Good evening and thank you for taking the time to attend this presentation.The title as you can see is new insights into new learners. Specifically we are referring to adult learners, and the despite the research being conducted in Ireland I feel the findings will be relevant to every country represented here today.This paper describes the results of a market research exercise undertaken as part of a major project on flexible and part time learning being undertaken by the Institutes of Technology aimed at increasing the amount of flexible learning being provided and taken up by learners.The research was designed to find out what triggers may be used to encourage adult learners back into education in Ireland and so contribute to more appropriate responses to their needs by the Institutes of technology for whom increasing flexible and part time education is a major strategic objective.
This talk is divided into four distinct sections. The first two, covering basic introductions; to HE in Ireland and my project as a whole, the second half concentrating on the research findings of our project and the solution to address the challenges that have emerged from this research
Through this initiative, the Institutes of Technology commit to mainstreaming supported flexible learning within and across the Institutes. Significant funds have been allocated to each of the institutes to help increase their capacity to be flexible. This project represents the coming together of independent and autonomous institutions to collaborate in the delivery of on/off campus education. This is a more unusual.
I mentioned the term collaborative brand earlier on. We wanted to create a collaborative brand for the 14 institutes. We felt the best vehicle for this brand was a website. In terms of focussing our research and branding our website and devising a marketing plan we concentrated on career motivated learners. Nevertheless, every step was taken to ensure that our branding exercises would not exclude all learners. A vital stage of developing an effective brand is obtaining a consumer insight. Accordingly, it was this early stage of the project and subsequently when implementing the findings 'naming' the lifelong learner was a key observation that allowed focus to remain on the learner rather than on the provider. The target learners were identified as ‘Dave and Joan’. Click ‘Dave & Joan’ are in their mid thirties. They are either a supervisor or mid manager in a manufacturing plant. They live just outside town on a new housing development. Their children are aged 4-14 years and their involved in the local sports and leisure clubs. Life is busy and time seems at a premium during the week. Both got their diploma level qualification at college. Now with such change and uncertainty across all types of work, they’re conscious that they need to do something to help their prospects of staying in the workforce over the next few years.
It is important to highlight Dave and Joans fears as well. As these fears play a big part in careers decisions that they may make
People often dismiss further learning as something they couldn’t do. Our research found that there are four main barriers for adults when it comes to pursuing further education. Return on investment;Most adults cannot give up work and return to college on a full time basis. Therefore the only option for the majority of learners is part time study. Higher education in Ireland on a part time basis is relatively expensive. Obtaining a degree on a part time basis is a significant investment. There is a limited supply of any financial support unless they are unemployed. In addition people are uncertain when it comes to determining the return on this investment.– Will it lead to a job?– What will the qualification be worth?– Will I be able to complete the course? Self DisciplineMany doubt they will have the self discipline required for sustained study and exams over a period of years. This is especially true for Distance Learning. Distance Learning gives students greater freedom of scheduling, but it can require more self-discipline than on-campus classes. Some people learn best by interacting with other students and instructors, but Distance Learning may not provide much opportunity for this interaction. Despite the fact that technology has improved the level of interaction available, isolation experienced through distance learning can test a learners self disciplineAlthough significantly higher interaction is available through part time education a high degree of self discipline is still required.A significant number of those surveyed felt they need the discipline of regular classes and assessments to motivate them to do the work.UpheavalHow will they run their life around this demanding course? Will the time pressures become too much? No one wants to commit to a course and then drop out.“Going Back” Quite often people use the words “going back” when considering further learning “Going back to do a course”, “Going back to school”. This suggests that further learning is not something that is aspired to, rather something you have to “go back” to do. No one likes going backwards. The cultural challenge we face is for further learning to be talked about as a great step forward!
Currently promoting BlueBrick amongst institutional users and general publicIncreasing range of courses offered Increase range of functions (e.g. RPL)Prove model and establish ownership arrangementsComplete project by 2012 Knowledge is the new currency of the innovation economy and our long-term economic success is tied inextricably to human and knowledge capital” (Innovation TaskForce Report (2010) p.25)
The levels of participation, to which we now aspire, are unprecedented New and innovative approaches will be needed to bring increasing numbers of citizens up to the skill levels and competence levels associated with high levels of educational achievement
The EU have established a target of 15% of adults participating in lifelong learning by 2020. Whilst some countries, notably the northern European countries, comfortably exceed that target, many do not, including Ireland. Ireland’s latest figures highlight a serious issue with only 9% of adults participating in lifelong learning. For this reason the working hypothesis for the research was that higher education providers in Ireland do not completely understand the needs of potential adult learners.
