Sharon Colton - Dissertation

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Sharon Colton - Dissertation

  1. 1. DEVELOPING AN INSTRUMENT TO ANALYZE THE APPLICATION OF ADULT LEARNING PRINCIPLES TO WORLD WIDE WEB DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSES USING THE DELPHI TECHNIQUE By Sharon B. Colton B.S., Oregon State University M.Ed., University of Louisville A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Louisville In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education College of Education and Human Development University of Louisville Louisville, Kentucky May, 2002
  2. 2. Copyright 2002 by Sharon B. Colton All rights reserved
  3. 3. DEVELOPING AN INSTRUMENT TO ANALYZE THE APPLICATION OF ADULT LEARNING PRINCIPLES TO WORLD WIDE WEB DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSES USING THE DELPHI TECHNIQUE By Sharon B. Colton B.S., Oregon State University M.Ed., University of Louisville A Dissertation Approved on May 2002 By the Following Dissertation Committee: ____________________________________ Dr. Tim Hatcher, Dissertation Director ____________________________________ Dr. Mike Boyle ____________________________________ Dr. Margaret Jamison ____________________________________ Dr. Joseph Petrosko ___________________________________ Dr. Carolyn Rude-Parkins ii
  4. 4. DEDICATION To my beloved mother and father Ann F. Hughes and Robert A. Lundberg (in memory), My beautiful children Brandis Ann Colton and Clay James Colton, And my loving, extended family Joan R. Biggs, Grant C. Bauer, Lynton G. Bauer, Bern W. Hughes, and Dennis J. Lisack iii
  5. 5. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I want to thank the following people for their help and support with this dissertation: Dr. Tim Hatcher, who had the courage and the audacity to push me to yet a higher level with deadlines looming. There is no question this has made me a better person but I also believe it substantially improved the dissertation. Thank you for enriching my life and for believing in the importance of my research. Dr. Carolyn Rude-Parkins, my advisor and friend through two educational degrees, Dr. Margaret Jamison, my supporter and friend, Dr. Mike Boyle, who gave me the basic foundation for research, Dr. Joseph Petrosko, who gave me the tools and knowledge to pull the study together Dr. Reid Bates (Louisiana State University), Dr. Dorothy Billington (New Horizons for Learning), Dr. Brad Cahoon (University of Georgia), Dr. Gary Conti (Oklahoma State University), Dr. Margaret Driscoll (Lotus/IBM MindSpans), Dr. Jacques Dubois (Public Broadcasting Services, Adult Learning Services), Dr. Dale Huffington (University of Missouri), Dr. Scott Johnson (University of Illinois), Dr. Marguerita McVay-Lynch (Franklin University and Portland State University), Dr. Gary Morrison (Wayne State University), Dr. Anthony Picciano (Hunter College), and Dr. Sharon Smaldino (University of Northern Iowa). iv
  6. 6. Those friends and co-workers who contributed something along the course of this writing and who demonstrated friendship and patience with me during the process. Bruce Wilder Michael Fortin Brandis Colton Marji Settles Jacqi Davis Karen Fuller Stephanie Tetter Camille Frey Alex Hulanicki Marguerite Stark Jamie Dagdigian And many others unnamed here but not forgotten My friends and colleagues at the Delphi Center for Enhancing Teaching and Learning at the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky: Arthur Schneider, Matt Wherle, Elizabeth Martin, and Peggy Muller for their ongoing support, Linda Leake and Dirk Griffin for their expertise and willingness to offer technical help with the Delphi Research Website, and Ron Schildknecht for believing I would finish my quest. My friends and colleagues at Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, California. v
  7. 7. ABSTRACT Developing an Instrument to Analyze the Application of Adult Learning Principles to World Wide Web Distance Education Courses Using the Delphi Technique Sharon B. Colton May 10, 2001 This exploratory study used the Delphi research method to develop the Online Adult Learning Inventory, an instrument to apply the principles of adult learning to Webbased instruction and training. The instrument is a new tool for educators and trainers for the purpose of developing and evaluating online courses for adults. A panel of twelve experts in the fields of adult learning, instructional design, and online course development constructed the instrument as a checklist and validated its content. Principles of adult learning provided the structure of the instrument and instructional methods that apply adult learning principles to online courses made up the body of the instrument. A field test gave an indication of moderate to high reliability. A pioneering feature of this study was the construction of a website and conducting the Delphi process on the Web. A threaded discussion forum was used by the experts to edit the adult learning principle construct appropriate to online adult learning, then to develop a list of instructional methods that applied each principle to online vi
  8. 8. learning. The experts were assigned pennames for anonymity. Web forms were used for voting to determine consensus for each item of the instrument. The website also served as an archive for draft instruments, previous discussions, and the results of votes. vii
  9. 9. TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS…………………………….……………………………….....iv ABSTRACT…………………………………..………………………………….………vi LIST OF TABLES …………………………..…………..……………………..……….xiv LIST OF FIGURES ………..……………………………...………….……..………….xvi INTRODUCTION………………….………….…………………….………..…………..1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………….….………1 Theoretical framework…………………………………………………………….………4 Problem statement…………………………………………………………….…….……..6 Research questions………………………………………………………………………...7 Significance of the study…………………………………………………………………..9 Assumptions…………………………………………………………………….………..11 Limitations and delimitations………………………………………………...………….12 Definition of terms ...…………………………………………………………………….13 LITERATURE REVIEW……………………………..……………………..…………..17 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………17 Adult education is driving distance education …………………..………………..18 The adult learner ………………………………………………………………….20 Convergence of adult education and distance education programs……...………………22 viii
  10. 10. Overview of adult education …..………………………………………………….23 Overview of distance education ….……………………………….………………26 The nature of human learning ….………………………………………..………………30 Learning theory applied to adult learning …………………………...……………36 Psychosocial differences among adults …………………………………..……………..37 Instructional design as a framework for adult instruction and training ………...……….39 Instructional design applied to Web-based learning …………………...…………42 Instructional design applied to adult learning …………………………...………..43 Emergence of adult learning principles: Research and conceptual publications ………..45 The learner‘s need to know: Research and conceptual publications ………….….54 Self-concept of the learner: Research and conceptual publications ……...…...…..55 Prior experience of the learner: Research and conceptual publications …….....…57 Readiness to learn: Research and conceptual publications ………………..…...…59 Orientation to learning: Research and conceptual publications …………...…...…60 Motivation to learning: Research and conceptual publications ……………….….61 Situational and individual differences: Research and conceptual publications …..63 Goals and purposes of learning: Research and conceptual publications ………....68 Instructional methods applied to Web-based distance education courses ………………68 Applications of ―The learner‘s need to know‖ ……………….…………………69 Applications of ―Self-concept of the learner‖ ……………..………….…………70 Applications of ―Prior experience of the learner‖ ………...……………………..71 Applications of ―Readiness to learn‖ ….…………………..……….……………73 Applications of ―Orientation to learning‖ ……….………..…….……………….73 ix
  11. 11. Applications of ―Motivation to learning‖ ………..…..………………...………..74 Applications of ―Situational and individual differences‖ ….….………..……….75 Applications of ―Goals and purposes of learning‖ ….…………..………………76 Unassigned instructional Web applications …….………………..…..………….76 Delphi research method …………………………………………...…………………….78 Summary of the literature review ……………...………………………………….…….83 METHODOLOGY ……………………………………………………………..………85 Introduction ………………………………………...……………………………………85 Overview of the methods ……………………...………………………………….85 Review of the literature ……………………………...…………………………………..90 Practical and quality screens for adult learning principles ……………………….91 Practical and quality screens for applied instructional methods ……….…………92 Additional resources ………………………………………………….…………..93 Expert panel members …..……………………………………………………………….93 Role and bias of the researcher ……….…………………………………...…….97 Review of instrument for readability …….………………,……………………………..97 Web-based discussion forum ……………….…,………………………………………..99 Delphi method ……………………………….…………………………………………108 Delphi procedures ……………………………………………………………….108 Round one ………………………….……..……………………………..110 Round two ………………………….……………………………………121 Round three ………………………….…………………………………..128 x
  12. 12. Development of instrument items …………………..…………………………………132 Validity of the instrument …………………….…………………………………133 Field test for reliability of the instrument …….……………..…………………………134 Summary of the methods ………………………………………………………………138 FINDINGS ………..……………………………………………………………………140 Introduction …………………………………………………...………………………..140 Findings of research question one ………………………….…………………………..143 Adult learning principles as structure for the instrument ………………………143 Instructional methods as sub-scales of the instrument …………………………144 Findings of research question two ……………………………………………………..147 Test for readability ……………………………………………………………..148 Round 1 findings ……………………………………………………………….150 Section A of the instrument: Adult‘s readiness to learn ……….…..…..151 Section B of the instrument: Adult‘s need to know …………….…..….152 Section C of the instrument: Adult‘s experience ………………………154 Section D of the instrument: Adult‘s self-concept …...……….………..155 Section E of the instrument: Adult‘s orientation to learning …..………156 Section F of the instrument: Adult‘s motivation ……………………….157 Section G of the instrument: Adult‘s individual differences ………..…158 Section H of the instrument: Adult‘s situational differences ……….….159 General comments on the instrument ………………….…..…………..161 Round 2 and round 3 findings ………………………………………………….167 Section A of the instrument: Adult‘s orientation to learning ....………..169 xi
  13. 13. Section B of the instrument: Adult‘s need to know ………...………….179 Section C of the instrument: Adult‘s experience ………...………….…187 Section D of the instrument: Adult‘s mental habits ..……………….….197 Section E of the instrument: Adult‘s self-concept …………….…….…205 Section F of the instrument: Adult‘s individual differences ……….…..212 Section G of the instrument: Adult‘s situational differences …..…...….220 Field test …………………………………………………………………………….….230 Findings of research question three ……………………………………………...…….233 Summary of the findings ………………………………………………………...……..242 SUMMARY, DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS…………………………243 Summary ……………………………………………………………………….………243 Discussion of findings, research question one …………………………………………245 Discussion of findings, research question two ………………………………..………..257 Delphi research process …………………………………………………..……263 Discussion of findings, research question three ………………………………………..264 Recommendations for further study ……………………………………………...…….268 REFERENCES …………………………………………………………………..…….272 APPENDICES…………………………………………………………………….……297 APPENDIX A: Item pool …………………………………………………..………….298 APPENDIX B: Telephone script ……………………………………………..………..320 APPENDIX C: Delphi expert panel members …………………………………………324 APPENDIX D: Delphi discussion, comments, and correspondence …………..………326 APPENDIX E: Draft instruments …………………………………………………...…434 xii
