Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Open-File Report 2011-1075

A Study of Topics for Distance Education— A Survey of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Employees

By Joan M. Ratz, Rudy M. Schuster, and Ann H. Marcy

Thumbnail of cover and link to download report PDF (1.4 MB)

The purpose of this study was to identify training topics and distance education technologies preferred by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees. This study was conducted on behalf of the National Conservation Training Center to support their distance education strategy planning and implementation. When selecting survey recipients, we focused on employees in positions involving conservation and environmental education and outreach programming.

We conducted the study in two phases. First, we surveyed 72 employees to identify useful training topics. The response rate was 61 percent; respondents were from all regions and included supervisors and nonsupervisors. Five topics for training were identified: creating and maintaining partnerships (partnerships), technology, program planning and development (program planning), outreach methods to engage the community (outreach methods), and evaluation methods.

In the second phase, we surveyed 1,488 employees to assess preferences for training among the five topics identified in the first survey and preferences among six distance education technologies: satellite television, video conferencing, audio conferencing, computer mediated training, written resources, and audio resources. Two types of instructor-led training were included on the survey to compare to the technology options. Respondents were asked what types of information, such as basic facts or problem solving skills, were needed for each of the five topics. The adjusted response rate was 64 percent; respondents were from all regions and included supervisors and nonsupervisors.

The results indicated clear preferences among respondents for certain training topics and technologies. All five training topics were valued, but the topics of partnerships and technology were given equal value and were valued more than the other three topics. Respondents indicated a desire for training on the topics of partnerships, technology, program planning, and outreach methods. For the six distance education technologies, respondents indicated different levels of usability and access. Audio conferencing and written resources were reported to be most usable and accessible. The ratings of technology usability/access differed according to region; respondents in region 9 rated most technologies higher on usability/access. Respondents indicated they would take courses through either onsite or distance education approaches, but they prefer onsite training for most topics and most types of information.

First posted April 13, 2011

For additional information contact:

Center Director, USGS Fort Collins Science Center
2150 Centre Ave., Bldg. C
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8118

http://www.fort.usgs.gov/

This report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.


Suggested citation:

Ratz, J.M., Schuster, R.M., and Marcy, A.H., 2011, A study of topics for distance education—A survey of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1075, 66 p.



Contents

Executive Summary

Training Content Areas

Distance Education Options

Onsite versus Distance Education

Preferences for Mode of Training and Type of Information

Background

Benefits of Distance Education

Planning for Distance Education

Definition of Terms

Survey I: Content Areas for Training Topics

Method

Survey Development

Sampling Strategy

Data Collection Process

Results

Survey Respondents

Topics

Discussion

Definition of Topics

Survey II: Training Topics and Distance Education

Method

Survey Development and Supporting Literature

Content of Training Program

Technology

Experience with Technology

Access to Distance Education Technologies and Support

Perceived Ease of Use

Preference of Distribution Modes for Content Areas

General Distance Education Preferences

Attitudes about Training

Additional Questions—Enrollment Study

Demographics

Sampling Strategy

Data Collection Process

Results

Response Rate

Quality of Survey

Data Analysis

Training Content Areas

Distance Education Options

Onsite versus Distance Education

Preferences for Mode of Training and Type of Information by Content Area

Summary and Discussion

Training Content Areas (Topics)

Mode of Training

Acknowledgments

References Cited

Appendixes Appendix 1. Survey I: Content Areas for Training Topics

Survey Text

Results from Survey I

Appendix 2. Survey II: Training Topics and Distance Education—Survey Development

Survey Questions

Appendix 3. Survey II: Training Topics and Distance Education—Survey Analyses

Survey Quality

Reliability

Data Reduction and Scale Formation

Internal Consistency for Final Subscales

Validity

Content of Training

Usability and Access to Distance Education Technologies

Attitudes about Training

Statistical Power

Representativeness

Nonresponse Bias

Data Analyses

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2011/1075/
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, December 07, 2016, 11:36:45 PM