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c Participation in Continuing Education The Engineer's Perspective This chapter focuses on the engineer as a user of continuing educa- tion and evaluates current information about continuing education participation with respect to the following questions: 1. Why do engineers participate Or not participate) in continuing education? 2. How do the needs and motivation of the engineer vis-a-vis contin- uing education differ with career stage? 3. To what extent do engineers participate in various types of contin- uing education? 4. Does participation in continuing education by engineers vary by level of education, career stage, field, size/location of firm, or employer financial support? 5. How does continuing education affect an engineer's career? The panel addressed these questions by evaluating published research results and analyzing data already collected rather than by conducting new studies. Several difficulties are inherent in this approach. First, most of the published studies that relate to the engineer and continuing education were done in the late 1970s some, even earlier. Few, if any, studies have been conducted in the 1980s. The reason for this gap is that support for research on continuing education for engi- neers came primarily from the National Science Foundation {1977b), which has not funded such research since about 1980. Without more 8

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PARTICIPATION IN CONTINUING EDUCATION 9 current data, we cannot ascertain whether the results obtained in the late 1970s or earlier are applicable to present conditions in the field of engineering. This caveat should lie kept in mind by the reader when reaching conclusions based on the material presented here. Second, existing survey data present several problems. One is the time lag involved in making surveys available for public use. For exam- ple, a major study analyzed here is the Bureau of the Census Survey of Natural and Social Scientists and Engineers {NSSEJ, a biennial longitu- dinal survey for 1972-1978. This was the most recent survey for which public-use tapes were available and that included a representative sam- ple of working engineers. Thus, the caveat on conclusions noted for the published studies also applies to the analysis of the NSSE survey. A second problem with the NSSE data is that the scope of the survey was very broad; continuing education was not its focus. The results, there- fore, cannot answer many of the panel's questions. Moreover, many questions cannot be answered directly by the raw data but require major manipulations of variables involving extensive, time-consum- ing, and often difficult programming. J Given these limitations, it is clear that s~gn~can~ gaps In cur Know~- edge of the engineer and continuing education will remain after this analysis is completed. One of its aims, therefore, will be the identifica- tion of research needs in continuing education for engineers. The following sections present the panel's evaluation and analysis of the issues raised in the questions listed above. , . . Motivation for Participation Data from several studies can help explain why engineers participate in continuing education. Two nationwide surveys of engineers were conducted by Battelle Memorial Institute in large urban [Levy and Newman, 1979J and small nonurban firms "Welling et al., 1980J. These surveys allow comparisons of engineers' objectives in pursuing contin- uing education and their employers' perceptions of those objectives. Also, since the questionnaires in the two studies were somewhat com- parable, the panel compared data on most {but not allJ the objectives of engineers pursuing continuing education in large urban and small non- urban firms. For engineers in large urban firms, the most important reason for participating in continuing education was to prepare for increased responsibility Table 1J. For those in small nonurban establishments, however, the most important aim of continuing education was to per- form their present jobs better. This difference may be a result of the

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10 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS TABLE 1 Judged Importance Ratings by Engineers and Their Employers of Employee Objectives for Participation in Continuing Education Objective - Prepare for increased responsibility Perform present job assignment better Promote intellectual stimulation Prevent obsolescence Attain increased knowledge Attain enhanced or authority position in new field Remedy deficiencies in initial training Prepare for new job in same field Prepare for new job in new field Attain a salary increase Fulfill requirements for promotion Maintain present position in company Get to know others in field Prepare for or maintain professional registration Engineers Employers Urban Nonurban Urban Nonurban (N = 140 ~(N = 100) (N = 851 (N = 76) 3.9 3.5 3.7 3.3 3.0 2.9 2.9 2.8 2.6 2.5 Meet expectations of supervisor 2.1 3.2 3.8 3.2 3.4 3.0 2.6 2.7 2.0 2.0 1.7 2.0 2.6 1.6 1.7 4.0 3.7 3.2 3.7 2.7 3.5 2.5 2.8 3.0 2.6 3.9 3.9 2.9 3.3 3.6 3.1 2.7 2.5 2.9 2.8 3.1 2.5 2.4 2.4 NOTE: Rating scale ranges from 1 (not at all important) to 5 (of highest importance). SOURCE: Levy and Newman ( 1979J; Welling et al. ( 1980~. greater number of opportunities for increased responsibility in larger organizations. Such a difference is not seen in the two studies between employers, who rate preparation for increased responsibility and attaining better performance in the present job as equally important objectives of continuing education. Preventing obsolescence is rated the second most important objec- tive of continuing education by engineers in small nonurban firms. This supports the results of earlier studies, which found this to be the number one objective {Kaufman, 1974, 1975J. The prevention of obso- lescence goal was not included in the survey of large urban firms; in those organizations engineers considered intellectual stimulation the second most important objective. However, factor analysis of the data Presented belowJ shows that engineers who chose intellectual stimu- lation as an objective tended also to believe that continuing education was important to prevent obsolescence. Regardless of the size of the firm employers tended to perceive intellectual stimulation as a less important objective of continuing education than did their engineers. These findings are partly supported by the results of a recent survey of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers {IEEEJ members