  14. 14. APPENDIX F: Instructions for expert panel members ……………….…….………….472 APPENDIX G: Ballots …………………………………………………………….…..479 APPENDIX H: Voting results for round 2 and round 3………………………….…… 502 CURRICULUM VITAE ………………………………………………..……………..518 xiii
  15. 15. LIST OF TABLES TABLE PAGE 1. Procedure for selection of expert panel members …………………….…………94 2. Field test procedures …………………………………………………………...136 3. Tabulation of instructional methods ……………………….……………..……146 4. Results of vote 1 ……………………………………………………….……….164 5. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section A vote 2 ….…………..…174 6. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section A vote 3 ……….…..……177 7. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section B vote 2 …………...……182 8. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section B vote 3 …………...……185 9. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section C vote 2 ……………...…191 10. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section C vote 3 ……………..….194 11. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section D vote 2 …………...……200 12. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section D vote 3 …………..…….203 13. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section E vote 2 …………………208 14. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section E vote 3 …………………210 15. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section F vote 2 ……………..…..215 16. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section F vote 3 ……………..…..218 17. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section G vote 2 …………..…….224 18. Rationale for retaining, editing, eliminating Section G vote 3 ……………...…227 xiv
  16. 16. 19. Field test statistics by section …………………………………………….…….232 20. Rationale for final instrument ………………………………………………….234 21. Results of the Gunning FOG Index for readability ……………………...……..241 xv
  17. 17. LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE PAGE 1. Diagram of the methods…………………….……………………………………86 2. Home page of the website ………………….…..………………………………101 3. Dissertation topic screen ………………….……..……………………………..102 4. Delphi method screen ……………………………..…………………………...102 5. Assignments screen ………………………………..………….………………..103 6. Calendar ……………………………………………..…………………………104 7. Discussion areas ……………………………………..…………………………105 8. Threaded discussion topics …………………………………….……..………..106 9. Sample discussion thread ………………………..……………………………..107 10. Website directions for task 1 ………………………………….………………..111 11. Website directions for task 2 ………………………………….………………..112 12. Website directions for using the discussion forum …………….………………113 13. Website directions for task 3, vote 1 ……………………………..…………….114 14. Screen capture of vote 1 ballot ……………………………………..…………..116 15. Example of a vote as received by e-mail …..………………………..…………120 16. Website directions for task 4 …………………………………………..……….123 17. Website directions for task 5 ……………………………………………..…….125 18. Website directions for vote 2 …………………………….………...…………..126 xvi
  18. 18. 19. Website directions for task 7, vote 3 ………………………………...…………130 20. Overview of the data collection ……………………………………….....…….142 21. Round one forum discussion statistics ……………………….………….....…..151 22. Round two forum discussion statistics ……………………………………...….169 xvii
  19. 19. CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The population of part-time adult learners is growing and driving the distancelearning market (Green, 1999). As reported by Merrill Lynch (Carr, 2000), the market in online education, up from $1.2 billion in 1999, is expected to reach $7 billion in 2003 in the U.S. alone and much of that growth is due to the influx of older students. Nearly half of college students are over 25 years of age according to the United States Department of Education (1999). The profile of the student population is changing to a greater number of full-time working adults (Wiesenberg, 1999). Furthermore, adults are increasingly demanding the opportunity to learn at a distance either as supplemental to or as a replacement for conventional education or training (Simonson, 1997). Distance education is now regarded as an important setting within which a great deal of significant adult learning occurs (Gibson, 1992). Online distance education is defined as, ―a separation of teachers and students interacting through mediated technologies under the auspices of an institution‖ (Cahoon, 1998, p.33). Cahoon, (1998) in his book, Adult Learning and the Internet, makes the comment that distance learning and Web-based courses are becoming synonymous. Other formats for delivering instruction at a distance are used less frequently, giving way to the online format. He goes on to say that students are expecting Internet access for lifelong learning, yet most program administrators and course developers are poorly prepared to construct 1
  20. 20. Web-based learning environments effectively. Instead, trainers and educators are learning how to teach on the Web as they go along. Cahoon further suggests that an instructional Web site should be evaluated continuously throughout its life cycle. The use of technology for Web-based learning should assist in meeting clear instructional goals rather than being an end in itself. Good instructional applications are not inherent in the technology but must be fostered by course design. He suggested the development of a checklist of guidelines for web-based course development and evaluation. Adult education has been described by Cotton (1968) as a fourth level of education, beyond pedagogy. Knowles borrowed the term, andragogy, from a Yugoslavian adult educator, Dusan Savicevic, to apply to the principles behind adult learning theory (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 1998, p. 58). Adult learning and instruction now had a name, andragogy, which separated this field from that of teaching children. Knowles defined andragogy as ―the art and science of helping adults learn‖ (1970, p.38). In The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species, Malcolm Knowles (1990) described his andragogical model that differs substantially from the pedagogical model. His principles for adult learning include: 1. The adult learner‘s need to know: The facilitator can relate the benefits of the learning which often causes adults to invest more time and effort in gaining the learning. Real or simulated experiences can point out the gap in learning. 2. The importance of their self-concept: Adults see themselves as being responsible not only for their learning but for their lives. They see themselves as self-directed and expect others to see them in that light as well. Adults, however, often enter the classroom with their previous pedagogical experience 2
  21. 21. and say, ―Teach me.‖ This learning dependence conflicts with their selfconcept to such an extent that dropping out was often common. 3. Prior experiences: Adults not only have a greater volume of experience but it is a different type of experience from that of youths, which may include a job, voting, marriage and children, all part of an adult‘s self-concept. Adults can be encouraged to contribute their experiences. This broad experience level may also indicate a wider range of individual differences, requiring multiple or personalized teaching and learning strategies. 4. Readiness to learn: Adults become ready to learn those things they need to know and be able to do in order to cope effectively with their real-life situations (Knowles, 1990). 5. Orientation to learning: Adults are motivated to learn to the extent that they perceive that learning will help them perform tasks or deal with problems that they confront in their life situations (Knowles, 1990). 6. Motivation: Although adults are motivated to some extent by external factors such as promotions and better salaries, the more potent motivators are internal. These may include quality of life, job satisfaction, and self-esteem. Since Knowles‘ first book on adult learning (Knowles, 1973), other principles have been discussed and debated by practitioners and theorists, including Knowles. These include goals and purposes of learning and individual and situational differences (Knowles, et al., 1998). The literature review discusses more thoroughly this body of knowledge. 3
  22. 22. The principles of designing curricula based on the learner‘s needs have become a tenet in the field of adult education (Hassanein, 1983). More recently, Bates, Holton and Seyler (1996) theorized that CBI (computer-based instruction) design principles for adults might be different than principles for younger students and that there are few wellestablished technical or instructional guidelines for designing effective computer-based instruction for adults. The purpose of this study was to construct an inventory, validated using a Delphi process (DeLap, 1998; Cooter, 1983) and literature review, to evaluate instructional methods as they apply specific adult learning principles to distance education courses. Both sources, the Delphi and literature review, were used to maximize the rigor and content of the study. Theoretical framework The theoretical framework of this study was based on a synthesis of andragory, instructional design theory, and adult development theory. An instrument was drafted which will enable course developers to apply principles of andragogy, or adult learning principles, to the instructional design of a Web-based course. Andragory and its established list of adult learning principles provide the overall framework for the study and for the draft instrument. Principles of adult learning are discussed by Brookfield (1986), Cross (1981), Houle (1961), Knowles (1980), Knowles, Holton, & Swanson (1998), and many others. Wilson (1995) described instructional design theory and practice as based on research in learning, and in the instructional methodology with which to apply 4
  23. 23. instructional theory to teaching and learning. He stated that it was primarily prescriptive and specifies how the end product should look. Instructional design rules serve as a vehicle to deliver learning models to the instructional process. Importantly, instructional design and learning theories are based on a knowledge base that has evolved from primarily a behaviorist and objectivist basis to a more humanistic basis with a mix today of behaviorist and humanist practices (Wilson, 1995). Today‘s knowledge base or learning theories underlying instructional design start with the behaviorist theories of Skinner. Behaviorists favor instruction done in a step-bystep format along with continuous feedback to keep the student on the right track and to encourage motivation. The behaviorist view states that professional knowledge rests on a foundation of facts, that truths are testable, and that all disagreements are resolvable by reference to the facts (Wilson, 1995). Some practitioners of sequential learning systems include Gagné (1985), Bloom (1956), Dick and Carey (1990). Humanistic learning theories include various models of constructivism. Humanistic theories are based on the concept that we construct our own reality and meaning-making (Schön, 1987). Proponents of humanistic models of learning include Piaget (1971), Bruner (1961), and Vygotsky (1978). Constructivism and related humanistic learning practices are a result of advancing theories in cognitive development and brain research. Humanistic learning practices give the learner more control over the learning process and provide for interaction among students, other students, content experts, and facilitators or teachers (Marti, 1997). Although stages of development are usually though of in terms of children and youth, Levinson (1978) and Sheehy (1976) describe the stages of adult development. 5
