Barriers to Adult Education Participation, Distance Education, and Adult Learning

Barriers to Adult Education Participation, Distance Education, and Adult Learning

E. Paulette Isaac (University of Missouri-St. Louis, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-906-0.ch067
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Volumes of research exist which explains adults’ participation in adult education. Research suggests that adults participate in adult education for a variety of reasons. Nonetheless, adults also face a variety of barriers to their participation. Whether in a traditional or distance education format, adults may confront barriers to their learning. Now that technology plays such an important role in adult learning, new and returning adults may find additional barriers. Some barriers are within learners’ control. On the other hand, institutions can take measures to eliminate other barriers and enhance learning.
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Adult Education Participation

Numerous researchers have conducted studies to explain why adults participate in adult education (Boshier, 1971, 1991; Boshier & Collins, 1985; Morstain & Smart, 1977; Fujita-Stark, 1999; Hawkins, 2007). In general, job enhancement/professional development is cited as a motivation for participation. Other motivations have included a love of learning, social interaction, social stimulation, and enhancement of communication skills, just to name a few. However, the context of learning also impacts motivations. For example, in her study of childcare workers, Hawkins found that they not only participated for enhanced job performance, but they also participated to improve childcare programs. In an examination of African American churches, Isaac, Guy, and Valentine (2001) reported that spiritual and religious development, support in facing personal challenges, and family togetherness motivated adults to participate in church-based educational programs. In a study of soldiers, Covert (2002a, 2002b) found that they participated to prepare for their transition to civilian life, to get a credential, and for self-efficacy enhancement. Some motivations of older adults’ are consistent with that of their younger counterparts, yet others are distinctive. For example, they participate to keep up with new technologies and information, to be fulfilled, to learn new skills, intellectual stimulation or a love for learning, to escape boredom, for social contact or interaction with others, and to pursue new interests or hobbies (Mulenga & Liang, 2008; Sloane-Seale & Kops, 2007). Adults have a variety of reasons for participating in adult education. Some are consistent among adult learners. However, some are unique based on the learner and the context. Although some adults may be highly motivated to participate in educational activities, others are confronted with barriers that impede or deter their participation.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Deterrent: A negative or positive force that works in combination with other forces that impact participation. (Darkenwald & Valentine, 1990, p. 30)

Immediacy: The psychological distance between a communicator and a receiver. (Aragon, 2003)

Barrier: An “absolute blockage” (Darkenwald & Valentine, 1990, p. 30) which prevents an adult from participating in adult education.

Fortitude: Mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously.

Knowledge: Acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition

Distance Education: A learning situation whereby a student and instructor are separated physically or geographically. The “transmission of instruction from one location to multiple locations via telecommunication technology that is either synchronous . . . or asynchronous.” (Zirkle, Norris, Winegardner, &Frustaci, 2006, p. 103).

