texas A&M University, USA Indiana State University, USA University of Arkansas, USA

Abstract
The purpose of this research was to review an aspect of the evaluation process by sharing the responses of a recent client survey from almost 7,000 stakeholders of the Arkansas Education Service Cooperative. The objectives of this study were to determine the degree of use and level of client satisfaction of professional development programs offered by this entity. The study also sought to identify suggestions for improving or expanding services and it contrasts the limitations of an audit by survey versus an extensive evaluation. Results from a mixed methodology approach indicated moderate to high levels of satisfaction in two program areas and moderate to high levels of dissatisfaction in a third program area. Responses to a quasi-statistical content analysis revealed specific rationale concerning dissatisfaction in technology support and four professional development areas.

Introduction
Twenty-five percent of Americans are enrolled in educational institutions, with many completing bachelors, masters, or doctoral degrees to prepare themselves for teaching positions (United States Department of Labor, 2005). Continuing education of these professional educators is increasingly critical, especially in this knowledge era where knowledge management is critical to
19

20 International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 17 No. 2

the success of all organizations (Alstete, 2006, Nafukho, 2009). Organizations that offer continued professional development and support for educators are labeled as educational services by the Department of Labor. Americas second largest industry, educational services, accounts for about 13.0 million jobs. Educational service agency clients often seek assistance for meeting or exceeding accreditation standards and equalizing educational opportunities, the effective use of educational resources, technical instruction, and other services. These organizations may also coordinate services between State Departments of Education and local school districts. Clients are often teachers, teachers aids, school superintendents, principals or assistant principals, and administrative and other supportive staff (State of Arkansas, Bureau of Legislative Research, 2006). Determining how to ensure high-quality services at each of Arkansas 15 independent educational service cooperatives (ESC) is no easy task and is like herding cats (Blomeley, 2006, p.13), says Sen. Jimmy Jeffress, D-Crossett, the co-chairman of the Education Service Cooperatives Study Subcommittee of the House and Senate Education Committees. As recently as 2003, the former Governor, Mike Huckabee, proposed that the state should assume full responsibility of these service centers. Though several of Arkansas ESC directors claim their establishments provide valuable services to school districts in their respective regions, the states leaders remain concerned about improving the quality of education and the need to build and train an educated workforce. Compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 continues to be a major focus for education providers throughout the United States. The act established Federal guidelines and provided financial assistance to the states to ensure that all students in public elementary through secondary schools receive an equitable and high-quality education. To avoid the loss of Federal funding, states must standardize testing of all students in core subject areas. While the No Child Left Behind Act is federally mandated, states and local stakeholders maintain the freedom to allocate funds to the most needed areas (No Child Left Behind, Act of 2001). The primary rationale for creating a network of educational service cooperatives (ESCs) in Arkansas was to facilitate the professional development of the school districts staff and ultimately increase the quality of teaching and student performance. The ESCs main duties are providing professional development for teachers in the districts and offering technology training (Blomeley, 2006, p. 14). Approximately $78,130,598 in total revenue was reported by the 15 education service cooperatives in Arkansas for the year ending June 30, 2006. Approximately 50 percent of that revenue was attributed to state assistance, 26 percent to federal assistance, and 24 percent considered local revenues (State of Arkansas, Bureau of Legislative Research, 2006). At present, there has

Education Service Agency Audits 21

been no comprehensive evaluation of the cooperatives program of services published within the literature. The purpose of this research is to review an aspect of the evaluation process by sharing the responses of a recent client survey from more than 6,600 stakeholders. Further, a goal of this paper is to describe the limitations of this one-dimensional model as a decision-making tool compared to how this approach differs from the ideal form of program development and evaluation offered in the logic model (Fitzpatrick, Sanders, & Worthen, 2004).

Problem Statement
Educational Service Cooperatives consume valuable resources and therefore it is important to periodically ascertain their value. Such evaluation should be comprehensive and follow research-based methodology. Empirical research is needed to show the impact of ESCs and help decision makers determine whether programs should be continued, improved, expanded, or curtailed; to assess the utility of new programs and initiatives; to increase the effectiveness of program management and administration; and to satisfy the accountability requirements of program sponsors (Rossi, Lipsey, & Freeman, 2004, p. 2).

Study Objectives
This research represents a follow-up to an earlier study authorized in 2002 (College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas, 2003). The study sought to achieve the following objectives: (1) Determine the degree of user utilization of products and services, (2) Determine user satisfaction of products and services, (3) Identify client suggestions for improving or expanding educational services that the ESCs offer.

Review of the Literature


The Logic Model of Evaluation

The logic model of evaluation as advanced by Fitzpatrick, Sanders, and Worthen (2004), provided the theoretical framework for this study. The logic model of evaluation is a framework that represents the linkages between the project inputs, activities, outputs, and the short-term and long-term outcome (Preskill & Russ-Eft, 2006). Based on the implementation structure of the ESCs in Arkansas, following the logic model of evaluation provides a map of the ESCs flow of inputs, activities, outputs, and the return on investment for the 78 million dollars that the federal, state, and local revenue sources have invested in this educational

22 International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 17 No. 2

support system. The logic model of evaluation seeks to specify the projects processes that ultimately impact its outcomes. The primary purpose for the entire ECS system is to provide support to teachers through professional development activities, technology training and assistance, and to provide necessary resources to increase the quality of teaching and student performance in the entire state. The ESC systems processes for achieving its long-term goal/outcome begins with the inputs into the system, which include the funds from the federal agencies, state and local sources, the time spent on training and other professional development activities, human and other resources invested in the project. The next component of the logic model specifies the activities, which include literacy programs, K-12 Math program/training, and other professional development programs offered by the ESCs. To determine goal achievement of activities, both formative and summative evaluations should be conducted at each stage of the evaluation process to determine the success of each activity. The outputs in the logic model focus on the units of service that result from the activities. The final set of components in the logic model detail the outcomes of the project, which are viewed in terms of short-term and long-term outcomes. Outcomes in this study represent the changes in the participants perception regarding the effectiveness of the ESC project. The results of this study are based solely on the summative evaluation of the respondents satisfaction with the ESCs services. While the results of this partial evaluation may be useful for administrative purposes, to fully examine the ESCs operation and the degree to which they are currently achieving their primary goal of facilitating the professional development of the school districts staff to increase the quality of teaching and student performance, a comprehensive evaluation based on the logic model is recommended.
Evaluation Versus an Audit

Evaluation is an immensely important component of accountability, yet it lacks a universal definition among the community of professional evaluators. Fitzpatrick et al. (2004) noted, The term evaluation has been used rather broadly without definition beyond what was implicit in context (p. 4). Fitzpatrick et al. (2004) defines evaluation as the identification, clarification, and application of defensible criteria to determine an evaluation objects value (worth or merit) in relation to those criteria (p. 5). Rossi, et al. (2004) explained that the evaluation of social programs should answer questions related to the nature and scope of the problem, its location, the stakeholders and numbers affected, and specifically how the problem affects them. Caffarella (2002) stated, program evaluation is most often defined as a process used to determine whether the design and delivery of a program was effective and whether the proposed outcomes

Education Service Agency Audits 23

were met (p. 225). Further, multiple approaches may be utilized in combination during the evaluation process (Bledsoe & Graham, 2005; Chavis, 2004; Scriven, 1997). Patton (1997) placed an emphasis on the systematic collection of information, while Preskill and Torres (1999) focused on evaluative activities specifically conducted within organizations for the purpose of organizational learning and change (As cited in Preskill & Russ-Eft, 2006, p. 17). In this paper, a clear distinction is therefore made between evaluation and an audit. While the client satisfaction survey data collected in this study is helpful for administrative services and is considered an aspect of evaluation (Kirkpatrick, 1998), the researchers do not suggest that this research is a comprehensive evaluation as defined by professional evaluators (Patton, 1997; Rossi et al., 2004). Further, the findings of the client satisfaction survey revealed respondents perceptions on various service-related items, but lacks the outcome component of a bonafide evaluation (Hamm, 1988; Holton, 1996). To obtain an accurate evaluation, outcomes need to be examined in relation to program inputs (or measures of services) to determine the effects of the services (State of Arkansas, Bureau of Legislative Research, 2006).
The Educational Service Agency

As noted by the Association of Education Service Agencies (AESA), ESAs exist in 42 states in America and were created by enactment of special state legislation or administrative rule to provide programs and services to a collection of schools and local school districts or to serve state interests in other ways (Stephens & Keane, 2005, p. 1). Though invisible to many, including some state legislators, ESAs are directly or indirectly responsible for the expenditure of billions of dollars and may represent the largest number of service centers in America. AESA estimates that 1.5 trillion dollars (primarily for K-12 issues) may flow through these centers, and this figure may not include other services offered by ESAs (Stephens & Keane, 2005). However, due to difficulties in gathering data it is uncertain exactly how much the expenditure levels are in the aggregate form. It should also be noted that some ad hoc programs that provide a single program or service are not recognized by the AESA, the national professional association representing service agencies throughout America (Association of Educational Services, n.d.).
Arkansas Education Service Cooperatives

In the early 1980s Arkansas State legislators approved the funding for eight pilot educational cooperatives governed by local boards consisting of representatives of the school districts served. The cooperatives were independent and

24 International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 17 No. 2

not considered an arm of the State Department of Education. Subsequently, a study committee gathered survey data from superintendents, teachers, and parents. Their recommendations would later lead to the establishment of seven additional educational service cooperatives covering all regions of the state (Arkansas State Board of Education - Statewide Study Committee for Pilot Cooperatives, 1984). Currently, 15 education service cooperatives exist throughout the state. The cooperatives serve to provide support to the school districts in their region, as well as provide professional development opportunities and act as a consortium for purchasing certain services and supplies. The cooperatives also provide technical computer support services to the schools in their area (Arkansas Department of Education, 2007, 1). Specific examples of some of the support services offered by the cooperatives are listed as follows: literacy programs, math programs/training, early childhood programs, gifted and talented services, health and wellness services, special education services, instructional distance learning for students, teacher center services, and administrative support services for superintendents and principals.

Research Methodology
Target Population

The potential respondents to the survey consisted of all clients from the 15 education service cooperatives located throughout the state of Arkansas. Clients consisted of superintendents, office staff, principals or assistant principals, teachers, and classified staff. The web survey aimed at collecting data from 10,000 clients. When the data collection period of two months was over, 6,698 clients had responded to the online survey (66.98 % of the 10,000). However, 6,629 respondents completed usable surveys.
Instrumentation

A research questionnaire entitled Arkansas Education Service Cooperatives Client Survey was designed based on a review of the literature and previous studies conducted in the area of education services. The survey questionnaire included information related to demographics, utilization of cooperatives services, and reasons for not utilizing the services. The respondents were also required to rate their level of satisfaction with the services provided on a Likert Type of scale with the items very satisfied, satisfied, not satisfied, and n/a. In addition, the instrument included two open ended questions that allowed respondents to make suggestions regarding how the cooperatives could improve

Education Service Agency Audits 25

services and professional development opportunities for their constituents. The inclusion and subsequent integration of the qualitative data was used to enhance the interpretation of the survey results. The integration of multiple data sets is common to mixed method research design (Creswell, 2003). The analysis of open-ended items can provide valuable insights into the respondents rationale for their choices in the quantitative portion of the survey. The content validity of the instrument was established by giving it to research experts in the field of research methodology for review. The directors of the cooperatives also reviewed the instrument for face validity and content validity. Prior to data collection, a pilot study was conducted. Five people in the similar population were requested to complete the instrument. Care was taken to ensure that the five did not participate in the final study. Comments obtained from the directors and the input from the five respondents were incorporated and helped in preparing the final instrument. The final instrument for data collection was developed by the research faculty involved with this project in collaboration with the Education Service Cooperative Directors.
Data Collection and Analysis

Prior to data collection, permission to collect data from the clients was obtained from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the researchers university. Each administrator of the 15 education service cooperatives informed their local clients about the online survey and encouraged each one to voluntarily participate. Over a period of eight weeks, ESC clients accessed the online link and completed the surveys that were archived in an electronic database. Each survey was screened for errors and 39 surveys were omitted due to incomplete responses or excessive voids. The quantitative data were analyzed with SPSS software. The qualitative data were analyzed using a modified quasi-statistical content analysis. The first open-ended questions were inserted into the survey so respondents could provide specific information and examples regarding the ESCs quality of service and provide suggestions for improving the service. The second question asked respondents to list four areas of professional development that they would like the ESC to deliver or improve upon. The analysis process included reviewing each respondents answer to the surveys two openended questions and coding the results. Individual words from the text were grouped into various categories and further grouped into the predominating themes. While the textual data were not converted to quantitative data for statistical analysis, as in the data transformation process (Creswell, 2003), the primary themes or commonalities among responses that emerged from coding were counted and ranked according to frequency. The predominant themes

26 International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 17 No. 2

from the open-ended questions were subsequently compared to the respective quantitative findings from the survey to provide additional support of those findings. The following section discusses the findings of the study.

Findings
Demographics

There were 6,698 respondents (clients) who accessed the online survey and 6,629 that completed usable surveys. The majority (82.6%, n = 5535) were teachers, 6.7 percent (n = 449) were principals or assistant principals, 1.4 percent (n = 93) were superintendents, 4.55 percent (n = 305) were classified workers, and 3.69 percent (n = 247) were affiliated with the main office. The data revealed that 43.7 percent (n = 2,932) were employed more than 10 years, 23.92 percent (n = 1,602) were employed for a period from 5 to 10 years, 17.26 percent (n = 1,156) were employed from 2 to 4 years, and 14.5 percent (n = 971) were employed less than 2 years. Further, 61% (n = 4, 089) were employed as elementary, junior high, and middle school teachers. Approximately 25 percent (n = 1,650) were employed as high school teachers.
Utilization of ESCs Services and Programs

Respondents were asked to indicate how often they utilized the ESCs services. Figure 1 reveals that forty percent (n = 2,688) of the respondents frequently utilized the services, 51.1 percent (n = 3, 425) utilized the ESCs services 3 to 4 times per year, while less than 8 percent (n = 508) never used the ESCs services. Approximately one percent (n = 77) elected to not respond.
4,000 Frequency 3,000

2,000 2,688 3,425

1,000 77 n/a

508 Frequently used services and programs Used less than 3-4 times per year Never used

Figure 1. Clients use of Arkansas Educational Service Cooperatives

Education Service Agency Audits 27

Satisfaction with Professional Development Services/Programs

The survey covered thirty-one professional development programs provided by the ESCs. Table 1 shows the level of satisfaction regarding services for professional development provided by the ESCs in three categories: (1) Seven Literacy Programs; (2) Five K-12 Maths Program/Training; and (3) Seventeen Other Professional Development Programs. The majority of clients were very satisfied with the level of service provided in professional development programs in Reading Recovery (70.0%, n = 4,688), Early Literacy Learning (ELF) (66.1%, n = 4,429), Next Step Strategies (65.2%, n = 4, 367), Coaches Training (67.9%, n = 4,549), and Reading First (68.4%, n = 4,482). A similar level of satisfaction is reflected in Table 1 regarding the perception of professional development services provided for the K-12 Maths/Program Training items. For example, clients were very satisfied with MathLinks (68.5%, n = 4,582), Geographic Information Systems (76.0%, n = 5,092), Math Coach/Training (71.6%, n = 4,795), and Algebra, Geometry (71.0%, n = 4,758) programs. Clients perceptions in nine of the Other Professional Development Programs ranged from 50.6 percent to 65.7 percent indicating a moderate to high level of satisfaction for professional development services associated with the Early Childhood Programs, Career and Technical Education Services, Gifted and Talented Services, Health and Wellness Services, Special Education Services, ADE Professional Development Through Distance Learning, Instructional Distance Learning for Students, Services for Superintendents, and Assistance with Data and Support of Arkansas Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (ACSIP). However, clients perceptions in nine of the professional development programs ranged from 44 percent to 55 percent indicating a moderate to high level of dissatisfaction for professional development services associated with the following programs: Smart Star, Smart Step, Next Step programs, Instruction Technology, Teacher Center Services, Instructional Materials and Delivery Services, Assistance in Meeting Goals/Academic Performance, and Effectiveness of Professional Needs Development.

28 International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 17 No. 2 Table 1. Clients Level of Satisfaction with Professional Development Programs (n = 6,698) Professional Development Programs (Literacy Programs) ELLA1 Reading Recovery ELF2 Next Step Strategies Literacy Labs Coaches Training Reading First K-12 Maths Program/ Training Math-LINKS Geographic Information Systems (GIS)3 Math Coach Training Algebra, Geometry Math Content Other Professional Development Programs Smart Start, Smart Step, Next Step, etc. Instructional Technology Early Childhood Programs Career and Technical Education Services Gifted and Talented Services Health and Wellness Services Special Education Services ADE4 Pro Dev Through Distance Learning Instructional Distance Learning for Students Teacher Center Services Instructional Materials & Delivery Services Services for Superintendents and Principals Very Satisfied n % 4,005 59.8 4,688 70.0 4,429 66.1 4,367 65.2 4,137 61.8 4,549 67.9 4,482 68.4 Very Satisfied n % 4,582 68.5 5,092 4,795 4,758 4,102 76.0 71.6 71.0 61.2 Satisfied n % 69 1.0 59 0.9 62 0.9 77 1.1 79 1.2 77 1.1 84 1.3 Satisfied n % 69 1.0 28 56 90 123 Not Satisfied n % 974 14.5 641 9.6 828 12.4 855 12.8 909 13.6 642 9.6 681 10.2

(n/a) n % 1,640 24.6 1,310 19.6 1,379 20.5 1,399 20.8 1,573 23.5 1,430 22.4 1,351 20.2

Not Satisfied (n/a) n % n % 728 10.9 1,319 19.7 6.4 7.8 9.6 16.1 1,052 17.2 1,322 19.7 1,205 18.0 1,394 20.8

0.4 426 0.8 525 1.3 645 1.8 1,079

Very Satisfied n % 2,018 964 4,091 3,484 3,766 3,535 3,391 3,542 30.1 14.4 61.1 52.0 56.2 52.8 50.6 52.9

Satisfied n % 358 713 18 268 309 303 350 358 201 350 259 63

Not Satisfied n %

(n/a) n %

5.3 2,947 10.6 3,315 2.1 1,352 4.0 1,809 4.6 1,597 4.5 1,829 5.2 1,797 5.3 1,760 3.0 1,168 5.2 3,179 3.9 3,167 0.9 1,088

44.0 1,365 20.5 49.5 1,706 25.4 20.2 1,117 16.6 27.0 1,137 23.8 1,026 27.3 1,031 26.8 1,160 26.3 1,038 17.0 15.4 15.4 17.3 15.5

4,443 66.3 1,417 21.2 1,261 4,400 18.8 65.7

17.4 886 13.2 47.5 1,752 26.1 47.3 2,011 30.1 16.2 1,147 17.1

Education Service Agency Audits 29 Other Professional Very Development Programs Satisfied n % Assistance in Meeting Goals/Academic Perf. 1,363 20.3 Teacher Effectiveness and Learning 926 13.8 Effectiveness of Professional Needs Develop. 430 6.4 Assistance with Data & Support of ACSIP5 2,365 35.3 Support of APSCN6 Services/Training
1

Satisfied n % 415 461 748 390 268

Not Satisfied n % 50.1

(n/a) n % 1,561 23.3

6.2 3,359 6.9 3,682 11.2 3,551 5.8 2,642 4.0 1,587

55.0 1,629 24.3 53.0 1,969 29.4 39.4 1,301 23.7 1,143
3

19.4 17.1

3,700

55.2
2

Notes: Early Literacy Learning in Arkansas; Effective Literacy for Grades 2 - 4; Geographic Information Systems; 4Arkansas Department of Education; 5Arkansas Comprehensive School Improvement Plan; 6Arkansas Public School Computer Network.

Reasons ESCs are not Utilized

Table 2 indicates reasons why clients may not have utilized the Arkansas Educational Service Cooperatives for their professional development. Thirty percent (n = 1,679) indicated the distance to the program sites was the reason for not utilizing the ESCs, while 24 percent (n = 1,314) indicated a lack of interest in accessing the services. Further, 16 percent (659) indicated a concern for the quality of service providers and 12 percent (n = 650) did not believe there was a need. The balance of the clients were unfamiliar with the programs (9%, n = 511), were not needing the services (12%, n = 650), or indicated they lacked the time (4%, n = 211) to utilize the services.
Table 2. Reasons Why Clients May Not Have Utilized ESCs for Professional Development (N = 5,296) Reason Service or Program Was Not Utilized by Client Lack of Time Lack of Interest Distance to Program Sites Type of Offerings Quality of Service Providers Lack of Need Unfamiliar with the Programs (new teacher to the area) Other reasons (not specified) Frequency 211 1,314 1,679 272 659 650 511 n/a Percent 4 24 30 5 16 12 9 n/a

30 International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 17 No. 2

Qualitative Results
Recommended Changes for ESCs

The first open-ended item on the survey asked respondents, What changes or improvements would you recommend for the Cooperatives that would further your professional goals? A total of 503 participants responded to this question. Issues concerning technology were the most predominant area for improvement that emerged from analysis of the textual data. While technology was most frequently cited as needing improvement, the recommendations associated with technology improvement fell into three distinct categories (a) quality, (b) scheduling, and (c) relevance. The following sections discuss each category and provide respondent quotes to clarify each category.
Technology-Quality

The most frequent responses regarding improving ESCs services cited the need for upgrading the quality of technology offerings. Respondents most frequent complaints associated with program quality cited outdated or malfunctioning equipment and obsolete technology training. Further, most suggestions for improvement were associated with updating equipment and programs. The following comments are representative of the majority of participant responses in this category: Respondent 1: The technology training that I have been to, both at your facility and others, have been obsolete. I want hands-on things...not useless garble. Respondent 2: Better telecommunications technology - Satellite programs are sketchy at best. Respondent 3: I would like more advanced technology for the classroom. I came for PPT training and needed further training to take it to the next level, i.e., attaching music files, making sure when copying the PPT that the music files copy with it. I specifically asked the instructor for information on this and he never covered it for us. He did show us how to attach or insert the music, but never how to make it attach continually. Respondent 4: A couple of times when Ive come down for technology training, the computers either werent working or something was wrong with them. Respondent 5: Co-op needs to be cutting edge with offerings of technology and assisting with technology training. Respondent 6: Technology day is a waste of time. The sessions are too short and often crowded.

Education Service Agency Audits 31

Technology-Scheduling

The second most frequent responses regarding improving ESCs services cited the need for better scheduling technology offerings. Respondents most frequent complaints associated with scheduling cited too few offerings and limited enrollment. The following comments are representative of the majority of participant responses in this category: Respondent 1: Need more technology workshops offered during the summer... this is a huge problem. Respondent 2: Sometimes I have to settle with workshops I dont really need and cant use because the others are already filled up. Respondent 3: Very few technology courses are offered. If so, they are offered during the school year which causes a burden on the school to hire substitute teachers. Therefore, I rarely apply for programs during the school year. Respondent 4: As the state mandates a set number of hours for technology, it would be most beneficial if our Co-op offered MORE technology P.D. courses throughout the summer. Those are the first ones that fill up because they are the ones that EVERYBODY must have. Respondent 5: Not enough useful 1-day technology workshops and descriptions of workshops should be more accurate. Too many workshops scheduled during school year instead of summer break Respondent 6: Offer more technology through the year, not just summer and more in the summer with larger classes, they always fill up too fast. Respondent 7: More advanced technology in-services during the summer.
Technology-Relevance

The third most frequent response regarding improving ESCs services cited the need for more relevant technology offerings. Respondents most frequent comments suggested specific programs that would enhance their teaching ability. The following comments are representative of the majority of participant responses in this category: Respondent 1: I personally need technology workshops in how to use the PowerPoint Program. Respondent 2: We need more technology/math/science offerings. Respondent 3: Technology classes should be specifically geared toward different levels of expertise. It doesnt help me to be in classes with those whose technological skills are far superior to mine. I usually come away frustrated. One particular technology instructor has very little time to devote to those who are not already on track. It would be far more beneficial to offer simpler classes for those who need them, than to place everyone into a one size fits all class.

