Category 2: Why Learners Attend
Learners attend for many reasons and the key seems to be effective prompts before the class. Learners who are successful attenders describe themselves as organized and have tools to support this characteristic such as master activity calendars at home, daytimers at work and e-mail systems. For example, these learners receive and read the weekly prompts that are sent out reminding them of upcoming courses. They quickly integrate the dates into their calendars and schedule their own notification prompts. As well, those who do not use the computer but have effective prompting systems like a master calendar at home also have a strong record of attendance. It seems that when learners sign up for one to three courses, they have a better chance of attending than do those who register for four or more. Learners who attend also like early notification of their up and coming course dates.
Category 3: Why Learners Do Not Attend
Learners provided two key reasons for not attending courses for which they have registered. Many learners noted on-going, age-related fatigue and forgetfulness as a key factor. The second major reason was extensive family commitments. Evening courses run from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and the non-attenders frequently reported that if they were not at TLC, they would probably be in bed by 9 p.m. The average age for an employee is 48 years. As well, many learners said that they just forgot to attend and that the notification for the courses occurred too early for them to remember. Many of these same learners commented that they did not have access to and/or could not operate an e-mail system and therefore did not receive e-mail prompts. Often learners mentioned that very busy family commitments kept them from signing up for courses. According to the learners such family activities take priority in the evening.
Category 4: Learners' Suggestions
In almost every interview respondents provided very helpful suggestions about how to improve scheduling at the Centre. The super attenders consistently mentioned that they really liked the e-mail prompts. Many made suggestions about alternative start times. The super non-attenders also recommended additional prompts such as hard copies of notice reminders, e-mails and phone calls. These learners preferred earlier start times. Learners from both groups also asked about babysitting services. Responses from the Champions recommended experimenting with earlier start times and posting reviews of the courses on the Company's Intranet. The REAL Committee also endorsed the piloting of a new time schedule, specifically with a 4:10 p.m. starting time for a 1.5 hour class. Two of these classes would then replace one 3 hour class. They also agreed that a web site on the Company's Intranet would help facilitate better communication between TLC and its learners.
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