Comparative research of Navy Voluntary Education at operational commands
Veenhuis, Christopher B.
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This research analyzes the enrollment growth of the Tuition Assistance (TA) program and the continued decline in enrollment within the Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE). NCPACE has provided higher education with alternatives to traditional methods of instruction for Sailors and Marines for over four decades. TA and NCPACE utilize two primary methods of instruction: distance learning (DL) and traditional instructor-led (IL) for their college educations. The research shows overall NCPACE enrollments have been declining since 2000. Between fiscal year (FY) 2011 and FY2015, NCPACE experienced an overall annual percentage decrease of 8%. During the same period, TA experienced an overall annual percentage increase of 2%. The primary method of instruction has been shifting in the last decade. FY2014 was the first time NCPACE enrollees preferred DL to IL. The research shows the declining trend in IL course enrollment combined with a more tech-savvy generation joining the Navy requires serious thought to how the Navy Volunteer Education (VOLED) system will shift to the changing dynamic. The conclusion of this research provides insights on the current and future dynamic involved with VOLED in the Navy and is contrary to the accepted perceptions of traditional educational paradigms and the types of learner the system intends to attract.
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