  24. 24. Jung is considered by some to be the father of the modern-day study of adult development (Apps, 1981, p.100) and theorized that it is only after age 40 that adults become fully functional and complete as a person (p. 100). This study uses the vehicle of instructional design, along with adult development theory, to bring examples of instructional methods that apply adult learning principles to the relatively new instructional medium of the World Wide Web, with its opportunities for new forms of instruction. Problem statement Brookfield (1995, p.4) articulated three trends in the study of adult learning that have emerged during the 1990‘s, and that promise to exercise some influence into the twenty-first century. These concerns are: (a) the cross-cultural dimensions of adult learning, (b) adults‘ engagement in practical theorizing, and (c) the ways in which adults learn within the systems of education (distance education, computer assisted instruction, open learning systems) that are linked to recent technological advances. Utah Governor Michael Leavitt, while commentating on distance learning programs, stated that, ―…all kinds of courses and educational options are available from all sorts of sources, but there is no universal standard or protocol to assure their quality‖ (Blumenstyk, 1998, p. A-23). There are some rating systems for Web page style (Jackson, 1998; Waters, 1996; Cyberhound, 1996) and rating systems for various applications of adult learning principles, such as to measure the degree of practitioner support of the collaborative teaching–learning mode for teaching adults (Conti, 1979), Suanmali, (1981), to measure self-directed learning readiness (Guglielmino, 1992), and Competencies for the Role of 6
  25. 25. Adult Educator/Trainer (Knowles, et al. 1998, p. 140). In addition Wentling and Johnson (1999) developed the Illinois Online Evaluation System to judge online instructional efforts in general. Thus, this study‘s central problem was that no evaluation instrument that specifically deals with the application of adult learning principles to Web-based courses has been identified. Also a note requesting information on possible rating systems was posted to the ASTD (American Society of Training and Development) discussion list and two replies were received stating that adult learning evaluative tools for Web courseware were not known to be available. At present, course developers face a problem because there is no validated list to aid in applying adult learning principles to course development or its formative or summative evaluation. The purpose of this study was to develop a validated instrument that will help educators, researchers and instructional designers evaluate and apply the use of adult learning principles to fully-mediated World Wide Web-based distance education courses. The instrument constructed in this study will provide an additional evaluative tool to assess Web courses or to apply adult learning principles to course or training design. Research questions This study describes an exploratory study using a review of the literature and the Delphi research method to collect and synthesize expert knowledge using an Internetbased format. The primary means of content validation was a Delphi panel assembled to develop the instrument from the adult learning construct and an item pool of instructional methods or applications. The Delphi panel was composed of experts in the fields of distance education course design and adult learning. Reliability was addressed using a 7
  26. 26. field test and statistical analysis of data. From the review of literature was derived the adult learning principles which provided the structure of the instrument, along with an initial pool of instructional methods and the rationale for the research study. The following research questions provide the structure, content, and purpose in creating an instrument to apply adult learning principles to Web-based instruction and training. The research questions are: 1. What are examples of specific instructional methods and techniques that demonstrate the application of adult learning principles to fully-mediated World Wide Web-based distance education courses as reported in the literature? 2. To what extent can an instrument be developed by a Delphi expert panel to measure the application of adult learning principles to fully-mediated World Wide Web-based distance education courses, either as an ex-post facto evaluation (summative) or as an in-process formative evaluation? 3. To what extent is there consensus among Delphi panel experts in the fields of adult education and Web-based course development to validate specific instructional methods and techniques that demonstrate the application of adult learning principles to fully-mediated World Wide Web-based distance education courses? From the above research questions, the Delphi panel was presented with a statement of the task, ―Review the list of adult learning principles derived from the literature and make any suggestions. The main points of consideration are: Is the principle relevant to web-based course development, and, if so, is it worded correctly? 8
  27. 27. Then, construct a list of instructional methods that apply a principle to Web-based course development. You will be asked to then vote on each principle and instructional item to establish its validity for application to Web-based course development for adults.‖ The final product was a draft instrument that was expert-content validated and tested for reliability that can be used as a guide to apply or as a tool to evaluate the use of adult learning principles to fully-mediated Web-based courses or training. The principle barrier to designing an instrument for measuring adult learning principles in web-based environments is the high level of difficulty in establishing its validity and reliability. To overcome this barrier, this researcher utilized experts in andragogy and Web course development to assist in developing the instrument. Significance of the study This exploratory study added a validated tool, the Online Adult Learning Inventory, for the evaluation of Web courses to promote excellence in adult learning programs. In 1998 the U.S. Department of Education survey identified 54,000 online courses (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2000). This instrument will be particularly useful in developing online courses. Dubois (1997) describes the impact of the Information Age on education where ―the majority of higher education students will be at least 25 years old and where lifelong learning will be ubiquitous‖ (p. 2). Businesses can also apply this tool to adult training and educational courses delivered at a distance by the World Wide Web, a mode that is becoming increasingly common (Brown, 1999). Presently, no other instruments have been developed specifically for fully-mediated World Wide Web courses to apply adult learning principles to the instruction. 9
  28. 28. Distance learning is now an important venue where significant adult learning occurs (Brookfield, 1995). ―Depending on the type of Internet technology a distance course employs, adults will tend to learn differently‖ and ―…the use of the Web may require a new commitment to andragogical principles‖ (Cahoon, 1998, p.29, 34). As a research area for consideration, Bates, et al. (1996) asked, ―What are the optimal computer-based instruction characteristics for adult learners?‖ and put forth the challenge to establish normative criteria based on adult learning principles (p.18). Faculty need to focus on learning theory in the design of instructional technology so that they can create lessons that not only are meaningful to adults but also focus on their requirements as an adult (Fidishun, 2000). ―The technologies available today enable totally new learning processes‖ and ―with the help of learning environments it is possible to break out of limitations imposed by the classroom and individual educational institutions and offer new opportunities for training for companies and adults‖ (Ruokamo & Pohjolainen, 2000, p. 122). Numerous citations (Cahoon, 1998; Brookfield, 1995; Bates, et al. 1996; Simonson, 1997; Ryan, Carlton, & Ali, 1999) reflect the need for further research in computer-mediated instruction for adults and suggest that computer design principles for adults may be different (Bates, et al. 1996). Tom Reeves, University of Georgia, strongly argues that more money has been invested in marketing computer-based education than in evaluating it. He goes on to say that, ―…it is imperative that criteria for evaluating various forms of CBE (computer-based education) be developed that will result in more valid and useful evaluations‖ (Reeves, 1995. p. 2). He also recommended that any evaluation instrument be subject to ―rigorous expert review‖ (p. 11). This challenge and 10
  29. 29. the difficulty in designing a valid instrument was met by employing ―rigorous expert review‖ by utilizing experts in the fields of andragogy, instructional design, and Web course development to construct the content of instrument. Also of importance was the method developed by the researcher to conduct a Delphi expert study utilizing the resources of the World Wide Web. Rather than employing the traditional paper and pencil Delphi techniques, the researcher developed a Web site with a threaded discussion forum for discussions related to developing content and validity, Web forms for voting purposes to determine the level of expert consensus, and as an archive to hold draft versions of the instrument and the text of previous discussions available for review at any time by the expert Delphi panel. Time was allotted for expert panel members to reflect on the content of the draft instrument, then add additional commentary to the discussion forum at any time and from any place. Assumptions The research design and procedures for this study were based on the following assumptions: 1. A thorough review of the literature and agreement by experts in the fields of adult learning and Web-based course development on the characteristics of a theoretically sound instrument fulfill the requirements for content and/or construct validity in an instrument to measure the strengths and weaknesses of the application of adult learning principles to Web-based courses. 2. Experts can share their information with this researcher. 11
  30. 30. 3. Since this research method was relatively new with reference to the Delphi process taking place on the World Wide Web and allotting time for reflection, it was assumed that this pioneering method meets the overall standards which have been developed for the Delphi research method. 4. The Delphi process for this study, although web-based, followed the generally established and accepted processes and procedures for the Delphi research method. 5. Since the instrument is western-cultural bound, it requires validation in other cultures. 6. A need exists for this instrument. Limitations and delimitations The research design and procedures for this study had inherent limitations. 1. The Delphi panel, although consisting of esteemed representatives from the fields of andragogy and Web course design, did not include all experts in these fields. 2. The field test was conducted on a relatively small sample of the potential audience, thus only an indication of reliability could be estimated. 3. A principle barrier and limitation to a study of this type is the high level of difficulty in designing a valid, reliable instrument for measuring Web sites 12