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PARTICIPATION IN CONTINUING EDUCATION 11 Adam, 1984), which found that the two most important reasons why they took educational courses were to learn new technology {59.2 per- cent~ and to obtain intellectual stimulation `40.1 percent). In contrast, the two most important employer objectives for continuing education were to prepare engineers for increased responsibility {53.7 percent) and to perform present jolt assignments more efficiently [46 percent). The size of the firm may also affect the rewards and the perceptions of rewards for participation in continuing education. Engineers in small nonurban firms, for example, were less likely to participate to attain a salary increase or a promotion than were those in large urban establish- ments {see Table 1~. Furthermore, while small nonurban employers rated the salary and promotion objectives of continuing education as much more important than did their engineers, such differences were not found in large urban companies. It would appear that small non- urban establishments may not be providing for communicating the existence off rewards as well as opportunities for increased re- sponsibility-that could motivate engineers to pursue continuing education. Among the lowest rated objectives for participation in continuing education was to meet the expectations of the supervisor, a finding that has been corroborated by the IEEE survey {Adam, 1984~. Once again, engineers in small nonurban firms provided the lowest ratings. The importance of supervisors in motivating their engineers to participate in continuing education has long been known Kaufman, 1974, 1975~. From the results of the Levy and Newman and the Welling et al. studies, it would appear either that few supervisors expect their engineers to participate in continuing education or that supervisors fail to commu- nicate that expectation when it does exist. Factor analyses of engineers' objectives in pursuing continuing edu- cation identified several broad, relatively independent categories of motivation. Each category includes related objectives that can be sum- marized as follows {not in order of importance): to maintain and improve job performance; for increased responsibilities, advancement, and rewards; for intellectual stimulation; and to prepare for a new job. While the studies cited above indicate that differences in work envi- ronments apparently do affect engineers' motivation to participate in continuing education, the data are too limited to arrive at any meaning- ful conclusions. Barriers to Participation A question related to motivation is why engineers do not pursue continuing education. However, in the two studies discussed above, it

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12 No Payoff No Need Reason for Not Participating Company Does Not Encourage Supervisor Does Not Encourage Company Financial Support Insufficient Physical Distance Prohibitive Needed Courses Not Offered Conveniently Other Personal Commitment More Important Other CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS ...................... . ,,., ~ A, ................ ::::::::::::::::::::::::::: .. .... .. ....... ...... . .... ............. .............. --.-. . -.- ~ At_ ,, ,,,.,,,, ,,, ~ 0 20 40 60 PE RC ENT OF NO N PA RT I C I PANTS FIGURE 1 Employee reasons for not participating in continuing education within the last three years. SOURCE: Welling et al. (19801. was asked only in the survey of small nonurban firms "Welling et al., 1980J. The most frequent reason engineers gave for not participating {cited by almost two-thirds of the respondents J was their prohibitive distance from sources of continuing education [Figure 1J. The next most important barrier [for almost halfJ was that needed courses were not offered conveniently [i.e., were not offered at all or were not offered at times when the individual could attendJ. About one-third did not participate in continuing education because other personal commit- ments were more important. And approximately one-quarter of the engineers indicated that they did not pursue continuing education for a host of reasons [including no need for it in their present positions, no payoff in terms of organizational rewards, and no encouragement by their immediate supervisory. From these results it is clear that while organizational barriers and personal commitments deter engineers in small nonurban firms from participating in continuing education, the greatest obstacles are the distance, inconvenience, and unavailability of courses. To determine whether the distance barrier could be overcome, the engineers in the survey were asked how far they were willing to travel for continuing