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Patricia Cranton
Victor C. X. Wang
Chapter 1
Judith Parker
Communication technology has influenced every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Yet, much of the literature on this influence focuses... Sample PDF
The Role of Information Communication Technologies in Enriching Adult Education Theory Building
Chapter 2
Lesley S. J. Farmer
To understand how learning is impacted by technology, an overview of learning processes, adult education, and educational technology is needed.... Sample PDF
How Adults Learn Through Information Technologies
Chapter 3
Kathleen P. King
Understanding and successfully designing online learning courses are among the greatest needs of faculty in adult and higher education today. An... Sample PDF
Comprehensive Distance Learning Design for Adult Education
Chapter 4
Marc G. Weinstein, Tonette S. Rocco, Maria S. Plakhotnik
This chapter explores how the emergent information ecosystem relates to assumptions about adult learners articulated in andragogy (Knowles, 1970... Sample PDF
Web 2.0 and the Actualization of the Ideals of Adult Education
Chapter 5
Victor C.X. Wang
In an effort to promote the andragogical teaching model in helping adult learners learn online, the author of this chapter has sought to compare and... Sample PDF
Conventional Online Teaching vs. Andragogical Online Teaching
Chapter 6
Joy E. Harris
This research attempts to lay the groundwork for the establishment of a proposed theory of Learned Technological Helplessness (LTH) in female adult... Sample PDF
Towards a Theory of Learned Technological Helplessness
Chapter 7
Melissa Wright, Lilian H. Hill
This chapter includes a brief history of the Internet, definitions of Web 2.0 and characterization of its social nature, identification and... Sample PDF
The Use of Web 2.0 Technologies in the ESL Classroom
Chapter 8
Gabriele Strohschen
This chapter delineates the origins of Western values that underlie prevailing adult education practices, calling for a critical analysis of... Sample PDF
Framing a Philosophy for 21st Century Global Recurrent Education: Considerations on the Role of the Adult Educator
Chapter 9
Ernest W. Brewer, Nancy S. Headlee
This chapter explores prominent adult learning theories and their contributions to the understanding and the delivery of adult education. Such... Sample PDF
Adapting Adult Learning Theories for Online Learning
Chapter 10
David Deggs, Kenda Grover, Kit Kacirek
The use of distance education technologies has become more common in adult education and training programs over the past few decades as educators... Sample PDF
Impact of Virtual Learning Environments on the Future of Adult Education and Training
Chapter 11
Karen Weller Swanson
Many times students enroll in courses with the sole intention of learning new content or skills. While this is a reasonable goal, a longer term... Sample PDF
Delightfully, Difficult Work: Transformation through Teaching and Learning
Chapter 12
Lesley S. J. Farmer
Economic and social activities rely on information and communication technologies. Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning.... Sample PDF
Technology-Enhanced Information Literacy in Adult Education
Chapter 13
Teresa Torres-Coronas, María Arántzazu Vidal-Blasco
In the present landscape of technological change there is increasing awareness of the need to support the acquisition of digital competences. In... Sample PDF
Promoting Digital Competences through Social Software: A Case Study at the Rovira i Virgili University
Chapter 14
Teresa J. Carter, Jeffrey S. Nugent
Twenty-first century information communication technologies are enabling learners to create personal learning networks (PLNs) tailored to individual... Sample PDF
Personal Learning Networks: Implications for Self-Directed Learning in the Digital Age
Chapter 15
Maria Martinez Witte, James E. Witte, Suzy Westenkirchner
Online education provides increased accessibility and possibilities for learners in various locations and situations. Once learners decide to... Sample PDF
Key Aspects of Teaching and Learning in the Online Environment
Chapter 16
Shalin Hai-Jew
Online learning—whether it is human-facilitated or automated, hybrid / blended, asynchronopus or synchronous or mixed--often relies on learning /... Sample PDF
Structuring and Facilitating Online Learning through Learning / Course Management Systems
Chapter 17
Chris Thomas, Wendy Green, Doug Lynch
The internet and telecommunications technologies have redefined distance learning, while at the same time led to increased access to students and an... Sample PDF
Online Learning: An Examination of Contexts in Corporate, Higher Education, and K-12 Environments
Chapter 18
Pi-Chi Han
Globalization has increased the need to understand the nature of work-related adult learning and development across national boundaries. It is... Sample PDF
Cross-Cultural Learning and Intercultural Competence
Chapter 19
Royce Ann Collins
Through out the years, teaching has evolved with each passing generation and adapted to the new technologies and new ways of instructing as the... Sample PDF
Applying Web 2.0 Technologies to Traditional Teaching
Chapter 20
Mary C. Ware
Distance learning via the internet has become the key to reaching adult learners globally. Adult learners have been shown to benefit from such... Sample PDF
Insuring Self-Direction and Flexibility in Distance Learning for Adults: Using Contracts
Chapter 21
Jules K. Beck, Kit Kacirek
Qualitative methods can be useful tools to evaluate the effectiveness of distance education programs. This analysis examines an interpretive case... Sample PDF
Using Qualitative Methods to Evaluate Distance Education: A Case Study
Chapter 22
Catherine J. Irving, Leona M. English
This chapter arises from the authors’ research interests in gender and adult learning in the community, with a special focus on how gender is... Sample PDF
Women, Information and Communication Technologies, and Lifelong Learning
Chapter 23
Lesley S. J. Farmer
As society becomes more pluralistic, it behooves adult education to understand how gender intersects adult education so that equitable means of... Sample PDF
Gender Impact on Adult Education
Chapter 24
Gregory C. Petty, Ernest W. Brewer
This chapter contains a description and discussion of the teaching and learning methods of the lecture (content delivery method) and small group... Sample PDF