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Respondent 4: Give us something to create and at the same time let us learn how it works. All of us know that we learn best with guidance. We want the same thing. Respondent 5: Workshops for advanced technology. Respondent 6: More Elective Course technology training.
Professional Development Suggestions/Needs

The second open ended question asked respondents to list four areas of professional development that the Cooperatives might offer to better serve the needs of the educational community. Four professional development areas that emerged from analysis of the textual data include: (a) Technology Education, (b) Math/Science Education, (c) Special Education, and (d) Literacy Education. The following suggestions are representative of the majority of participant responses in this category. Most respondents just listed suggestions without additional comments. The list below is in rank order of frequency of response.
Technology Education Suggestions/Needs

1. How to use the technology in the classrooms. We have good technology and the teachers know how to operate the equipment---but they struggle with how to work that into the lessons they are currently doing. 2. Technology using web sites, building websites or Web pages designing class websites. 3. How to use the distance learning equipment at local schools for implementing technologies in the classroom. 4. Network protection related to technology resource security from internal and external threats. Participants selected Math and Science Education as the second most suggested professional development opportunity. The following suggestions are representative of the majority of participant responses in this category. Most respondents just listed suggestions without additional comments. The list below is in rank order of frequency of response:
Math and Science Education Suggestions/Needs

1. More in-services related to the technical aspects of science as related to science frameworks. 2. Labs for the biology classroom that correspond to the frameworks. 3. Teachers need help with easy labs in order to meet the 20% requirement.

Education Service Agency Audits 33

4. Four Quick Labs for Science. 5. EOC Biology. 6. Biology pacing guides. 7. Lego Engineering workshops--we need more hands on physics and engineering. 8. Inexpensive science labs.
Special Education Suggestions/Needs

1. More Classroom management courses. 2. More on Autism and how to deal with these children. 3. Dealing with behavior in the regular classroom (ADD, ADHD, OCD, ODD, Autism and all the others....). 4. Migrant student information/ ESL / sub populations. 5. Behavior modification. 6. For GEN ED TEACHERS - Speech/language therapy necessary? AND What a Language Delay/Deficit is? To answer the ever popular question, Why is he going to speech, he can talk just fine?
Literacy Education Suggestions/Needs

1. Any Literacy/Writing to help address benchmarks/EOC. 2. ESL/ELL Training. 3. Reading Instruction for non-core teachers. 4. Arkansas Reading First.
Utility of Data Integration

The responses to the open-ended questions do not represent the entire population of respondents; rather they provide textual data that suggests causal factors that explain much of the quantitative findings of the survey. For example, approximately 49% of all respondents indicated that they were not satisfied with the ESCs instructional technology services. While this is important information, the percentage alone does not provide any indication about why nearly half of the respondents are dissatisfied. However, the text obtained from the open ended questions provide information that helps explain the source of the dissatisfaction. This is valuable information that not only supports the quantitative findings, but also clarifies these results. Individually, the qualitative and quantitative data provide a single perspective to the research. However, when combined, the two types of research findings strengthen the study and provide data

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that are more actionable than any single source. In this case, not only do ESC administrators have an indication regarding the scope of client dissatisfaction, they have specific rationale for the dissatisfaction that can be addressed.

Discussion and Conclusions


The primary purpose of this research was to review an aspect of the evaluation process by sharing the responses of a recent client satisfaction survey of almost 7,000 stakeholders. The respondents perceptions represent an audit of the level of performance of the Arkansas Education Services Cooperation as perceived by the clients. Thus, as a result of the findings it is concluded that respondents were very satisfied with the professional development services in all of the programs offered within two of the three categories studied: (1) Literacy Programs (ELLA, Reading Recovery, ELF, Next Step Strategies, Literacy Labs, Coaches Training, Reading First,) and (2) K-12 Maths Program/Training (MathLINKS, GIS, Math Coach Training, Algebra, Geometry, Math Content). Further, in the third category, Other Professional Development Programs, it is concluded that respondents perceived moderate to high levels of satisfaction in eight professional development programs (Early Childhood Programs, Career and Technical Education Services, Gifted and Talented Services, Health and Wellness Services, Special Education Services, ADE Professional Development Services Through Distance Learning, Instruction Distance Learning For Students, Services for Superintendents and Principals, and Support of APSCN Services/Training), and low to very low levels of satisfaction for seven professional development programs: Smart Start, Smart Step, Next Step, etc,. Instructional Technology, Teacher Center Services, Instructional Materials and Delivery Services, Assistance in Meeting Goals/Academic Performance, Teaching Effectiveness and Learning, and Effectiveness of Professional Needs Development. A study was conducted in 2002-2003 with a client satisfaction survey addressing professional development programs, many of which were covered in the current study (College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas, 2003). The following contrasts for some survey items were observed in the current study as compared to the previous study of 2002-2003. The data revealed more respondents utilized the ESCs (91% versus 84%) in the current study. Also, there was less satisfaction with technology programs (25% versus 91.4%), less satisfaction with teacher center services (26.4% versus 96%), and less satisfaction of professional development services through distance learning (58% versus 90%). The researchers also concluded that most of the clients utilized the ESCs services three to four times a year, with less than half (40%) frequently using the services and less than 8 percent never using the services. Further, ap-

Education Service Agency Audits 35

proximately 30 percent of the respondents do not use the ESCs due to the long distance, while approximately 24 percent indicated a lack of interest. However, in this study clients indicated they allocated more time to utilize the ESCs and became more familiar with the ESC programs. This varies from 2003 when almost one-third (32.4%) indicated a lack of time versus only 4 percent in 2007. Also, 12.99 percent were unfamiliar with the programs in 2003, while 9 percent in the current study stated unfamiliarity as a reason for not utilizing the ESCs. One caveat to the aforementioned discussion is that the researchers can not be certain that the respondents in the 2003 study were also the same respondents in the 2007 study. However, the large response rates (8, 388 in 2003 and 6,698 in 2007) add credibility to these changes of perception and use of professional development programs and services provided by the ESCs. The researchers also concluded that the majority of the respondents were teachers, while other respondents were principals or assistant principals, superintendents, classified workers or clients affiliated with the main offices of their institutions. Further, it is concluded that approximately 44 percent of the respondents were employed for more than 10 years, 24 percent were employed for 5 to 10 years, 17.26 percent were employed from 2 to 4 years, and 14.5 percent were employed less than two years. Also, approximately 61 percent of the respondents were employed as elementary, junior high, and middle school teachers and 25 percent were employed as high school teachers. The findings of this study are subject to certain limitations that should be recognized and articulated, especially in conjunction with proposals for future research. This study primarily focused on a single element of summative evaluation, more commonly referred to as level one of Kirkpatricks (1998) four-level evaluation model. The primary criterion for the survey was clients perception of satisfaction based on a Likert-type scale. Therefore, this limits the amount of data and conclusions that may have otherwise been captured with a comprehensive systematic evaluation approach focusing on assumptions, inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes (Preskill & Russ-Eft, 2006; Scriven, 1995). Further, perceptions of failure regarding assumed outcomes are sometimes attributed to the intervention (professional development program) when responsibility for shortcomings may be accounted for in moderating variables (Holton, 2005). Thus, other variables may infer additional meaning and account for variances in outputs and outcomes.

Implications for Practitioners


The findings of this study imply researchers and practitioners should exercise caution when using components of the Kirkpatrick model, also referred to as taxonomy (Holton, 1996: Kirkpatrick, 1996), when evaluating or auditing

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program performance. Further, human resource development and evaluation practitioners are encouraged to invest ample resources, primarily time, in understanding a systems framework for evaluation. Russ-Eft and Preskill (2005) indicated that when critical factors are overlooked during the process of evaluating HRD initiatives the data may be of little use or invalid. A systems framework model would consider a number of variables that may affect not only the design of the evaluation but its implementation and the extent to which, and the ways in which, the evaluation findings might be used (Russ-Eft & Preskill, 2005, p. 73). Thus, the emphasis should be to frame any evaluation so that the effects of all organizational and environmental factors are captured and accounted for when evaluating outcomes of an HRD initiative or program. Further, the results imply an acute awareness or focus of evaluation concerning several components is vital to the evaluators success. For example, evaluators/practitioners should fully understand the purpose of the evaluation, the relevant stakeholders, and essential questions that serve to guide and perhaps limit the study. Russ-Eft & Preskill (2005) indicate one means of attaining focus is to convene a group of stakeholders who have a vested interest in the program being evaluated, are intended users of the results, or are potential future recipients of the program or service being evaluated (p. 75).

Recommendations for Future Research


The findings in this study lead the researchers to believe that other HRD practitioners may have underestimated the need for research of this nature in nonprofit professional development organizations. Case in point, regarding Arkansas ESCs, there is no empirical evidence of record indicating a comprehensive evaluation has ever been effected; others may also face this arduous challenge. Thus, we recommend further research be conducted which includes a full scale evaluation of this entity based on a systems-type evaluation model. An initial approach to evaluating this nonprofit professional development and services entity should include a scaled-down version where perhaps four or five of the 15 locations are the subject of an all-inclusive evaluation. Analysis of variance in outcomes could perhaps guide and more accurately frame a larger study covering the remaining locations. Emphasis should be placed on the utilization of a systems-based logic model of evaluation where external influences such as workforce diversity, legal ramifications, client expectations, innovations in technology, and competition and global influences are considered in alignment with the organizations vision, mission, and strategic plan. Further, future research results should be analyzed in relationship to the ESCs infrastructure. This should include, but not be limited to the culture, leadership, systems and

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structures, and communication systems that potentially influence an evaluation design and utilization of the evaluation findings (Russ-Eft & Preskill, 2006). Finally, the researchers strongly emphasize the need to focus first to accurately frame future research and to give heightened consideration to assumptions, resources, activities, outputs, short-term outcomes, and long-term outcomes when creating the evaluation design. Because program development is viewed as an ongoing systematic process, so should the evaluation of professional development services and programs offered by entities of this type.

References
Alstete, J. W. (2006). Knowledge management and higher education: A critical analysis. Knowledge Management Research & Practice, 4(3), 252-258. Arkansas Department of Education (2007). Education service cooperatives. Retrieved 4/13/2007 from http://arkedu.state.ar.us/schools/schools.html Arkansas State Board of Education. Statewide Study Committee for Pilot Cooperatives (1984). Full report of the Statewide Study Committee for Pilot Cooperatives as required by Act 103 of the First Extraordinary Session of 1983 / submitted to the Joint Interim Committee on Education, State Board of Education. (LB1029.C6 A75 1984). Association of Educational Services. (n.d.). AESAs design for the future: The first look. Arlington, VA: Author. Bledsoe, K. L., & Graham, J. A. (2005). The use of multiple evaluation approaches in program evaluation. American Journal of Evaluation, 26(3), 302-319. Blomeley, S. (2006, September 15). Legislators study education co-op quality. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, pp. 13-14. Caffarella, R. S. (2002). Planning programs for adult learners: A practical guide for educators, trainers, and staff developers (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Chavis, D. (2004). Looking the enemy in the eye: Gazing into the mirror of evaluation practice. The Evaluation Exchange, 9, 8-9. College of Education and Health Professions. (2003). Arkansas education service cooperative client survey. Fayetteville, AR: Department of Rehabilitation, Human Resources, & Communication Disorders, Fayetteville, AR. Creswell, J. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Fitzpatrick, J. L., Sanders, J. R., & Worthen, B. R. (2004). Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. Hamm, R. (1988). Educational evaluation: Theory and a working model. Education, 108(3), 404-408. Holton, E. F., III. (1996). The flawed four-level evaluation model. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 7(1), 5-21. Holton, E. F., III. (2005). Holtons evaluation model: New evidence and construct elaborations. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 7(1), 37-54. doi: 10.1177/1523422304272080 Kirkpatrick, D. L. (1996). Reaction to Holton article. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 7, 23-25. Kirkpatrick, D. L. (1998). Evaluating training programs: The four levels (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

38 International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 17 No. 2 Nafukho, F. M. (2009). HRDs role in identifying, measuring, and managing knowledge assets in the intangible economy. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 11(3), 399410. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. 107-110, 20 U. S. C. 6301 (2002), January 8, 2002. Patton, M. Q. (1997). Utilization-focused evaluation: The new century text. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Patton, M. Q. (1997). Utilization-focused evaluation: The new century text (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Preskill, H., & Russ-Eft, D. (2006). Using a systems model to focus an evaluation: From theory to practice. In F. M. Nafukho and Hsin-Chih Chen (Eds.). 2006 Academy of Human Resource Development Proceedings (pp. 16-22). Bowling Green, OH: Academy of Human Resource Development. Preskill, H. & Torres, R. T. (1999). Evaluative inquiry for learning organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Rossi, P. H., Lipsey, M. W., & Freeman, H. E. (2004). Evaluation: A systematic approach (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Russ-Eft, D., & Preskill, H. (2005). In search of the holy grail: Return on investment evaluation in human resource development. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 7(1), 71-85. doi: 10.1177/1523422304272169 Scriven, M. (1995). The logic of evaluation and evaluation practice. New Directions for Evaluation, 68(1), 49-70. Scriven, M. (1997). Minimalist theory: The least theory that practice requires. American Journal of Evaluation, 19(1), 575-604. State of Arkansas. Bureau of Legislative Research (2006). Comparison of Arkansas Education Service Cooperative Network to Three Other State Networks. (Research Project 06177). Retrieved from http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/data/education/Comparison%20 of%20State%20Education%20Service%20Networks.pdf Stephens, R. E., & Keane, W. G. (2005). The educational service agency. New York: University Press of America. United States Department of Labor (2005). The 2006-07 career guide to industries. (Bulletin 2601). Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/print/cgs034.htm

Partnerships with Industry for Efficient and Effective Implementation of TVET


Jeongwoo Lee

Vanderbilt University, USA

Abstract
This article focuses on partnership with industry as a means to efficiently and effectively implement technical and vocational education and training (TVET). Specifically, this article examines the situation in Africa, which is suffering from a chronic lack of skilled workforces both quantitatively and qualitatively. It outlines applicable six strategies to strengthen partnerships in TVET: (1) the industrys involvement in the development and expansion of TVET, (2) a 60+40 training system to increase efficiency and productivity, (3) introducing national technology qualification (NTQ) system, (4) systemizing lifelong TVET, (5) TVETs strategic transition, and (6) establishing regulatory and systemic framework. In addition, it displays an overview of partnership-based TVET system, which is a combination of the six strategies.

Introduction
The issue of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) has attracted the attention of many researchers, in particular those with interests in alleviating poverty, promoting economic development, and meeting the employment needs of the workforce through human resource management (HRM). TVET is referred to as a range of learning experiences which are relevant to the world of work and which may occur in a variety of learning contexts, including educational institutions and the workplace (UNEVOC, 2006, p. 15). Stevens (2001) clarified the essence of TVET by stating that TVET encompasses programs providing participants with skills, knowledge, and aptitudes that enable them to engage in productive work, to adapt to rapidly changing labor markets and economies, and to participate as responsible citizens in their society. Quality TVET is also recognized to be a key for enhancing economic competitiveness and for contributing to social inclusion, decent
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employment and income, and poverty reduction (Association for the Development of Education in Africa [ADEA], 2008). Although TVET has potential benefits as stated above, it has been criticized for some practical problems. Atchoarena and Delluc (2002) summarized the problems as follows: poor quality, very high cost, training not suited to actual socio-economic conditions, disregard of the informal sectors needs, and disregard of the labor market and of the high unemployment rate among graduates. Middleton and Demsky (1988) maintained that criticism of technical and vocational education has led both to cuts in the volume of training provided in public institutions and to shifting more of the responsibility of providing initial vocational training to enterprises and private institutions. However, criticisms against TVET are likely to be reduced by productive partnerships with the industry. Taylor (2006) understood that partnership is generally considered consistent with new public management approaches, which emphasize alliances, shared responsibility, increased transparency, and accountability for results. Tessaring and Wannan (2004) argued that workplace partnerships are an innovative way to link companies and develop regional innovation centers, including vocational schools and higher education (p. 50). In addition, partnership programs are helpful in making companies to be competitive in the market, in expanding employment opportunities for employees, and in expediting communication between employers and TVET providers (Hawley, 2006; Van Horn & Fichtner, 2003). Researchers have attempted to offer detailed explanations of what elements are able to facilitate or impede partnerships in TVET. A debatable issue is how to make partnerships to effectively bear intended fruit. As with TVET, partnerships have some obstacles to overcome. There will be possible conflicts or tensions between the public and the private sector, which are in nature intrinsic, in that partnerships usually engage different actors operating with not only a variety of goals and practices within partnerships, but also diverse visions for TVET. There are also noticeable differences in interests and perspectives on the focus and objectives of TVET between the industry and the government administering TVET. Durango (2002) describes conflicts between them on the areas of focus and utility of public funding as follows: The private sector tends to lobby for the focusing of resources on demanddriven formal sector training and the skills upgrading of their employees through short-term specific training. On the other hand, the governments mandate extends beyond these specific requirements of the private sector to include the small scale and informal sectors and other disadvantaged target groups like the pre-employed and the unemployed (p. 2).

Partnerships with Industry for Effective Implementation of TVET 41

Rationale on the implementation of partnerships could be two-fold. Partnerships need to be undertaken with the goal of enhancing both a better shared understanding of the nature of varying skill needs or demands and cooperation to institute the provision of proper training in case of necessity. Hence, partnerships are expected to promote better matching between supply and demand in the labor market, conversely reducing serious mismatches between both outcomes of education as well as skill demands and insufficient quality as well as infrastructure at TVET institutions. Additionally, the matter of skills and training levels of the workforce is of importance because of the constantly changing content of international trade (i.e., the proportion of high-technology in manufacturing and services is going up, whereas the relative importance of those based on natural resources or low-technology is decreasing). Development of higher-level skills through partnerships appears to be a major priority. This paper brings Africa to a focus. African countries are suffering from a chronic lack of skilled workforce both quantitatively and qualitatively. This is in part due to government failure (inefficient role of the government) and market failure (insufficient investment in perspective) in the labor market. It is known that in Africa, education and training at government-owned institutions is the most widely recognized type of TVET. However, Yamada and Matsuda (2007) pointed out that within its implementation of education and training, the government tends to act in a top-down fashion driven by suppliers while making little progress in collaboration of division of labor with the private sector (p. 40). The rigidity of the government, which runs counter to rapidly changing technological advances, is likely to create a shortage of skills demanded by the labor market. In addition, the government-owned institutions tend to become obsolete, lack cost-consciousness resulting in inefficiencies, and often are insulated and insensitive to market forces (Johnson & Adams, 2004). On the other hand, in Africa, small and medium sized companies are less likely to train their employees, while the large-sized companies have made investment into training their employees, but only on a selective basis. Larger companies are generally concerned with formation and development of higher skills and better trained, qualified workforce. Selective and disproportionate investment in TVET by the industry to some degree offers un- or poorly-skilled individuals with limited access to opportunities for employment. In addition to government failure and market failure, Africa faces other internal troubles. Hamilton and Asiedu (1987) laid their finger on problems with TVET the inability of TVET to prepare students for employment by meeting existing workforce needs, inappropriate curricula, inadequate and outdated teaching materials and equipment, and the lack of financial resources appearing to African countries. Ramutloa (2007) illustrated the socio-economic

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environment and the contextual framework in which TVET delivery systems operate: weak national economies, shrinking or stagnant wage employment opportunities, uncoordinated as well as unregulated delivery systems, low quality, weak monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, huge numbers of poorly educated, unskilled and unemployment youth, and inadequate financing. These problems have hindered not only TVET but also partnerships with industry from being effectively developed and maintained. In this regard, it seems interesting to seek out ways of working out the problems and promoting better conditions for partnerships. The next section of this paper provides a research question and three propositions. Following the question and propositions is an outline of a strategy to strengthen partnerships in TVET, and an examination of each of the strategies. The last section of this paper provides a brief discussion and concluding remarks.

Proposition and Research Question


One of the concerns is the expense of TVET. Evidence suggests that public TVET programmes are often expensive and less in demand, from both potential trainees and employers, than general academic education (Palmer, Wedgwood, Hayman, King, & Thin, 2007, p. 24). Durango (2002) also stated that the high cost of TVET has been identified as the financial crisis of education and training system. Atchoarena and Delluc (2002) regarded the need for expensive equipment, facilities and teaching materials as one reason for the high cost of TVET. However, it is obvious that training without necessary equipment will prevent trainees from obtaining hands-on experiences and finally result in impractical and inapplicable skill acquisition. It is considered that partnerships are conducive to reducing spending on training trainees through cost sharing between participants.
Proposition 1: The more active partnerships become, the less expenditure on TVET will be.

Contrary to general education producing general human capital, TVET is in nature specific because it sets its primary goal as providing trainees entering the job market right after completing skill-training courses with job skills. The former is transportable across ones life as well as from job to job and thus more suitable to the flexible labor-force that can change task and even the type of work, while the latter one is not portable, but enables workers to acquire specific job-relevant skills which are to a great extent helpful for them to be more readily suitable for a given job as well as to be more productive (Tilak,

Partnerships with Industry for Effective Implementation of TVET 43

2001). Yet, as technology develops at a rapid speed, specific skills may become easily obsolete. Since outdated skills must be upgraded to maintain productive, it is not an option to relearn new skills. Partnerships with the industry can possibly make the task of skill retraining easier and less expensive. Partnerships have the potential to render skill formation to be flexible so as to react to rapidly changing global knowledge economy and technological innovation.
Proposition 2: The more active partnerships become the faster and easier both skills training and retraining (learning and relearning) will be conducted.

As stated above, due to different interests and concerns in nature about education, partnerships could fail if not appropriately undertaken. Therefore, the development of partnerships requires clear roles and mechanisms for coordinated cooperation and significant effort on the part of government, educators, and trainers (Taylor, 2006, p. 323).
Proposition 3: The more specific participants roles in partnerships become, the more successful partnerships will be.

Informed by the above three propositions, the key research question of this paper is What can stimulate the industry to expand its involvement in TVET partnerships by allowing the industry to enjoy benefits from partnerships? To put it differently, What TVET policies should be designed to facilitate partnerships with the industry? In this regard, this paper makes an attempt to find out applicable options to give an impetus to partnerships with the industry. However, TVET systems in Africa differ from country to country and are delivered at different levels in different types of institutions including technical and vocational schools (both public and private), polytechnics, enterprises, and apprenticeship training centers (Ramutloa, 2007). Thus, this paper concentrates on unfolding general strategies applicable to Africa.

Outline of Strategies to Strengthen Partnerships


Strategies to accelerate partnerships can be explained in terms of short, medium, and long-term benefits (see Figure 1). More specific explanations are introduced in the next section. The short-term benefits are related to acquisition and development of skills and skilled workforces, the medium term benefits to increases in productivity as well as quality and achievement of innovation, and the long-term benefits to human resource development (HRM) and organizational development, respectively.

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Figure 1. An overview of a strategy to strengthen to partnerships in TVET

The most urgent priority in a short run is to make TVET relevant to the skill needs of the labor market by providing the industry with incentives for participating in partnerships, in particular for participating in the management of TVET systems and institutions and for providing in-company training. Yet, Van Horan and Fichtner (2003) argued that state government training grants, which are aimed at increasing the level of continuous investment of companies in the skill development of their employees, would be most effective when combined with a strong company commitment. Accordingly, the industry must act in concert with the incentives. On the other hand, the government must develop and implement a policy framework for partnerships with the industry. The policy framework is expected to spell out the roles and responsibilities of a variety of government agencies. Useful information the substance and quality of TVET and standard evaluations on the influence of TVET programs should be provided as well. To sum up, one strategy to strengthen partnerships is to make TVET attractive so the values or position of TVET as a strategy for industrial advancement can be boosted and the industry may be willing to make investment into TVET.

