Determinants of participation in continuing professional education
This study was designed to examine the factors which influenced the decision to participate in a formal continuing professional education (CPE) program. The research questions focused primarily on three aspects. The first was the professionals' belief system toward participation. The second was to test alternative behavioral intention models and the third centered on identifying priorities among factors affecting the professionals' decision to participate in the CPE program. Data were collected by mailed questionnaire from 323 veterinary professionals in the Province of Alberta. Intention to participate in a CPE program was obtained prospectively. Factor analysis demonstrated that the professionals' cognitive beliefs toward the CPE program were multidimensional while their affect attitude was determined by one factor. Three underlying factors of cognitive belief about participation were identified as program relevance, program benefit, and program accessibility. Multiple regression analysis indicated behavioral intention theory had high predictive utility. The Triandis model proved to have greater predictive utility than the Fishbein model, accounting for over 56.6% of the variance for the intention to participate in the CPE program within the next two years as compared to 44.8% for the Fishbein model. The study strongly supports the hypothesis that variables external to the behavioral intention model influence behavioral intention and behavior indirectly. Discriminant analysis revealed that 86.1% of the respondents were classified appropriately as participants and non-participants by the variables In the model. Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) was utilized to determine the priorities of factors influencing the professionals' decision to participate in the CPE program. A comparison between the behavioral intention model and the AHP model supported the validity of priorities obtained in the AHP model and indicated a potential utility of the AHP model In understanding factors influencing the professionals' participation in a formal CPE program. Implications for theory, practice, and research in the field of adult and continuing education are presented to conclude the study.