  31. 31. Definition of terms For the purpose of this study, the following definitions are used. Adult: An individual who has achieved full physical development and who occupies adult social roles (Houle, 1972). Adult Education: The education of people whose main business is not learning but living (Flesch, 1943, p.1), or, adult education takes place when adult learning outcomes and learning process rules and requirements are located in the individual (Knowles, et al. 1998, p. 121), or, adult education is a process whereby persons whose major social roles are characteristic of adult status undertake systematic and sustained learning activities for the purpose of bringing about changes in knowledge, attitudes, values, or skills (Darkenwald & Merriam, 1982, p. 9). Andragogy: The art and science of helping adults learn. In this model, the instructor/trainer acts as a facilitator of learning rather than the sole source of instruction (Knowles, 1980). Checklist: A type of rating scale in which the categories are dichotomous, i.e. requiring a yes or no answer (Aiken, 1996, p. v). Community: A definable unit separated from the rest of the world by geography, political system, or a complex interaction between people and groups (Houle, 1992, p.66-67). Computer-Based Instruction (CBI): Software program that displays information and instructions on a video screen, requiring learner participation and choices (Morrison, Ross, & Kemp, 2001). 13
  32. 32. Constructivism: A theory of how we learn. Learning means constructing, creating, inventing, and developing our own knowledge (Marlow & Page, 1998, p. 10). Content/construct validity: Content validity relies on human judgment and this judgment emanates from experts in the field or from relevant literature (Aiken, 1996, p.90). A content validation study assesses whether the instrument items represent the construct of interest (Crocker & Algina, 1986). Critical Thinking: The habit of examining experiences reflectively to assess their truth or value so as to transform ideas and beliefs (Brookfield, 1988a). Delphi Research Method: A method for achieving consensus among experts about a given problem (Linstone & Turnoff, 1975). Distance Learning: The broad range of teaching and learning events in which the student is separated at a distance from the instructor or other fellow learners (Bee & Usip, 1998, p. 265). It encompasses many methodologies including Web-based training, oneway and two-way audio/video teleconferencing, video broadcast, and even correspondence courses. Distance education may be delivered in real time or it may be delayed (asynchronous). Also, the separation of teachers and students interacting through mediated technologies under the auspices of an institution (Cahoon, 1998). E-mail: Electronic mail messages sent across a network to an individual or a group (Porter, 1997, p.252). Evaluation Instrument: An objective instrument whose purpose is to take a comprehensive, unbiased and cooperative look at a program and indicate what modifications or changes, if any, should be made (Rauch, 1970, p.244). 14
  33. 33. Instruction: A purposeful interaction to increase a learner‘s knowledge or skills in a specific, predetermined fashion (Ritchie & Hoffman, 1996). Instructional Design: A process of selecting a series of events to facilitate learning (Sims & Sims, 1995, p. 12). Interactive Learning: A process that assists learning through interaction with responsive technology (Hatcher, 1994). Learning: A process of gaining knowledge and/or expertise. (Knowles, et al., 1998, p. 17). Learning Style: The complex manner in which learners most efficiently and most effectively, perceive, process, store, and recall what they are attempting to learn. (Flannery, 1993, p. 47). Non-Traditional Student: A student over 25 years old, who may have a job, family, and community responsibilities (Rossman & Rossman, 1995, p. 5). Pedagogy: The art and science of teaching children (Knowles, et al. 1998, p. 36). Rating Scale: An instrument that requires ―the respondent to make evaluative judgments on an ordered series of categories‖ (Aiken, 1996, p. v). Self-Directed Learning: A purposive mental activity, dependent on metacognitive behaviors such as attending, focusing, questioning, comparing, contrasting, etc. that are personally controlled by the learner with little or no supervision (Long, 1992). A process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and other resources for learning, choosing and implementing learning strategies. Evaluating learning outcomes and self-directed learning usually takes place in association with 15
  34. 34. various helpers, such as teachers or mentors, resource people or peers (Knowles, 1975, p.18). Validity: ―The validity of an account is relative to the standards of a particular community at a particular place and time. The validity of an account by interpretation is judged in terms of the consensus about words, concepts, standards, and so on in a given community of interpreters‖ (Schwandt, p. 169). Weak Consensus: For this study weak consensus was defined as a mean of 3.0 or above but with an interquartile range greater than 1. (Consensus to include an item for this study was defined as a mean of 3.0 or above with an interquartile range of 0 or 1.) Weak consensus was used to carry over an item to the next voting round in order to give the opportunity for expert panel members to change their vote (Turoff & Hiltz, 1995). Web-Based Training: WBT is ―training delivered using TCP/IP and http protocols, the protocols that define the World Wide Web. Internet-based training (IBT) is training delivered using TCP/IP protocol, but not necessarily http, thus IBT might use proprietary protocols and applications. Training, in this sense, means instruction to improve skills, change attitudes, or enhance knowledge, principally in the workplace. Web-based learning (WBL), Web-based instruction (WBI), and Internet-Based instruction (IBI) use the same respective technologies‖ (Kirby & Bloak 1998). World Wide Web (WWW, Web): Information available in hypermedia through the Internet and accessible through a variety of interconnected links (Porter, 1997, p.254). 16
  35. 35. CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction The purpose of this study was to identify a gap in the literature for the application of adult learning principles to Web-based instruction or training and also to develop an instrument to assess the application of adult learning principles to Web-based instruction or training. The review of the literature provided both the foundation for and the periodic check of the content validity in developing the Online Adult Learning Inventory. In addition, the gap in the literature was identified, research questions and the research method for this study were derived from the literature, expert panel members were identified, and the importance of the study became apparent. In order to identify the gap, develop the instrument, and assess the appropriateness of the method, it was necessary to comprehensively review the literature. Because the purpose of developing the instrument was to merge the principles of adult learning with Web-based instruction or training, the obvious starting point was with adult learning principles and the opportunities and limitations of Web-based distance education. Learning theory gives substance to instruction and instructional design provides structure to the learning. Of additional interest to this study was the psychosocial differences among adults, particularly the life stages and events that 17
  36. 36. motivate adults to seek learning. Western (American and Western Europe) overviews of adult education and distance education provide background for the study. Adult education is driving distance education ―Learning itself has no limits‖ (Club of Rome, 1979, p. 21). In the current context of the ―knowledge society‖, the speed with which things are changing leads us to think that ―the more we know, the more we introduce change, and the more we need to reflect on it‖ (Gelpi, 1999, p. 26). The United Nations World Report on Human Development, stated that the three main priorities for persons, whatever the level of national development, are: (a). having a long and healthy life, (b). acquiring knowledge. and (c) having access to the necessary resources in order to obtain decent living conditions (Gelpi, 1999, p. 45, 13-14). Arnaud (1999) argues that the health and continuation of society rely more on flexibility, knowledge dissemination and human creativity than merely on individuals‘ capacity to adapt to work. Since people are living longer and changing careers more often, education is becoming a must instead of an option, and universities are a place for adults to go back to school (Shoemaker, 1998). Also, leading employers and enterprises have shown that investing in the adult learning of their workers is essential for competitiveness and growth. There appears to be continuing demand for higher qualifications emerging from rapid changes in work and technology (Gelpi, 1999). For lifelong learning to become a reality, a fundamental revision is required at all levels of education. Adult education systems must emphasize the development of flexible learning systems adapted to the needs, language and culture of the learner. Stressing the need for competency-based education, the development of a symbiotic relationship 18
  37. 37. between schools and local communities is needed for the acquisition of vocational skills for daily life and employment (Singh, 1999). A major factor behind the silent explosion in adult learning demand is the universalisation of primary education and the incentive created by the increasing uses of literacy in today‘s societies, that educational development is a lifelong endeavor and tends to be a cumulative process. The more people go to school in the first phase of their lives, the more they tend to participate in learning activities during adulthood. This is reinforced by the similar quiet revolution of information technology and by the emergence of information-intensive life and work contexts (Bélanger, 1999). Leading employers and enterprises have shown that investing in the adult learning of their workers is essential for competitiveness and growth. In the field of training, there appears to be continuing demand for higher qualifications emerging from rapid changes in work and technology (Gelphi, 1999). Online instruction is being rapidly adopted by many educational institutions and businesses to deliver instruction (American Society for Training and Development, 1997). Adult learning programs have been the driving forces behind distance education initiatives. The histories of adult education and distance education programs have been intertwined and today are closely bonded. Bates, et al. (1996) recognized the effectiveness in using computers for learning and estimated that by the year 2000, fifty percent or more of all industrial training will involve computers. Malcolm Knowles in 1989 predicted that most educational services and much learning will be delivered by computers at the learner‘s convenience in terms of time, place, and pace, and that 19