Approaches to Improve Partnerships


The Involvement of the Industry in the Development and Expansion of TVET

Encouraging the industry to take part in TVET is basically related to how to implement a demand-oriented approach to TVET. A demand-oriented approach is one following economic demand. Like mentioned above, the industry is primarily concerned about upgrading the skills level of their workforce to increase their productivity and capacity for innovation. Taylor (2006) pointed out that employers have been concerned about poaching externalities and are

Partnerships with Industry for Effective Implementation of TVET 45

reluctant to get involved in a system that they see as over-regulated and inflexible (p. 328). An inadequate supply of skilled workforce and skills technology is much likely to be a stumbling block to the development of the industry. Yet, what is problematic, but important, is on what basis the amount of supply of skilled workforce is determined. Communication with the industry is critical in TVET practices on many levels to identify and anticipate skill needs in the future. The communication enables TVET providers to learn what skills are in demand and to train for jobs that change regularly and allows employers to have input into the curriculum of TVET and often gives them a recruiting tool to attract skilled workers (Hawley, 2006). The industry should be brought into the design of partnership programs from the beginning. Particular attention should be paid to designing the development, expansion, and management of TVET. Specifically, the industry should be allowed to participate in the process of curriculum design and the evaluation of education and training. It should be ensured that the needs of the industry will be reflected in the training content in order to keep the training content from being outdated. Moreover, curriculum design should be flexible and determined on a basis of demand or a labor market oriented approach which aims at cultivating workforce with learning ability in industrial settings. Namely, demanddriven course options of TVET need to be flexible enough to enable trainees to switch courses as the patterns of demand for skills change. Case study 1 briefly illustrates how a company is cooperating with a university for TVET.
Case Study 1. Partnership between Samsung and Korea University of Technology and Education (KUT) Established in 1992 with full funds by the Ministry of Labor, KUT is a government-run institution and is well known for 100% employment of its graduates for 11 consecutive years since 1996. In 2005, the KUT established a KUT-Samsung Electronics High-technology Education Center (KSHEC) in cooperation with Samsung for the purpose of human resource development through high-technology education and has administered the KSHEC. A Key work of KSHEC is to develop and launch programs for job skills training and high-technology education. At the KSHEC, directors, staffs, and production workers from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (SECL) and Samsung SDI Co. Ltd. are reequipping themselves with advanced technology and skills. Also, the KSHEC aims at reducing gaps of technology level between large-sized and small- and medium-sized enterprises by sharing education and training programs and technical information. The partnership between them is unique. The KUT provides physical buildings and faculties for training and education, while Samsung funds for purchasing necessary equipments and learning materials. However, they jointly

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draft curricula and courses of study, which are basically designed to meet the demands of the companies. In other words, the curricula are flexibly outlined according to the trend of new technology of the companies. Accordingly, because this kind of demand-oriented on-site technical education know-how is accumulated and then transferred to the students of the KUT, students can sharpen their job skills before entering the labor market. This partnership has been designed to lessen the mismatches between the outcomes of the technical education system and the demands of the labor market.
Source: Asian Economy Newspaper (03.14.08), Maeil Business Newspaper (05.23.06), Naeil Newspaper (09.12.06), Shindonga Magazine (03.26.07).

On the other hand, the industry is expected to contribute to scaling up resource requirements in its early stages in the design process of partnerships. Particularly, certain inputs such as provision and maintenance of equipment, effective instruction of practical skills, and training-relevant materials related to reinforcing the capacity of TVET institutions need the constant assistance of the industry. As TVET progresses favorably, maintenance of the inputs is also of significance. Further, the industry should provide reliable labor market information such as needed skills and future trend in the labor market and monitor as well as evaluate the impacts of employment. The information will be used as measures to assess needs-related TVET and labor market policy measures, while the outcomes of monitoring and evaluation can be employed to analyze the productivity of TVET and be reflected in curriculum design. The industry needs to be regarded as an active participant or a supervisor in the process of TVET, not just demanding skilled workforce, providing financial support, or hiring trainees. This is the most effective way of training and providing a skilled workforce that satisfies the skills requirements of the labor market. The industry must recognize that TVET is not a cost but an investment with enormous beneficial returns. Investment in vocational training, both initial and continuing, generates substantial gains for firms in terms of productivity, profitability, market share and stock market value, and competitiveness (Tessaring & Wannan, 2004).
A 60+40 Training System to Increase Efficiency and Productivity

The school-based theoretical education and training is limited in developing more specific and practical job-related competences. Especially, considering one of major concerns the industry care about, the availability of skilled workforces, factory learning (in-training system) is crucial. Specifically, a 60+40 training system, which indicates the combination of 60% time spent at training institutions for theoretical education (pre-employment training) and 40% at industrial

Partnerships with Industry for Effective Implementation of TVET 47

field for practical training, is an applicable alternative to increase the adaptability to industrial work of trainees after finishing their training and education. The 60+40 training system is an alternative proposal to reorganize TVET systems and a win-win strategy to both TVET institutions and the industry. The 60+40 training system is beneficial and potentially profitable to the industry in reducing skills shortages and skills gaps. Skills shortages refer to the lack of supply of skills industry demands, while skills gaps are indicative of the margins between new skills required as a result of new technologies or job practices and workers skillful in the new skills. In general, skills shortage and skills gaps result from the fact that the existing TVET system has been incapable of appropriately taking up the challenges which are posed by new economic and labor environment and of meeting rapidly changing training requirements of the industry. Skill shortages and skill gaps are problematic in that they put some restrains on increasing outputs (productivity) and achieving innovation. Furthermore, the interval between reports of shortages and an increase in skills supply can easily be as much as two years, by which time the economy has moved on and the nature of any skills shortages is likely to have changed (Ellis, 2003, p. 87). However, since the 60+40 training system allows potential employees to be able to not only accumulate work experiences at workplaces, which potentially contribute to increases in their vocational competencies in the labor market but also equip themselves with skills required by the industry before entering the labor market, it will be supportive to lessen skills shortages and skills gaps. Lastly, the 60+40 system may be established in the form of formal agreements or contracts between TVET institutions and the industry in response to training needs. Contracts-based partnerships will encourage both sides to make commitment to cultivate skilled workforces by establishing clear-cut lines of responsibility. The 60+40 system is a kind of extended version of industry-based training system.
National Technology Qualification (NTQ) System

Phuthi and Maphosa (2007) made the point that advancing technological changes have created a demand for continuous skills upgrading, and as in other areas of education, there has been the need to upgrade TVET qualifications from certificate and diploma to degree level as the standard operating qualification. From their argument, the following presumption may be derived: the quantitative supply of skilled workforce is by no means a single goal of partnerships. Rather, the qualitative aspect of workforce (quality training) must be taken into consideration with the same weight. From the viewpoint of the industry, because high quality of skills is directly associated with high productivity,

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skills and competencies which are qualitatively satisfied with the demands of the labor market are truly attractive to the industry. Ramutloas (2007) statement increases in efficiencies by skilled workers leading to improved productivity will prove the competitiveness of companies which in turn contributes towards economic growth in the country support the industrys viewpoint. However, in Africa, each ministry has its own standards for technical skills that are, again, divided into so many categories that often neither employees nor employers can rightly comprehend what each skills qualification inherently means or what the value of possessing it would be (Yamada & Matsuda, 2007, p. 52). In order to suitably match trainees to workplaces in light of skills qualification, it is necessary to standardize a skills qualification system assigning obviously what skills trainees have. NTQ stems from this necessity of a skills qualification system. Based on assumptions about the changing structure of occupations and their various modes of recruitment and promotion, NTQ derives from a national decision to establish a common framework that is as comprehensive as possible and covers as wide a range of sectors and as large a proportion of the population as possible (Young, 2005). More specifically, the following are generally accepted purposes of NTQ: improvement of job ability of technically skilled labor force, a rise in their social and economic position, and their contribution to national economic growth. NTQ can be applied to classify the level of skills. For instance, all state and some private TVET institutions operate on a system of national qualifications namely National Foundation Certificate (NFC), National Certificate (NC), National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) with the Higher Education Examinations Council (HEXCO) as the assessing authority (Phuthi & Maphosa, 2007). NTQ is also designed to develop competency for TVET and to provide an assurance that credentials acquired in one TVET institution are acknowledged by other institutions. However, the transfer of credentials requires a great deal of efforts to put into practice. For instance, there will need to be agreement on such matters as Competency Based Assessment or normative assessment, agreements on nomenclature that is, what do the terms certificate, diploma, basic trade certificate and so on mean (Bartram, 2004). Hence, systemic and legal support is indispensable for the transfer of credentials. On the supposition that the certification provided by NTQ is reliable and transferable, the certification will be favorable for trainees for employment and for higher education in the future and for employers to hire needed workforces. Since under the system of NTQ, graduates have certain type of certificates indicating skills level and training level, the industry will easily recognize not only what skills potential employees have but also which job positions it posts employees to. Additionally, some time later, the industry can make a decision on whether their employees need retraining further on the basis of

Partnerships with Industry for Effective Implementation of TVET 49

skills level specified in their certificates. Thus, the industry can benefit from reducing searching costs for employees and efforts to figure out who needs retraining. In particular, due to the fact that in Africa, TVET has generally been offered by non-governmental organizations not formal public organizations, the formal certification approved by NTQ will increase the employability of trainees and reinforce the confidence of the industry in the quality of skills of trainees. The increases in trust of the industry in the quality of skills of trainees at TVET will allow the industry to hire more trainees and make investments in TVET for better skilled workforces.
Case Study 2. The South African National Qualifications Framework (SANQF) The SANQF was implemented with the intention of not only integrating education and training in order to boost skill and productivity levels and to facilitate mobility and progression within training, and career paths, but also addressing issues of equity and social justice such as redressing unfair discrimination in education, training, and employment opportunities. The SANQF is distinctive firstly because it rests upon a unit standard methodology, and secondly because it is intended to regulate all education and training qualifications. The SANQF provides a mechanism for awarding qualifications based on the achievement of specified learning outcomes prescribed by industry. The NQF allows for accumulation of credits and recognition of prior learning, which promotes the culture of life-long learning. Employers also support vocational and technical training financially by paying a levy of 1% on enterprise payrolls. The SANQF has led to both effective coordination of the TVET system and better coherence of the qualification structure including accumulation of credits and recognition of prior learning. It has also produced valuable results: greater market relevance of training programmes and financial involvement of industry in the development of skills.
Source: Allais (2003), and African Union (2007), Ensor (2003).

The Systemization of Lifelong TVET

The industry displays interests in catching up with the changing trend of skills requirement and technological development as the labor market changes rapidly. The changing trend renders initial education and training at TVET institutions old-fashioned, which requires the need of equipping workforces with advanced skills and technology. This perception rationalizes the need of upgrading skills of workforces on a continuous basis. In particular, according to a survey by Grierson conducted in Kenya and Zambia, large enterprises did not expect that their workforce had high levels of technical skill learned through formal

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education before employment, and thus enterprise-based training was implemented to upgrade the workers skills after employment (Yamada & Matsuda, 2007, p. 45). Lifelong TVET is valuable in that it might enable individuals who had inadequate opportunities for TVET in the past to get another chance to upgrade their outdated skills and promote competencies at work. In this regard, constant and regular training and retraining after finishing pre-employment training should be considered an indivisible part of TVET and be systemized. Figure 2 illustrates how and where reeducation and retraining for advanced skills are placed in partnership-based TVET system. For more acceptable consequences, lifelong TVET is strongly recommended to be conducted, being closely connected with NTQ. Namely, lifelong learning needs to be accredited. Qualification systems could affect lifelong learning by improving the quantity and quality of learning opportunities available, ensuring equity of access to learning and improving the efficiency of the lifelong learning process (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2007). With the systemization of lifelong TVET, the need for searching (highly) skilled workforce may be less felt on the part of the industry. Retraining its workforce continuously can be economical gains and ward off risk of inappropriate employment. For instance, the skills of newly-hired-highly skilled workforces might be somewhat unproductive because of some reasons such as difficulty with adjusting themselves to new business, industrial, or organizational culture. Retraining existing workers through lifelong TVET might be economically efficient.
The Strategic Transition of TVET

Most of the companies agreed that even though their partnerships were successful, they need evidence that the programme is making a difference in the company (World Economic Forum, 2005). This statement seems to be indicative of the substantial interests of the industry in both short- (being successful) and long-term (making a difference) objectives. TVET with short and long term plans would be striking enough to encourage the industry to cooperate with TVET institutions for better TVET systems. It would be desirable to deal with partnerships in terms of a transition from a short-term to a long-term objective, which should occur strategically. To put it another way, the strategic transition of TVET from skills development (technical sectors for improving livelihoods) to HRD (capability development in industrial activities) is of great importance. Jensen (2002) defined vocational education and training as the traditional form of acquisition of school-based employable skills and HRD as a combination of education and training of in-

Partnerships with Industry for Effective Implementation of TVET 51

dividuals for the improvement and growth of both the individual and the organization. Case study 3 (see below) briefly describes an example of Zimbabwe attempting to transform its education and training systems. Although TVET is fundamentally designed to supply skilled workforce required by the labor market, TVET is not just about an option to boost skill levels and employment rates. TVET must play in enabling individuals and societies, particularly in the developing world, to adapt to and manage the accelerating effects of globalization, technological and social change (Stevens, 2001, p. 11). TVET should be accepted as a holistic approach to facilitate economic and social progresses through HRD. A paradigm shift about the ultimate goals of partnerships must be appreciated. In a long run, skills development and HRD are a dual objective of partnerships.
Case Study 3. Transforming higher education in Zimbabwe The conception and delivery of both TVE and higher education is undergoing a rapid transformation due to internal and external forces. Zimbabwes loosely managed and supply-driven system of TVE provision by government took criticism from various quarters during the nineties. Consequently, a major push for policy change came from the government-owned polytechnics and technical colleges. There has also been an accelerated push for wider access to college and university education as more student has completed secondary school. The expanding higher and tertiary sector itself has required appropriate human capacity to shape and sustain it. Advancing technological changes have created a demand for continuous skills upgrading and as in other areas of eduction, there has been the need to upgrade TVE qualifications from certificate and diploma to degree level as the standard operaing qualifications. As a result, polytechnics can now offer degree programmes initially under and associate-ship agreement with the National University of Science and Technology through its relevant faculties. The degree programmes now being run, it has been stressed, are to produce engineering and applied science technologists for industry and commerce needs. To be sure, there are some challenges Zimbabwe should tackle with such as the provision and maintenance of top quality modern training equipment, funding for research and development, home-grown research, a progressively crippling economic meltdown, and the brain and skills drain.
Source: Phuthi & Maphosa (2007).

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The Establishment of Regulatory and Systemic Framework

Overall, in Africa, TVET systems including existing or emerging partnership initiatives do not seem to have been systematized, institutionalized and supported by appropriate regulatory and systemic framework. The absence of a holistic policy by the African governments or the setting up of an accreditation framework is further exacerbated by a complex ownership and uncoordinated management of the system technical and vocational skills development is provided by a number of different ministries (education, labour, agriculture, industry,) (ADEA, 2008). The lack of coordination among the ministries and insufficient regulatory and systemic support will possibly undermine capacity to cope with external environment changes say, rapidly changing skill needs and demands of the labor market. It will also reveal different perspectives on TVET, which in turn lead to mistrust of industry about the industrial policy of the government. The governments must take the lead in instituting a regulatory and systemic framework conducive to reinforcing the cohesiveness, flexibility and responsiveness to changing TVET needs by reducing confusion of TVET objectives and direction. The regulatory and systemic framework will lead to having the confidence of the industry in partnerships in TVET.

Discussion and Lessons Learned


The first step for successful partnerships is to identify success factors and stumbling blocks (see Figure 2). Figure 2 illustrates not only how six approaches are correlated to one another, but also how they should be implemented to improve partnerships with the industry. There is another important point that needs to be kept in mind. The first step for successful partnerships is to identify success factors and stumbling blocks. Reaching an agreement on objectives from the outset of partnerships is likely to be a determinant to the successful execution of partnerships. Conversely, the following may contribute to unsuccessful partnerships: disagreement on primary performance targets, different interests and perspectives, and difficulty in reaching an agreement between different participants. In this vein, partnerships should be based on supporting reciprocally agreed objectives and mechanisms in an effort to accelerate the development process through shared responsibilities and commitment. Three propositions set forth earlier prove to be acceptable. Expenditures on TVET are shared by the provision of inputs of the industry (proposition 1). Specific and demand-relevant skills training and retraining can be acquired by the 60+40 system and systemization of lifelong TVET (proposition 2). The specific roles of participants in partnerships can be explicit by all the strategies, especially the regulatory and systemic framework (proposition 3).

Partnerships with Industry for Effective Implementation of TVET 53

Figure 2. An overview of partnership-based TVET system

However, there are a couple of challenges which should be taken up to strengthen partnerships. Whereas vocational training can develop appropriate skills and thereby improve labor supply and the employability of the work force, demand for labor depends on incentives for investment, good macroeconomic conditions, and a favorable business climate in the country (ADEA, 2008). Sound fundamental economic conditions favorable to the development of partnerships should be established. In addition, technical training in the schools in Africa is modeled after the curricula of technical schools in industrialized countries, but because the economic circumstances are not the same, such training provides no guide for effective participation in the growth of the African economy (Hamilton & Asiedu, 1987). Thus, TVET systems should be appropriately geared toward intrinsic economic condition of Africa and be available to anyone in need of TVET. From the above arguments, the following are some lessons drawn. The realization of the lessons is likely to lead to the strengthening of partnerships with the industry.

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1. Partnerships should be regarded as a supplementary for advanced TVET systems. 2. Partnerships should focus on demand-oriented approach. 3. Partnerships should be flexible enough to meet the changing skills demands of the industry and the technological environment. 4. Partnerships should allow the industry to participate in the development and management of TVET to reduce mismatches of skilled workforces. 5. Partnerships should focus on increasing the quality of training through the implementation of NTQ as well. 6. Partnerships should be supported by regulatory and systemic framework. 7. Partnerships should go along with a strategic transition from a short-term to long-term objective.

A Concluding Remark
Technological innovation brings about certain challenges for existing TVET systems, which are intended to provide education and training to meet the skills demands of the industry. Partnerships are a strategic response to the innovation. The first step for successful response to innovation is a shift of perception or perspectives on the essence of TVET. TVET is no longer just an economic issue such as training and providing skilled workforce. It is also inclusive of a social issue, alleviation of poverty, through increases in employability. Strengthened partnerships will help alleviate poverty by reducing labor and skill mismatch by making labor pooling and matching available. Increased skills formation will allow trainees to engage themselves in income generating opportunities, which may include both employment by the industry and self-employment. As a next step, interest gaps between the public (including informal sectors and other underprivileged target groups as well) and the industry (focusing on resources on demand-driven formal sector) should be filled as well. It seems understandable that the success of partnerships with the industry is dependent upon how much and how many incentives are provided to attract the industry to join partnerships in TVET. Countries, particularly developing countries with the limited availability of resources, must predict and establish national key strategic industries and lay out a blueprint to cultivate industrial technology specialists for the industries. In an attempt to make the blueprint realizable, it is recommended that partnerships be undertaken. Additionally, two systems should be required. First, a system, which helps trainees and learners benefit from high rate of placement in income-generating activities needs to be constructed. Second, a system, which trains graduates from TVET institutions to become specialists in their

Partnerships with Industry for Effective Implementation of TVET 55

areas, should be formed. The technology and skills of the specialists should be the driving force for the growth of a country. These series of efforts can bear fruits between the partnerships with the industry.

References
African Union. (2007, May). Strategy to revitalize technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Africa. The final draft paper presented at the Meeting of the Bureau of the conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union, Ethiopia. Allais, S. M. (2003). The national qualifications framework in south Africa: A democratic project trapped in a neo-liberal paradigm? Journal of Education and Work, 16(3), 305-324. Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). (2008, May). Beyond primary education: Challenges and approaches to expanding learning opportunities in Africa. Paper presented at the Biennale on Education in Africa, Maputo, Mozambique. Atchoarena, D., & Delluc, A. (2002). Revisiting technical and vocational education in sub-Saharan Africa: An update on trends, innovations and challenges. Retrieved from UNESCO: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001293/129354e.pdf Bartram, J. (2004). A review of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) policy and planning in the Pacific Islands. Retrieved Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat: http://www.forumsec.org/UserFiles/File/Policy_Review_Reformatted.pdf. Durango, L. (2002, November). The financing of technical and vocational education and training: Options and challenges for sub-saharan Africa. Paper presented to NORDIC UNEVOC network workshop on training for survival and development in Southern Africa, Oslo, Norway. Ellis, S. P. (2003). Anticipating employers skills needs: The case for intervention. International Journal of Manpower, 24(1), 83-96. Ensor, P. (2003). The national qualifications framework and higher education in south Africa: Some epistemological issues. Journal of Education and Work, 16(3), 325-346. Hamilton, E., & Asiedu, K. (1987). Vocational-technical education in tropical Africa. The Journal of Negro Education, 56(3), 338-355. Hawley, J. (2006). Public private partnership in vocational education and training: International examples and models. Retrieved from World Bank: http:// siteresources. worldbank.org/EXTECAREGTOPEDUCATION/Resources/444607-1192636551820/ Public_Private_Partnerships_in_Vocational_Education_and_Training.pdf Jensen, M. (2002, November). Danidas technical vocational education and training priorities, projects and strategies. Paper presented to NORDIC UNEVOC network workshop on training for survival and development in Southern Africa, Oslo, Norway. Johnson, R. K., & Adams, A. V. (2004). Skills development in sub-saharan Africa. Washington, D.C.: the World Bank. Matseleng, S. A. (2003). The national qualifications framework in South Africa: A democratic project trapped in a neo-liberal paradigm? Journal of Education and Work, 16(3), 305-324. Middleton, J., & Demsky, T. (1988). World Bank investment in vocational education and training. Washington, DC.: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (2007). Qualifications and Lifelong Learning (Policy Brief, April 2007). Retrieved from OCED: http:// www.oecd.org/dataoecd/10/2/38500491.pdf

56 International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 17 No. 2 Palmer, R., Wedgwood, R., Hayman, R., King, K., & Thin, N. (2007). Educating out of poverty? A synthesis report on Ghana, India, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Africa (DFID Researching the Issues 2007: 70). Retrieved from UK Department for International Development (DFID): www.dfid.gov.uk/Documents/.../educating-outpoverty-70.pdf Phuthi, N., & Maphosa, N. (2007, March). Transforming higher education for effective technical and vocational skills delivery in Zimbabwe. Paper presented at UNESCO forum on higher education, research, and knowledge, Accra, Ghana. Ramutloa, L. (2007). National skills development strategy: Implementation strategy 2007, Retrieved from Republic of South Africa, Department of Labour: http://www.labour. gov.za/downloads/documents/annual-reports/national-skills- development-development-implementation-strategy-report/2007/Annual%20Report%20-%20NSDS%20 -%20Implementation%20report%202007.pdf Stevens, G. (2001). Distance learning for technical and vocational education in sub-saharan Africa: Challenges and opportunities (Working Paper No 31511). Retrieved from World Bank: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTLM/214578-1103217503703/20295546/ DistanceLearningVET.pdf Taylor, A. (2006). The challenge of partnership in school-to-work transition. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 58(3), 319-336. Tilak, J. B. G. (2001). Building human capital in East Asia: What others Can Learn (Working Paper No 22717). Retrieved from World Bank: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/ WBI/Resources/wbi37166.pdf. Tessaring, M., & Wannan, J. (2004). Vocational education and training Key to the future. Luxembourg: European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. (2006). Participation in formal technical and vocational education and training programmes worldwide: An initial statistical study. Retrieved from UNESCO: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001496/149652e.pdf Van Horn, C. E., & Fichtner, A. R. (2003). An evaluation of state-subsidized, firm-based training: The workforce development partnership program. International Journal of Manpower, 24(1), 97-110. World Economic Forum. (2005). Development-driven public-private partnerships in basic education. Retrieved from World Economic Forum, Financing for Development Initiative: http://www.weforum.org/pdf/ppp_education_summary2.pdf Yamada, S., & Matsuda, N. (2007). Vocational and industrial human resource development through TVET in Africa: Changing assistance environments and human resource demand (2006 JICA Visiting Fellow Research Report). Retrieved from Japan International Cooperation Agency: http://www.jica.go.jp/english/publications/reports/study/ topical/tvet/pdf/tvet_1.pdf Young, M. (2005). National qualifications frameworks: Their feasibility and effective implementation in developing countries (Skills Working Paper No. 22). Retrieved from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Skills and Employability Department: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_emp/---ifp_skills/documents/publication/wcms_103626.pdf

Perceptions of College Students: The Relevance of Academic Programs to Current Jobs


Mabel C.P.O Okojie, Tinukwa Okojie-Boulder, and James Boulder
Mississippi State University, USA

Abstract
One hundred and forty-three former students participated in this follow-up study. The aim of the study was to explore how the participants perceived the quality of their academic programs and the relevance of their programs to their current jobs. Questionnaire was used to collect data and Cronbach alpha was used to establish the internal consistency. Data collected was analyzed using mean scores, percentages, t-tests and ANOVA. The findings indicated that the participants rated most questionnaire items positively indicating that they perceived the quality of their programs to be satisfactory. However, the results revealed that the respondents had concerns regarding some aspects of their programs. It was recommended that the programs be re-evaluated using the findings to pinpoint areas of concerns.

