It seemed appropriate that action research methodology was a tangible way to monitor the results of this change. Therefore, it was used as a way to determine whether he instructors presence was a factor in the learners motivation. Since the research methodology presupposes different ways of data collection, three forms of collection were selected and this was followed by an indepth analysis. First, the tracking of attendance and assignments was done. Secondly, a log was kept of student comments about the new instructor schedule and thirdly, a diary of the individual interviews was recorded.
Data Collection Methods
For the first method of data collection attendance records were kept as well as the number of assignments completed and submitted. This served as a second objective source of data. Also, learners who had participated in the program for the equivalent period preceding the study were chosen to help track any changes. In this way, any changes could be noted and compared accurately.
A log of the comments made by participants during the schedule change was kept, and interviews with a number of the more independent learners were conducted after the six month study period. These university and community college distant education students were chosen because, by and large, these employees have independent learning styles. It was felt that their interview data would provide a particular focus on the issue of loss of learner motivation during the instructors absence from the mine site. The questions for the interview schedule were constructed to bring out he learners responses to the instructors new schedule.
Making Sense of the Data
Using the constructive method of analysis, two major steps were followed: reading the data several times and interpreting and drawing conclusions. Analyzing the data sources on attendance and number of assignments was straightforward. However, the log entries and the interview data were somewhat harder to analyze. The results of this study indicated that the change of the instructors schedule had a positive effect on the program. Just as important were the many insights to be drawn from the conclusions. The data sources related to attendance and submitted assignments increased by 15%. This is significant considering the study was done over he summer months when employees were on vacation and fishing on the surrounding northern lakes during their leisure time.
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