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PARTICIPATION IN CONTINUING EDUCATION 13 education. They were most willing to travel far to attend workshops, seminars, and conferences that involved at least one overnight stay {Table 2 and Figure 2~. For continuing education activities not involv- ing an overnight stay, the acceptable distances were relatively short and diminished rapidly as the number of regular trips increased. It appears that while engineers in small nonurban firms are willing to travel some distance to participate in continuing education, they may still be too far from locations where courses they want are offered. In these situations, alternative instructional media for example, video-would be one way to overcome the barrier. For engineers employed in urban areas the obstacles to pursuit of continuing education may not be that different. One study that pro- vided data on this issue was a survey of more than 5,000 engineering society members residing in the Washington, D. C., metropolitan area {Ehrlich, 1980J. Ehrlich determined that lack of time was the most important barrier, followed closely by inconvenient location, incon- venient time, end unavailability of courses {Table 3~. Physical distance as a barrier was not measured directly in this study; however, the importance of the inconvenient location barrier indicates that physical distance may also be a major deterrent to engineers in urban areas. Lack of time can also be associated with physical distance, but it is probably related more to personal and work commitments. Of additional bear TABLE 2 One-Way Travel Distances Judged Reasonable for Participation in Continuing Education By Mode of Educational DeliveryJ Standard Mean Deviation Range Median Number of Mode of Delivery Miles) (miles) [miles) {miles) Employees One-day workshop/seminar/ conference with no overnight stay 93.1 57.5 25-500 97.5 179 Workshop / seminar/ conference of at least one day with at least one overnight stay 278.8 355.5 25-3,000 198.1 176 Once a week for a quarter/ semester 48.1 32.0 5-250 48.0 169 Twice a week for a quarter/ semester 37.8 26.2 1-250 30.8 167 More than twice a week for a quarter/semester 26.4 19.0 1-150 24.3 163 SOURCE: Welling et al. 119801.

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14 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS More Than Twice a Week Twice a Week Once a Week 1 One Day With No Overnight Stay One Day or More With Overnight Stays 1 T1 1 1 1 ~ 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 Ml LES FIGURE 2 One-way travel distances judged reasonable for continuing education. SOURCE: Welling et al. t 1980~. ing is that 35 percent of the engineers in this study were working as managers and were probably required to devote more time to their lolls than nonsupervisory engineers. In general, it appears that, despite the greater availability and proximity of educational institutions, the most important barriers to continuing education participation for engineers in an urban area are similar to those in nonurban areas. Whether this TABLE 3 Barriers to Continuing Education Participation by Engineersin the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Percents Barrier Lack of time Inconvenient location Inconvenient time Course not available Course poorly presented Unaware the course was offered Lack of incentive Insufficient employer financial support Educational level too low Educational level too high a Percentages are based on 4,447 respondents. SOURCE: Ehrlich t1980~. Very Moderately Slightly Significant Significant Barrier Rarri er 42.2 38.1 37.1 35.2 16.5 17.2 12.4 17.4 10.8 2.9 Significant Insignificant Barrier Barrier 14.8 15.7 18.2 15.2 20.7 22.2 25.2 16.3 17.3 13.2 28.6 26.8 26.0 18.2 21.5 19.7 23.2 14.9 15.1 7.9 14.1 19.2 18.4 31.0 40.5 40.5 38.8 51.0 56.3 75.5