Introduction
Conducting a follow-up study represented one of the methods for collecting information on students perceptions of their educational experiences. It was also a means of receiving feedback on course contents, instructional methods and materials including technology used in supporting instruction. Follow-up study was also used to assess how the knowledge and skill acquired by students reflected the requirements of work environments. For teachers and instructors, follow-up study could be seen as an accountability initiative because it provided opportunity for instructors to be aware of how students perceived the courses they taught. It also represented a source of empowerment for students because participating in a follow-up study gave them (students) the opportunity to participate in shaping their programs through their responses to follow-up questionnaire.
57

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No institution could risk not having periodic follow-up study aimed at encouraging students to assess the quality of instruction provided to them. This was particularly important in light of the fluid nature of the society we live in where technology changes at an alarming rate. Claus (2002) explained that data collected from a follow-up study provided the school board members, administrators, teachers and counselors with data they used in making decision on instructional and curricular planning (p.1). Claus (2002) discussed how students suggested that some courses be made more rigorous and that learning materials should be structured to reflect problem-solving activities. Fitzgerald (2000) argued that the findings of a follow-up study of community college electronics students in a technology program provided useful information that was helpful in ensuring that the graduates of the program received transferrable employment skills.

Background
The department involved in this study has expanded since 2001 and the curriculum has broadened to reflect changes in technology. The department updated most of its instructional resources and instructional technology labs. The department also acquired an advanced media lab to enable instructors use enhanced technologies to support instruction. The faculty and staff have become more diverse and student enrollment has increased. More courses were being taught online than before. All these activities might have impacted on students learning and on their perceptions of their various programs. No study has been conducted to assess students perceptions in view of the changes that have been made in the department.

Statement of the Problem


The problem of the study was to explore how former students perceived the academic programs offered to them between 2001 and 2005. Specifically, the study examined participants perceptions of the quality of their academic programs, the relevance of the academic programs to their jobs. The study also assessed whether the participants have positive or negative perceptions toward their jobs. The following research questions guided the study: 1. What was the quality of the academic programs offered to students between 2001 and 2005 as perceived by former students? 2. Did former students perceive their academic programs to be relevant to the jobs they perform? 3. Did former students have positive or negative perceptions toward their jobs?

The Relevance of Academic Programs to Current Jobs 59

Significance of the Study


The focus of the research was to assess the quality of the departments academic programs and to determine the relevance of the programs in terms of providing students with skills and knowledge required in the workplace. Data generated from the study would be used for program improvement and would also be used to determine areas of weaknesses. The findings could also be used to provide instructors with data to improve their teaching practices and to help learning institutions develop a data bank on students perceptions of their programs. To be able to make effective changes in any program of study, it was important to receive feedback from the students who were involved in the program. This follow up study would be a valuable asset during the National Council for Accreditation on Teacher Education (NCATE) inspection because follow-up studies were one of the requirements of NCATE.

Delimitations and Limitations


This study involved undergraduate and graduate students who graduated from a department in a major land-grant university in the southern state of the United States between 2001 and 2005. Data was collected between 2006 and 2007. The findings of the study could be limited by the thoroughness and honesty of the participants in completing the questionnaire.

Review of Related Literature


The importance of a follow-up study could not be over-emphasized. Fitzgerald (2000) pointed out that the feedback from the graduate students could be used to implement curricular changes and help justify equipment purchases and funding (p. 32). Conklin (2001) argued that students comments and feedback during a follow-up study were used to improve both spoken and written communication. Follow-up study could also be used to assess the success of any educational program. Follow-up studies have been used to determine the success of Colorado Even Start program (Anderson, 2003). The Even start program was designed to enroll families in GED program. Anderson claimed that 11 out of 12 mothers who enrolled in Even Start GED program received diplomas. According to Anderson, the result of the follow-up study revealed that 53% of the students who enrolled in Even Start program were reading above the required grade level and 47% were reading within the expected grade level. The study conducted by Conklin (2001) showed that the majority of employers who completed and returned the survey indicated that they were satisfied with the quality of their

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employees. But 5% of employers indicated that quality of their employees job preparation was poor. Conklin stated that the findings of the follow-up study demonstrated that 92% of students who completed their programs between 1999 and 2000 were satisfied with the level of their employment preparation. Educational institutions routinely conduct follow-up studies to collect information from their graduates. Adams (1995) carried out a follow-up study, which provided information on the students employment status, job satisfaction, and the general perception of their programs of study. One of the findings in this study revealed that 94% of 1,198 students who responded to the survey stated that they would recommend the courses they took to other students and 59% claimed that the jobs they did were related to the training they received from Macomb Community College (Adams, 1995). The Board of Illinois Higher Education conducted similar studies in 1997, 1998, and 1999 for the purpose of finding out students future plans after graduation and to discover how satisfied they were with their undergraduate programs. Twelve public universities in the State of Illinois participated in the study. The information gathered was used for decision-making (State of Illinois, Board of Higher Education). Murphy (1992) maintained that follow-up studies generated data that were used for program planning and change. Mulvey and Langer (2001) used a follow-up study to assess students views regarding their physics course. The finding showed that 78% of the students had favorable opinion about their physics class, and indicated that they would be willing to take the class over again. In considering the general benefits of follow-up studies, Smedley and Olson (1975) pointed that they were beneficial in providing information for decisionmaking process. Kirk (1982) remarked that NCATE recommended periodic follow-up studies of graduate education program by those institutions which desired approval for their program (p.1). Busch (2002) recognized the importance of follow-up studies and argued that: Follow-up study is valuable for two reasons. First, it provides information about how well students are doing as they transition from school to careers, where the program is finding success, and which areas need to be changed or improved. Second, it reinforces the connection between education and the business world as it changes and garners the support of business and industry. (p. 57). Follow-up studies have provided data to assess the success of a given educational program. The results of follow-up studies have been helpful in revealing areas of concern within a given program. For instance evaluations of teacher preparation programs using follow-up studies have provided insight for discussions for future program innovations (Delaney, 1995). Another example provided

The Relevance of Academic Programs to Current Jobs 61

by Hatfield and Gorman (2000) explained that findings from follow-up studies conducted by higher education institutions showed that successfully completing a program of study meant acquiring skills and knowledge required for job success. Furthermore follow-up studies have also proven to be useful in identifying major problems facing newly hired teachers and to critically assess whether inservice teachers training programs were effective in meeting the needs of the economy (Delaney, 1995; Wesley & Vocke, 1992; Ayers, 1998, Holste & Mathews, 1993). Thus follow-up studies can provide information that higher education institutions, business and industries can use to improve the services they offer.

Method
Population of the Study

This survey study was designed to collect information from former undergraduate and graduate students who completed their various academic programs between 2001 and 2005. Records showed that a total of 281 students completed their various programs between 2001 and 2005. However, 230 former students were located and they were used as the population for this study. Thirty-one students out of 281 were not located and were not included in the study. In order to obtain the number of participants that would generate meaningful data and to improve generalization of the findings, a census population was used. Participation in this study was voluntary. The addresses of 230 former students were obtained from the department involved in this follow-up study and from the university alumni office records. Records revealed that these former students were located in various states, cities, and counties throughout the country. A questionnaire package was sent to 230 former students participating in this study. Telephone calls and e-mail reminder letters were sent to those students who did not return the questionnaire package after two weeks. A second questionnaire package was sent to those who had not completed and returned the questionnaire three weeks after the first package was sent. Three weeks after the second questionnaire package was sent, the researchers randomly selected 10% from the list of the participants who had not returned their questionnaire and requested them to complete the questionnaire by telephone. The researchers also randomly selected 10% of those who completed and returned the questionnaire from the first distribution of the survey. T-test was computed to determine if a statistical significance difference existed between those who returned the questionnaire and those who did not return it. The result showed that there was no statistical significance difference between the two groups. The total number of former students who complete and returned the questionnaire was 143. The return rate stood at 62%.

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Validation and Reliability of the Instrument

The researchers developed the questionnaire after reviewing literature on follow-up studies. The instrument was divided into four sections. Section A sought demographic data, Section B was used to assess the quality of the former students academic programs. Section C was used to assess the relevance of the academic programs in relation to students jobs and section D was used to determine the participants perceptions of their jobs. One former undergraduate and one former graduate student (not involved in this study) including professors who were knowledgeable in follow-up studies and in educational research validated the questionnaire. The feedback they provided was used to modify and improve the questionnaire. Cronbach alpha was used to establish the internal consistency reliability for each section of the questionnaire. The internal consistency rate for section B was .917, section C was .810 and section D was .923.

Data Analysis
Participants Demographic Information

Majority of the participants (65.6%) were females. The participants in this study were between the ages of 21 and 51 years and over. More participants fell into the age range of 26 and 30 years (27.35%) as displayed in Table 1. The smallest number of the participants was in the age range of 21-25 years which represented 7.7% of the respondents. The participants were predominantly Caucasians (72%). The highest number of students graduated in 2005 (24.5 %). The lowest number (14%) of the participants graduated in 2003. The majority of former students (80.4%) who took part in this study had jobs prior to graduation. Many participants (35.7%) found jobs through personal contacts. Forth-nine percent of the participants did not identify their method of job finding (Table 1). Thirty percent of the participants earned between $55,000 and above. Six students (4.2%) earned the least salary ($19,999 or less).
Table 1. Distribution of the Participants demographic Profiles Demographic Variables Gender Male Female Age Range 21-25 years 26-30 years 31-35 years 36-40 years Frequencies Percent (%) 52 91 11 39 14 26 36.4 65.6 7.7 27.3 9.8 18.2

The Relevance of Academic Programs to Current Jobs 63 41-50 years 51 and above Participants did not specify year of graduation Ethnicity Caucasian American African Americans American Indian/Alaskan Native Asian/Pacific Islander Hispanic Year of Graduation 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 No graduation indicated Salary Range $19,999.00 or less $20,000-$24,999 $25,000-$29,999 $30,000-$34,999 $35,000-$39,999 $40,000-$44,999 $45,000-$49,999 $55,000 and above Salary range not specified Methods of Finding Jobs Personal Contacts Mississippi State University Career Center Employment Agency Job Fair Newspaper advertisement Computer Network Walk-in Did not identify the sources of finding jobs 13 21 19 103 36 2 1 1 34 22 20 22 35 10 6 4 2 15 16 14 22 43 21 51 3 3 6 7 1 13 70 9.1 14.7 13.2 72.0 25.2 1.4 .7 .7 23 16.6 14.0 15.4 24.5 7.0 4.2 2.8 1.4 10.5 11.2 9.2 15.4 30.1 14.6 35.7 2.1 2.2 4.2 4.9 1.4 .7 49.0

Analysis of Research Questions


Research Question 1: What was the quality of the academic programs offered to students between 2001 and 2005 as perceived by former students?

Twenty-six questionnaire items with a five-point Likert scale were developed and were used to collect data for this research question. In an effort to obtain a less fragmented results, strongly agreed and agreed were combined as one category. Also, strongly disagree and disagree were combined. Data was therefore, analyzed using agree, neutral and disagree as categories of responses. The result

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indicated that out of a 26-item questionnaire, the respondents provided positive responses in 20 items illustrating that they agreed that the quality of their programs was perceived as satisfactory. However, the findings revealed that the participants had concerns about some aspects of the programs. For instance, 88.8% of the respondents agreed that there was no adequate instruction on problem-solving skills, while 76.2% agreed that there was no adequate instruction on supervisory and management skills. More students (77.0%) disagreed that instruction they received on diversity has helped them to work with diverse workforce. Majority of the students (73.4%) agreed that that their programs were incoherent and disjointed. The findings also showed that over 75% of the participants disagreed that they have developed leadership skills as a result of their academic programs. Seventy-nine percent agreed that instructors in their program did not emphasize the importance of team work. This information is summarized in Table 2.
Research Question 2: Did former students perceive their academic programs to be relevant to their jobs?

Data collected for research question two was analyzed using percentages and was based on a three category responses, namely agree, neutral, and disagree. Ten questionnaire items were used to assess the respondents perceived relevance of their academic programs to their jobs, eight items received positive ratings but two received negative ratings. The results showed that the participants (78.3%) agreed that they perceived their programs to be relevant to their job interests. The results also revealed that most participants (78.3%) disagreed that they were adequately prepared for job market. Information on research question two was summarized in Table 3.
Research Question 3: Did former students have positive or negative perceptions of their jobs?

The findings of this research question are displayed in Table 3. The results revealed that the respondents had positive perceptions of the jobs they do. Most participants 88.9% agreed that their jobs were interesting. However, the results showed that 72.1% agreed that they found their jobs stressful. Only 5.6% found their jobs boring.

Table 2. Participants Perceived Quality of Academic Programs

Questionnaire Items The quality of the academic program was satisfactory. Instruction was rigorous. Quality of instruction from instructors was not satisfactory. Quality of instructional materials was not satisfactory. Instructional labs were of excellent quality. Evaluation strategies used by instructors were not satisfactory. Students had no opportunity to use the lab regularly. Students have the opportunity to use the advance media lab when needed. The quality of administrative support was satisfactory. I received sound technology training. Technology courses in my program overlap considerably. I will recommend the redesign of the courses in my program. I am satisfied with my program. Students complaints are dealt with promptly. Instructors integrate technology into instruction. Most instructors are knowledgeable in their areas of specialization. I received adequate instruction in educational research techniques. There was no adequate instruction on problem-solving skill. No adequate instruction on supervisory and management skills. Instruction on diversity has helped me to work with diverse workforce. I have developed leadership skills as a result of my program. My program provided me with sound educational theories. As a result of my program, I have developed confidence in myself. I feel that my program was incoherent and disjointed. Instructors in my program did not emphasize the importance of team work. Instructors did not encourage lifelong learning.

Agree Responses # % 126 88.1 111 77.6 18 12.6 13 9.1 95 66.5 21 14.7 22 15.4 57 39.9 123 86.0 115 80.4 55 38.5 62 33.4 116 81.1 67 46.9 112 78.3 124 86.8 109 76.2 124 88.8 109 76.2 21 14.7 8 5.6 127 88.8 116 88.1 105 73.4 108 75.6 19 13.3

Neutral Responses # % 7 4.9 16 11.2 9 6.3 10 7.0 34 23.8 22 15.4 36 25.2 65 45.5 6 4.2 12 8.4 42 29.4 39 27.3 15 10.5 50 35.0 10 7.0 11 7.7 21 14.7 11 7.7 21 14.7 11 7.7 9 6.3 7 4.9 8 5.6 22 15.4 17 11.9 11 7.7

Disagree Responses # % 9 6.3 14 9.8 114 79.8 118 82.6 9 6.3 98 68.6 80 58.0 13 9.1 13 9.1 13 9.1 43 30.1 41 28.7 10 7.0 22 15.4 19 13.3 7 4.9 12 8.4 7 4.9 12 8.4 110 77.0 126 88.2 9 6.3 19 11.3 13 9.1 17 11.9 113 79.1

The Relevance of Academic Programs to Current Jobs 65

Data were collected using a 5-point scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The agree column includes strongly agree and agree responses combined and disagree column includes disagree and strongly disagree responses combined.

Table 3. Participants Perceived Relevance of Academic Programs and Perceptions of their Jobs

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Questionnaire Items for Research Question #2 The knowledge and skill acquired are relevant to my job/career. Did not feel I have acquired marketable skills. I felt I would not be competitive in search or a job. The technological skills I have acquired are not relevant to my job. The leadership instruction I received prepared me for a leadership role. The practical experience I received while studying was helpful to me. Feedback during practical learning experience provided me insight. I have acquired satisfactory research skill offered through my program. I felt that I was adequately prepared for job market. My overall job preparation is adequate. 132 14 127 8 103 73 40 97 125 19 92.4 11.8 88.9 5.6 72.1 51.1 48.0 67.9 87.4 13.3 3 12 8 5 22 48 21 20 7 13 2.1 8.4 5.6 3.5 15.4 30.1 14.7 14.0 4.9 9.1

Agree Responses # % 127 88.8 16 11.2 14 9.2 16 11.2 119 83.2 108 75.6 127 88.8 100 70.0 12 8.4 16 11.2 6 115 6 129 17 25 80 25 10 107

Neutral Responses # % 7 4.9 8 5.6 9 6.3 13 9.1 13 9.1 20 14.0 4 2.8 19 13.3 18 12.6 9 6.3

Disagree Responses # % 7 4.9 116 81.9 117 83.6 110 77.0 7 4.9 12 8.5 9 6.6 18 12.6 112 78.3 116 81.2 4.2 80.5 4.2 90.2 11.9 17.5 56.0 17.5 7.0 74.9

Questionnaire Items for Research Question #3 My job is challenging. I dislike my job. My job is interesting. My job is boring. My job is stressful. My job is ideal. My job is repetitive. My job offers opportunity for upward mobility. My job helps me to grow in knowledge. I feel like quitting my job.

Data were collected using a 5-point scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The agree column includes strongly agree and agree responses combined and disagree column includes disagree and strongly disagree responses combined.

The Relevance of Academic Programs to Current Jobs 67

Gender Differences in the Perceived Quality of the Academic Programs


T-test was used to determine if difference differences existed between male and female respondents in their perception of their academic programs. The result of the t-test showed that there were no significant differences between male and females in most questionnaire items. However, there were significant differences between male and female respondents in their perception of questionnaire item #2 which was used to rate how rigorous the academic programs were perceived (t = 2.25, p. < .05). The result of a Tukey Post Hoc test showed that female participants disagreed (M = 2.41.) that the academic programs were rigorous while, the male participants remained neutral (M = 3.17). Difference also existed between male and female respondents in their perception of the quality of the instructional labs (t = 2.39, p. = < .018). Tukey Post Hoc test revealed that female participants disagreed (M = 2.37) that the quality of the instructional labs were excellent, while male respondents recorded a neutral response (M = 3.23). There were differences between male and female former students in responding to questionnaire item #6 which was used to rate how former students perceived the evaluation strategies used by instructors (t = 2.23, p < .027). The result of a Tukey Post Hoc test indicated that male participants agreed (M = 3.96) that the evaluation strategies were not satisfactory while the female former students were undecided with a mean score of 3.33. ANOVA tests were run to determine if differences existed among the respondents in their perception of the quality of their academic programs, the perceived relevance of academic programs to their jobs and their perceptions of their jobs based on age, race, annual salary, and year of graduation. The results indicated there were no statistical significance differences found among the participants based on age and annual salary. However, the results showed there were statistical significant differences (mean square 2.763, F 2.441, p. < .050) in questionnaire items # 24 based on year of graduation. The result of a Tukey Post Hoc test indicated that participants who graduated in 2002 had higher mean score of 4.13 showing that they agreed that their academic programs were incoherent and disjointed compared with students who graduated in other years who were undecided in their responses. The result of an ANOVA test (Mean Square 1.725, F 2.412, p. < .052) revealed that there were statistical significance differences among former students in their response to questionnaire item #25 which was used to determine whether they perceived that instructors did not emphasize the importance of team work based on year of graduation. Tukey Post Hoc test was performed and the result indicated that students who graduated in 2003 agreed (M = 4.03) that instructors did not emphasize the importance of team work. The test also revealed that students who

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graduated in other years were undecided. ANOVA tests also showed that there were significant differences (Mean Square 2.290, F 3.066, p. < .019) among the respondents in their perception of questionnaire item #6 which was used to determine if the participants perceived that instructional labs were of excellent quality. The result of a Tukey Post Hoc test revealed that African American participants agreed that instructional labs were of excellent quality (M = 4.00) but Caucasian respondents were not decided (M = 3.21) in their perception of the quality of the instructional labs.

Discussion of Findings
This study has provided a detailed profile of the participants. These participants were predominantly females (65.6%). The findings showed that more students (24.5%) graduated in 2005 than in any other year within the period covered in this study (2001-2005). The results showed that the rate of graduation went down after 2001 because the rates of graduation from 2002 to 2004 were down. However, the rate went up slightly in 2005. It was not clear why the rate of graduation was low between 2002 and 2004. Perhaps it might be useful to monitor enrollment figure. The results showed that Caucasian students represented 72% of the participants while African Americans accounted for 25.2% of the graduation rate. Although this finding was important because it provided information on ethnic graduation rate but it did not reveal whether the number of African American and Caucasian students who graduated closely reflected the number of students who enrolled at the beginning of the programs. The results also revealed that 35.7% found jobs through personal contacts; however, 49% of the respondents did not disclose their methods of job finding. The importance of personal contacts as a source for jobs should be recognized by providing students with curricular activities that would enable them (students) to expand their personal contacts and networking skills. Braswell and Gottesman (2001) found that students who completed their programs found jobs from different sources including personal contact. The majority of the participants (73.4%) agreed that their programs were incoherent and disjointed. This finding provided a powerful reason for the various programs to be evaluated for possible revision and improvement and this finding supported Murphy (1992) who argued that data from follow-up studies have been used for program planning and change. Mulvery and Langer (2001) have used information collected from a follow-up study to assess students perception of their physics course. Also, the findings of the present study indicated that the respondents agreed that instructors did not emphasize the importance of teamwork in their instruction. Emphasis on teamwork should

The Relevance of Academic Programs to Current Jobs 69

be considered important because working as a team was considered necessary for the survival of any industry or business and educational institution. Stasz (1997) argued that American policy makers believed that skills such teamwork, communications including problem solving were important in industrial operations and in reforming school practices. The results of this study had shown that 33.4% of the respondents agreed that the academic programs should be redesigned, 27.3% of the participants were undecided but 28.7% disagreed that the programs should be redesigned. It would be logical to assume that those who were undecided might have concern regarding the programs; this might be the reason for their indecision. The results of the present study indicated that 88.8% of the participants believed that their jobs were interesting, 72.1% found their jobs stressful and 5.6% felt that their jobs were boring. These findings supported Adams (1995) who claimed that the findings of a follow-up study were used to generate data on students job satisfaction, job status, and their perception of their programs.

Conclusions and Recommendations


The research findings show that the respondents agreed that some aspects of their programs were satisfactory but they expressed reservations on other aspects. Specifically, the participants reported that the degree programs offered were disjointed and that there was repetition in the technology courses offered. As a consequence the researchers recommend that further study should be carried out to determine why the participants agreed that the programs were incoherent and why they believe that technology courses overlap. The purpose of this study was to gather data to be used in redesigning programs in the department and to discover aspects of the programs that were not rigorous. The results showed that 80.4% of the participants had prior employment before graduation. This indicated that majority of the former students who took part in this study were adult non-traditional students. Therefore, it would be important for curricular activities to reflect adult learning strategies and principles including making sure that adult learners are provided with the opportunity to participate in planning his/her program of study. The researchers recommend that adults students should be involved in the redesign of the programs by seeking their opinions during the redesign process. Knowles (1970) maintained that adults learn when they were involved in their programs and if they perceived the immediate use of the knowledge and skill they would acquire. Furthermore, the results showed that 88.8% of the respondents agreed that instruction on problem solving skill was not adequate and 76.2% believed that adequate instruction was not provided in supervisory and management skills.

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Therefore, the researchers recommended that instruction on problem-solving including supervisory and management skills should be incorporated into the curriculum. The research findings showed that it was also not clear whether the rate of graduation matched the enrollment rate from 2001 to 2005. Furthermore the researchers recommend that a further study should be conducted to determine whether graduation rate matched enrollment rate for the different ethnic groups. This is importance to determine what factors cause the decline in the graduation rate and to develop solutions that address the problems identified. It is also recommended that a stress management course or a mentorship course should be included in the degree programs to help students deal with stress to take into considering that the majority of the respondents in this study agreed that their jobs were stressful.

References
Adams, J. (1995). Follow-Up Survey, Graduates of 1993-1994, Macomb Community College. Project #94-069. The Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC), Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com. Anderson, B. (2003). Colorado Even Start Follow-Up Study: Trinidad State Junior College, Department of Education. The Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC), Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com. Ayers, J. B. (1988) Teacher education follow-up evaluation: how to do it Ayers. Teacher Education Evaluation, 85-111 Braswell, C., & Gottesman, R. (2001, June). Analysis of Factors Influencing Employment Migration of Recent Degree Recipients. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the association for institutional research, Long Beach, FL. Busch, A. H. (2002) Developing quality school-to-work programs. Business Education Forum, 56(3), 56-57. Claus, R. N. (2002). School district of the city of Saginaw follow-up study of 2000 graduates. The Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC) Retrieved from http:// search.ebscohost.com. Conklin, K. (2001). Educational Goal Attainment: A One-Year Follow-Up Study of Nonreturning JCCC Students. Johnson County Community Office of Institutional Research. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com. Delaney, A. M. (1995, April). Promoting responsive teacher education through effective follow-up studies. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, San Francisco, CA. Fitzgerald, M. (2000). A descriptive follow-up study of piedmont Virginia Community College electronics technology graduates from 1995-1999. The Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC) Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com. Hatfield, S. R., & Gorman, K. L. (2000). Assessment in education -The past, present. Business Education Forum 56(3), 36-88. Holste, D., & Mathews, D. (1993). Survey of 1991 teacher education graduates conducted in May 1992, Council on Teacher Education, 39.

