Interpreting the log data was revealing. In the past, the instructor had at least four weeks off during the summer and the learners had accepted that as normal for a teacher. However, after only taking 17 days off during the study period, comments such as, Where were you? and It seemed like you were gone forever. were recorded eight times during the first week. In addition, one of the employees commented that it seemed as though the instructor had been on site for an unusually long period of time.
Data from the interviews indicated that the participants preferred the instructor to be on site for support even though some of them were very self-directed. They also believed that access to the Learning Centre was easier when the instructor was on site. Based on the different data sources, two main themes can be summarized. They were:
The learners are employees who wish to improve their basic mathematics and reading skills in order to gain promotions or enter apprenticeship training. This became an important bridge to further program changes. As well, there are others who are preparing to write the GED examinations or participating in distance education programs delivered by universities and community colleges. Although this group doesnt require content instruction, they often need assistance with study skills, research, and assignment formatting and proofreading. All learners clearly indicated that after working a 12 hour shift, it is very tempting to just stay in heir rooms and watch TV or sleep. The instructors presence on site added to the motivation of the learners because they needed to feel confident that their study activities were being monitored and supported.
This concern about the motivation of the learners after the instructor had been off site for two weeks had become an area of extreme anxiety. Therefore, options for addressing this concern had been an issue for the instructor for approximately two years. It was obvious that something had to be done about the learners motivation and how they viewed the continuity in their learning process.
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