Retention and Persistence in University Continuing Education Programs at the University of Manitoba—A Case Study
Keywords:adult learning, barriers to participation, retention
AbstractThis case study of university continuing education (UCE) students at the University of Manitoba (UM) explored the retention and persistence of adult learners in non-credit certificate programs. Data from telephone interviews of those who had not taken a course in the past two years were used. The purposes of the study were to understand why adult learners participate in and drop out from UCE non-credit certificates; understand their goals, intentions, barriers to participation, and retention; and identify effective recruitment and retention strategies. The findings suggest that understanding the nature of these adult learners is critical for retention and persistence; that they have dependent children and are highly motivated and goal-oriented; and that they work full time and “stop out” from their programs because of work–life balance issues, including situational, dispositional, institutional, and systemic barriers. Further, understanding the nature of their classroom experience is critical for retention and persistence, institutional sustainability, and program improvements.
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