Skills group update july 2010
New insights into New learners<br />Upskilling Co-odination Group<br />Dr. Mark Glynn and Dr. Richard Thorn<br />Thursday, July 15, 2010<br />
Overview<br />Flexible Learning project<br />Research findings<br />BlueBrick.ie<br />Next Steps & Conclusions<br />Presented By Mark Glynn Thursday, July 15, 2010<br />
4<br />How do we reach Dave and Joan?<br />What do we know about adult learners?<br />People concerned about their jobs and careers not LLL<br />Looking for intelligence on future opportunities<br />Learning is a tool<br />Most people acknowledge the need for Lifelong Learning<br />People in their 30’s and 40’s feel at a disadvantage to college leavers<br />“life long” learning is too long<br />Google is the start point – after that they contact colleges directly<br />
Dave and Joan Snapshot<br />Focused research:<br />35-39 years<br />Have a family – kids 4-14<br />Own home, outside city<br />Time stretched<br />Diploma qualified<br />Broadband in home<br />Reasonably tech savy<br />Mid level manager in a manufacturing plant<br />Interested in new life / career options<br />
Dave and Joan Snapshot<br />What do Dave and Joan fear?:<br />Loosing their jobs<br />Being able to afford their lifestyle<br />Personal failure<br />Being left behind<br />Being unable to afford a good education for their children<br />
What Stops Dave and Joan from Studying as Adults?<br />RETURN ON INVESTMENT<br />SELF DISCIPLINE<br />Significant investment<br />Will it be worth it?<br />Unaware of financial support<br />Will I be able to do sustained periods of study?<br />Especially true of distance learning<br />Need the discipline of classes<br />UPHEAVAL<br />“GOING BACK”<br />Time pressures<br />How will it affect their lives?<br />No-one wants to commit and then drop out<br />Negative connotations<br />Need to change culture to being persevered as a STEP FORWARD<br />
BlueBrick.ie is a learner-focused information portal<br />SEMANTIC SEARCH<br />Expert users who know what they want to achieve and how to attain it<br />ADVISOR<br />Unsure users who know they want to do something but unsure how to go about it<br />ROAD MAP<br />Knowledgeable users who know about either their immediate needs or target but unsure how to build their roadmap<br />PERSONAL EDUCATIONMANAGEMENT<br />Hosts profile and allows a learner manage their education trajectory on a continuing basis<br />
What can BlueBrick do for education providers?<br />NATIONAL VISIBILITY<br />REAL-TIME FEEDBACK<br />Presents modules to a much larger audience than a singe institution site<br />Gives feedback and statistics to providers about learner searches and profiles<br />AUTOMATION OF PROCESSES<br />INTELLIGENT MARKETING<br />Semantic search and module recommender allows smart marketing to learners<br />ON-line Applications<br />Multiuser access<br />Automated registration<br />
Next steps<br />Currently promoting BlueBrick amongst institutional users and general public<br />Increasing range of courses offered <br />Increase range of functions (e.g. RPL)<br />Prove model and establish ownership arrangements<br />Sustainability<br />Knowledge is the new currency <br />10<br />Next steps & Conclusions<br />
15<br />Percentage of population aged 25-64 participating in education and training in the four weeks prior to the survey, 2000-2006<br />
What can BlueBrick do for employers?<br />SEMANTIC SEARCH<br />ROAD MAP<br />Outline professional development plan for employees linked directly to qualifications<br />Conduct a detailed search on modules suitable for their training requirements. Material available on a modular basis, therefore easier to fit into training budget<br />ADVISOR<br />PERSONAL EDUCATIONMANAGEMENT<br />For companies who know that they want to upskill their employees but not quite sure what areas<br />An employee can find a course ande-mail their manager<br />
17<br />International Comparators<br />Open Universities Australia<br />Finnish Online University of Applied Science<br />BC Campus<br />Ontario Learn<br />