  38. 38. learning programs will be highly individualized (p. 149). There is little doubt that this is a continuing trend. According to futurists, the greatest unrealized job market is in unsolved problems, and solutions to solving problems often lies in insights gained through education (Shoemaker, 1998). Vocational education and training must be designed as a lifelong learning process (Bogir & Peltzer, 1999). Georgia Tech researchers noted that 36,000,000 people in the US were on the Internet in 1997 (Cahoon, 1998). From a 1999 survey by the Kentucky Virtual University, the majority of Kentucky citizens (52%) have Internet access and of those who do not, over half expect to have access in the next three years. The survey also indicated that the majority of Kentucky adults who are interested in pursuing postsecondary education in the next three years preferred online access to onsite access. Selfimprovement (52.3%) was the number one reason Kentuckians desired more education, while convenience (57.2%) was the top reason given why they wanted it online (Kentucky Virtual University, 2000). Furthermore, the option of learning online increases adult interest in professional development programs from 47.8% to 65.1% if offered online (Kentucky Virtual University). The number of adults on the Internet will continue to grow and intelligent tutoring systems will make Web-based instruction smarter (Cahoon, 1998). The adult learner Adult learning is defined as ―the process of adults gaining knowledge and expertise‖ (Knowles, et al., 1998, p. 124). Approximately 36% of college students are age 25 or older (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1999) and 46% of adults 20
  39. 39. participate in some form of formal learning activities (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1999). When returning students give reasons for returning to seek further education, they allude primarily to internal factors: they want to prepare for jobs, enlarge their horizons, refresh their skills or spirits, gain personal independence, self esteem, all positive forces working to attract them to learning (Apps, 1981; Justice & Dornan, 2001). A study referred to by Apps (1981) discovered that 83 percent of adult learners named some change or transition in their lives as motivation to start learning. Apps interviewed professionals in adult education and found six reasons for returning to school: occupational-related reasons, social acceptability, life enhancement, change in life situation, society‘s premium on degrees, and university recruiting. The College Board predicts that the adult student population will be the fastest growing segment of higher education in the 21st century (Rossman & Rossman, 1995, p. 5) and the National Center for Educational Statistics (1999) predicts a yearly rate of adult education increase at 9% through 2010. Apps goes on to say that traditional students are primarily students where returning students are primarily business people, homemakers, parents, and community volunteers. In addition, the returning students are no longer distracted by the problems that concern growing up. The motivation in returning students is high. They are much more purposeful, because they know what they want and have definite goals. Returning students are highly practical. They want to see a direct relationship of what they are studying to job performance improvement or a new career, as adults change jobs three or four times, maybe more during their working years. Learning environments for returning students must be holistic in that educators or trainers cannot deal with adult students in 21
  40. 40. isolation from the rest of their lives. Adults usually participate in learning because they want to, but mandatory continuing education or training is on the increase across the country. Another characteristic of adult learners is that they will not put up with poor teaching (Apps, 1981). Knowles (1986) described adult learners as having the self-concept of being an adult, with the desire and capability of taking responsibility for planning and managing their own learning. They bring with them a rich background of experience that is a valuable resource both for their own learning and for the learning of others. They are most ready to learn those things that they perceive will contribute to performing more effectively in their life tasks. They are unique, each with their own styles and paces of learning, outside commitments and pressures, goals, and internal motivations. Therefore their learning plans and strategies must be highly individualized. ―When adults naturally learn something (as opposed to being taught) they are highly self-directing. What adults learn on their own initiative they learn more deeply and permanently than what they learn by being taught‖ (Knowles, 1986, p. 27). Convergence of adult education and distance education programs ―Distance learning and Web-based courses are becoming synonymous‖ (Cahoon, 1998, p. 40). In addition, Cahoon states that the number of adults on the Internet will continue to grow and intelligent tutoring systems will make Web-based instruction smarter. In instruction, the technology should assist in meeting clear instructional aims rather than being an end in and of itself (p. 75, 29). Rossman & Rossman (1995, p. 3) made the point that the Internet or Web has encouraged and enabled distance learning to 22
  41. 41. be more effective. Furthermore, the use of the Web may bring about, even require, a new commitment to andragogical principles (Knowles, 1990). Overview of adult education Distance postsecondary education for adults has been available since the nineteenth century. At that time, the Chautauqua movement brought continuing education to millions of adult Americans long before anyone used (technology-based) distance education (Rossman & Rossman, 1995, p. 3). Josiah Holbrook of Connecticut in 1826 started the American Lyceum, which was a national network of local study groups primarily for adults. The purpose of these three thousand groups was self-improvement of its members through lectures, readings, and discussions, and the promotion of tax-supported public schools. In the 1840s, once public schools became common, the lyceum movement declined and was replaced by local clubs, Chautauqua, and university extension (Knowles, 1989). Later in Great Britain during the late 1870s, Oxford and Cambridge Universities initiated a program to extend liberal studies to working class adults. This foray into adult education gained momentum and established the field of adult education as we know it today (Houle, 1992). In 1919, the British Ministry of Reconstruction issued a report of the role of adult education in a free society. In essence it stated that adult education is ―a permanent national necessity, an inseparable aspect of citizenship, and, therefore, should be both universal and lifelong‖ (Houle, 1992, p. 7). Modern adult education dates from this report. Prior to this report there was no organized attempt toward adult education in Great Britain or the United States except sporadic programs for remedial education (Cotton, 1968). 23
  42. 42. Of enormous importance to education, particularly vocational education, was the passage of the Land Grant Act of 1862, otherwise known at the Morrill Act, after its sponsor Senator Morrill of Vermont. This act set aside land for state colleges for the research and study for average students in agricultural and mechanical arts. Some fifty years later, the Cooperative Extension Service would be added to these colleges and was instrumental in promoting the concept of adult education (Harrington, 1977; Knowles, 1989). During the next many years, significant contributions to the literature were made by Eduard C. Lindeman (1926), with The Meaning of Adult Education, the first American book to explore the meaning of adult education; Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1927), with Why Stop Learning? an avocation of adult education as a balance to the problems of materialism, and The Adult Education Journal, among others. Common themes of the time were concern for the dehumanization of people by machinery and that adults could be educated to deal with their situations and exert control over their destiny. John Dewey greatly influenced the American writers toward a democratic view of adult education, summed up with the statement, ―education is life‖ (Cotton, 1968, p. 53). In the early 20th century Antonio Gramsci, writing from prison, espoused adult education as a means to reform society and defeat political oppression. Later, Eduard Lindeman and Paulo Freire also believed adult education to be an instrument of social reform for empowerment and active democratic citizenship and for social transformation (Houle, 1992; Mayo, 1999). Lindeman‘s book, The Meaning of Adult Education, first published in 1926 states his values for adult education and his arguments for complex, urban societies to develop using adult education as a basis for social reform. 24
  43. 43. Freire, from Brazil, was considered to be one of the greatest thinkers on education this century (Mayo, 1999). His ‗pedagogy of the oppressed‘ program increased literacy allowing people to become eligible to vote. Thus he became a threat to the status quo and was subsequently arrested and deported. He eventually returned to Brazil to continue his work and writing in adult education. Gramsci, Freire, and to some extent Lindeman advocated transformative adult education, recognizing its political force for change. Freire‘s teaching methods included a process to facilitate authentic, critical dialogue to uncover social or political contradictions. Whereas funding for adult education was primarily for the purpose of upgrading vocational skills, Freire contended that educating is a political act and that one cannot deny the political aspect of education. In 1926, the American Association for Adult Education was founded to communicate in the field of adult education (Knowles, 1980). The association promoted both adult education and training and the two fields have become closely related. ―Training is concerned with the development and maintenance of competencies to perform specific roles by persons holding positions in existing systems…and education is concerned with the more general growth of the individual‖ (Griffin & McClusky, 1981, p. 97). The processes of learning in each is similar as are methods used in their implementation (Griffin, & McClusky, 1981). The ending of World War II and the passing of the GI Bill saw a large number of adults pursuing on-campus college degrees. Millions of young veterans took advantage of this educational opportunity and they demonstrated that older students were capable of success in higher education (Harrington, 1977). 25
  44. 44. During the 1950s, many professional organizations concerned with adult education were founded in the United States which brought about numerous publications, conferences, research and training programs. Adult education during this time was dominated by professional adult educators rather than intellectuals and social reformers (Cotton, 1968). The success of continuing professional education was the most dramatic change in postsecondary adult education after 1965. However, two-year community colleges were also established in large numbers to serve a primarily adult student body (Harrington, 1977). Adult education has since become more institutionalized as the fourth level of education (Cotton, 1968). There are three elements in the process for adult education (Knowles, 1986). The first element is the method or the organization of the prospective participants for purposes of education. The second element involves techniques: the variety of ways in which the learning task is managed so as to facilitate learning. The third and final element involves devices: all those particular things or conditions which are utilized to augment the techniques and make learning more certain. Overview of distance education Although distance education is often viewed as a recent development, correspondence courses were established as early as the 1870s (McVay, 2000). One of the origins of distance education in this country was the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle that was established in 1878 as an integrated core program of adult education. The basic four-year curriculum leading to a diploma consisted of home reading in conjunction with reading circles. However, Chautauqua expanded to summer programs, traveling seminars, and it pioneered the development of correspondence 26
