The Boshier's Education Participation Scale Factors Reflected in History: Adult Motivations to Learn in the 19th American Chautauquan Movement compared to those of the 21st Century Boshier Education Participation Scale

The Boshier's Education Participation Scale Factors Reflected in History: Adult Motivations to Learn in the 19th American Chautauquan Movement compared to those of the 21st Century Boshier Education Participation Scale

Dennis Keefe (Nan Jing University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch086
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Abstract

In the literature of andragogy and adult learning numerous authors have attempted to explain why adult learners decide to enroll in courses. Houle in 1961 started this line of research classifying adult motivations to learn into 3 categories. Later researchers, attempting to refine Houle's work, began using factor analysis to determine additional underlying causes of adult participation. Boshier, with his 6-factor, 42-item scale, is central in these later studies. This chapter takes another look at the EPS (Education Participation Scale) of Boshier but this time through the lens of history. Specifically, this chapter delves into the largest of the adult education phenomena in America in the latter 1800s, the Chautauquan Movement. Comments from adult learners who participated in Chautauqua are compared to the 7 factors and the 42 items of Boshier's Education Participation Scale, Form-F. Results of this study show a good fit between historical and modern motivations of learners.
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Background

Previous to Boshier, one of the first authors to discuss adult learning motivation was Cyril Houle (1961). Houle was curious as to why some people are especially dedicated to learning, to being lifelong learners as we may say today.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Andragogy: According to Malcolm Knowles, andragogy is the art and science of helping adults learn, as opposed to pedagogy, the art and science of teaching children.

Chautauqua: An educational movement that began as vocational training for Sunday school teachers in 1874 in the state of New York, and later developed into a wide variety of summer session courses, with, shortly thereafter, home study courses based on books and other readings. At its peak in the early 1900's, the Chautauqua system was helping to bring lifelong learning to hundreds of thousands of Americans from coast to coast.

Chautauquans: Adults who attended either the Chautauquan summer schools in Chautauqua, New York, or who participated in the home study courses provided by that institution.

Chautauquan Literary and Scientific Circle (C.L.S.C.): The adult study programs set up by Chautaqua in the 1870's to provide home study programs via readings, correspondence school work and examinations. Students could graduate after four years of study, earning their diploma.

Boshier Education Participation Scale (E.P.S.): An instrument designed to classify the motivations of adult learners for participating in educational projects.

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