The purpose of this study is to create a model of tertiary vocational education in Kenya. Despite considerable progress in Kenya over the last 20 years, current education models, low attendance, and low academic proficiency levels preclude many vulnerable learners from becoming employable. Utilizing semi-structured interviews of eight Kenyan participants, this study explores the testable design principles necessary to create such a micro-trade model. Utilizing Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA), a quantitative ethnographic technique, to model the structure of connections in data, this study attempts to systematically identify a set of constructs, as they are recorded in interview codes, connected to one another within these interviews. Two intellectual parallels emerged pertaining to the lack of fundamental and essential needs many Kenyans experience as well as salient issues of corruption often hindering the development of Kenya's politics, economy, and democracy. It was imperative that a targeted approach to education was maintained and underpinned the trajectory of the micro-trade model when identifying the design principles for this study. This study reports the finding that a fresh model of tertiary vocational education, micro-trade, could impact the ability of vulnerable youth to become economically independent. It proposes such a model appearing in Chapter 4, schematizing barriers to tertiary education, microtrade as a response to those barriers through the lens of Kirkpatrick's model of education, and aspirational results from careful design and blend of Kirkpatrick's model with microtrade. Such design and blending through design-based research constitute proposed next steps for this effort.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Young adults—Kenya; Vocational education—Kenya; Postsecondary education—Kenya

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Eric Hamilton