  45. 45. courses and university extension (Knowles, 1989). Then by 1882, the University of Chicago had established a home study program. By 1923 over ten percent of all radio stations were home based at educational institutions and delivered educational programming. The National Home Study Council, established in 1926, has delivered courses to over 55 million students. With the advent of electronic communications, distance education then took the form of audio recordings and radio. Television programming started delivering instruction in 1951 when the City Colleges of Chicago started offering credit courses on a large scale (McVay, 2000). Satellite broadcasts started in the 1980s (Research Institute for Studies in Education, 1994). Starting in the 1970s, through the 1980s and into the 1990s, computer-based instruction was used both for training and instruction with delivery on local area networks. Good courseware was expensive to produce with between 150 and 300 hours of development time for one hour of instruction. The large-scale use of computers in distance education started after the inception of the World Wide Web in 1992 (McVay, 2000). In 1971 the Open University of the United Kingdom was founded, offering university degrees by distance education. The University was innovative from its inception with sophisticated course offerings, extensive use of media, and a student body primarily consisting of adults who were employed and part-time students. The prestige of the Open University spurred the establishment of similar higher education institutions offering in industrialized countries offering their programs through distance education (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacedk, 2000). 27
  46. 46. Instructional settings can be divided into four types: same-time same-place, different- time same-place, same-time different-place, and different-time different-place (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2000). Traditional instruction takes place at the same time and in the same place. This is usually described at the teacher-centered, self-contained classroom. Different-time same-place usually refers to instruction taking place in a learning center or computer lab with computer-based instruction available on a walk-in basis. The last two categories take place at a distance. The first, same-time different-place refers to synchronous instruction where the instructor as well as the students in one or more different locations are assembled for class at the same time. This is the typical format for interactive television or video conferencing classes as well as audio or text chat discussions. Dan Coldeway (in Simonson, et al, 2000) said that the purest form of distance education occurs at different times and in different places where learners can choose when and where to learn and access materials. Courses on the World Wide Web, fully-mediated by computer, illustrate this type of instruction, also called asynchronous instruction. The World Wide Web (WWW, Web) has become one of the most popular methods of disseminating distance learning programs since 1993 with the introduction of the Mosaic browser (Driscoll, 1998, p. 4.). ―In fact, if learners and educators/trainers don‘t need face-to-face communication during the course, it is one of the best methods of providing information to learners ‖ (Porter, 1997, p. 127). Distance learning is used by educational institutions, such as public or private schools from preschool through graduate programs. It can provide materials in a single medium or multiple media and in different formats to meet different learners‘ preferences in learning styles, needs, and 28
  47. 47. abilities (Porter, 1997). In 2000, community colleges and universities offered more than 52,000 courses at a distance and corporate ‗universities‘ have increased from 400 to 1,600 in the past decade with most of them using online instruction (Ely, 2000). Business and industry, national and international firms are using and exploring the options of using Web-based learning to train their adult workforce as it is cost-effective and available at any time. ―Web-based training is poised for rapid growth into the next millennium as the technology becomes more accessible‖ (Driscoll, 1999, p. 10). Spitzer (1998) and Porter (1997) put distance education in perspective in relation to learning: "Distance education doesn't represent a minor change. In fact…it represents an entirely new context for learning, and therefore requires a new set of behaviors for both students and instructors" (Porter, p.53). Distance learning changes education from a linear to a nonlinear process. ―This ability to access as much or as little information as the individual chooses, in whatever associational order he or she desires, changes the nature of education from a linear to a nonlinear process‖ (Porter, 1997, p. 202). Web-based learning, for purposes of this dissertation, is essentially learning that is constructed as a part of a World Wide Web experience. Historically, access to technology has been a hindrance to using the web for instruction in other than special circumstances. This is no longer the case. If a student in the United States or Europe does not have access at home, he/she typically will have access available at a local school or library (Burge & Roberts, 1993). With this more universal access comes opportunity. Teaching and learning are no longer limited to time and place. Nor are they limited to teacher-centered behaviorist methods of instruction. In comparison with a traditional classroom, where the teacher 29
  48. 48. contributes up to 80% of the words, on-line computer instructional conferencing shows teacher contributions of only 10 - 15% of the message-words (McDonald & Elias, 1976). Using the web as an instructional tool allows faculty to develop a more student-centered learning environment, featuring active learning as its central theme. The nature of human learning The same principles of human learning and behavior must form the basis of an instructional program for adult learners as well as other learners (Morrison, et al., 2001, p. 53). Educational literature often includes three views of the nature of human beings: the Freudian view, behaviorist view, and the humanistic view (Apps, 1981). The Freudian view, from the research of Sigmund Freud looks at human nature as determined by biological drives and the way each person copes with those drives. Freud believed that the human psyche was divided into the id, the ego, and the superego that served as the basis for behavior, including learning behavior. The id consists of unconscious animal instincts, the ego as the sum of a person‘s conscious awareness, and the superego as the censor or conscience a person has gained from society (Apps, 1981; Ormrod, 1999). The behaviorist view of human beings came from the research of John Watson and B.F. Skinner (Skinner, 1953). The behaviorist view assumes human behavior is influenced by external factors and that stimulus-response is the primary reason for changes in human behavior, or learning. This thinking was influenced by the emergence of the scientific method in research. Responses to stimuli are easily measured and quantified (Apps, 1981; Ormrod, 1999). B.F. Skinner, well known for his theories of operant behavior, believed that the study of behavior must rest on what people do and do not do. He postulated that we learn 30
  49. 49. behaviors that are followed by certain consequences or reinforcers. A response followed by a reinforcing stimulus was strengthened and therefore more likely to occur again. The law of extinction is just the opposite in that behaviors, not followed by a reinforcer, becomes extinct (Apps, 1981). Behaviorism as applied to learning follows the pattern for presenting students with small bits of knowledge to master, then integrating them into major concepts (Ormrod, 1999). Early (pre-1995) instructional designers followed Skinner‘s precepts with step-bystep instruction followed by extensive feedback and reinforcement. Although instructional design is using less of Skinner‘s cognitive theories today, in favor of constructivist theories, some of the work of his contemporary, Tolman, is still relevant. His theories of cognitive maps formulation has gained new followers in designers of Web-mediated learning environments (Apps, 1981). Edward Chase Tolman rejected the learning theory of behavioral psychologists – random trial and error. Instead, he said that learning was a systematic process guided by goals and expectations. He believed that learners develop what he called cognitive maps, which are mental images of the probable paths to their goals. Learning can occur in the absence of reinforcement, except for the intrinsic reinforcement in being involved in exploration and satisfying the curiosity drive. Goal-directed behavior is always a gettingtoward-something or getting-away-from-something. Tolman held that description of any behavior should include (a) What the organism is doing, (b) Where it is going, and (c) what it is trying to do (Ormrod, 1999, p. 146 – 147). Tolman‘s views on education included a focus on reinforcing student successes and to not punish failures. He recommended individualized instruction where complex 31
  50. 50. behaviors are gradually shaped. Reinforcement for appropriate responses should be consistent and immediate. Learned behaviors are maintained through intermittent reinforcing schedules. Programmed learning and early instructional design theories came out of his work (Ormrod, 1999). In the 1940s psychologists developed the humanist view of behavior or learning (Apps, 1981, Grasha, 1996). Whereas the Freudians believed that behavior was influenced by drives and instincts and the behaviorists believed that behavior was a function of external stimuli, the humanists reasoned that people are free agents and creators of their own learning. This view proposes that people are both influenced by the world and act as influencers of the world. Eric Fromm suggests that people define their humanity in terms of the society in which they are a part (Apps, 1981). According to research by Apps, returning students expect a learning environment consistent with humanistic philosophy. Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, argued during the 1920s and 1930s that ―students heard what they perceived, which may not be what the teacher said‖ (Marlowe & Page, 1998, p.14). One cannot overestimate Piaget‘s contribution to the formulation and understanding of what became known as constructivism. He had two important ideas about how people learn. First, he used the term, schemata, which refers to knowledge structures or constructs and ways of perceiving, understanding, and thinking about the world. According to Piaget, students construct their own knowledge schemes in relation to, and filtered through, previous and current experiences. Second, Piaget described mental development (learning) as a process of equilibrium in response to external stimuli. In other words, the student, in interaction with the environment, assimilates 32