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PARTICIPATION IN CONTINUING EDUCATION 15 conclusion applies to all urban areas including those with a high den- sity of private, high-technology firms remains to be demonstrated. Motivation and Barriers Among Older Engineers Studies of older engineers produced somewhat different results in terms of motivation and barriers to continuing education. Kaufman {1982a) examined the major goals of participation in specific continu- ing education courses of older engineers With a mean age of 50) in six large technology-based organizations. Almost half of the sample had participated in formal courses during the previous three years. The results revealed that by far the most important goal of these engineers was better performance in their present jobs iTable 4~. In fact, more than three out of five engineers took courses with this goal in mind. The study also showed that more than one-fifth of the engineers enrolled in courses for the intellectual stimulation they provided; somewhat fewer participated to prepare for increased responsibility. In the Battelle studies {Levy and Newman 1979; Welling et al., 1980) these goals were also important but not as important as they were to the older engineers. The lower mean age-the mid-30s of the engi- neers in the Battelle studies probably accounts for this difference. Not one of the older engineers gave a salary increase or promotion as his goal in pursuing continuing education. And it is very likely that the older engineers had only limited opportunities for advancement, in which case continuing education would not have helped. Among older engi TABLE 4 Major Goals of Older Engineers in Six Organizations Who Participated in Continuing Educationa Goal Percentage Perform the present job assignment better Promote intellectual stimulation Prepare for increased responsibility Meet the expectations of the supervisor Prepare for a new job in the current field Enhance one's position in the field Remedy deficiencies in initial training Prepare for a new job in other fields Fulfill requirements for promotion Obtain a salary increase 61.1 22.7 19.2 8.3 7.3 7.3 3.6 3.6 0.0 0.0 a N = 81. SOURCE: Adapted from Kaufman ( 1982~.

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16 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS neers, therefore, continuing education appears to be focused primarily on job-related needs. Kaufman also asked older engineers why they did not participate in continuing education. Clearly, the most important reason they cited was that too much time would be taken from family or personal life iTable 5~; more than half of the engineers rated this reason as moder- ately or extremely important. Another obstacle the engineers cited, which may have been related to the personal life response, was the travel time required This was an important barrier to about one out of four respondents). Almost as many were affected lay the offering of courses during work hours; their job requirements obviously did not allow them to take time off, and they were apparently unwilling to devote their personal time to continuing education. For about one respondent out of five, continuing education was not required for the job. Relatively unimportant factors in not taking courses were prereq- uisites, financial support, and competition from recent graduates. Continuing education participants and nonparticipants generally did not differ significantly in their ratings of barriers with one exception. Engineers who had taken no courses in the previous three years were much more likely than course participants to have jobs that did not require them to do so. Thus, an engineer's job appears to be an impor- tant determinant of participation in formal continuing education courses. In general, barriers to continuing education participation tended to be less prevalent among these older engineers than among engineers in TABLE 5 Reasons Given by Older Engineers for Not Participating in Coursesa 52.1 23.1 21.4 17.5 6.2 7.8 1.4 Reason Too much time taken from family/ personal life Too much travel required Courses offered during working hours Job does not require more education Not having adequate prerequisites Financial burden too great Possible competition from recent graduates Percent Rating Reason as Moderately / Extremely Important Mean Rating 3.4 3.1 2.1 2.8 1.7 1.4 1.4 a N = 147. SOURCE: Kaufman (1982a).

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PARTICIPATION IN CONTINUING EDUCATION 17 other studies. This may very well be an artifact of the commitment to and resources provided for continuing education by the older engineers' employers. An indication of the accuracy of this possibility is the lack of financial obstacles to course participation among these engineers in contrast to those in other studies. One final interesting point is that there is some evidence indicating that the motivation to learn may decline among older engineers {Dubin etal., 1973;Kaufman, 1974,1975J.Butthereisalsoverylittleresearch on why such a decline should occur. Understanding how the needs and motivation of engineers to participate in continuing education change with career stage is a major gap in our knowledge of lifelong engineering learning. Factors That Determine Participation As mentioned earlier, it is difficult to obtain accurate recent data on the degree of participation of engineers in continuing education. In the mid-1960s LeBold et al. jl966J conducted a national sample of more than 4,000 engineers. That study, one of the most comprehensive to date, revealed that 73 percent of the engineers surveyed felt that in their fields formal instruction in modern developments in technology was necessary to keep up to date; a total of 77 percent agreed that short courses {as opposed to advanced degree workJ would be sufficient for such updating. Despite this seeming consensus on the value of short courses, however, only 54 percent of the engineers reported ever receiv- ing noncredit education or training. The situation may have improved by the early 1970s. By then an estimated 68 percent of the nation's engineers who provided informa- tion on continuing education to the National Science Foundation {1975aJ reported having received some type of nondegree training. However, only 34 percent reported participating in employer-spon- sored in-house courses and 24 percent pursued correspondence or extension courses. Other types of education reported by engineers included formal, postapprenticeship, on-the-job training {24 percentJ; courses at adult education centers (18 percentJ; and military training applicable to civilian occupations t17 percentJ. Thus, although about two-thirds of engineers by the early 1970s reported having received some type of continuing education, much of it may have come earlier in their careers. The following sections discuss various factors that may affect an engineer's participation in continuing education.

