AFS Membership Survey 2011

AFS Membership Survey 2011

Continuing Education Participation and Preferences

Steve L. McMullin

Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Virginia Tech

  1. The on-line survey opened for data collection on August 1, 2011 and closed on August 22.  The initial invitation and two reminders were sent via the AFS listserv.  991 members responded (approximately 14% of members on the listserv).
  2. Regular members were over represented in the sample (68% of respondents vs. 56% of members on the listserv), while student members were under represented (12% of respondents vs. 20% of members on the listserv).  Other membership types were represented roughly in proportion to their numbers on the listserv.
  3. Approximately 11-12% of respondents participated in continuing education (CE) courses at the Chapter level in each of the last 4 years, compared to 3-4% at the Division level and the Parent Society level.
Participation in Continuing Education Courses
Chapter Level Division Level Parent Society Level
2010 12.1% 4.3% 3.8%
2009 12.0% 3.1% 4.4%
2008 11.3% 2.9% 3.4%
2007 11.9% 2.9% 2.8%
  1. 22% of respondents said they were very likely to participate in a CE course at the Chapter level in the next 4 years, compared to 4% at the Division level and 9% at the Parent Society level.
Likelihood of Participating in a CE Course in the Next 4 Years
Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not Very Likely Not at all Likely
Chapter Level 21.9% 36.8% 21.5% 19.9%
Division Level 4.4% 34.7% 34.5% 26.4%
Parent Society Level 9.3% 28.2% 32.8% 29.8%
  1. Data analysis/statistics topped the list of topics for CE courses that respondents expressed interest attending (37% very interested), followed by habitat restoration (31%), population dynamics (28%), habitat assessment (27%), GIS (27%), population modeling (26%), habitat modeling (22%), fish passage (22%), sampling techniques (22%), and leadership (21%).  50% or more of respondents were at least somewhat interested in attending CE courses addressing 17 of the 26 topics listed.
Topic Interest
Very Interested Somewhat Interested Not Very Interested Not at all Interested Not Sure
Biotelemetry 14.1% 36.1% 21.0% 24.8% 4.0%
Hydroacoustics 12.9% 30.8% 24.5% 28.0% 3.8%
Surgical techniques for implanting transmitters 12.0% 29.7% 24.8% 30.6% 2.9%
Habitat assesment 27.4% 41.4% 15.3% 13.6% 2.3%
Habitat modeling 22.4% 36.6% 19.1% 18.8% 3.0%
Habitat restoration 30.8% 34.6% 17.7% 14.6% 2.2%
Fish passage 21.9% 31.6% 21.9% 22.2% 2.4%
Population dynamics 27.8% 41.7% 14.3% 13.8% 2.3%
Population modeling 25.6% 38.2% 16.0% 17.8% 2.3%
Data analysis/statistics 37.0% 38.4% 12.9% 10.5% 1.3%
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) 27.0% 43.2% 18.3% 10.1% 1.5%
Fish sampling techniques 21.6% 38.6% 23.8% 14.8% 1.2%
Larval fish identification 12.4% 24.6% 29.4% 31.1% 2.5%
Organismal ecology/identification 17.7% 30.4% 23.9% 26.4% 1.6%
Safe and effective use of pesticides 8.5% 21.3% 27.7% 39.7% 2.8%
Fish diseases/pathogens 13.7% 26.5% 27.5% 29.8% 2.5%
Structured decision making 17.9% 39.5% 24.2% 16.6% 1.8%
Public involvement in decision making 19.2% 40.5% 24.4% 14.6% 1.3%
Conflict resolution/negotiation 19.5% 39.9% 23.8% 15.2% 1.6%
Effective speaking 16.2% 33.8% 28.2% 19.9% 1.8%
Effective professional writing 18.3% 38.0% 23.8% 18.2% 1.6%
Photography for fisheries professionals 16.9% 30.6% 27.0% 24.1% 1.4%
Effective teaching 15.8% 29.5% 30.2% 22.7% 1.8%
Leadership for fisheries professionals 21.2% 37.6% 22.1% 17.5% 1.6%
Endangered Species Act for fisheries professionals 20.1% 33.9% 25.8% 18.7% 1.6%
Putting on sport fishing events 6.3% 15.7% 29.0% 47.0% 2.0%
  1. 76% of respondents expressed a strong preference for classroom in-person delivery of CE courses, compared to 28% for 2-way interactive video/webinar delivery and less than 20% for non-interactive video/DVD/webinar or printed material delivery.
Preference for Delivery Methods
Strong Preference Mild Preference Not a Preferred Delivery Method
Classroom in-person 75.5% 21.1% 3.4%
2-way video/webinar (interactive) 27.7% 55.5% 16.8%
Non-interactive video/DVD/CD/

webinar

17.7% 48.7% 33.5%
Printed material 15.3% 48.0% 36.7%
  1. 30% of respondents indicated they were very likely to participate in a CE course offered via interactive 2-way video/webinar from the AFS annual meeting, if it addressed a topic of interest and they were unable to attend the meeting in person.
Likelihood of Participating in a CE Course through Distance Education
Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not Very Likely Not at all Likely
2-way video/webinar (interactive) 30.2% 50.2% 14.4% 5.2%
Non-interactive video/DVD/CD/

webinar

22.7% 46.1% 23.1% 8.1%
  1. More than half of respondents indicated that being able to attend a CE course in person and having their employer pay for the course were very important factors in determining their participation.

 

Factors Affecting CE Participation
Very Important Somewhat Important Not Very Important Not at all Important
Being able to attend in person 52.7% 35.9% 8.9% 2.5%
Length is less than or equal to one day 25.7% 42.4% 25.6% 6.3%
Workshop length is greater than one day 7.8% 30.7% 46.3% 15.1%
Cost of tuition 45.5% 43.6% 9.0% 1.9%
Having employer pay 54.1% 32.3% 6.7% 6.8%
Held in association with professional conference 20.4% 44.0% 24.3% 11.3%
  1. Keeping up with the latest information/techniques far surpassed other reasons in importance for participating in CE courses.  Earning or maintaining certification had little or no importance to a majority of respondents.
Reasons for Participation
Very Important Somewhat Important Not Very Important Not at all Important
To aid in career advancement 44.9% 30.1% 17.5% 7.5%
To keep up with the latest information/techniques 77.6% 20.9% .9% .5%
To network with other professionals that share interests 39.0% 45.7% 13.0% 2.3%
To earn or maintain professional certification 15.9% 28.1% 34.2% 21.8%