The Relevance of Academic Programs to Current Jobs 71 Knowles, M. (1970). The modern practice of adult education: Andragogy versus pedagogy. The Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC), Retrieved from http://search. ebscohost.com. Kirk, E. L (1982). Follow-up studies of teachers education program graduate, Unpublished manuscript, Department of Education, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas. Mulvey, P. J., & Langer, C. (2001). 1999 Initial Employment Report: Follow-Up of 1998 Physics and Astronomy Degree Recipients. American Institute of Physics, Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com. Murphy, P.(1992). Follow-up Studies Program Evaluation, The Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC), Retrieved from. http://search.ebscohost.com. Smedley, R., & Olson, G. (1975, April). Graduate Follow-Up Studies: How Useful Are They? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American educational researchers association Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com. Stasz, C. (1997). Do employers need the skills they want? Evidence from technical work. Journal of Education and Work, 10(3), 205-23. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com. Wesley, D., & Vocke, D. (1992, February). Classroom Discipline and Teacher Education. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the association of teacher educators, Orlando, FL.

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Examining Stakeholder Perspectives on Integrating Open-Source and Freeware Technologies into Educational Programs
East Carolina University, USA Brunswick Community College and Lesley University, USA

Jeremy Dickerson

J. Burton Browning

Abstract
Information technology and computer literacy play an important role in vocational education and training. Stakeholders in vocational education and training include instructors, students, educational administrators, and technical support staff. These individuals must be a synergistic group when it comes to making decisions about the use of information technologies in instruction, especially when operating budgets are minimized due to national and international economies. Decisions about information technologies should be a carefully guided process. Vocational programs that rely on information technologies are especially vulnerable to budget problems because of the intense need for hardware, software, and consumable supplies. This paper focuses on stakeholder issues and perspectives concerning the adoption and integration of open-source and freeware into vocational education programs and facilities. Examples of open-source and freeware solutions are examined and discussed.

Introduction
Information technology and computer literacy are catalysts in the growth of economic globalization (Jubas, Butterwick, Zhu, & Liptrot, 2006), and play a vital role in vocational education and training in todays information-based society. American higher education has added a greater emphasis on vocational education as the technology revolution has changed the nature of work (Grubb &Lazerson, 2005). Information technologies such as hardware and software are necessary tools for students learning how to live and work in an

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Integrating Open-Source and Freeware Technologies into Educational Programs 73

ever-changing digital age. Vocational education and training programs not only often teach others about information technologies, they have also historically used information technologies such as artificial intelligence (Welham, 2008), electronic tests (T.H.E. Journal, 2000), CD-ROM based curricula (Butler, Chiauzzi, Thum & Budman, 2004), and virtual, web-based laboratory lessons (Chu & Leung, 2003) to deliver instruction. Like many other educational programs, vocational education and workforcebased training and development relies on the use of computer skills and information technologies in order to prepare students for work, life and further educational settings. According to Rothwell and Sredl (1987), remedial training or basic skills training provides learners the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to enter a workplace when they are selected for a job. Nearly all jobs in our society, no matter the scope or magnitude, require some level of computer skills and information technology proficiency. The teaching and learning of information technology relies heavily on hardware, software, computer laboratories, and distance education infrastructure capacities to function successfully. Information technologies are often expensive and can quickly become outdated and antiquated if not kept current. The need for equipment, software, and related computer-related supplies can cause financial stress for many programs which depend on effective technologies in order to maintain facilities and programs. In 2009, the United States, the United Kingdom, parts of Europe and Asia, and many other countries across the world are facing some of the worst economic conditions seen in decades. Some experts purport that we are experiencing a recession which will negatively affect various sectors of our culture (Bauer, & Shenk 2009; Coy, 2009; Wyss & Bovino, 2009). This global economic crisis has a wide spreading effect on educational funding. Many educational organizations rely on market-driven endowments and federal money to operate and both of these areas have been in severe decline (Contexts, 2009). Resources and personnel at colleges and schools all over the world are being reduced due to budget restraints, and financial support for vocational education is uncertain as schools struggle amid the struggling international economic climate. Simultaneously, tens of thousands of people all over the world have lost their jobs and/or a significant amount of their savings and must now do whatever they can to re-enter the workforce. People need training and human resource development in order to gain job skills and to become employed so that they may ultimately help their places of work to be successful (Swanson &Holton, 2001). This obvious call for improved and increased vocational education and training is obstructed by the lack of local, state, and national-level school funding in many countries especially the United States. Decreased funding creates a challenge for vocational educators in need of sophisticated

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technologies needed to meet curricular goals and objectives. In short, vocational programs must adapt so that they may survive and continue to prepare students to compete and lead in the global economy of the 21st century. Vocational education and training programs in many areas must look for alternatives in order to maintain high quality instruction. Institutions are intensely trying to reduce budgets and increase funding. Attempts at increasing funding include searching for external grants, adding emphasis on programmatic and faculty entrepreneurship, using distance education technologies to increase student numbers without increasing physical costs, and increasing support from private citizens via contributions and gifts. Budget reductions include restrictions on supplies, equipment, travel, salary reductions, personnel reductions and eliminations of programs. Vocational programs have the ability to reduce software expenditures via the integration of open-source and freeware computer applications. According to Kim, Scher, and Turoff (2005), freeware is generally considered to be computer software which is available free of charge and distributed via the World Wide Web (p. 3). Freeware is software that is distributed free of charge and may be open or closed source (Barrett, Flectcher, & Huff, 2007, p. 70). Others describe freeware as being software that is available at no cost to a user, but authors of the software solely retain the right to modify, transfer to other developers, or discontinue future distributions of the product (Hedgebeth, 2007, p. 291). Open-source software can be generally defined as software in which the program source code is given away freely to end-users. Open-source code may also be available freely as a pre-compiled (ready to run) or only as source code only for the end user to examine, modify and/or compile. Open-source projects allow software developers to access and interact with a global community of contributors that might not be otherwise available in a commercial software development firm. The definition of developer here would be either a computer programmer or software tester. Educational organizations often spend thousands of dollars each year to purchase software, licenses and updates. This behavior has become the norm in many organizations because they have operated free of financial burden for a long time. Lev Gonick, Chief Information Officer at Case Western Reserve University recently stated in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (2009) that the use of open-source and freeware technologies will be necessary in order to maintain operations at many academic institutions due to the international economic crisis. There are many technologically advanced freeware applications and operating systems which can be used for teaching and learning at zero cost. Given the current economic situation many schools face, these options must be carefully examined and considered. Open-source and freeware solutions have the potential to help information technology-rich

Integrating Open-Source and Freeware Technologies into Educational Programs 75

vocational education programs. The suggestions made here is to support vocational educators as they try to provide meaningful information technology training as they are faced with budget restrictions. Vocational educators and trainers must have the instructional resources necessary in order to be effective and to prepare students for the workplace. Given the diversity of both student technology skills and workforce needs, information technology instructors must have appropriate and accessible software applications. With the funding problems many programs are currently facing, purchasing commercial software may be difficult or impossible in some colleges and schools as well as for many students. With this in mind, open-source and freeware applications can be a viable solution for educational programs and students who have limited or non-existing budgets. The goal of this paper is to assist vocational educators and technology trainers who are struggling with limited resources to help students learn and achieve despite the fact that they may not have the most popular commercial software in their classrooms. This means providing a framework of inquiry for the stakeholders involved in software selection and use. Additionally, open-source and freeware examples are provided for the readers review and consideration. The examples in this paper are not the answer to all problems for all instructors and programs. The over-arching principle here is to encourage thought and discussion about this topic and to engage instructors, students, educational administrators, technical support staff, and other decision makers to consider programmatic software alternatives during times of economic difficulty. The synthesis of this information has the potential to help prepare students to enter (or re-enter) the workforce with the computer skills necessary to perform their jobs.

Questions about Open-Source and Freeware for Stakeholders of Educational Programs


The authors of this article have both been students, instructors, technicians, and leaders in technical education settings, and these perspectives provide unique insight and a 360 degree view into the opportunities and challenges presented by open source and freeware application adoption. Selecting and integrating any open-source and/or freeware application is a multi-layered process. There are many stakeholders involved in the selection and integration of any educational tool. The primary stakeholders are the instructors, students, educational administrators, and technical support staff who comprise any educational program. An organization seeking to adopt and integrate these solutions should begin by considering the benefits and challenges of the different perspectives. Prior to selecting any open source or freeware application, the following lists are questions that need to be asked by each stakeholder. The

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term application refers to any potential open-source or freeware program which may be under consideration.
Instructors

Instructors are critical stakeholders in the selection and integration of any software because of their need to use, teach and connect the software to the educational goals. Instructors must be able to use the software without compromising their goals and objectives, and must also be able to problem-solve minor issues which may arise during instruction. Instructors are typically less involved in institutional costs, but must remain cognizant of costs for students and overall accessibility issues. The following questions are ones which would assist instructors as they consider open-source and freeware applications: 1. Does the application meet the goals and objectives of the learning environment? 2. Does the application affect planning for instruction? 3. Does the application limit activities? 4. Does the application inhibit student learning because of cumbersome steps or unique/peculiar commands? 5. Does the application have transferable skills and qualities, which can help students in the future?
Students

Students are critical stakeholders in the selection and integration of any software because of their need to learn skills which will help them in future settings. Students often do not understand how they will use a computer skill in the future or how it will assist them in the next phase of their lives or careers, but must be prepared to begin connecting the present to the future. Students also typically have many concrete issues to consider. These issues can be addressed in the following questions: 1. Will this application help students be prepared to enter the workforce or the next stage of their education or training? 2. Will students need any particular hardware to use the application? 3. Will the students need any particular operating system to use the application? 4. Will students need special technical assistance to install or use the application? 5. Will students be able to receive assistance in using the software from anyone else in the educational organization other than the instructor (e.g. lab coordinators, lab assistants, college help desks)?

Integrating Open-Source and Freeware Technologies into Educational Programs 77

Educational Administrators

Educational administrators are critical stakeholders in the selection and integration of any software because of the implications on not only teaching and learning, but also personnel and finance. Educational administrators have to consider how open-source and freeware applications will affect the work of their instructors, students, technical staff and how any changes translate into cost (money or time) and achievement of the college/department/schools mission. The job of balancing financial cost, personnel decisions and a schools overall mission is difficult, and has a direct impact on the process of institutional planning. The following questions can aid an educational administrator in the decision-making process surrounding open-source and freeware integration: 1. What are the monetary and indirect costs and benefits gained from adopting this application? 2. Will this application cause any conflict between instructors and technical staff? 3. Will this application be used systemically throughout the program or will it be used only for one particular class or program? 4. Will this application serve as a long-term solution or is it a short-term fix for some problem? 5. Will the adoption of this application strain any relationships with outside business or companies?
Technical Support Staff

The technical support staff is critical stakeholders in the selection and integration of any software because of their need to be able to install, maintain, and support any software that is used for instruction. The technical support staff is unfortunately often left out of the decision-making process involved in software selection. Typically, instructors recommend purchases, administrators make final decisions on the purchasing, then request the technical support staff to install and support any software product which has been adopted. This cycle should include at least representative members of a technical staff because of their unique understanding of existing computer systems and infrastructure. In terms of open-source and freeware, the following questions can help guide a technicians input and decisions on an applications viability from a technical perspective: 1. Can this application be successfully installed on the current computer infrastructure? 2. Can support personnel quickly learn this application well enough to help faculty and students as required?

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3. Given that there is often no formal technical support from the developers, is there sufficient support in the form of blogs, forums, and chat rooms available? 4. Is this application secure and how can this be verified? 5. What other organizations have used this product and what technical problems have they faced? Perhaps the biggest challenge that educators face is the communication which must happen between the stakeholders. Technical decisions require discussion and debate. Whether it is the technical staff, administrators, or instructors suggesting the adoption of a new application, the educational goals and objectives must be at the forefront of the conversation. Dickerson and Browning (2009) discuss the benefits and challenges of technology selection and emphasize the importance of including various stakeholder perceptions within an organization. Hopefully these aforementioned questions will inspire the level of inquiry needed by each stakeholder so that any software application (especially open-source and freeware) may be thoroughly examined and discussed prior to installation and curricular adoption.

Examples of Open-Source and Freeware Solutions Aligned with ITEA Standards


There are several examples of pen-source and freeware solutions aligned with the International Technology Education Association (ITEA) standards for technological literacy. Table 1 consists of different open-source and/or freeware programs listed next to the general area of information technology in which the program could be used for instruction in any vocational education and workforce development programs concentrated on a set of standards such as the International Technology Education Associations Standards for Technological Literacy. Some of the open-source and freeware applications listed below could be integrated into technology education courses, especially those focused around the International Technology Education Association Standards for Technological Literacy (2007) Standards9, 11, and 17(or a variety of others): Standard 8 (Engineering Design) Standard 11 (Apply Design Processes) Standard 17 (Students Will Develop an Understanding of and be Able to Select and Use Information and Communication Technologies) Other standards and learning objectives concerning information technology can also easily be aligned with these and similar applications. Following Table 1, each application is briefly described. The applications mentioned are not an all-inclusive list, but are a few of those which the authors have installed and used for various projects and or experiments with success. Some of the free and opensource software discussed in this paper may be used with various computer

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operating systems (Linux, Windows, or Macintosh) depending on certain installation options. As a note of caution, end users should always examine the technical specifications and terms of use for all applications and understand that like commercial software, open-source and freeware is subject to various issues, changes and challenges. The applications below can be installed on most complete, functional personal computers with little specialized expertise.
Table 1. Alignment of Common Information Technology Topics with Freeware Applications for Potential Use in Vocational Education and Training Settings Topic Graphic User Interface Operating Systems (ITEA Standard 17) Office Productivity Applcations (ITEA Standards 11 & 17) Desktop Publishing (ITEA Standards 11 & 17) Concept Mapping (ITEA Standards 8, 11, & 17) Modeling (ITEA Standards 8, 11, & 17) Graphic Design (ITEA Standards 11 & 17) Audio/Visual Production (ITEA Standards 8, 11, & 17) Internet Browsing (ITEA Standard 17) Computer Programming (ITEA Standards 8, 11, & 17) Freeware Application(s) Ubuntu OpenOffice Scribus Freemind, CmapTools LDraw Gimp ZS4, Audacity Mozilla Firefox Python

Ubuntu operating system is a graphical user interface operating system that is easy to use and closely resembles other popular operating systems in terms of use and looks, but completely free. According to their website, Ubuntu is available for PCs and Intel-based Macintosh units. A minimum of at least 256 MB of RAM is required and the installation requires at least 4 GB of hard disk space. OpenOffice is a productivity suite which includes tools for desktop publishing, electronic presentations, and spreadsheets and has nearly all of the common capabilities found in other productivity-suite packages. Scribus is a freeware package similar to other popular desktop publishing packages and offers a professional set of features which enable students to learn skills which are generalized to many desktop publishing applications. FreeMind is a freeware mind-mapping or concept-mapping application. As a knowledge organization tool, brainstorming tool, or idea support and creation tool it offers an easy to user interface and many useful built-in options, such as export to printable format. Links to ideas can also be hyperlinked uniform resource locators. CmapTools shares many of the features of FreeMind, except that there is a stand-alone version and a client/server version for groups working together. Users can also link to uniform resource locators on the Internet and projects may also be exported as a webpage.

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LDraw is a free modeling and rendering package, based on pre-defined and user-defined LEGO bricks. If you are working with any robotics programming (such as with the LEGO Mindstorms RCX bricks or the newer NXT LEGO robots), then this is works well. Students can design a construction (such as a robot), examine it in 3D, then render the final image, perhaps for import into a video. If users have a Mindstorms robotics kits that they could actually build what they prototyped on the computer and you have a very powerful (and free) end-to-end solution for future engineers. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a photo/image manipulation tool that is similar to many popular commercial photo manipulation applications. Far more than a basic package, GIMP offers professional features to control all aspects of an image, such as color, shape, sharpness, and hue. Images can be adjusted and exported to a wide array of file formats. ZS4 Video Editor is a freeware alternative to popular commercial video production software. ZS4 offers the ability to export to Windows or Real Player format, and is fairly straightforward in use. ZS4 is only a Windows application, but does offer some interesting features and many online tutorials. One interesting feature is the pan and zoom ability which might allow the user to take a photo and apply motion graphics to older still photos. As needed, technologists might create an .AVI clip in ZS4 and import it into another video editing package, as a clip such as Windows MovieMaker and combine the effects and abilities of both packages to create a polished final product. Audacity is a free sound editing and recording package. This software is so popular that is often bundled and distributed with commercial recording equipment. Audacity offers the ability to use industry standard plug-ins which allow for technical effects, such as taking a recording and making it sound as if it was originally recorded on a vinyl LP album. Audacity allows the use of VST plug-ins, is multi-track, has a variety of export and import options, and is frequently updated. This is a very powerful and well-supported audio engineering tool. Mozilla Firefox is a free web browser with applications on a variety of platforms. Firefox is compatible with many modern web technologies and has a user-friendly interface, advanced security settings, and personalization capabilities. Additionally, this free product is also a proven performer for online course management systems and has a large user base on the web for questions or concerns about functionality. Python is a free, open-source, cross-platform computer programming language. Python is used in a variety of setting such as web-scripting and GUI application design in both the professional and personal markets. With its

Integrating Open-Source and Freeware Technologies into Educational Programs 81

language extensibility, Python is useful for beginners through seasoned 3D application developers. The resources listed above are generally easy to install and will function well on older computers. Efficient file size and code design allows computers with limited system resources to use these programs effectively. The lack of superfluous code typically used for advertising, bonus features, trial versions, and other documentation makes these products install and operate easily on less advanced computers or older computers.

Conclusion
Stakeholders within an educational program must be prudent with resources in order to be effective and efficient during times of economic difficulty. Vocational education and training must be cognizant of the needs of the workforce in order to prepare students to be a part of society. If used properly, opensource and freeware applications can be used to prepare students to have a plethora of the information technology skills needed to gain employment. Many of these applications are gaining attention from developers, researchers, and educational institutions all over the world. Some of the applications listed above have been designed and developed from people from various parts of the international educational community and are being applied and researched in many European, Canadian, and U.S. schools at the secondary and post-secondary education levels (Alfonsi, 2005; British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, 2005; Coppola & Neelley, 2004; Faber, 2002; Hepburn, 2005; Lakhan & Jhunjhunwala, 2008; Pan & Bonk, 2007; Williams van Rooij, 2007). Regardless of the context, the use of open-source and freeware solutions can be beneficial in teaching students new computer skills and exposing them to emerging information technologies. Additionally, these tools can allow vocational education programs to use effective and modern tools despite reductions in funding. Free and open-source software applications not only offer viable opportunities for educational programs which are struggling to cover software costs. Software which may be used at no cost and is available via download via the Internet also offers flexibility for instructors, students and programs. Many vocational education and training programs are now looking to expand via distance education, and free, web-accessible software can be used by students in any location. This allows distance education programs to be less inhibited by student financial issues, lab management logistics, or version compatibility. Within any educational organization, key stakeholders should ask the right questions about the information technology resources which are selected and

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used in any program. These stakeholders must respect and consider each others perspectives as they discuss the potential use of open-source and freeware applications. Stakeholders must communicate with each other concerning the benefits and challenges of open-source and freeware technologies prior to integration and instruction. It takes teamwork and synergy to be able to adopt, install, integrate, teach and learn with any information technology, and open-source/ freeware applications are no exception. Many applications like those listed above have opened doors for people and programs without the means to upgrade or buy commercial software. Open-source and freeware is one avenue for exploration and opportunity in todays economic and educational landscapes.

References
Alfonsi, B. (2005). Open source in the classroom. IEEE Distributed systems online, 6(6), 3. Anonymous. (2000). Electronic tests enhance individualized instruction for vocational students. T H E Journal, 28(5), 58-59. Barrett, D., Fletcher, B., & Huff, D. (2007). Cultural changes key to reducing barriers to open source software. Signal, 62(4), 69-73. Bauer, P., & Shenk, M. (2009, February). Economic activity: Dating a recession and predicting its demise. Economic Trends (07482922), Retrieved April 7, 2009, from Academic Search Premier Database. British Educational Communications and Technology Agency. (2005). Open source software in schools: A study of the spectrum of use and related ICT infrastructure costs. Science Park, Coventry: BECTA. Butler, S., Chiauzzi, E., Thum, C., & Budman, S. (2004). Working it out: Development and testing of a multimedia, vocational education program. Substance Use & Misuse, 39(13-14), 2525-2558. Chu, K., & Leung, D. (2003). Flexible learning via web-based virtual teaching and virtual laboratory systems. Journal of Technology Studies, 29(2). Coppola, C., & Neelley, E. (2004). Open-source - opens learning: Why open source makes sense for education. The R-Smart Group. Retrieved October 14, 2009 from: http://www. rsmart.com/assets/OpenSourceOpensLearningJuly2004.pdf Coy, P. (2009). Job data expected to point to a deeper recession. BusinessWeek Online, 4. Dickerson, J., & Browning, J. B. (2009). Selecting appropriate technologies for mobile teaching and learning. In R. Guy (Ed.), The Evolution of Mobile Teaching and Learning, (pp. 57-78). Santa Rosa, CA: Informing Science Institute Press. Faber, B. D. (2002). Educational models and open source: Resisting the proprietary university. Proceedings of the 20th Annual International Conference on Computer Documentation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 31-38. Gonick, L. (2009). How technology will reshape academe after the economic crisis. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved February 24, 2009 from http://chronicle.com. Grubb, W., & Lazerson, M. (2005). Vocationalism in higher education: The triumph of the education gospel. Journal of Higher Education, 76(1), 1-25. Hedgebeth, D. (2007). Gaining competitive advantage in a knowledge-based economy through the utilization of open source software. VINE: The Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, 37(3), 284-294.

Integrating Open-Source and Freeware Technologies into Educational Programs 83 Hepburn, G. (2005). Open source software and schools: New opportunities and directions. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 31(1). International Technology Education Association. (2007/2002/2000). Standards for technological literacy: Content for the study of technology. Reston, VA: Author. Jubas, K., Butterwick, S., Hong, Z., & Liptrot, J. (2006). Learning a living: practices and recognition of womens on the job and informal learning in the information technology field. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 58(4), 483-496. Kim, E., Scher, J. M., & Turoff, M. (2005). Towards a webcenter for pedagogical freeware collaborative review and retrieval. Information Systems Education Journal, 39(3), 3-12. Lakhan, S. E., & Jhunjhunwala, K. (2008). Open source software in education. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 31(2), 32-40. Pan, G., & Bonk, C. J. (2007). The emergence of open-source software in North America. International Review of Research in open and Distance Learning, 8(3), Retrieved October 14, 2009 from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/496/950. Rothwell, W., & Sredl, (1987). The ASTD Reference Guide to Professional Human Resource development Roles and Competencies, (Vol. I). Amherst, MA: HRD Press. Stevens, M., Jaschik, S., Tuchman, G., & Spalter-Roth, R. (2009). Exchange: What the economy holds for higher education. Contexts, 8(2), 14-15. Swanson, R. A., & Holton, E. F. (2001). Foundations of Humans Resource Development. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler. William van Rooij, S. (2007). Perceptions of open source versus commercial software: Is higher education still on the fence? Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 39(4), 433-453. Welham, D. (2008). AI in training (19802000): Foundation for the future or misplaced optimism?. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(2), 287-296. Wyss, D., & Bovino, B. (2009, January 26). A Deep and Long Recession. Business Week Online.

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Reforming TVET Teachers Professional Development in Greece: A Needs-Based Policy


Stamatis Paleocrassas Kostas Tsiantis

Vice President, Higher School of Pedagogical and Technological Education, Greece School Adviser, Electrical Engineers TVET Teachers, Greece School Adviser, Civil Works and Applied Arts TVET Teachers, Greece

Professor, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Greece School Adviser, Electrical Technology TVET Teachers, Greece Principal and Teacher, Electrical and Automation Technology, Greece

Vassilis Dimitropoulos

Stavros Pagkalos

Giorgos Pavlidis

Alexis Nikolopoulos

Secondary Education Teacher, Greece

Xenia Tsaliagou

Abstract
In view of 21st century pedagogical developments, school-to-work transitions and teacher professionalism, what should be the policy framework for the professional development of technical-vocational education and training (TVET) teachers? This was the purpose of this project, which was commissioned by Organization for the In-service Training of Teachers (OEPEK). TVET teachers and vocational education officers responded to a survey pertaining to continuing in-service training (CT): design philosophy, content, models and modes, teacher-trainer qualifications and selection, certification and validation. The findings were conceptualized into a CT policy framework proposal, which reflects a more flexible mode with emphasis on instructional effectiveness, use of teacher-trainers qualified in adult learning, accelerated school-based, intro84

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duction of labor market components in programs, and incentive-driven and competency-based CT certification.

