Educational needs of rural and urban adults: Perceptions of learners and community leaders/education providers
The purpose of this study was to (1) identify the educational needs of adults as perceived by rural and urban citizens and community leaders and educational providers; (2) determine if any significant differences existed between the perceptions of rural and urban citizens as to their perceived needs; (3) determine if any significant differences existed between the perceptions of rural and urban community leaders and educational providers as to the perceived needs of those they serve; (4) based on the data collected, evaluate the educational resources available in these areas and provide information for the planning of adult education programs and facilities; and (5) provide information regarding the use of community leaders' and educational providers' perceptions of educational needs. The theoretical framework of the study links rural and urban areas of Louisiana to the Loomis concept of social systems and the Boone Planning Process. Data were collected from questionnaires distributed to a random sample of citizens as well as community leaders and educational providers in the respective population environments. The results describe the demographic traits of respondents, the interests in developing educational opportunities, and the perceptions of educational needs. Statistical significance is reported for gender, age, ethnicity, marital status, and level of education. Generally, rural and urban citizens agree on perceived educational needs, reasons for wanting to learn, and hindrances to learning. There is, however, some disagreement between the perceptions of citizens and community leaders and educational providers. Statistical significance was found regarding learning location and the fee citizens are willing to pay. Leaders and providers find the quality of current educational opportunities acceptable; however, those in the rural area are not satisfied with the quantity available. Based on the analysis of the data, recommendations concerning future adult education programs and facilities are made.