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18 Educational Level CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS Some evidence indicates that participation in continuing education is related to the engineer's educational background and field. Accord- ing to National Science Foundation NSF) data { 1975aJ, the percentage of engineers who had participated in any kind of program declined dramatically with increasing education Stable 6~. Almost 9 out of 10 engineers without a college education had received some type of train- ing program, compared to only half of the Ph.Ds. Indeed, continuing education may well be a path to becoming an engineer for those with limited educational background, although the pattern of training may differ depending on its extent. The NSF data showed that for those with no college education, extension or correspondence courses were pre- dominant with well over half of such engineers enrolled in training programs of this type. For engineers with an associate's degree or some college education, employer-sponsored courses were most popular More than two-fifths having enrolled); in addition, more than one- third of these engineers enrolled in extension or correspondence courses. Engineers with bachelor's and master's degrees also favored employer-sponsored courses, but only about one out of three had actu- ally participated in such training. And relatively few Ph.D. engineers had pursued any specific kind of continuing education. As an explana- tion of this phenomenon it might be argued that Ph.D.s would lie expected to continue to learn on their own, especially through their research. Another possibility may be that Ph.D.s are actually attending professional society courses, which were not included in the survey. TABLE 6 Percentage of Engineers Who Had Received Training During Their Career [by Educational Attainment in 1972) Associate of No 1-3 Years Arts and All Engineers Total College College Science B.S. Master's Ph.D. Any training 67.9 86.3 79.3 72.3 68.1 66.4 50.1 On the job 24.3 23.4 27.0 23.6 25.3 22.3 11.7 Employer courses 34.1 32.2 40.5 42.6 35.2 32.2 13.8 Extension/ correspondence courses 23.9 54.8 34. 1 35. 1 22.9 23. 7 15. 1 NOTE: Data are based on a weighted population of engineers, excluding nonrespondents. SOURCE: National Science Foundation ( 1975a) .

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PARTICIPATION IN CONTINUING EDUCATION 27 lated areas is limited and primarily involves activities offered away from their firms. Employer Support All available evidence indicates that employer support for engineer- ing employees enrolled in university courses has long been widespread. In a survey in the mid-1960s, 77 percent of the engineers surveyed reported that their employers provided partial or full reimbursement for part-time university courses; 25 percent also received release time during the day. And 9 percent were able to enroll in graduate degree credit courses on their employers' premises {LeBold et al., 1966J. It is clear that such employer support for university courses has contributed greatly to the education of engineers. By the early 1970s, 41 percent of the engineers pursuing graduate education had received financial support from their employers. In terms of the sources of these funds, only savings and earnings were more prevalent than employer support Stable 15~. Of those who received employer support, 40 percent depended entirely on such funds to pursue graduate education, and an additional 46 percent had only one other source {generally their savings or earningsJ. Indeed, the employer was the single most important source of funds for the graduate education of engineers, with savings and/or earnings next in importance. By the late 1970s, employer support for advanced and continuing education of engineers had become quite prevalent, but it varied with TABLE 15 Sources of Funds for Financing Graduate Education of Engineers Single Most Sources Used Important Source (N = 4,805) (N = 3,787) Source of Funds N %N % Employer 1,968 41.01,177 31.1 Savings or earnings 2,402 50.0966 25.5 Research or teaching assistantship 922 19.2455 12.0 Veteran's benefits 804 16.7391 10.3 Fellowship 857 17.8338 8.9 Aid from family 853 17.8269 7.1 Loans 253 5.341 1.1 Other 391 8.1150 4.0 SOURCE: Preliminary analysis of the Bureau of Census Survey of Natural and Social Scientists and Engineers (1972) .