Introduction
As a principal vehicle towards professional development at the international level, pre-service and continuing in-service training (CT) of technical-vocational education and training (TVET) teachers, strongly depends on the national model of their basic training and on their initial technical qualifications. It also depends on the national model and articulation of the TVET components in the education system. Countries that deliver vocational skills through apprenticeship schemes often recruit experienced professionals from industry and enterprises who in turn attend a pre-service course in pedagogy and educational technology in order to qualify as teachers in apprenticeship schools. Countries with a school-based TVET system mostly recruit university graduates with or without work experience. These teachers in turn enroll in pedagogy training programs to become certified as TVET teachers. In-between these two schemes is the comprehensive model, where prospective TVET teachers acquire qualifications in teacher colleges or universities through a unified curriculum that integrates technical knowledge and pedagogic components. These colleges may enroll only experienced professional workers (e.g., University of Flensburg, in Germany) or fresh graduates of upper secondary education (Higher School of Pedagogical and Technical Education, in Greece). Independently of the model of basic training, reforming the professional development of TVET teachers in the 21st century faces new challenges that reflect developments in specialized pedagogy, school-to-work transitions, and strong demands to raise the status of teachers and trainers (European Union Council, 2000). Loucks and Horsley (1996) defined staff development as opportunities offered to educators so that they may develop knowledge skills, approaches and dispositions to improve their effectiveness in their classrooms and organizations. The glossary used by the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) suggests that staff development (and by extension, professional development) is any activity that develops an individuals skills, knowledge, expertise and other characteristics as a teacher/ educator. These include personal study and reflection as well as formal courses. Pedagogy developments in technical instruction respond to the criticism often leveled at technical education teachers and practitioners, especially by employers, that they lack up-to-date and relevant industry experience or knowledge and that they are sometimes unfamiliar with the range of technological advances and ways of working occurring in modern workplaces (Loveder,

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2005). Technical instruction in the United States underwent a significant transformation in this aspect, when older concepts of specific skill preparation were replaced by a broader concept of work preparation, emphasizing curriculum integration, and the learning of technical and academic skills of higher order (Herschbach, 1998). The issue of school-to-work transition has also been reexamined, in view of global restructuring of the economies. An Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Conference on Preparing Youth for the 21st Century: The Transition from Education to the Labour Market, produced a BIAC Statement, which determined the characteristics of the 21st labor market as follows (OECD, 1999): New profiles are more dynamic and require a broader spectrum of abilities. Individuals tend to cover multiple work duties during their career. Workplaces apply ever more often, flexible work contents and schemes. Modern communications technology allows flexible work time scheduling and non-traditional work places. Enterprises operate with less hierarchy and require greater individual responsibilities. The message to education and educators is clear. The learning process cannot go on emphasizing only knowledge content, but it must also promote the development of critical higher-order skills, which facilitate life-long self-updating and upgrading of knowledge, inside and outside the work place. It has been suggested that the contemporary teacher, besides teaching subject matter, must prepare his/her students for a Protean career, which requires the individual to develop employability and meta-skills (Hall & Moss, 1998). Another important issue that is seriously considered when reforming the basic and in-service training of TVET teachers is the emergence of strong demands to raise the status of teachers and trainers. The modern TVET teacher is considered to be a professional educator (Elliott, 1991). A comparative review of the basic and in-service training of TVET teachers in Europe (EUROPROF) suggested a reform that views the TVET teacher as a manager of learning (Attwell, 1999). The professional TVET teacher was the object of a study undertaken by the Ministry of Education of Quebec, Canada (Gouvernement du Quebec, 2002). The study explored issues pertaining to the basic training cycle and examined the competency-based model, aiming to develop pedagogy skills according to the contextual learning instructional method. In view of these developments, several reforms on TVET teacher preparation were undertaken globally at the start of the 21st century. The Australians reviewed the whole philosophy and procedure of in-service training for TVET teachers in an extensive study by the National Center for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) (2001). Examining the role of staff development for

Reforming TVET Teachers Professional Development in Greece 87

teachers in vocational training led the researchers to five critical reform issues (NCVER, 2001): Staff development needs to take a balanced approach that recognizes the legitimate demand of compliances, the organizational needs of the provider, and the professional and personal needs of teachers. Staff development planning needs to take into account the increasingly differentiated nature of the workforce with special attention paid to the relative participation rates of staff in different modes of employment. Staff development delivery is a complex, multi-layered task and needs to be appropriately planned, implemented and critically evaluated against intended outcomes. Staff development needs to be made available in more diverse ways, taking into account input from target groups in both planning and delivery and considering findings on effective staff development. VTET teachers need to be aware of the increasing expectation that they will take greater responsibility for their own technical currency, pedagogical expertise, and the need to be informed and thus articulate with regard to contemporary developments in the VTET sector. Following this review, reforming TVET staff development in Australia was based on the initiative reforming the future by Australian National Training Authority (), which in turn raised the following issues (Grady, Hensley, & Haertsch, 2003): How to develop sustainable cooperatives with industry and the local community. How to improve the quality of teaching and learning through lesson design. How to use new ways of learning, which allow students to select a style of learning. How to use action learning and objective and authentic assessment in the framework of individual learning plans. In the United States of America, TVET teacher development emphasizes the model the teacher as a learner, in formal basic training curricula, in improving teaching, classroom management, and in developing cooperative skills (Szuminski, 2004). Sanford and McCaslin (2004), in a study for National Centre for Career and Technical Education (NCCTE), determined the following emphasis regarding in-service training of teachers in community colleges: analysis of learning characteristics of students, alternative teaching methods to face different learning styles, understanding teaching methods via internet and distance-learning techniques and methods. In Asia two new trends have emerged in Malaysia and India. Mustapha (2001) reported some staff development approaches, in the framework of in-service

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training of TVET teachers in Malaysia. They include: teacher networking, apprenticeships in industry, knowledge and skills upgrading, and graduate studies. In India, Jain and Saxena (2002), reported approaches of periodic attachments in industry of young and experienced TVET teachers using technological equipment that is available in industry as the main in-service training strategy. UNESCO-ILO (2002), in the framework of their recommendations for TVET in the 21st century, beyond the traditional basic qualifications of teachers and trainers (special knowledge, pedagogy, and counseling), determined additional qualifications that relate to the following important issues: a) If the specialty sector requires primarily practical skills, teachers must have significant experience in applying these skills. b) If the students must be prepared to fill middle level technical positions, their teachers must possess significant knowledge that has been acquired preferably during the proper practice of a related work experience. c) If the employment sector requires research and theoretical analysis, e.g. for an electrical specialty, teachers must have some foundation in research methods. Regarding the in-service training of TVET teachers, it is recommended, inter alia, that they become familiar with the work environment, where their students may eventually be employed, as well as become able to deliver distance individualized education and training (UNESCO-ILO, 2002). Regarding the deficit of work experience of TVET teachers, if local conditions prevent future teachers from receiving practical work experience in their training, the teacher-training institution should attempt to simulate workplace conditions as part of the curriculum (UNESCO-ILO, 2002). Finally, reforming the in-service training of TVET teachers in Greece is under consideration by the Organization for the In-service Training of Teachers (OEPEK). Towards this goal, after national bidding, OEPEK awarded to the authors the project to conduct a survey of TVET teacher-needs, expecting a recommendation for a reform framework conceptualized by the findings. The purpose of this paper is to report the findings of the survey and conceptualize them into a qualified policy framework for reforming TVET teacher in-service training, in view of contemporary global and national developments in pedagogy, school-to-work transitions and the emerging need for teacher professionalism.

Reforming TVET Teachers Professional Development in Greece 89

Method
Survey Design

The scope of the study was to generate a cartography of views and attitudes of TVET teachers on their further training needs with intent to provide the necessary evidence for reforming provision of their continuing in-service training (CT). The survey also asked TVET officers to provide their views on the same subject. To this end, one objective of the survey was the comparison of views between teachers and officers with regard to gender, age, specialty, and school geographical location. The survey used two questionnaires. One addressed TVET teachers of different vocational subjects in vocational lycea (EPAL), vocational schools (EPAS) and vocational laboratory centers (SEK). The other questionnaire addressed TVET officers (school advisers, regional education directors, school principals, and SEK directors). The second questionnaire was a synthesis of selected components of the first. The questions were grouped into the following inquires: 1. Personal data: gender, teaching experience, specialty, history of education and further training, school region. 2. Factors that shape the need for continuing in-service training. 3. Factors that influence the teachers interest to attend an in-service training program. 4. The knowledge and skills that the teacher needs to master, in order to be more effective. 5. Objective factors that affect the teachers participation in an in-service training program; location, time, and duration. 6. The agents of delivery and qualification requirements of the teaching staff. 7. Institutions and experts needed to design and develop in-service teacher training programs. 8. Delivery models and instructional techniques that are considered appropriate for the effectiveness of the training programs. 9. Assessment/ certification of the trainees and the training program. 10. Proposals on the need to institutionalize compulsory and /or optional inservice training with a periodic frequency. Each questionnaire included three types of questions: open-ended, closed, and multiple-choice. The scales, which were used for the multiple-choice questions, were nominal for questions pertaining to the special qualifications of the trainers of the teachers and Likert type (Brown, 1976) with four choices for the rest. The Likert scale had the following points: 1= Not at all, 2= Slightly, 3= Much, and 4= Very much. For some questions, the nature of which required statistical adjustment, the 4-point Likert scale was reduced to two points. The first point

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grouped the answers Not at all and Slightly, which reflected a negative attitude, and the second point grouped the answers Much and Very much, which reflect a positive attitude. Finally, the validity of the questionnaires was checked in a test run with selected experts on educational assessment.
Population and Sample

The statistical population for the research included all public school TVET teachers, who for the year 2008 totaled 10,120. For the purpose of the survey, these teachers were grouped into two specialty areas: the Technological Sector and the Services Sector. The first sector included the specialties: Mechanical technology, Electrical technology, Electronics, Public works, and Applied Arts. The Services sector included the specialties: Informatics, Commerce and Business, Health and Social Welfare, and Agricultural products and Environment. Table 1 shows the teacher population and sample size per vocational path.
Table 1. Population and Sample Size per Vocational Path for the 2007 2008 School Year Vocational Paths Technological Services Sum Sectors Economics & Admin- istrative Services TECHNOLOGICAL SECTOR Health, Social Care Agriculture, Food and Environment

Sectors

Sum

Sample size Population per path 2190 1293 733 712 402 5330 2938 677 890 285 4790 10120 Sample Computed (1) 77 69 23.5 11.7 7.8 189 77 51 33.2 7.8 169 358 Sample Collected (2) 63 55 19 10 8 155 63 42 27 8 140 295 Percentage % (2)/(1) 81.8 79.7 80.8 85.4 100 82.0 81.8 82.3 81.3 100 82.8 82.4

The population was distributed statistically into four regional areas as can be seen in Table 2: 1) Central Macedonia, 2) Aegean Islands, Ionian and Cretan seas, 3) Attica, and 4) the remaining mainland regions (Epiros, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Thessaly, continental Greece and Peloponissos). The population was also distributed statistically into four age groups. The size of the statistical sample was estimated on the basis of the population (10,120) and

General Sum

Applied Arts

Civil Works

Informatics

Mechanical

Electronic

Electrical

SERVICES

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its distribution into nine vocational sectors. The Athenian law of representation and sampling (Tsiantis, 2008), was used to this end, which was validated with the computer-based simulation method, and which resulted in a sample size of 358 individuals. The distribution of this size was done proportionally according to size of each vocational specialty (77, 69, 23.5, 11.7, 7.8, 77, 51, 33.2, and 7.8) see Table 1. The sizes for the other groupings of the statistical sampling (geographical regions, gender, age) were covered satisfactorily by the overall estimated size of the sample.
Table 2. Distribution of Statistical Population and Sample, per Geographical Region of Greece Geographical Region Attica (1/3 of population of Greece) Central Macedonia Islands Rest of the Mainland Total Statistical Population Sample Number of Number of Individuals % Individuals 2,688 27 106 1,761 17 88 1,526 15 34 4,145 41 67 10,120 100 295

% 36 30 11 23 100

Procedure

Questionnaires were sent electronically to a total of 500 TVET teachers, in the four regions of the country, following a drawing from available e-mails, provided by the Education Ministry, proportionally according to the estimated sample. Following the same procedure, questionnaires were sent to 125 TVET officers. There were 295 completed questionnaires (about 82 % of the sample) that were returned by the targeted teachers with a gender distribution of 63% males and 27 % females. The corresponding gender distribution for the officers was 71 % and 29 %, respectively. The distribution of the 295 TVET teachers by age group was 18 %, 44 %, 33 %, and 5 %, respectively. There was no interest in distribution according to age for the sample of the officers. The sample distribution of teachers according to specialty covered over 80 % of the required size of the sample (Table 2). The distribution of the sample of teachers according to geographical area was 106, 88, 34, and 67, respectively. The corresponding distribution for the TVET officers was 25, 20, 10, and 32, respectively.
Data Analysis

The frequency distribution of the answers in the completed questionnaires was checked, and its deviation from the regular distribution was noted. A similar conclusion was reached from the application of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov and

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Lilliefors tests for the Likert type questions (Conover, 1980). Because of deviation from the regular distribution and the absence of previous statistical data, the maximum acceptable number of groupings was set to be smaller or equal to four in order to assure credibility for the comparative conclusions. For the questions using the Likert scale, in order to make comparisons among the different groups of the sample, the non-parametric method KruskalWallis (Gibbons, 1985) was used which involves one-way ANOVA analysis for the case in which the data do not obey the regular distribution. For two-way ANOVA analysis, the parametric method Friedman (Hogg & Ledolter, 1987) was used. For nominal type questions, frequencies and bar charts were calculated and the X2 test (Pearson Chi-Square Test) was used, for comparisons among the different groupings of the sample. This checking was examining if in two-input tables (2x2) the zero hypothesis was in force at the 5 % statistical significance level. For the validity of the 2x2 test, it was taken into account that the cells of each table, which had a frequency less than 5, were fewer than 20 % of the total number of cells of the table, and that the minimum expected value for each cell was greater than 1 (one). In the database proper groupings of variables were made when needed. The statistical analysis was made using the SPSS package and the programming in Matlab environment.
Findings

Firstly, the findings (OEPEK, 2008) regarding the content, duration, scheduling, frequency, design, certification, selection of teaching staff, and infrastructure of the prospective training programs were classified according to the issue components which were chosen to conceptualize the framework of the prospective new policy on the CT of TVET teachers. Table 3 shows teacher demand for different CT topics.
Table 3. Teacher Demand for CT Topics (=295) Topics 4.1.1 Pedagogy / Didactics 4.1.2 Science & Technology 4.1.3 Practical knowledge 4.1.1 School management 4.1.5 Digital technology 4.2.1 Pedagogy / Learning theories 4.2.2 Classroom management / delinquency % of expressed interest (/100) % (/100) (4=highest scale) Sum of 1 2 3 4 (3) + (4) 0.0448 0.1724 0.4138 0.3690 0.7828 0.0173 0.2007 0.3495 0.4325 0.7820 0.0069 0.0619 0.3299 0.6014 0.9313 0.0868 0.3507 0.3646 0.1979 0.5625 0.0145 0.0652 0.3768 0.5435 0.9203 0.0310 0.2483 0.4138 0.3069 0.7207 0.0137 0.1263 0.3140 0.5461 0.8601

Reforming TVET Teachers Professional Development in Greece 93 % of expressed interest (/100) (4=highest scale) Topics 1 2 3 4 4.2.3 Learning disabilities 0.0139 0.1354 0.3681 0.4826 4.2.4 Special education 0.0692 0.3322 0.3599 0.2388 4.2.5 Multicultural issues 0.0523 0.2056 0.4181 0.3240 4.3.1 General instructional techniques 0.0524 0.2867 0.4196 0.2413 4.3.2 Special instructional techniques 0.0307 0.0819 0.2867 0.6007 4.3.3 Student assessment 0.0414 0.1931 0.4207 0.3448 4.3.4 Digital technology applications 0.0245 0.0874 0.3182 0.5699 4.4.1 Administration of education 0.0906 0.4216 0.2857 0.2021 4.4.2 Education systems 0.0383 0.2718 0.4077 0.2822 4.4.3 Health education 0.0205 0.1877 0.3993 0.3925 4.4.4 School-to-work issues 0.0208 0.1592 0.3218 0.4983 4.4.5 Demand for knowledge and qualifications, EQF* 0.0592 0.2021 0.3937 0.3449 4.4.6 European funding of ed. programs 0.0660 0.2569 0.3785 0.2986
* European Qualification Framework

% (/100) Sum of (3) + (4) 0.8507 0.5987 0.7421 0.6609 0.8874 0.7655 0.8881 0.4878 0.6899 0.7918 0.8201 0.7386 0.6771

Secondly, the findings reflected statistically significant differentiations among the respondents, regarding their gender, age, years of service, instructional subject matter and geographical location of their school (region), to the extent that the reform should consider addressing different target groups separately. Finally, the teachers and the officers seemed to have differences regarding some of the issues of the new policy on teacher CT, which may reflect the difference between personal need and the need of the general teaching practice, something that should be considered by the policy makers, when they would be reviewing the validity of their proposed policy design.
Continuing Training Issues

The issues, which were explored in the survey, were training content, duration, scheduling, frequency, design, certification, selection of teaching staff, and infrastructure. The following issues in quotations were options in the related research questionnaire. The need for CT seems to be attributed mostly to introducing new technologies in the instructional procedure, to developments in instructional theory and practice, and to changes in job contents, and to a lesser extent to social changes in the school environment, and to the complex role of workers in contemporary society. The most important factors, which affect the teachers interest for CT, are the need to follow related scientific developments, the need for personal development as a professional teacher and facing needs and problems

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of school life. Acquiring additional qualifications for promotion is a factor of lesser importance, while improving their social status and economic incentives are not considered important factors, which make CT more attractive. Teachers aspirations from a CT program seem to be greater for upgrading and updating related knowledge, for improving instructional and pedagogic ability and for supporting student abilities and development, and not so much for developing relations and exchanging experiences with the peer group. Next in order come aspirations for improving school management skills. Here it must be clarified that in Greece, school principals are selected on the basis of teaching experience and not on school management qualification. The respondents indicated special preference among pedagogic and sociopsychological CT subjects, for classroom management, coping with disrupting student behavior, facing student violence. and juvenile phenomena. Continuing in-service training which received high ratings were, special instructional methods for vocational subjects, designing an hourly instruction, group learning techniques, learning with projects and individualized instruction. Optional participation of teachers in CT programs seems to be strongly affected on program content, trainer quality, physical accessibility of CT facility and block release from school obligations. The respondents did not seem to relate strongly their decision to participate in a CT program to economic conditions, that is, transportation expenses and per diem. The majority of respondents do not favored scheduling CT classes during weekends. Instead they favor strongly weekdays and after school hours. The proposition for selecting one weekday for a six-month CT duration seems very interesting to most respondents. Nevertheless, eight in 10 respondents would gladly spend 75 contact hours or more in a CT program without release from teaching duties, provided they would be awarded a training certificate. Concerning the periodicity of compulsory CT, the most favorable response was every five years. On the question of proper agents for delivering CT, the preferences were for: the Pedagogical Institute, the Organization for In-service Training of Teachers (OEPEK), the universities, the Technological Education Institutions and the Regional Centers for In-service Training of Teachers (PEK), in that order. On the question of who should be included in the teams, which would be designing CT programs, strong preferences were for experienced TVET teachers, the agent delivering the CT program, TVET School Advisers, and experienced labor market actors, the latter for the program components dealing with technical-vocational subject matter. All CT delivery modes were acceptable by the respondents, with the mode in-school training (inside a centrally located TVET school with the proper facilities) standing out as optimal. All CT instructional approaches were acceptable by the respondents excluding the chalk-and-talk method, and pro-

Reforming TVET Teachers Professional Development in Greece 95

vided that theory is always followed by contextual practice applications, and model demonstrations by experienced teachers or School Advisers. The respondents strongly accepted assessment-based certification of CT, provided there is official recognition of the certificate for transferring credits in modular CT schemes, and for promotional opportunities. On the question of who should be included as stakeholders in CT evaluations, first preference was given to the teachers attending the program. Finally, the majority of the respondents (eight in 10) considered compulsory CT necessary for all TVET teachers, and definitely for those who seek a TVET officer position. They also considered optional CT necessary, provided that the participating teachers are allowed to select the training module.

Statistically Significant Parameters


Statistically significant differentiations among the respondents regarding their gender, age, years of service, instructional subject matter and geographical location of their school (region) are displayed in Table 4.
Table 4. Teacher Impact Factors (N=295) Impact Factor 1. Gender (63% males, 27% females) 2. Teaching subject (two main groups: Technology with 5 subgroups, and Services with 4 subgroups) 3. Geographical region (4 major regions) 4. Teaching experience (4 groups) 5. Teacher age (4 groups) Number of questions, for which there was statistical difference in the answers because of an impact factor 34 16 14 11 11

Statistically significant differentiations among the respondents regarding their gender, age, years of service, instructional subject matter, and geographical location of their school (region), were recorded as described below. Regarding differentiations according to gender, women TVET teachers responded at higher rates than men TVET teachers, in all of the above mentioned views. Regarding differentiations according to years of teaching experience (younger teachers with one to five years experience, relatively old teachers with 6-15 years experience and older teachers with over 15 years experience), the younger teachers were more eager to participate in CT programs and had higher expectations from them than relatively older teachers and much higher than older teachers. The same was true for their interest in the pedagogic and socio-psychological component of a CT program. On the other hand, older

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teachers were more critical concerning the qualifications of those teaching in CT programs. Program duration and workload are factors, which influence more the younger teachers in deciding their participation in CT programs. Younger teachers, as opposed to older teachers, showed preference to open, distance learning CT modes. Younger teachers, as opposed to older teachers, felt that CT is more effective, when there is continuous support by experienced teachers and School Advisers. Regarding differentiations according to geographical location of their school, teachers working in Central Macedonia and in the remaining Mainland region showed greater interest for CT in School Management and Evaluation, especially when compared with the interests of teachers working in Attica schools. It should be pointed out that the region of Attica is by far the most populated region of Greece (about one third of the total population of the country). Teachers working in schools on the islands showed much greater interest for CT programs which prepare them in drafting proposals to attract funding from the European Union, for implementing special educational programs, especially when compared to the interests of their peers who teach in Attica schools. As expected, teachers working in schools on the islands and in the rest of the Mainland, were affected more strongly by the factor of accessible transportation to the CT facility, than their peers teaching in Attica schools. Duration and work load of CT programs affect much less teachers in Attica schools, compared to their peers in the rest of the country, in forming interest to participate in a CT program. Attica teachers favor a frequency of 7 years for compulsory CT repetition, as compared with teachers in schools in the rest of the country, who prefer a frequency of 5 years. Attica teachers do not favor an alternating CT between school and work place, as compared with teachers in schools in the rest of the country, who favor this mode of CT. The issue of certifying CT was viewed differently by Attica teachers, as compared with teachers in schools in the rest of the country, because the former felt that certification should apply only when there is provision for it to be counted in promotions and credit recognition. There were also significant differentiations among teachers, according to the subject matter they teach, but they will be omitted because they do not apply within the scope of this paper.
The Views of TVET Officers

As anticipated, the views of TVET officers did not necessarily match the views of the teachers. Among the issues of disagreement the following were most interesting for formulating a CT reform framework. Teachers are more strongly in favor of CT programs that emphasize theoretical technical-scientific knowledge than the officers. The same holds true for

Reforming TVET Teachers Professional Development in Greece 97

practical vocational knowledge and skills. On the other hand, officers are more strongly in favor of CT programs, which emphasize school organization and management than the teachers. Teachers are more strongly in favor of CT programs that emphasize digital technologies in education, than the officers. The officers show much greater interest in CT programs on special education than teachers do. On the other hand, teachers show much greater interest in CT programs on special instructional techniques and on contemporary instructional approaches for more effective learning than the officers do. Teachers are more concerned about the infrastructure of CT programs than the officers, when deciding to participate in a program. Teachers and officers seem to disagree strongly regarding the agents of delivering CT programs. They both agree on decentralized agents, but the officers favor the ministry of education traditional CT agents, while the teachers feel strongly that higher education institutions should be included among the agents. Only the teachers accept the model of teacher-designed self-learning CT programs, which are supervised by designated agents. The officers support much stronger teacher assessment and certification in CT programs, while teachers seem to agree conditionally. Finally, on the issue of compulsory versus optional CT, the officers consider compulsory CT as a prerequisite to all promotions. On the other hand, teachers prefer optional CT with the possibility of freely selecting the content of training.

