NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED514980
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 330
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-7456-9
The Learning and Development of Low-Skilled Workers Training to Become Surgical Technologists
Dyer, Judith Sandra
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
The purpose of this case study was to explore how low-skilled workers who participated in a health care training program learned to acquire the technical, cognitive, and developmental competencies they needed to gain skilled employment in higher-level positions in the field and thus advance their careers. The data methods used were: (1) in-depth interviews involving 21 participants, of whom 16 were current students and 5 recent graduates; (2) a focus group with 7 current and past students who were nonparticipants in the interviews; and (3) a document review. Data sources came from a private, non-profit postsecondary vocational institution that provided job training and education services to incumbent union members, dislocated workers, and others. Specific areas related to adult education and workforce education informed the research framework. The four main areas of literature shedding light on the learning and development trajectory of this population were Social Cognitive Career Theory, Career-Related Continuous Learning, Self-Directed Learning, and Experiential Learning. While the study's focus was on the learning and development of low-skilled workers, an overarching finding revealed that the program design impacted participants' training outcome. Issues such as excessive testing, the fast-paced truncated program, strict policies, and lack of program structure were barriers to learning and developing. Despite these issues, personal motivation and a strong support system facilitated participants' success in the program. Although most respondents said the program was difficult, they also viewed the difficulty as a catalyst to learning and development. Further findings underscored competencies such as technical knowledge, strong interpersonal skills, and positive personal characteristics needed for occupational transition. Evidence showed, however, that these competencies were realized mainly by sharing of ideas with colleagues and being self-directed. The researcher's principal recommendation is that adult and workforce educators who facilitate skills development in the health care industry must ensure that program design and implementation meet the specific needs of learners. By focusing on the skill requirements of the industry and learners' individualized needs concurrently supports the development of human capital for the current and future workforce. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Adult Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A