  51. 51. complementary components of the external world into his existing cognitive structures (schemata). If new experiences do not fit the existing knowledge structures or schemes, the student will change or alter those structures to accommodate the new information. The process of assimilation and accommodation create equilibrium (Piaget, 1971). When an external disturbance causes disequilibrium, the student has to think in order to resolve the conflict. The process of maintaining equilibrium, construction and reconstruction of knowledge, in relation to the environment is what creates cognitive growth (Marlowe & Page, 1998; Piaget, 1971). In the 1950s, after Sputnik and the resulting calls for reform in education, the American psychologist Jerome Bruner claimed that teaching of information out of context results in rote nonsense. When the content is not connected to action by the learner, learners do not make the necessary cognitive connections (Marlowe & Page, 1998, p.15). Discovery is the core of Bruner‘s theory. Whatever a person discovers for himself is what he truly knows. From discovery comes increased intellectual ability, including the ability to solve problems. This discovery is a matter of students thinking about and rearranging material in terms of their interests and cognitive structures (term for schemata) in a way that leads to new insights and new inquiry. The goal is for students to be autonomous and self-propelled learners (Bruner, 1961). Carl Rogers (1969), another humanist, wrote that all human beings have a propensity to learn through experiential learning, a participative process where the student becomes personally involved in the learning process and exercises control over its nature and direction. Malcolm Knowles was greatly influenced by Rogers and the 33
  52. 52. humanist philosophy as it relates to learning and it served as a basis for andragogy (Knowles et al., 1998). Current research shows that intelligence develops according to the different problems that we actually resolve, through games, work or home, or in collective life (Tennant & Pogson, 1995). Until recently, cognitive psychology was the standard theory behind instructional practices (Jonnassen, Davidson, Collins, Campbel, & Haag, 1995). Constructivism is a theory of learning not a theory of teaching and advocates meaningmaking rather than information processing (Wolffe & McMullen, 1996). Construction of learning and negotiation are the hallmarks of constructivism. Although constructivism is often practiced in the K-12 environment, Lambert, Walker, Zimmerman, Cooper, Lambert, Gardner, and Slack (1995) argue that the principles of constructivism are more readily incorporated into the andragological instructional design for adults. They note constructivist practices are often incorporated into Web-based instruction. Constructivism differs from earlier learning theories in that it presumes that knowledge cannot be transmitted from one person to another, that it must be reconstructed by each learner. Social constructivists, such as Vogotsky, emphasize collaboration and dialogue as necessary to construct meaning-making. According to Wilson (1995), ―The constructivist movement has helped to validate a more opensystems view of instruction that is less defined by prespecified objectives and more open to the initiative of students and teachers. The result is instruction that depends more on context-sensitive decisions and resources‖ (p. 30). Each of us constructs our own meaning and learning about issues, problems, and topics. Because none of us has had exactly the same experiences as any other person, our 34
  53. 53. understandings, our interpretations, and our schema (knowledge constructs, learning) of any concepts cannot be exactly the same as anyone else‘s. Our prior experiences, knowledge, and learning affect how we interpret and experience new events. Our interpretations, in turn, affect construction of our knowledge structures and define our new learning (Marlowe & Page, 1998). ―The parallels between moderate views of constructivism and andragogy are rather striking. Both stress ownership of the learning process by learners, experiential learning and problem-solving approaches to learning‖ (Knowles, et al., 1998, p. 143). Educators, versed in brain-based theory, favor a constructivist, active learning approach to learning models (Bruer, 1999). In recognizing that every brain is uniquely organized, the search for meaning occurs through patterning that involves conscious and unconscious processes. The best learning occurs when facts and skills are embedded in instructional experiences that relate to real life. Collaboration with others enhances the experience. As a part of real-life experiences, emotions are critical to patterning and must not be overlooked in the course of instruction (Poole, 1997). Lambert, Walker, Zimmerman, Cooper, Lambert, Gardner, and Slack (1995) argue that the principles of constructivism are more readily incorporated into the andragological instructional design for adults. They also note constructivist practices are often incorporated into Web-based instruction. Studies of adult learning through distance education (Eastmond, 1998) found that adult learners engage in knowledge construction, collaborative learning, reflection, and interactivity. Many lists have been made for constructivist learning principles and one of the most concise was by Merril (1991). He listed the following statements: (a) Knowledge is 35
  54. 54. constructed from experience; (b) Learning is a personal interpretation of the world; (c) Learning is an active process of meaning-making based on experience; (d) Learning is collaborative with meaning negotiated from multiple perspectives occurring in a (situated) realistic setting; (e) Testing should be integrated with the task, not the separate activity. Other lists have been given by Brooks and Brooks (1993), Jonasson (1992), Lambert, et al. (1995), and numerous others. Seldom are the lists illustrated by examples of classroom practices or online instructional practices as they relate to adult learning. Learning theory applied to adult learning ―Successful learning for adults is the key to becoming literate, to maintain workplace skills, and to participate in continued development as individuals and world citizens‖ (Flannery, 1993, p. 1). Malcolm Knowles (1989) described the practical relationship between learning theory and learning situations as, at the low end of complexity of task are the behaviorist theories that brought about programmed learning. At the middle complexity of the learning task are the cognitive theories that are the basis for much of traditional teaching. Then, at the high end are the humanistic theories that include self-directed learning. Bruner‘s principles of constructivism included that instruction must be concerned with the experiences and contexts that make the student willing and able to learn, or their readiness to learn. Instruction should be designed to fill in the gap between prior learning and new learning objectives (Bruner, 1990). Merriam and Caffarella (1991, pp. 140-158) offer some suggestions for applying instructional design to adult learning. While research generally agrees that deterioration of memory is minor until old age, problems with memory do occur and especially when 36
  55. 55. adults are faced with meaningless learning. Also Lacefield (1999) notes that the shortterm memory capacity of adults is limited to about 5 to 9 bits of new information at a time. Chunking, or putting together information which fits into the same category, allows the learner to increase short-term memory capacity. Psychosocial differences among adults The attention of developmental psychologists was for a long time focused on children. By the early 1900s the field included the entire lifespan from conception to death (Tuijnman & van der Kamp, 1992). Age anchors virtually all categories of developmental processes in developmental psychology. Lifespan phases may, however, be culture-specific. Levinson (1978) summarized the stages of adult development as follows: PreAdulthood – childhood and adolescence (birth to 17 years); Early Adulthood – entering the adult world (22-28 years), the age thirty transition (28-33), and settling down (33-40); Middle Adulthood – mid-life transition (40-45), then entering middle adulthood (45-50), the age fifty transition (50-55), and the culmination of middle adulthood (55-60); and Late Adulthood – the late adult transition (60-65), and finally, late adulthood (p. 19). Sheehy (1976) describes adult life stages as follows: The years 18-20 are a time to pull up roots. The 20s has the focus on finding truth and determining ―who am I?‖ Near 30 year-old people re-assess and then settle down in the 30s. At about age 35 comes a deadline in determining career goals, and after the mid-40s there is renewal or resignation, depending on what happened in the previous passage. Jung is considered by some to be the father of the modern-day study of adult development (Apps, 1981, p. 100). Jung identified what he called ―individualization,‖ a 37
  56. 56. term which means the time when an adult becomes uniquely individual, when a person becomes capable of fully utilizing inner resources in order to pursue his or her own goals. Persons at this stage begin to become more aware, to better understand, and to develop new meanings of experience (Apps, 1981, p. 101). In describing the stages of adulthood, Jung simplified his scheme into before 40 as early adulthood and after 40 as late adulthood when one becomes fully functional and complete as a person (p. 100). Current research shows that intelligence develops according to the different problems that we actually resolve, through games, work or home, or in collective life (Tennant &Pogson, 1995). According to Paul Legrand (1970, p. 47), education is the ―development of the being through implementation of his capacities in all his various experiences. The development of the being includes any intellectual, sensitive or spiritual food which can be taken in by an individual substance.‖ Adult students in training or instructional activities exhibit some different traits from younger students. Ackerman (1998) conducted a series of tests using various knowledge scales to measure the intellectual differences between traditional college-age students and older adults of 30 years of age or older. He found that the older adult group performed at a significantly lower level on mathematical and spatial ability tests but performed significantly better on all other knowledge tests except chemistry, where there was no significant difference between performance due to age. This result is consistent with the fact that older adults tend to perform better in postsecondary courses than younger adults with equivalent scores on the SAT or ACT (Ackerman, 1998, p. 5). Merriam (1984) suggested that an important relationship exists between adult development and adult education. Cross (1981) in describing the CAL (Characteristics of 38
