Academic journal article International Education Studies

Modeling Participation Intention of Adults in Continuing Education - A Behavioral Approach

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Modeling Participation Intention of Adults in Continuing Education - A Behavioral Approach

Article excerpt

Abstract

The study examined how attitudes and subjective norms could be used to predict participation intention of adults in continuing education. In this research, attitudes comprised the two variables of positive attitude and negative attitude and subjective norms included normative belief and motivation to comply. Structural equation modeling using a maximum likelihood estimator was used to test the data collected from 752 adult respondents in Hong Kong, China. The results indicated that the relationships between positive attitude, negative attitude, normative belief and participation intention were significant. The relationship between motivation to comply and participation intention was found insignificant. However the strong relationship between motivation to comply and positive attitude revealed the indirect influence of motivation to comply on participation intention through positive attitude. The result also disclosed the phenomenon that normative belief was a better predictor of participation intention in continuing education than positive and negative attitudes in this context.

The Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) was used as the basis of reference in developing the conceptual framework of this study. The revised attitudes towards continuing education scales (Blunt, 2002) were shown to have validity in terms of the direct association with the various attitudes of adults towards continuing education. It was concluded that positive attitude, negative attitude, normative belief and motivation to comply with perceived social influence provided meaningful indicators of the respondents in the sample as well as reliable predictive variables to participation intention in continuing education.

Keywords: Attitudes, Subjective norms, Normative belief, Motivation to comply, Participation intention in continuing education, Hong Kong

1. Introduction

1.1 Aims of This Research

This research was driven by the purpose of identifying the factors prompting adults to participate in continuing education studies. The first aim is to identify major factors that influence the participation intention of adults in continuing education. The second aim is to test the applicability of attitudes and subjective norms in predicting the participation intention of adults in continuing education. This research is the first to adopt the concepts of attitudes and subjective norms to predict behavioral intention to participation in continuing education in Hong Kong, China.

1.2 Rising Importance of Continuing Education

Many academics and educators are aware of the existence of the high growth market in the fields of adult and part-time student education today. In many countries, courses providing for these two types of students are being referred to as continuing education. Continuing education is considered having high potential in their development outlook (Servier, 2003). The development of continuing education and its market significance constitutes an important part to the economic growth of a country. The rising demand in continuing education is also of increasing concern to educational institutions or enterprises providing continuing education programs. If the institute is able to successfully attract adult students to enroll in their continuing education programs, it implies that it is actually facing a market of training needs with unlimited opportunities.

1.3 Continuing Education as Part of the Service Industry in the Economy

What are the factors prompting adults to participate in continuing education studies? This subject has been studied by many academics over the years. To take full advantage of the opportunity, it is important to understand the factors that motivate an adult to participate in continuing education. In fact, like any other firms and companies, institutions need to focus on their market share, efficiency, productivity, return on investment, as well as the quality of services provided to customers. …

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