Take survey, maybe win $100 by explaining which path you took

Go to work, or go to school

How did you decide whether to seek or avoid more formal education after Grade 12? A new online survey in B.C. wants to find out, and participants have a chance to win $100.

Dawne Bringeland, a faculty member at Thompson Rivers University and BCIT, is researching how people make the decision whether to get a post-secondary education as part of her dissertation.

“I’m just trying to understand the thought processes behind choosing to go to some form of education or not, and I’m seeking to understand the barriers that might be present that influence the decision-making process,” says Bringeland, a doctoral candidate at Fielding Graduate University’s School of Leadership.

The online survey takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, Bringeland adds. Participants can enter a random draw for one of five $100 prizes.

Bringeland is also looking for a cross-section of interviewees who will each be paid $50. All personal data will be kept separate from the anonymous survey.

She hopes to hear from a wide range of respondents from across the province.

Some may have entered an undergraduate degree program; trade school or other stream of formal education while others may have entered the workforce directly after high school or considered upgrading their skills later in life.

Bringeland’s research draws on previous studies, which have looked at barriers to post- secondary education such as the increasing cost of tuition, parents’ own education background, psychological barriers and emotional gaps.

She intends to learn a bit about the backgrounds of the people who made the post-secondary education decision. For example, some students may have had no barriers whatsoever and still decided against it.

Finding out what drives such decisions could benefit students, educators and schools but also have a wider positive impact, Bringeland says.

“There’s a split here,” she says. “What do we need as an economy—in terms of school and student outcomes—to support and grow the economy? And what do we need to do as a society to provide the opportunities for youth to get into those streams [to follow their passions] so that they are not left behind?”

Bringeland’s research on decision-making and post-secondary education has been underway for a decade and she finds the timing of the survey during the pandemic fascinating, she explains.

One thing she wonders is how work-from-home scenarios might influence a person’s decision. Part of B.C.’s workforce has avoided returning to the office but that isn’t an option for workers in manufacturing and production, for instance. The entertainment and hospitality industries have been hard-hit and responded in creative ways, but what will they look like in the future?

Bringeland believes the pandemic has presented an opportunity to consider how and where we work, and “really think about where we want the economy to land.”

She says her findings may present opportunities to look at different models of education that are as legitimate as an undergraduate degree or trade school, but provide an easier path for people to pursue their passions.

“One of the things I hope to come out with is some recommendations on how we present educational opportunities and what kind of changes might need to be considered to get people into school,” she says.

“We’ve got a very linear model of education right now. If we think about open-education models, are there different models that would work better for some of these students who say, ‘It doesn’t work for me because of X, Y and Z’?”

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to share your experience and win $100, the survey runs online for one month, click here to enter.

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