  57. 57. Adults as Learners) model, stated that the CAL framework provided a means for thinking about the ever changing adult in terms of developmental stages (p. 238). Instructional design as a framework for adult instruction and training The practice and art of instructional design or instructional systems design is in the process of undergoing fundamental change. As an outgrowth of behaviorist theory, instructional design had clear rules for training or courseware development: stated objectives, step-by-step procedures, bits of instruction followed by reinforcement, assessment and feedback, to integrate into concepts. Although drill and practice methods are used less often today, they have been closely identified with a behaviorist approach to teaching. By its nature, behaviorist methods of teaching assumed that the knowledge was out there waiting to enter the brain of the student. Teaching by lecture is an obvious college-level application of that assumption. Instructional design is traditionally defined as a ―set of principles to achieve effective, efficient, and relevant instruction. It usually includes five phases: analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation‖ (Dick & Carey, 1990). Theorists and practitioners involved in teaching instructional design have begun to find fault with traditional teaching models, which convey a formal, abstract process often far removed from real world practice. These leaders are calling instead for more authentically-based experiences that allow students to better integrate the knowledge and skills of their discipline while simultaneously learning to function successfully within the context of real-world situations (Bannan-Ritland, 2000). Today, instructional design 39
  58. 58. practice is enhanced by methods such as case studies, authentic project-based experiences, and cognitive apprenticeship models (Tessmer & Wedman,1995). Bannan-Ritland (2000) advocates action learning as a basis of the instructional design process. As a foundation for the practice of instructional design, action learning provides a framework for team-based, project focused, learning experiences that capitalize on the multiple skills of a team of learners in a problem solving process. Promoted primarily in business settings, action learning has been used in corporate management programs. ―…action learning is both a process and a powerful program that involves a small group of people solving real problems while at the same time focusing on what they are learning and how their learning can benefit each group member and the organization‖ (p.4). This approach relies on real problems or settings and questioning techniques that encourage new approaches in the effort to solve a problem. Action learning promotes involving participants in problems that present unfamiliar content or are situated in unfamiliar settings. One or more unfamiliar factors bring about more creative responses and provokes more innovative questions, as opposed to allowing those involved to rely on established or comfortable approaches or typical solutions that might be generated in more familiar contexts. Action learning, thus, requires a real problem and a committed group of individuals to solve the problem. The problem in question must be seen as significant by all participants. Learning involving the action learning method, has the potential to increase student‘s motivation by creating the opportunity to make a significant difference on real projects rather than merely completing a class assignment (Bannan-Ritland, 2000). 40
  59. 59. Behaviorists point out that many of their practices continue to maintain their viability in teaching today: (a) some skills do transfer from one context to another, (b) knowledge does transfer between tasks, (c) abstract training can be effective when properly taught, and (d) since not all real world situations are social, not all instruction must have a social context (Anderson, Reder, & Simon, 1997). Cognitive theorists postulated that what is represented in the mind is a reflection of what exists in the real world around us. Jerome Bruner (1990), one of the writers on constructivist learning, spoke out on the failure of cognitive science in abandoning ―meaning-making‖ for ―information processing‖ and its focus on logic and computation. The development of computers with an input-processing-output system have inspired these views of learning. Both criterion-referenced instruction and its accompanied evaluation procedures are objectivist constructs and not applicable to constructivistic environments (Jonassen, 1992). Constructivist instructional design is part of the overall philosophy of humanism which is changing instruction today. Humanism involves personal choice, authenticity, self-direction, self-actualization as postulated by Maslow (1970), and shaping the affective, emotive, and aesthetic domains (Hiemstra & Brockett, 1994). In summary, Morrison, et al. (2001) identified planning elements that are fundamental to any instructional design, Web-based or classroom: 1. For whom is the program developed? (characteristics of learners or trainees, adults or youth) 2. What do you want the learners or trainees to learn or demonstrate? (objectives) 41
  60. 60. 3. How is the subject content or skill best learned? (instructional strategies) 4. How do you determine the extent to which learning is achieved? (evaluation procedures) (p. 5). Instructional design applied to Web-based learning It is not only instructional design but interface design that is undergoing change. From a constructivist viewpoint, interface design is more than the buttons and objects on the screen, it encompasses the entire range of interactive human activity. Interface design is tied to a more "holistic view of the entire human experience with computers" (Laurel, 1990). ―Using Internet tools and resources in ways that will benefit students means we must function more as instructional designers than as direction followers‖ (Harris, 2000, p. 3). The design structure Harris advocates is activity structures. Activity structures are the support structures, from which a variety of activities can be initiated. She lists a variety of these support structures which include electronic appearances from subject matter experts, information collection and analysis, database creation, electronic publishing such as e-zines (electronic periodicals) and portfolios, pooled data analysis, problem solving, social action projects which may be humanitarian or action-oriented in nature (Harris, 1998a, p. 6). Activity structures are design tools. They can be used by instructors to facilitate using the internet by students to meet learning goals. They help form the general plan for the learning project. Internet-supported, curriculum-based learning can take many forms, but essentially it is either online collaboration or online research. Interpersonal exchange is the oldest and most popular of educational telecomputing activities. Examples of this are 42
  61. 61. e-mail, bulletin boards, real-time audio- or video-conferencing tools such as Internet Relay Chat or CU-SeeMe (Harris, 1998b). Communication exchange with the following characteristics are perceived by participants as more successful: a regular rhythm of message traffic; communications that are active, inquiry-based, and student-centered; communications that are multidimensional or which utilize intellect and emotion to balance scholastic and personal information shared. In other words, participants know each other as multidimensional people as well as intellectual comrades (Harris, O‘Bryan, & Rotenberg, 1996). Cahoon (1998), referring to Web course design and implementation, states that 15 to 20 students is a manageable group for interaction and instructor management. In addition, instructional Web sites should be continuously evaluated by the following criteria: ease of use, relevance to course topics, comprehensiveness, assisting in research, fostering student interaction, facilitating feedback, promoting critical thinking skills, encouraging reflection, providing self-assessment tools (Cahoon, 1998). Instructional design applied to adult learning Learning is an active process of construction of meaning and a fundamental aim of any educational process is the development of meaning. An aim of instruction is to facilitate learner growth in critical thinking, problem solving, and learning to learn. Adults learn best when they feel comfortable in the learning environment and they attempt learning tasks that allow them to succeed within the context of their limited time and outside responsibilities. They expect to provide input into the planning of their own learning goals and processes and to have an opportunity to apply the learning to practical situations in their own lives. Adults also need a variety of options appropriate to their 43
  62. 62. learning styles and an opportunity to engage in social learning, to learn from their peers, and to associate new learning with previous experiences (Nebraska Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy, 1996). Although the disciplines of instructional design and adult education have been derived from two different groups of theorists, Hiemstra and Brockett (1994) refer to the emergence of ‗second generation instructional design‘ that combines both disciplines (p. 6). They contend that many adult educators today incorporate humanist beliefs, such as self-direction in learning and valuing learner experience, into their courses for adults. On the other hand, Hiemstra and Brockett observe that some instructional designers and educators have difficulty in incorporating more humanistic practices into their instruction, relying to a greater extent on behaviorist practices. ―…this means that the self-directed learning knowledge emanating primarily from adult educators during the past two decades has considerable potential in the future design of instructional efforts‖ (p. 3). ―Those designing distance education should, moreover, pay attention to differences among adults – in individual learning styles, preferences for acquiring new knowledge and skills, and levels of maturity or ways of responding to new learning situations‖ (Verduin & Clark, 1991, p. 32). For distance learners, James and Gardner (1995) suggest adding visual material (drawings, graphs, or pictures), providing text for auditory instruction, providing for active participation, providing a study guide, and provide as much variety as possible. Studies of adult learning through distance education (Eastmond, 1998) found that adult learners engage in knowledge construction, collaborative learning, reflection, and 44
  63. 63. interactivity. Eastmond points out, however, that none of ―these elements are inherent in the technology but must be fostered by the course design‖ (p. 37). Emergence of adult learning principles: Research and conceptual publications ―There is no such thing as genuine knowledge and fruitful understanding except as offspring of doing‖ (Dewey, 1916, p. 321). Dewey objected to the content and method of classical education because it was boring and did not involve problem solving or reflective thinking (Marlowe & Page, 1998). Dewey talked about the interaction of the learner and the environment and intellectual integration. This process of integration included seeking, finding, using, organizing, digesting, and assimilating information. His theory was that what one learned in one situation helped to direct the understanding and actions in future situations (Dewey, 1931). Dewey described the mind as something to do (a verb) rather than something to be filled like a sponge. He believed that because students need to interact with their environment in order to think, every student should be engaged in activity around a project. For projects to be educative, Dewey (1933) argued, they need to fit the student‘s interest. They need to involve the student actively, have intrinsic worth, present problems that would lead to new questions and inquiry, and involve a considerable time span. Problem solving should not be an end in itself but should lead to other questions and problems (Marlowe & Page, 1998, p.17). Malcolm Knowles is widely known in the United States as the father of andragogy (Hatcher, 2000). The titles of many of his books reflect the recent history of adult learning principles and thinking on the topic: Informal Adult Education (1950); the 45

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