Discussion and Conclusions


A needs assessment survey is an effective tool to generate important information that is valuable in formulating educational policy. In the present case it was used to document the views of TVET teachers and officers on reforming CT for their professional development. The weight placed on this type of input by policy makers depends on the selected policy formulation approach. Nevertheless, TVET teachers and officers are the most important stakeholders for this issue, and it is inconceivable that any CT reform would not commence with a review of their needs. A conceptualization of the survey findings may focus on the following important issues: The respondents showed increased interest in reforming the existing CT scheme with intent to improve their effectiveness as teachers and as teacher councilors, respectively. Consequently, the reform need not concentrate extensively on special incentives. Rather it should be driven by contemporary instructional needs, which according to the results of the survey are linked to developments in new technologies affecting subject matter knowledge and instructional media, in more effective instructional techniques, and in changes in work places and skill requirements.

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The vast majority of the respondents accept compulsory, periodic CT with a repetition period of 5 years and with a total of not less than 75 contact hours. Most favorable scheduling was one day per week for a six-month period, with work release. The majority of respondents also accepted optional CT. This suggests the need for flexibility in the new CT scheme. The issue of credible assessment of CT participants, leading to some sort of certification, was given importance by the majority of the respondents, on the condition that any form of certification will be officially recognized in all promotion considerations. This issue, together with CT mode flexibility raises the need to modularize the content of CT programs in the form of credits that would allow summative credit recognition and certification. The issue of the fitness of CT delivery agents and trainers was emphasized by most of the respondents, as a significant factor affecting their decision to participate in a program. In view of the ever increasing interest in the European Union (and in Greece) for life long learning, inevitably many related funds will be available for CT of teachers, raising great interest among all potential delivery agents. Consequently, any reform of teaching staff development should include an integral component of quality assurance through an institutional accrediting agency. Quality assurance for CT seems to be associated with the validity of CT program design, which as an issue it was raised by the majority of the respondents, in relation to the inclusion of their experienced peers in the design teams.
Proposed Policy Framework

Conceptualizing the above conclusions into a new policy framework for the CT of TVET teachers, we are led to the following fundamental principles as necessary components of the policy framework: 1. The reforms main scope should aim at improving the effectiveness of teachers, as professional instructors and as counselors and mentors for their students. 2. To assure the validity of the reform, experienced teachers should be included as principal stakeholders in the design, development and evaluation of CT programs. 3. CT contents should be guided by reviews of the impact of new technologies on vocational knowledge, instructional effectiveness and new skill requirements in the work place. 4. There should be enough flexibility in CT scheduling, delivery modes, program duration and content structures, so as to ensure development opportunities for teachers with different family, career and subject area priorities, and

Reforming TVET Teachers Professional Development in Greece 99

at the same time assure reasonable cost-effectiveness. Accelerated, schoolbased CT seems to be the most favored mode, especially when it includes self-learning components. 5. CT participant assessment and certification should be optional, but if selected, it should be competency-based and linked to an institutionalized reward system of transferable professional development credits, and/ or promotional procedures. 6. In spite of the optional/compulsory participation possibility in assessment and certification, teacher CT reform should include the necessary summative evaluation, as an integral part of an established quality assurance scheme. 7. Equally important integral part of the quality assurance scheme should be the accreditation of CT delivery agents and CT programs and contents, and 8. Important criterion for the selection of teacher-trainers for CT programs should be adult training qualifications.

References
Attwell, G. (1999). New roles for vocational education and training teachers and trainers in Europe: a new framework for their education. Industrial and Commercial Training, 31(5), 190-200. Brown, F. G. (1976). Principles of educational and psychological testing (2nd ed.). NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Conover, W. J. (1980). Practical nonparametric statistics. New York, Wiley. Elliott, J. (1991). A model professionalism and its implications for teacher education. Britich Education Research Journal, 16, 94-103. Gibbons, J. D., (1985). Nonparametric statistical inference (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Marcel Dekker, Inc. Governement du Quebec. (2002). Teacher Training in Vocational Education: Orientations, Teacher Competencies. Ministere de LEducation. ISBN 2-550-39100-4. Grady, J., Hensley, D., & Haertsch, M. (2003). Innovative and excellent practices and ideas in vocational education and training teaching and learning. TAFE NSW, Newcastle. Hall, T. H., & Moss, J. E. (1998). The new protean career contract: Helping organizations and employers adapt. Organizational Dynamics, 23 (Winter 1998), 22-37. Herschbach, D. R. (1998). Reconstructing technical instruction. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 36(1), 36-61. Hogg, R. V., & Ledolter, J. (1987). Engineering statistics. New York, NY: MacMillan Publishing Company. Hollander, M., & Wolfe, D. A. (1973). Nonparametric statistical methods. Wiley. Jain, P., & Saxena, S. (2002). Models of industrial training. Indian Journal of Training and Development, 33(3), 24-29. European Union Council (2000). Education and training 2010, the education and training contribution to the Lisbon Strategy. European Union report. Retrieved from: http:// europa.eu.int/comm/education/policies/2010/et_2100_en.html Loucks-Horsley, S. (1996). Reforming professional development. Paper presented at the NSTA Conference, Toronto.

100 International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 17 No. 2 Loveder, P. (2005). World trends in staff development: Implications on the performance of technical education institutions. Paper presented to National Seminar: The Development of Technology and Technical-Vocational Education and Training in an Era of Globalization. Pan Pacific KLIA. Mustapha, R. (2001). The best practices for professional development of vocational educators in teaching competencies among APEC economies: A case study of Malaysia, paper presented to the seminar on best practices in APEC economies, Changmai, Thailand, 20-22 June 2001. NCVER (2001). The changing role of staff development for teachers and trainers in vocational education and training. Australian National Training AuthorityReport. Retrieved from www.ncver.edu.au OECD (1999). Preparing youth for the 21st century: The transition from education to the labour market, Conference Proceedings (Washington, D.C., 23-24 Feb. 1999), BIAC Statement to the OECD Conference, Paris. OEPEK. (2008). Planning the institution of compulsory/periodic further training of TVET teachers. Study submitted by the authors to the Organization for the Further Training of Teachers. Athens, Greece. Sanford, B., & McCaslin, N. (2004). Assessment of professional development activities, instructional needs and delivery methods of part-time technical and occupational staff in US community colleges, A report by the National Centre for Career and Technical Education (NCCTE), Columbus, OH. Szuminski, K. (2004). Emerging models for professional development for community and technical education (CTE), Report by the Center on Education and Training and Employment (CETE), Columbus, OH. Tsiantis, C. (2008). Computing the sample size of multivariate population: the Athenian law of representation and sampling, in Recent Advances on Applied Mathematics (Long, C. et al Eds), Proceedings of the American Conference on Applied Mathematics (Math08), Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, USA, March 24-26, 2008, WSEAS Press, pp.301-306. UNESCO-ILO. (2002). Technical and Vocational Education and Training for the Twentyfirst Century. UNESCO and ILO Recommendations. Turin.

Preferred Learning Styles of Working Adults


Betsy Orr, Dale E. Thompson, Terri D. Owens, and Cecelia Thompson
University of Arkansas, USA

Abstract
While there are many learning style systems, the Gregorc Style Delineator was used for this study because it is a research-based self-analysis instrument for adults. The purpose of this study was to determine the differences in predominate learning styles of adults employed in business, health, manufacturing, and education occupations. Employees in education-related occupations have lower concrete sequential style scores that those in any of the other occupational groups (p<.05). Educators also score higher on the measure of concrete random learning style that those in health and manufacturing (p<.05). This study found differences between male and female workers. Mens scores on abstract-sequential learning style exceeded those of women (p<.05). Womens abstract-random single dominate learning style scores were higher than men (p<.05).

Introduction
Learning styles are often used to describe and explain the learning process. Knowles, Holton, and Swanson (1998) describe learning style as the broadest range of preferred modes and environments for learning (p. 162). Dunn and Griggs (2000) state learning style is a biologically and developmentally determined set of personal characteristics that make the identical instruction effective for some students and ineffective for others (p. 9). There are many learning style systems. Kolb developed a learning style inventory in 1984 with two dimensions, perceptual and processing. This system focuses on concrete experiences versus abstract generalizations and active experimentation versus reflective observations and results in styles identified as assimilators, divergers, convergers, and accommodators. Dunn and Dunn developed a learning style system in 1974 which accesses 20 factors in the categories of environmental, sociological, emotional and physical preferences. However, this learning style system was designed for children. Another learning
101

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style inventory for adults was developed in 1989. Canfield developed a learning style inventory in 1988 that dealt with assessing 20 factors in the areas of conditions of learning, content of learning, mode of learning and expectio9nons of learning. Briggs and Myers type indicator, which was developed in 1977, focused on accessing four scales: extraversion versus introversion; intuition versus sensing; thinking versus feeling; and judging versus perceiving. In 1992 Costa and McRae developed a learning style system focusing on personality dimensions of neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness (James & Blank, 1993). In contrast, Gregorc (1985a) uses learning styles to describe behaviors, characteristics and mannerisms which are symptoms of mental qualities used for gathering data from the environment (p. 179). Gregorc concluded that cognition is bipolar: it results from dualities related to perceiving, ordering, processing and relating of information (Terry, 2002, p. 157). His work with adults expands the concept of learning styles to lifelong learning. He describes characteristics of persons which enhance or detract from working relationships and productivity in the workplace. Claxton and Murrell (1987) also agree that considering learning styles in the workplace is useful, it enables administrative leaders to be more insightful about using staff members in ways that call on their greatest strengths (p. iv). The Gregorc Style Delineator was used for this study because it is a research-based self-analysis instrument for adults (Gregorc, 1985b). Gregorc (1982) outlines four learning channels: concrete sequential, abstract sequential, concrete random, and abstract random. Concrete sequential (CS) individuals relate best to the physical, hands-on world and think in ways that are methodical, ordered, and predictable (Gregorc, 1982a). They prefer hands-on activities and may also have a tendency for perfection. Abstract sequential (AS) individuals mentally outline, correlate and compare, and categorize data in a manner unsurpassed by other styles using their analytical abilities (Gregorc, 1982a). They prefer guided assignments and detailed plans, as well as nonrestricted environments. Abstract random (AR) individuals prefer order that is nonlinear, harmonious, and non-traditional (Gregorc, 1982). They have the natural ability to work well with people (Gregorc & Butler, 1984). These individuals work best when allowed to be creative and display their emotions. Concrete random (CR) individuals are intuitive, insightful, and easily make transitions from fact to theory (Gregorc, 1982). Concrete random individuals may be risk takers, investigative, and experimental (Butler, 1987). These individuals prefer a busy environment, many types of people, and enjoy the role of mentor. Some people are strong in one learning style (unimodal). However, many individuals have strengths in two learning styles. When an individual is strong

Preferred Learning Styles of Working Adults 103

in two learning styles that individual is characterized as bimodal. Bimodal is when the individuals highest two scores are within five or less points of each other (A. F. Gregorc, personal communication, May 28, 1997). Their learning preferences are more varied, which increases their ability to relate to others. Therefore, it is important to establish the various learning styles that could impact how workers perform on the job as well as relate to clients and co-workers.

Purpose of the Study


The purpose of this study was to determine the differences in predominate learning styles of adults employed in business, health, manufacturing, and education occupations. A secondary purpose was to determine if there were significant differences in learning styles among adults with different characteristics, including occupation, gender, years of work experience, and education.

Methodology
Instrumentation

The Gregorc Style Delineator was used for this study because it is a researchbased self-analysis instrument for adults and its results are easy to understand (Gregorc, 1985b). The instrument contains a word matrix, which is the means for identifying a persons learning style. The respondents rank the word matrix in order of most descriptive of their learning style to least descriptive. The prearranged matrix in the instrument determines the total score for each learning style. In addition to the matrix, it contains key ideas about learning styles, the purpose of the style delineator, and characteristics of the four mediation channels.
Data Collection

The researchers collected data at a number of workshops and classes attended by working adults. Two-hundred fifty seven employed adults participated in the study. After explaining the purpose of the delineator and giving instructions regarding completing the instrument, participants were asked to score the Gregorc Style Delineator matrix. The researchers adhered to the instructions provided by the Gregorc Style Delineator: Development, Technical and Administration Manual while administering the instrument (Gregorc, 1982b). The scores were transferred to a learning styles summary sheet developed by the researchers. A total score of 27 to 40 points indicates a dominant learning style. Intermediate style scores range from 16 to 26 points, and low style scores range from 10 to 15

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points (Gregorc, 1985a). Participants also recorded their program area, gender, and years of work experience on the summary sheet. Participants were not identified by name or school; only group data are reported in this study.

Results
Demographics

Of the 257 employed adults who participated in the study, 110 (43 percent) were working in business careers such as clerical, computer technology, office management, secretarial, or banking. Twenty-six (ten percent) were employed in the health or medical field such as nursing, nursing assisting, therapist, or lab technicians. Fifty-five (21 percent) were engaged in manufacturing/trade and industrial areas such as transportation coordinator, supervisor in a factory, and food processing. Fourteen (five percent) were in education positions such as youth services, and social services, employment training and non-profit. Fifty-two (20 percent) others worked in other areas such as law enforcement, agriculture, food service, traffic management, and state government.
Predominant Learning Style

The major purpose of our study was to determine if there was a predominant learning style of adults working in different occupational areas. Of the 257 cases, 124 (49 percent) were unimodal; 129 (51 percent) were bimodal. Four participants did not exhibit a dominate learning style. For all respondents, there was no predominant learning style.
Occupation

People in the various occupations vary in the degree to which they have a single dominate concrete-sequential or concrete-random learning style, but score similarly on any of the other learning styles. Employees in education-related occupations have lower concrete sequential style scores than those in any of the other occupational groups (p<.05). Educators also score higher on the measure of concrete random learning style that those in health and manufacturing (p<.05).
Gender

Mens scores on abstract-sequential learning style exceeded those of women (p<.05). Womens abstract-random single dominate learning style scores were higher than men (p<.05). Higher percentages of men than women exhibit bimodal learning styles. The majority of women in this study have a single learn-

Preferred Learning Styles of Working Adults 105

ing style, while the majority of men have at least two. Larger shares of women with bimodal styles are characterized by a concrete-sequential and abstractrandom combination (CS-AR) and an abstract-random and concrete-random combination (AR-CR). In both cases, women compose 80 percent of those with CS-AR and AR-CR combinations. Men compose 88 percent of those whose learning styles are a combination of abstract sequential and concreterandom (AS-CR). The differences were statistically significant (p<.05).
Experience and Education

People with 21 years of experience or more had higher concrete-sequential learning style scores than those with one to ten years of experience (p<.08). The respondents level of education was unrelated to dominate learning style.

Discussion
Teamwork is an important aspect of almost every workplace. With any workplace team, there are a great variety of workplace tasks to be accomplished. Encouraging team members to identify how their style will contribute to projects will also encourage productivity and collegiality. This study found differences between male and female workers. These differences could be considered when assigning tasks in the workplace. Women might have a preference for more random, nonlinear activities and working with people. In contrast, men may prefer analytical tasks. However, team members with diverse learning styles could contribute effectively to the overall accomplishment of tasks. Employees need to pay attention to learning style strengths so they can work productively and efficiently. Business consultants and researchers are applying learning style theory to how the workplace functions. They are assessing individual learning styles and linking the information to individual and team performance (Boyle, 2005). In this study, the researchers found that many employees were bimodal. These individuals were able to operate effectively in more than one style. This characteristic should increase employees ability to relate to different work environments and coworkers.

Implications for Teaching


Learning in the workplace is often an informal process. Engagement in workplaces is affected by social practice and may be welcomed, resented or actively opposed by co-workers (Billett, 2004). Understanding learning styles is one step in promoting acceptance and the willingness to work with others. Educators have the opportunity to introduce students to the concepts related to learning styles.

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In this study, the researchers used the work of Gregorc (1985b) to determine and analyze learning styles. There are many other discussions of learning styles that can contribute to workplace discussions and understanding of others. A discussion of characteristics related to auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners could contribute to contrasting strengths and skills of others. Exploring additional characteristics described by Dunn and Dunn (1999) can add depth to the conversation about learning styles. They discuss physiological preferences such as time of day energy peaks and mobility. The best time of day for productivity varies for different employees. Some people need to move around frequently to maintain productivity. Students should be encouraged to think about informal learning in the workplace and how it may be affected by the learning styles of fellow employees. Workplace learning is social. Learning in the workplace is enhanced by interpreting the behavior of others and taking responsibility to interact appropriately with them (Moore, 2004). In an educational environment, educators should encourage students to examine and analyze the actions of fellow students as well as their teachers. They must understand that the analysis of others actions can lead to greater learning and enjoyment of their jobs.

References
Billett, S. (2004). Workplace participatory practices: Conceptualizing workplaces as learning environments. Journal of Workplace Learning: Employee Counseling Today. 16(6), 312- 324. Boyle, R. A. (2005, January). Applying learning styles theory in the workplace: How to maximize learning style strengths to improve work performance in law practice. St. Johns Law Review, 97-125. Butler, K. A. (1987). Learning and teaching style in theory and practice. Columbia, CT: The Learners Dimension. Claxton, C. S., & Murrell, P.H. (1987). Learning styles: Implications for improving educational practices. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University, Association for the Study of Higher Education. Dunn, R., & Dunn, K. (1993). The complete guide to the learning styles in-service system. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Dunn, R., & Griggs, S. A. (2000). Practical approaches to using learning styles in higher education. West Port, CT: Bergin and Garvey. Gregorc, A. F. (1982). An adults guide to style. Columbia, CT: Gregorc Associates. Gregorc, A. F., & Butler, K. A. (1984). Learning is a matter of style, Vocational Education Journal. 59(3), 27-29. Gregorc, A. F. (1985a). Inside styles: Beyond the basics. Columbia, CT: Gregorc Associates. Gregorc, A. F. (1985b). Gregorc style delineator: A self-assessment instrument for adults. Columbia, CT: Gregorc Associates. James, W. B., & Blank, W. E. (1993). Review and critique of available learning-style instruments for adults. In D. Flannery (Ed.) New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. 47-57.

Preferred Learning Styles of Working Adults 107 Knowles, M. S., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (1998). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Co. Moore, D. T. (2004). Curriculum at work: An educational perspective on the workplace as a learning environment. Journal of Workplace Learning: Employee Counseling Today, 16(6), 325-340. Terry, M. (2002). Translating learning style theory into developmental education practice: An article based on Gregorcs cognitive learning styles, Journal of College Reading and Learning. 32(2), 154-176.

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Chinas Vocational Education: An Insiders Views in light of Western Vocational Education


Victor C. X. Wang

California State University, Long Beach, USA

Abstract
This article seeks to look into how vocational education in three different eras in China is operated in light of a popular Western theory to give the reader some insiders views. Whereas vocational education during the Great Leap Forward (1949-1965) and the Great Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) moved in the wrong direction, vocational education in the current post-Mao era seems to repeat its past mistakes. Deweys popular progressive philosophy is discussed in this article in light of Chinese experiences in vocational education.

Introduction
We are all aware that we have advanced to the 21st century. The destiny, fall, or rise of China depends to a large extent on the development of education today (as cited in Paine, 1992, p. 183). The same can be said that the destiny, fall, or rise of China depends to a large extent on the development of vocational education today. Beidler (1990) noted that Mao Zedongs biggest mistake was not that he imposed socialism on a country not naturally suited to it, nor the infamous Cultural Revolution in 1966 during which he closed the universities and sent all the intellectuals to the countryside to be reeducated by the peasants. Beidler pointed out that Maos biggest mistake was that he did not foresee the social and economic problems that would result when he encouraged the Chinese people to have lots of kids. As a result of Maos mistake, only the top 2% of a population of 1.3 billion can be admitted into Chinas 1396 regular universities and colleges (Basic Statistics, 2005). What about the rest of the young students in China if Chinas universities and colleges are not able to accommodate them? They go to all types of vocational schools to obtain certificates or GED (general
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equivalency diploma, similar to a high school diploma in the USA) in order to join the workforce or continue their education. Indeed, vocational schools in China have become what we call in the West the dumping ground for inferior students. It is these inferior students who make up the majority of the student body in China. The quality of vocational education concerns the well-being of the majority of the student body in China who comprise the workforce. The success or failure of the workforce may lead to the rise or fall of China. While vocational education in developed countries may be marginal in nature, this is not the case in China as Chinas leaders place high expectations on vocational education. Since vocational education in China is a major component of education, vocational education has assumed the concrete task of providing the people of China with the skills required for rapid economic development (Wang, 2005). Toward this end, China has trained literally hundreds of thousands of skilled workers to qualify itself for what scholars call world factory today. As China is able to provide more and more daily commodities for the rest of the world, it is vocational education in China that has developed an array of technical fields specially tailored to national development goals (Wang, 2005, p. 8). Reported by Ministry of Education, China will invest Y 14 billion (1.75 billion U.S. dollars) during the 11th five-year-plan period (2006-2010) to develop technical and skills training for young workers. The investment plan aims to develop skilled workers that can play a key role in Chinas modernization drive. As China is rising, there has been recent intensification of academic and popular concern with anything cultural or Chinese (Schulte, 2003, p. 215). This article is largely motivated by an increasing demand to gain an insiders view on vocational education in China. What was the history of vocational education like in China? How does vocational education operate under the current regime? Is vocational education in China anything like vocational education in the West (i.e., United States)? These seem to be ordinary questions one may ask about any subjects. However, through the following discussion, this article directs the readers attention towards the subtle functions of vocational education inherent in a special social context. In general, research on vocational education has been rather descriptive and policy-oriented in nature (Schulte, 2003). This article explores vocational education in China in light of a single most popular theory by Dewey (1934, 1963, 1966). As Americas first philosopher/educator, Deweys theory was based upon the idea of a total organism interacting with its environment. He conceived of the mind as the process by which organisms and environment become integrated. Translated into a theory in vocational education, Dewey believed that occupations excite the interest of the student and cause them to be better students. Therefore, he opposed vocational education which was limited only to the acquisition of job skills. He postulated that the underlying principles of the work processes and

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social significance of work must be taught. Vocational studies must include culture (Dewey, 1966, as cited in Wang & King, 2009, p. 12). Although Dewey promoted his progressive philosophy by lecturing in China between 1919 and 1921, did he exert appreciable influence on vocational education in China?

Theoretical Framework
Over the years, many experts in the field of vocational education have tried to define vocational education and its function in a given society. Of the numerous yet similar views of vocational education, John Deweys insight is considered outstanding and authoritative by many in that Dewey opposed vocational education, which was limited only to the acquisition of job skills. He believed that the underlying principles of the work processes and social significance of work must be included. He further believed that through vocational studies, culture might be made truly vital for many students (as cited in Wang, 2008, p. 14). Deweys insight on vocational education led to the use of occupations as vehicles of instruction in elementary and secondary education. Dewey (1934, 1963, 1966) conceived of the mind as the process by which organisms and environment become integrated. Therefore, he believed that occupations excite the interest of the student and cause them to be better students. In vocational education, Deweys philosophy has been translated into progressive vocational education which emphasizes the relationship between education and society, experienced-centered education, and democratic education. According to Wang (2005), instructors with this philosophy may organize, stimulate, instigate, and evaluate the highly complex process of education (p. 9).

Method
Creswell (2002) defined the purpose of the literature review as sharing with the reader the results of other studies that are closely related to the study being reported. To gain an in-depth understanding of vocational education in China, other studies must be reviewed. Further, the purpose of the literature review is viewed as relating a study to the larger ongoing dialogue in the literature about a topic, filling in gaps, and extending prior studies (Cooper, 1984; Marshall & Rossman, 1999). More importantly, the literature review provides a framework for establishing the importance of a study with other findings (Creswell, 2002, p. 30). Vocational education is a big component of Chinas educational system and there is rich information in the literature regarding the operation of vocational education in China. Miles and Huberman (1994) defined the intent of the literature review as an investigative process where the researcher gradually made sense of a social

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phenomenon by contrasting, replicating, cataloguing and classifying the object of study. Brewer (2001) considered the literature review part of qualitative investigations through which researchers are interested in how people interpret their own experiences (p. 111). Using theoretical framework and the literature review methods, this study examined pertinent literature related to vocational education in China for indications of important patterns and themes of vocational education in China. These patterns and themes were then examined and compared in light of vocational education in the West.