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28 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS the size of the firm. In one survey, 83.2 percent of 334 large urban establishments provided such support, as compared to 45.8 percent of 236 small nonurban firms, with the difference being highly significant "Welling et al., 1980~. Related research revealed that 61.3 percent of the engineers in the small nonurban firms whose employers did not pro- vide support for advanced and continuing education had not partici- pated in courses during the previous three years; in firms that did not provide support, only 37.1 percent of the engineers had not participated "Welling et al., 1980~. Lack of employer support, therefore, appears to play a significant role in discouraging participation in courses, espe- cially in small nonurban firms where travel time is also a major barrier. Other research indicates that more than 9 out of 10 engineers work- ing in high-technology firms are reimbursed for tuition, but most of this support is available to engineers early in their careers Thompson and Drake, 1983~. This may partly explain the very low rate of partici- pation in advanced education among midcareer and older engineers. Outcomes of Continuing Education Despite industry's enormous investment in continuing education, few studies have addressed the impact of continuing education on the individual engineer. Other than a state-of-the-art review of the research literature in 1977 {Kaufman, 1978a), no comprehensive attempt has been made to assess the outcomes of continuing education for engi- neers. This brief review is an initial attempt to begin updating that earlier work. Effectiveness Ratings of Courses One approach to assessing the outcomes of courses is to obtain global user ratings of their effectiveness. While this method does not provide information on specific outcomes, it does give a gross indication of the utility of different kinds of continuing education for engineers. In judging the degree of success of continuing education in meeting their objectives, participants who worked in large urban firms rated every kind of continuing education between successful and very suc- cessful {Levy and Newman, 1979~. Effectiveness ratings by engineers from small nonurban establishments were more variable Welling et al., 1980~. Participants gave the highest ratings to noncredit and other educational activities [e.g., workshops, seminars, conferences) that were conducted away from the firm {Figure S). Educational presenta- tions at technical society meetings received the lowest ratings. The most disagreement among participants [as indicated by a high standard

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PARTICIPATION IN CONTINUING EDUCATION TYPE OF ACTIVITY DEGREE-RELATED CREDIT COURSE NONCREDIT COURSES - CONDUCTED AT ESTABLISHMENT NONCREDIT COURSES - CONDUCTED AWAY FROM ESTABLISHMENT BRIEF EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES - CONDUCTED AT ESTABLISHMENT BRIEF EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES - CONDUCTED AWAY FROM ESTABLISHMENT ORGANIZED SELF-STUDY ACTIVITIES EDUCATIONAL PRESENTATIONS 29 - . . ~ '''''''''2' '' '''''''"-"'''""'""'''-"''""""""''"""'"'"''"1 _~_4 ,.,,,, . ,, ,.,,,, ... ..... ~ LEGEND ~ ESTABLISHMENTS |||||||||| PARTICIPANTS NOT AT SLIGHTLY MODERATELY VERY EXTENSIVELY ALL EFFECTIVENESS FIGURE 5 Comparison of the judged effectiveness of continuing technical education as perceived by small nonurban establishments and participants. SOURCE: Welling et al. ( 1980~. deviation) occurred for degree-related courses. Comparison of the effec- tiveness ratings of participants with those of their employers reveals interesting trends. Brief educational activities conducted away from the establishment were rated highly by both participants and employ- ers. Participants rated activities conducted at the establishment as less effective than did their employers. On the other hand, noncredit courses conducted away from the establishment, degree-related credit courses, and organized self-study were all rated more highly by partici- pants than by their employers. Engineers and their employers, there- fore, tend to disagree somewhat over what kind of continuing education is the most effective. A study of engineering society members in the Washington, D.C., area produced somewhat different results {Ehrlich, 1980~. College- credit courses for a graduate degree clearly received the highest ratings {Table 16~. Other types of continuing education were rated lower, but

