Adult Learning & Technology


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An Exploratory Study Regarding the Needs of Adult Learners for Today’s Technological Workforce & Social Media

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Adult Learning & Technology

  1. 1. An Exploratory Study regarding the Needs of Adult Learners for Today's Technological Workforce and Social Media Research Proposal Larry D. Weas, Ed. D. Program Adult & Higher Education Northern Illinois University
  2. 2. Research Proposal <ul><li>Abstract </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Perspective on Adult Learners & Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Theoretical Framework </li></ul><ul><li>Methods & Techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Results & Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Educational Importance </li></ul>2
  3. 3. Research Proposal “ An exploratory study regarding the needs of adult learners for today's technological workforce and social media.” 4
  4. 4. Abstract <ul><li>Introducing technology into today’s curriculum means more than just “making it work.” The principles of adult learning theory can be used in the design of technology-based instruction to make it more effective. Research on learners has shown that adults learn differently from younger students. Adults have special needs as learners and these needs should be taken into consideration when planning work-based learning for adults and preparing them for today’s technological workforce and networking through social media. The use of digital technologies for learning both supports local efforts to educate adult learners and their teachers and extends educational opportunities to reach new groups of younger students using technology. The study outlines the thoughtful integration of digital technologies into the traditional scheme of education and their use to develop new ways of learning to ensure adult students have the tools to thrive in a complex and rapidly changing technological workforce. </li></ul>5
  5. 5. Introduction <ul><li>Today’s workforce is distinctly different from a generation earlier. Rapidly changing technology, greater job instability and higher industry expectations that workers be more flexible require adults to continue learning throughout their careers. The research focuses on adult learners and how strategies used in the classroom for distance learning don’t necessarily work for preparing adult learners for today’s technological workforce and social media. </li></ul>6
  6. 6. Introduction <ul><li>… The research addresses two key aspects of adult learning in an attempt to outline a general strategy for training adults in technology use and computer-based learning. </li></ul><ul><li>First, the barriers to learning that are most commonly found in adults, and how can they be identified and addressed so that the adult learner can still be successful. </li></ul><ul><li>Second, a review of social learning compared to traditional face-to-face learning, and some of the critical elements for making that experience successful in adults. </li></ul>7
  7. 7. Perspective <ul><li>… Society today is becoming increasingly dependent on all forms of technology for daily functioning and social networking . </li></ul><ul><li>… What is new is the range of choice around the technologies (figure 1) that can be used to deliver distance learning. At the center of many of these is the Internet. The Internet and related communications technologies (Facebook, LinkedIn, Blog, Wiki, Yammer, Twitter, Podcasting, Second Life, etc.) along with political, social and economic changes in our society have spawned unprecedented growth of interest in social networking, distance learning, and accessing information available through different types of technology. </li></ul><ul><li>… And today we have the luxury of selecting from an increasingly diverse range of technology options. </li></ul>8
  8. 8. Figure 1: Choices around Social Media and using Technology The Study 9 Podcasting LinkedIn Second Life Twitter Wikipedia Yammer Blog Facebook (Weas, 2009)
  9. 9. Theoretical Framework <ul><li>… Traditionally, knowledge and training was provided in one of two ways: on-the-job training supplied by your employer or personal learning by attending courses at a college or university. </li></ul><ul><li>… However, in theory (figure 2), a combined use of eLearning in education and the workplace with both businesses and educational institutions are turning towards using technology-based distance learning to make information and content available to adult learners on their own schedules and pace anywhere and anytime. </li></ul>10
  10. 10. Figure 2: eLearning Usage in the Workforce & Higher Education Theoretical Framework 11
  11. 11. Methods <ul><li>… The study involves over one-hundred adult learners attending higher education programs at the Elizabethtown Community & Technical College in Hardin County, Kentucky (figure 3). </li></ul><ul><li>… The demographic samples comprise of both old and young adults involved in various higher education programs. </li></ul><ul><li>… Participants are requested to respond to a questionnaire regarding “Technophobia” a phrase used to describe a condition in which a learner has (a) resistance to talking about technology or even thinking about computers, (b) fear or anxiety towards technology, and (c) hostile or aggressive thoughts about technology and computers. </li></ul>12
  12. 12. Figure 3: Workforce & Higher Education in Hardin County Community <ul><li>Elizabethtown, KY </li></ul>The Study 100+ Adult Learners (Weas, 2009) 13
  13. 13. Results and Conclusion <ul><li>… In summary, the use of technology is becoming an increasingly popular tool to provide the content for life-long learning since internet-based training has made the classroom available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. </li></ul><ul><li>… Adult learners, when properly trained on how to use the technology, are highly motivated learners that are capable of absorbing both the content and technological skills necessary to succeed. </li></ul><ul><li>… Educators are looking more and more into how to best create formal and informal learning opportunities for adult learners so that they can gain the technological skills necessary to become lifelong learners. </li></ul><ul><li>… Finally, making the skills training in technology available and useful to adult learners helps ensure they will take advantage of the multitude of formal and informal learning opportunities available through social networking. </li></ul>14
  14. 14. Educational Importance <ul><li>… In studying the needs of adult learners for today’s technological workforce and social networking, while formal, structured learning is still a major focus for education and businesses. </li></ul><ul><li>… Moving forward, as researchers continue to encourage a widespread of informal learning opportunities, they also indicate that technology-based learning is detrimental to adult learners as they become too reliant on a single tool for information-based gathering. </li></ul><ul><li>… Getting away from the past, the computer tended to become the only conduit of information gathering for some individuals, even when it was not viewed as the best tool to gather the required information. </li></ul>15