History of Vocational Education in China


Like vocational education in the West, the earliest vocational education in China can be traced back to the industrial education in the 1860s. The major focus of vocational education during the industrial revolution was to study Western technology and train manpower with practical skills (Anonymous, n.d.). Future course was set in 1902 as follows: China was to establish a vocational education society by aligning vocational education with the industrial sector in China. However, the slow economic progress and backward industry hampered the development of vocational education in China before 1949. To date, there were only 561 secondary technical schools with an enrollment of 77,000 students, and three schools for training skill workers with an enrollment of 2700 students. The total enrollment in secondary vocational schools represented only 4.2% of the total student population in secondary schools (Anonymous, n.d.). Although China witnessed 50 years of adjustment, rectification, substantiation, reform, improvement, and steady development in vocational education since the founding of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949, the normal pace of development of Chinese vocational education was seriously damaged by the outbreak of the Great Cultural Revolution. As Mao called the Red Guards the vanguard of the Great Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) to destroy the old and establish the new, all schools in China, including vocational education schools were required to apply Maos policy of education serving proletarian politics, and education being combined with productive labor (as cited in Wang, 2004-2005, p. 24). Prior to the Great Cultural Revolution, especially during the Great Leap (1958-1959), Maos line of thought regarding vocational education in China was taken to an extreme. The Great Leap slogan walking on two legs (i.e., uniting theory with practice) was manifested in two major directions: the direct interaction of vocational educational institutions with productive labor and the establishment of self-supported schools by factories and commune units (Kaplan, Sobin, & Andors, 1979, p. 221). Throughout the nation, workers and farmers who set up vocational education schools were encouraged to integrate students classroom

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work with the production tasks at hand. History records that during the Great Leap Chinas secondary schools and higher institutions established numerous small industrial enterprises (known to Westerners as back yard furnaces) and farms. A prominent feature of vocational education in this part of Chinese history was characterized by the establishment of a new type of vocational agricultural middle school in which half of the day was spent in work related technical studies and the other half in farming. During the Great Leap, curriculums at vocational education schools were characterized by short training courses for workers and peasants, technical and teacher-training courses and literacy-oriented winter school training courses (as cited in Wang & Bott, 2003-2004, p. 34). These courses were implemented in response to Chinas leaders call that the countrys new vocational educational system would guarantee all working people and their children would have the opportunity to enjoy educational facilities, thus enabling the country to cultivate more effectively every type of constructive talent from among the people (Kaplan, et al., 1979, p. 218). Indeed in terms of enrollment in vocational education programs, preference was given to workers, peasants, and their children. In line with the notion of uniting theory with practice, vocational schools in the cities began to become more closely integrated with local economic enterprises. Comprehensive vocational and technical education was stressed at both secondary and primary levels, with the natural sciences placed at the core of the curriculum (Kaplan, et al., 1979, p. 221). During the Cultural Revolution, students from vocational education schools were to take Maos thought as an explicit guide to action. Not only did they vigorously attack the four olds (i.e., old ideas, customs, culture, habits) of the bourgeoisie and reactionaries, but also they closed all vocational education schools by volunteering to live and work in the countryside to learn from the peasants in response to Maos call to combine education with productive labor. Again, Maos thought was taken to another extreme during this time in the history of Chinas vocational education. To achieve integration of theory with practice, Maos policy was followed to the letter throughout China: Students and faculty were sent to farms and factories; curricula were formulated based on immediate agricultural and industrial needs; schools, factories, and farms shared management; classroom-centered schooling was replaced by work-study programs; workers and farmers were dispatched to take up teaching and school-management positions; and fulltime and institutional facilities were increasingly replaced by part-time and non-institutional programs. (Cheng & Manning, 2003, p. 359)

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In addition, all systems of examination were abolished. Peasants were given authority to direct all vocational education schools in China. Although the objective of vocational education in China was to implement the goals of industrialization, the two political movements did little to help vocational education schools in China achieve these goals.

Current Practice of Vocational Education in China


As China entered a new historical era of reform and opening to the outside world in 1978, the Ministry of Education and the State Bureau of Labor with approval from the State Council specified that the structure of secondary education should be reformed and vocational education be developed so as to enable the senior secondary schools to meet the needs of socialistic modernization construction (Anonymous, n.d.). To realize this goal, the State Council identified tasks and objectives for the further development of vocational education in light of economic and social development in the 1990s in China. The State Council also issued the outline of reform and development of vocational education in China, requiring that governments at all levels attach great importance to vocational education, make overall plans and energetically develop vocational education. The outline aimed at mobilizing the initiatives of all departments, enterprises, institutions, and all quarters of society to provide vocational education of multiple forms and various levels (Anonymous, n.d.). In the 1990s and early 21st century, Chinas leaders realized the mistakes their predecessors made during the Great Leap and the Great Cultural Revolution. Although Western individualism is no longer viewed as a key threat to the Chinese people, vocational education is being emphasized to help realize the four modernizations (i.e., industry, agriculture, national defense, and science and technology). As the name implies, junior vocational education refers to vocational and technical education after primary school education and is part of the 9-year compulsory education in China (Anonymous, n.d.). Towards this end, junior vocational schools aim at training workers, peasants, and employees in other sectors with basic professional knowledge and certain professional skills. The basic task of secondary technical schools is to train secondary-level specialized and technical talents for the forefront of production, and all students are required to master the basic knowledge, theory, and skills of their specialty in addition to the cultural knowledge required for high school students. By 1998, China developed about 17,090 secondary vocational schools and enrollment reached 11,460,000 students (Anonymous, n.d.). Tertiary vocational education enrolls graduates from regular high schools and secondary vocational schools and schooling in these schools normally lasts

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2-3 years. Tertiary vocational education emphasizes the training of practiceoriented and craft-oriented talents for the four modernizations in China. In addition, a number of profound changes took place in this new era. Entrance exams for higher education were reinstated. In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, students were given only one chance to take entrance exams for higher education. Once they failed the exams, they had to go to vocational schools, trade schools and technical schools. Beginning in the early 1990s, high school students were given multiple chances to take the entrance exams (Wang, 2004-2005). Should they still fail the exams, they are encouraged to attend vocational and technical schools or schools for adults where they can earn either certificates or what we call GED (general equivalency diploma) in the West before they join the workforce in China. To gain an insightful understanding of vocational education in China, its general structure, and the guarantees for and conditions of vocational education must be examined. In accordance with the education laws and the labor laws in China, the objective of vocational education is to improve the attributes of workers and to promote the construction of socialist modernization (hence the four modernizations). This objective is applicable to vocational school education of all grades and types and to all forms of vocational cultivation and training. The labor law emphasizes that a vocational education system must be consistent with the socialist market economy and with the needs of social advance (Vocational Education, 1999/2002). The labor law also mandates that the state adopt measures to provide vocational education to border, remote, and poverty-stricken regions, to organize unemployed personnel for receiving forms of vocational education and to help women receive vocational education. What is similar to what was implemented during the Great Leap and the Great Cultural Revolution is that the education law in China still stresses that vocational education is meant to provide the students of education with ideologicalpolitical education and education in professional ethics, impart professional knowledge, give training in technical skills, provide professional guidance, and improve the attributes of the students of education in a well-rounded manner. From this general provision, one can still sense the importance of studying politics even in the field of vocational education in China. Scientific research for vocational education is also mandated by state law in China (Vocational Education, 1999/2002). The current system of vocational education in China is a system that is linked up with and develops coordination with other types of education. Vocational education in China is divided into elementary, secondary, and tertiary vocational school education. As the names imply, vocational education is carried out respectively by elementary and secondary vocational schools and tertiary vocational schools or schools of higher education. Vocational educa-

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tion in these schools provides pre-employment training, employment-transfer training, apprentice training, on-the-job training, and other training of a vocational nature. For disabled students, vocational education is provided by special educational institutions for disabled persons. Again, training for disabled students is provided at all levels and all categories. However, these students must be admitted in accordance with the relevant state stipulations. In keeping with the requirements for the overall economic developments of science and technology and education in rural areas, governmental departments and trade organizations are required to operate vocational schools and vocational training institutions. They are further required to organize, coordinate, and guide the enterprises and business organizations in their own trades in the setting up and operation of vocational schools and vocational training institutions. A noteworthy feature of the implementation of vocational education in China is that the state encourages business organizations, social groups, and other social organizations, as well as individual citizens, to set up and operate vocational schools and vocational training institutions in accordance with relevant state regulations. The labor law mandates that all types of vocational schools have qualified teachers, teaching venues that meet the standards and installation of equipment consistent with vocational training, funds for operating the schools, and stable sources of funding and personnel who are compatible with the task of vocational training. The peoples governments of provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities are responsible to formulate standards for the average per capita funding for students at vocational schools in their own regions. The State Council formulates standards for the average per capita funding for students at vocational schools in their own departments. Funding is also available from the peoples governments at all levels. Enterprises themselves shall assume the costs of providing vocational education to their own students and staff members. Taxes that governments levy for education can be directly used for vocational education in China. Vocational schools of all kinds can also collect tuition fees from students. The state may encourage enterprises, business organizations, social groups, and other social organizations, as well as individual citizens, to donate funds for assisting the operation of vocational education. Such are the guarantees for and conditions of vocational education in China.

Discussions
Like the Western developed countries, vocational education in China occurred in the 19th century with the growth of industrialization. Prior to the 19th century, China was still semi-feudal and semi-colonial country with subsistence farming as its major source of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Such education

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in these countries was provided by apprenticeship. With the growth of industrialization during the 19th century, several European countries, notably Germany, began introducing vocational education in elementary and secondary schools. By the late 19th century, public school vocational education in the United States consisted of manual training and practical arts. These programs were gradually expanded until 1917 when federal aid (via Smith Hughes Act) was provided to public schools for trade and industrial, agricultural, and homemaking courses. One common bias towards vocational education in both developed countries and in China is that vocational instruction is associated with a low social status as opposed to a classical curriculum, which is considered necessary for a gentleman. In the United States, it is the 30-40 percent school dropouts (Wang, 2008) that turn to vocational education as a vehicle for careers. In China, it is the vast majority of high school students who fail to pass the entrance exams for universities that are placed in vocational schools. Instruction for these inferior students in China has never been easy because the cognitive level of these students is never the same as that of those students who can be admitted into universities. Regardless of the low social status of vocational education in any country, vocational education continues to survive partly due to the demand for trained paraprofessionals in the relatively new fields of computer science, electronics and medical services. Our societies continue to have increased interest in shortterm postsecondary specialized training programs in these areas as an alternative to a traditional college education. As China is more industrialized, this demand has become more pronounced. The most popular courses in any vocational schools in China are computer science, English, electronics, and medical services. However, it is worth pointing out that vocational education in China always goes extremes. John Deweys theory on vocational education has never been applied appropriately in China although Chinas leaders advised students to walk on two legs (i.e., united theory with practice). As a direct result of Chinas distorting Deweys theory on vocational education, the backyard furnaces during the Great Leap proved to a disaster. Practice without the guidance of appropriate theories leads to failures. During this period in China, educational focus including vocational educational focus was placed on the issue of class struggle instead of the issue of technical training needed for national economic development goals. Hundreds and millions of Chinese students were asked to join the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and to think of the past, look at the present, and understand the meaning of class, class exploitation, class oppression and struggle (as cited in Wang, 2004-2005, p. 20). During the Great Cultural Revolution, schools were closed. Students were encouraged to vigorously attack the four olds of the bourgeoisie and reac-

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tionaries. All schools, including vocational schools were required to apply Maos policy of education serving proletarian politics, and education being combined with productive labor (as cited in Wang, 2004-2005, p. 24). As a direct result of this seemingly right policy, millions of young students were sent to the countryside to learn from peasants. Peasants became great trained teachers overnight. This practice lasted ten years until Hua Guofeng, Maos designated successor arrested the Gang of Four, which signaled the end of the Great Cultural Revolution in China. During the current post-Mao era, it seems that Chinas leaders have corrected their past mistakes by moving vocational education in the right direction by emphasizing that the objective of vocational education is to improve the attributes of workers and to promote the construction of socialist modernization, which is similar to the Western objective of vocational education, that is, to meet the manpower needs of society (Evans & Herr, 1978, p. 2). However, a closer examination of their current practice reveals that vocational education in China in this new era still stresses the importance of ideological-political education. Politics takes command is still applied in todays vocational schools in China (Kaplan, Sobin, & Andors, 1979, p. 223). The labor laws and education laws in China specify that vocational education is meant to provide the students of education with ideological-political education and education in professional ethics, impart professional knowledge, give training in technical skills, provide professional guidance, and improve the attributes of the students of education in a well-rounded manner. There is nothing wrong with this objective in vocational education in any social settings. What is wrong is that Deweys progressive philosophy or mode of experience-centered education is not being applied in vocational education in China in this new era. Professional knowledge may become useless information if it is not practiced by using hands-on experience. To this day, although Chinas economy has become a major part of the worlds economy by earning well over $819 billion (Goodman, 2006), vocational education in China has never adopted a well-rounded theory such as Deweys pragmatism. Maos seemingly correct theory of uniting theory with practice in vocational education has never been implemented in the correct manner in China. Vocational education like other components of education in China seems to be the by-product of politics in China.

Conclusions and Recommendations


Internationalization has become a common trend for the reform and development of modern education in the world. This is no exception for vocational education in China. China started its vocational education by studying Western technology and training manpower with practical skills. Although Dewey spread

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his pragmatism in vocational education by lecturing in China between 1919 and 1921, his theory was discontinued due to the outbreak of political movements such as the Great Leap (1958-1959) and the Great Cultural Revolution (19661976) as a result of power struggle in China. During this post-Mao era as China is making great strides toward realizing the four modernizations, Chinas leaders have attached great importance to vocational education at all levels. However, labor law and education law specified for vocational education do not seem to deviate too much from ideological-political education and education in professional ethics. If vocational education in China aims at raising the cultural level of the people and training of personnel for national development, Chinas leaders should reduce the use of politics to sway vocational education. To stimulate the reform and further the development of vocational education, providing more funding like most other developed countries does seem to be a viable option in China. In addition, Deweys progressive vocational education theory should be applied to the Chinese context without the interference of politics. This study attempted to derive some insiders views of vocational education from a review of the literature and analysis of vocational education in light of a popular Western theory related to three eras that defined distinct social contexts in China. On the other hand, this study does not intend to disregard the nuances and subtleties inherent in any social settings. If the same literature and the same theory are examined from another angle, different patterns and themes may be drawn from. Certainly, observations with in-depth interviews would further enhance this study. As researchers focus on practice and policies in China, attention has been directed to vocational education in urban areas in China. As a large number of high school students in the countryside fail to go to universities, most of them turn to vocational schools in order to receive practical training in China. Can they receive the same quality training in vocational schools in the rural areas as their counterparts in vocational schools in the cities? Do the Chinese governments provide the same scale of funding to vocational schools in the rural areas as they do vocational schools in the cities? What has led to the disparity between vocational education in the cities and vocational education in the remote and poverty-stricken regions? As Chinas cities have developed, remote and poverty-stricken regions are many. What has caused this disparity? To probe these questions, the answer may by multidimensional. Researchers in China and from around the globe are invited to look into this area of vocational education in China.

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References
Anonymous, (1999). Vocational education law of the Peoples Republic of China (Anonymous, Trans). Chinese Education & Society, 32(3), 47-55. (Original work published in 1996) Anonymous, (n.d.). Vocational education Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved April 12, 2007, from http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9075632?query=vocational%20education&ct=eb Beidler, P. G. (1990). From the other side: An American teacher in China. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 1, 118-127. Brewer, E. W. (2001). Mixed method research designs. In E. I. Farmer, & J. W. Rojewski (Eds.), Research pathways: Writing professional papers, theses, and dissertations in workforce education (pp. 107-128). New York: University Press of America, Inc. Cheng, Y., & Manning, P. (2003). Revolution in education: China and Cuba in global. Journal of World History, 14(3), 359-391. China Education and Research Network. (2005). 1985-2002 Basic Statistics on Education. Retrieved February 7, 2007, from http://www.edu.cn/education_1384/20060323/ t20060323_115731.shtml China to invest 14 billion yuan to develop technical, skills training. (2006). Peoples Daily Online. Retrieved November 12, 2007, from http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200611/14/ eng20061114_321407.html Cooper, H. (1984). The integrative research review: A systematic approach. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc. Dewey, J. (1934). Art as experience. New York: Minton, Balch & Co. Dewey, J. (1963). Experience and education. New York: Collier Books. Dewey, J. (1966). Democracy and education. New York: The Free Press. Evans, R. N., & Herr, E. L. (1978). Foundations of vocational education (2nd ed.). Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company. Goodman, P. S. (2006). Foreign currency piles up in China: Reserve fund soared to record in 2005. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ content/article/2006/01/16/AR2006011600450.html Kaplan, F. M., Sobin, J. M., & Andors, S. (1979). Encyclopedia of China today. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers. Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. B. (1999). Designing qualitative research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: A sourcebook of new methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Paine, L. (1992). Teaching and modernization in contemporary China. In R. Hayhoe (Ed.). Education and modernization: The Chinese experience (pp. 183-209). New York: Pergamon Press. Schulte, B. (2003). Social hierarchy and group solidarity: The meanings of work and vocation/profession in the Chinese context and their implications for vocational education. International Review of Education, 49(1-2), 213-239. Vocational Education. (2002). Vocational education (I): A history of vocational education development in China. Retrieved November 12, 2007, from http://us.tom.com/english/2179. htm Vocational Education. (2002). Vocational education (II): The system of vocational education and its development. Retrieved November 13, 2007, from http://us.tom.com/english/2178.htm Wang, V., & Bott, P. (2003-2004). Modes of teaching of Chinese adult educators. Perspectives: The New York Journal of Adult Learning, 2(2), 32-51.

120 International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Vol. 17 No. 2 Wang, V. (2004-2005). Adult education reality: three generations, different transformation the impact of social context: three generations of Chinese adult learners. The New York Journal of Adult Learning, 3(1), 17-32. Wang, V. (2005). Teaching philosophies of Chinese vocational education instructors. International Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 13(1), 7-21. Wang, V. (2008). The history of vocational education up to 1850 and a rationale for work. In V. Wang, & K. P. King (Eds.), Innovations in career and technical education: Strategic approaches towards workforce competencies around the globe (pp. 3-20). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Wang, V., & King, K. P. (2009). Building workforce competencies in career and technical education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Call for Papers


The International Journal of Vocational Education and Training (IJVET), a peerreviewed journal published twice a year by the International Vocational Education and Training Association (IVETA) is currently accepting original manuscripts focusing on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) issues from scholars and practitioners worldwide. The spring 2010 issue of IJVET will focus on: The Role of Information and Communication Technologies in TVET. Authors wishing to have articles reviewed and published in this volume are encouraged to submit their manuscripts by December 20, 2009 to: jlschnei@kent.edu. Please note that per current requirements, you must be an IVETA member to publish in IJVET. For more information on the IVETA membership, visit: http://www.iveta.org/members/index.php/IVETA-Basics/ What-is-IVETA.html or send an email to: iveta@visi.com. Topic Areas of Interest In general, IJVET accepts articles on all general aspects of TVET, however, the journal welcomes manuscripts that meet the general criteria of significance and scientific excellence, and will publish: original articles in basic and applied research, case studies and critical reviews, surveys, opinions, commentaries and essays including, but not limited to the following topic areas: Information and communication technologies and TVET Comparative studies in TVET Financing TVET Implementation & evaluation of TVET programs or education New and emerging practices in TVET TVET as continuing or lifelong Learning Transfer of Training Formal, Informal & Non-formal TVET TVET policies at local, national, and international levels Occupational competencies and TVET National Vocational Qualification Frameworks & Occupational Standards Occupational Certification, Licensing & Accreditation Cost Effectiveness and Quality Based TVET Instructional methods and TVET For guidelines on submitting manuscripts, please see page 122 or visit: http://www. iveta.org/members/index.php/Members-Information/IVETA-Journal-PublicationGuidelines.html
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Publication Guidelines for the International Journal of Vocational Education and Training

The International Journal of Vocational Education and Training reflects regional contributions and is international in scope. Its purposes are to provide a forum For the discussion of vocational education and training issues and practices; to assist in the dissemination of information on research and practice; and to strengthen the lines of communication among individual researchers and practitioners, institutions, and organizations. In addition, a platform is provided for individual views on relevant issues. The Editorial Board recently passed a resolution requiring membership in IVETA in order to publish in the Journal. This is effective with Volume 14, Number 2. The Journal publishes feature articles on research, theory, and practice broadly related to international vocational education and training. The largest section of the Journal is devoted to empirical research articles. General articles and research manuscripts submitted for publication should he between 1,200 and 5,000 words in length and should adhere to rules in the most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) with the exception of placing tables in-column in the text where you prefer them to appear. Articles should deal with some relevant aspect of educational opportunity such as educational research, evaluation, instruction, teaching methods, policy making, or theoretical discourses related to education and training. In addition, the Journal solicits book, test, and computer hard/software reviews (500700 words) and research in brief manuscripts (800-1,200 words) with similar publication goals. Authors interested in submitting a manuscript are required to follow the APA format as noted above. Email manuscripts that conform to the required specifications to: dmupinga@kent.edu. Style and Submission Requirements Copies. Submit electronic copies to: dmupinga@kent.edu. Style. Adhere to the most recent APA edition to format your manuscript. Please remember the exception: Place any tables or figures in-column where they should appear. Any paper that does not otherwise follow APA style will not be considered. Make certain that documentation (reference) format rules are double-checked. In addition, avoid footnotes, and do not include your name or affiliation on any page after the title page. No more than 5% of a papers text should be direct quotations. Insert only one space after punctuation at the end of sentences. Tables and Figures. Tables and figures should relate directly to the content of the manuscript and should not repeat information given in the text. Please remember that the Journal publishes in black and white, not in color. When creating or saving a copy of your manuscript for Journal publication, please create tables and figures in black and white (you may need to return to your original manuscript and configure tables and figures for black and white reproduction). Figures should be provided on high-quality, glossy white paper and 122

Publication Guidelines 123 should fit on one page. Tables should not exceed one page, and there should be no more than three tables per article. Also, do not place table or figure titles inside the table or figure. General Articles and Research Manuscripts. General articles and research manuscripts must be between 1,200 and 5,000 words long, or not more than 25 typed pages (double-spaced). Authors should keep tables and figures to a minimum and include them in-column at the appropriate point(s) of insertion. Emphasis is placed particularly upon manuscripts that are research-oriented. Cover Page and Title. Authors must include a removable cover page that is attached to each manuscript. This cover page should include the title of the manuscript and the name, address, phone number, email address, and institutional affiliation of each author. The title should be no more than 12 words. Abstract. An abstract describing the manuscript should be included on a separate sheet. The abstract must be less than 120 words. Please follow APA guidelines when writing the abstract. Book Reviews. Book reviews should be between 500 and 750 words in length and contain the following information: complete bibliographic entry, including cost (hard- and softcover, if available); the thesis of the book; a brief description of the argument (main ideas); sample passages quoted and/or commentary on writing style; shortcomings and strengths; intended audience (whom the book will most benefit in the international education and training community); your opinion of the book; and what you think the book contributes to the international vocational education and training community. Test Reviews. Test reviews should be between 500 and 750 words in length and contain the following information: complete bibliographic entry, including cost; the main purpose(s) of the test; a brief description of the administration and time; shortcomings and strengths; intended audience (whom will the test most benefit in the international education and training community); your opinion of the test (citing similar tests and the pros and cons relative to those tests); and what you think the test contributes to the international vocational education and training community. Review Process. Once your manuscript has been received, it will be checked for conformity to style and Journal requirements, then forwarded to at least three peer review readers who will read your manuscript and make recommendations as to whether to accept or reject it for publication. Unless the manuscript is inappropriate for review due to length and/ or topic, manuscripts submitted to the International Journal of Vocational Education and Training are anonymously reviewed by a peer review reader group as noted above. You will receive a publication decision within a reasonable amount of time (normally 4 to 6 months). Do not submit manuscripts concurrently under consideration by another publication or manuscripts that were previously published. Indicate a statement on the cover page is this manuscript is being reviewed or has been submitted for publication elsewhere. Mailing Instructions. Please include your email address if you have one. Manuscripts with requisite hard copies can also be forwarded to: Dr. Davison Mupinga, Editor International Journal of Vocational Education and Training Kent State University College of Education, Health, and Human Services School of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Studies P.O. Box 5190 316 White Hall Kent, Ohio 44242-0001 USA (330) 672-2656 Email: dmupinga@kent.edu