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PARTICIPATION IN CONTINUING EDUCATION 31 all were at about the same level. Among courses provided by universi- ties, those offered at local campuses and at places of employment were rated the highest, and televised or videotape programs provided by universities at the place of employment were rated the lowest {Table 17J. For noncredit continuing education, short courses were rated the most effective; live video courses without "talk-back" capability were rated the least effective {Table 18J. Compared to the latter, live video with "talk-lack" was judged considerably more effective. It appears, then, that the interactive capability provided by "talk-back" is critical in making this mode of instruction effective. Tutored video instruction [TVIJ is a technique that has successfully combined live interaction {and its feedback capabilityJ with the flexibility of video Baldwin and Down, 1981; Gibbons et al., 1977J. While the traditional face-to-face courses may be rated as more effective than televised or videotaped programs, the latter, if used in an interactive mode, could be as effec- tive. Other techniques are continually being introduced so that a choice of a delivery system can be made based on course objective, content, and audience. fob Performance Few studies have attempted to evaluate the effects of continuing education on the job performance of engineers. A major problem is the difficulty of measuring performance. One approach has been to use managerial performance ratings or rankings. In a study by Kaufman ~ 1978a), there was a positive relationship between the number of gradu- ate courses completed and subsequent job performance. But this was true only for engineers working in research and development {R&D) and not for those in organizations doing more applied work in develop- ment or manufacturing. Thus, the work environment has an important impact on continuing education outcomes as well as on participation Kaufman, 1982a). Also, data across organizations on employer-spon- sored in-house training showed consistently that the poorest per- formers tended subsequently to enroll in the greatest number of in-house courses. However, participation in such courses did not lead to improved performance. One study indicates that in-house courses may have differential effects {Kopelman, 1977~ . Over a four-year period, performance decreased among R&D professionals who com- pleted in-house courses that were longer than 20 hours; those taking shorter courses improved their performance. It has been suggested that this difference may be more a reflection of the objectives of the partici- pants than of the effectiveness of the courses themselves. Those taking

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34 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS longer courses may have done so to remedy deficiencies in their knowl- edge and skills, whereas those taking shorter courses may have wished to acquire specific skills that could be readily applied to the perfor- mance of their jobs. Salary In evaluating the effects of continuing education, salary has been treated as a substitute for or equivalent of performance {Morris, 1978aJ, but this equating of salary with performance has been questioned jKopelman, 1979~. The results of the study showed that course partici- pation was positively related to salary, although these results have been criticized on several methodological grounds Kaufman, 1980; Kopelman, 1979), bringing into question the validity of the study's conclusions. Other research has failed to find a positive relationship between participation in continuing education and changes in salary {Kaufman, 1982a). Obsolescence The degree to which continuing education for engineers can reduce the obsolescence of technical knowledge and skills has yet to be dem- onstrated conclusively. Kaufman {1974) defined obsolescence as the degree to which professionals lack up-to-date knowledge or the skills necessary to maintain performance in their work. This definition was adopted by the National Science Foundation t1977a). However, relat- ing continuing education to obsolescence is difficult because of the problems in measuring obsolescence. Some studies have used knowl- edge checklists ;Perucci and Rothman, 1969) or tests of knowledge j Mali, 1969J, and such indicators have been found to be related to advanced education. Another method of measuring obsolescence is by means of a self-assessment approach {Kaufman, 1978b J. The number of technical courses completed in a three-year period by older engineers was found to be related to lower obsolescence as measured by a self- assessment instrument {Kaufman, 1982a . Indeed, technical courses apparently reduced obsolescence more than either reading or attending professional meetings and seminars. Innovation One outcome of continuing education that has barely been touched upon by researchers is innovation, which may be considered the oppo

