Participants' perceptions of the effectiveness of a competency-based apprenticeship program.
Ratcliffe, Antony E.
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This study examined a Competency-Based Apprenticeship Training (CBAT) Program providing Alberta electrician apprentices with self-paced training within set times parameters, on a classroom or distance delivery basis, encompassing self-study modules, computer-managed learning, skills labs, and tutoring. Theory classes were added for classroom-based apprentices. Program characteristics included elements from Mastery Learning, Keller's Personalized System of Instruction, and Computer-Managed Learning (CML). A personal interview with 40 participating apprentices and 25 instructors identified factors that were deemed to promote or inhibit the success of CBAT and its apprentices. Recommendations support the self-paced program and the importance of the tutorial component. Full-time students may benefit from removing compulsory lectures and providing more freedom to select quiet study, lab skills, computer study and other areas when needed. Distance and full-time students will benefit from increasing access to instruction and tutorial using computers, providing tools beyond e-mail and telephone for asynchronous or synchronous communications between students and instructors. Opportunities exist to take CBAT beyond the limited availability of human tutorial to computer-based tutorial, reducing the demand on resources for classroom-based CBAT apprentices and increasing access to tutorial services for those studying at a distance.