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PARTICIPATION IN CONTINUING EDUCATION 35 site of obsolescence. Again, the problem in part is measurement. In perhaps the only study linking innovation and continuing education, Ransom [1983) found evidence that those who spent more time in professional development activities maintained significantly higher levels of innovation, based on expert judgments. fob/Career Changes The impact of continuing education on job or career changes has rarely been evaluated. One issue of interest is the retraining or reeduca- tion of the midcareer engineer. The introduction and diffusion of major changes in technology often lead to a surplus of experienced midcareer engineers whose knowledge and skills have become obsolescent ;Kauf- man, 1974, 1975; Schillinger et al., 1980~. It would appear that two complementary problems resulting from these changes could be largely ameliorated with a single solution namely, reducing the short- ages of personnel skilled in applying the new technologies by reeducat- ing the surplus midcareer engineers through formal continuing education programs. Indeed, a federal evaluation has reached the same conclusion: since employer-sponsored continuing education "can provide a rapid and focused means for relieving spot personnel shortages in specific sub- fields and for improving productivity by renewing the skills of mid- career scientists and engineers in industry, it could provide a relatively cost effective means for the Federal Government to intervene in the science and engineering market when clear national needs require such intervention" National Science Foundation and Department of Educa- tion, 1980, pp. 43-44~. However, shortly after the publication of this report, federal support for research and development in the continuing education of engineers, which had been funded through NSF's Direc torate for Science Education, ceased completely. The limited research available on the reeducation of midcareer engi- neers has focused on government programs for the unemployed jKauf- man, 1982b; Pascal, 1975~. Related research has demonstrated that training and educational activities after job loss are associated with significant career change, but a cause-and-effect relationsip has not been proven Kaufman, 1979b). For employed midcareer engineers, academic, industrial, and governmental reeducation activities remain essentially undocumented; research on employer-sponsored midcareer reeducation per se has been reported only for individual cases of univer- sity-industry collaborative programs [e.g., Reddy and Rabins, 1984~. It is clear that there is a great gap in knowledge about midcareer reeduca- tion in engineering and its effects on jobs and careers.

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36 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS Findings 1. A meaningful body of knowledge has begun to accumulate regard- ing continuing education from the perspective of the engineer, but most of it is derived from studies conducted prior to 1980 with support from the National Science Foundation. Whether these results are appli- cable to current conditions in engineering cannot be ascertained. {For example, the expanded use of computers and video-based delivery sys- tems in current continuing education offerings might affect some of these results.) This caveat should be kept in mind when reviewing these findings. 2. Engineers participate in continuing education with a variety of objectives; typically, these may involve maintaining and improving job performance, preparing for increased responsibilities, pursuing advancement and rewards, promoting intellectual stimulation, pre- venting obsolescence, or preparing for a new job. Relatively little is known about the role of the work environment in motivating continu . ~ . . . ng education participation. 3. Major barriers to participation in continuing education include the travel time involved, the inconvenience or unavailability of needed courses, and personal commitments the engineer considers more important. Organizational factors {e.g., a particular job does not require continuing education; there are no organizational rewards or encour- agement by supervisors) appear to play a secondary but still important role. 4. All the available evidence indicates that most engineers partici- pate in continuing education at some point in their careers and that the rate of participation has been growing. It would appear that by the early 1980s over half of all engineers were participating in some type of annual continuing education with employer-sponsored in-house courses predominating. 5. Participation in continuing education varies substantially with the size and location of an engineer's employer. Those engineers who work in small, geographically isolated firms show only limited contin- uing education participation, primarily involving activities offered away from their firms. 6. Employer tuition support has been the most important source of funds for continuing education among engineers, although much of this support is used for graduate education. Such assistance is prevalent in the overwhelming majority of large urban firms; most small nonur- ban firms do not provide it. 7. The evidence appears to be too limited to arrive at any conclu

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PARTICIPATION IN CONTINUING EDUCATION 37 signs regarding the impact of continuing education on the individual engineer; despite the enormous resources allocated to it, relatively little is known about its effects. The studies that do exist give results that are not generally consistent and that may, in some cases, have methodological flaws. Recommendations Considering the dated information noted above on continuing educa- tion for engineers, the panel believes the following recommendations are appropriate to close the gaps in our knowledge: 1. The National Science Foundation jNSFJ should resume its role in supporting research and development {R&tDJ in continuing education. 2. A committee should be established within NSF to assist in the development of continuing education support activities. Its members would include continuing education researchers and practitioners selected from universities, private industry, and professional societies. 3. A comprehensive continuing education R&D program should be developed with the active participation of the federal government, aca- demia, industry, and professional societies. This program should be directed to collect current descriptive data on continuing education participation and to study its impact {including that of reeducation programsJ on the engineer.