Comparing Lecturing and Small Group Discussions
Chapter 25
Shalin Hai-Jew
To harness information communications technologies (ICT) for adult e-learning, instructional designers and developers use a range of design tools to... Sample PDF
Design Tools and Processes for Building E-Learning
Chapter 26
Simona Marchi, Emma Ciceri
Information Communication Technology, largely thanks to the development of web 2.0 resources, has encouraged the development of participatory... Sample PDF
Participatory and Appreciative Adult Learning and Reflection in Virtual Environments: Towards the Development of an Appreciative Stewardship
Chapter 27
Leane B. Skinner
With the continuous increase in online student enrollment, it is important to examine the learning/teaching process in the online learning... Sample PDF
Successful Strategies in the Online Learning Environment Based on Theories, Styles, and Characteristics
Chapter 28
Gabriele Strohschen
This chapter focuses on the underlying principles of instructional design and delivery as means for adult education practitioners to discern which... Sample PDF
Teaching Adults across Cultures, Distance, and Learning Preferences: Universal Tools for the 21st Century
Chapter 29
Linda Marie Golian-Lui, Suzy Westenkirchner
Adult online learners have unique information and technology needs which are best met by libraries and library professionals. Combining the concept... Sample PDF
Library Issues in Adult Online Education
Chapter 30
Victor C.X. Wang
To serve a significant portion of the student population, adult learners, in the academy in the 21st century, this chapter argues that online... Sample PDF
Online Adult Education: Policy, Access, Completion and Equity
Chapter 31
Blended Learning Primer  (pages 521-538)
Geraldine Torrisi-Steele
Whilst the potential of blended learning to provide cost effective and quality learning experiences in adult education is generally acknowledged... Sample PDF
Blended Learning Primer
Chapter 32
Steven W. Schmidt, Jeremy Dickerson, Eric Kisling
This chapter utilizes instructor experiences and reflections as the bases for framing assessment theory and practice of online learning in adult... Sample PDF
Using Technology in the Assessment of Adult Learners in Online Settings
Chapter 33
Shalin Hai-Jew
With the ever higher costs of human-led instruction, much of adult electronic learning (e-learning) has become automated, independent, dispersed to... Sample PDF
Self-Assessments in Contemporary Adult E-Learning
Chapter 34
Gregory C. Petty, Iryna P. Loboda
As more studies investigate the effectiveness of online instruction for adult learners it is important not to overlook the effects of computer... Sample PDF
Effects of Basic Computer Training on the Self-Efficacy of Adult Learner’s Utilization of Online Learning
Chapter 35
Kathleen P. King
Digital media, podcasting, digital video, and blogging all provide great opportunities for adult learners to become actively involved in expressing... Sample PDF
Digital Media: Opportunities for Voice and Empowerment in Adult Learning
Chapter 36
Laura D. Hoffman
As colleges and universities around the country face increasing budget challenges, pressure mounts for a more retail-based approach to education... Sample PDF
Integrating Digital Photography into Adult Education
Chapter 37
Geraint Lang
Twenty First Century Education is undergoing change not only to keep in step with the emerging technological innovations, but also to address the... Sample PDF
Facilitation of Online Teaching and Learning
Chapter 38
Sandra Poirier, Deborah Wooldridge, Gloysis Mayers, Nancy Sonleitner, Chris Coughlin
A learning community where students develop the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for meaningful and successful 21st century work and life is... Sample PDF
Community Service Learning: Preparing Female Students in the United Arab Emirates for the Workplace
Chapter 39
Susan J. Crim, Thomas G. Reio
Limited studies on social presence in online learning do not lend themselves to understanding its effects on student learning. Research indicates a... Sample PDF
Social Presence in an Online Learning Environment
Chapter 40
James B. Martin
Any discussion of the topic of assessment of student learning is bound to be marked by strong opinions, marked differences, or total apathy. This... Sample PDF
Principles of Student Assessment in Adult Education
Chapter 41
Gaming in Adult Education  (pages 687-706)
Lesley S. J. Farmer
Egames have drawn attention in adult education, particularly as the majority of adults play egames. Adult education is increasingly incorporating... Sample PDF
Gaming in Adult Education
Chapter 42
Constance E. Wanstreet, David S. Stein
This chapter addresses the implications of gender on participation, collaboration, and ultimately shared understanding and proposes a framework in... Sample PDF
Gender and Collaborative Knowledge Building in an Online Community of Inquiry
Chapter 43
Simona Marchi
Participatory and Appreciative Action and Reflection (PAAR) is a specific approach to learning, reflection and change. In this chapter we are going... Sample PDF
Participatory and Appreciative Action and Reflection in Adult Learning: Transformation as Appreciative Reflection
Chapter 44
Victor C.X. Wang
Teaching and learning anytime anyplace involves integrating technology into teaching and learning. Effective adult education would not occur without... Sample PDF
Integrating Technology for Effective Adult Education
Chapter 45
Gregory C. Petty, Carol A. Carter
The theory of self-efficacy has been shown to be a contributing factor to the success of adult learners’ in educational programs that utilize... Sample PDF
Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Adult Learners Utilizing Information Communication Technologies
Chapter 46
Ernest W. Brewer, Stephen D. Stockton
In the field of online learning, instructors need to move past the limitations that are imposed by a traditional instructional design mindset and... Sample PDF
Traditional Instructional Design for Online Learning vs. Unconventional Instructional Design
Chapter 47
Victor M. Hernández-Gantes
The steady growth of online education has created increasing demands for faculty to design and teach online courses. At issue is the limited... Sample PDF
Helping Faculty Design Online Courses in Higher Education
Chapter 48
Karen Weller Swanson, Mary Kayler
As institutions look for ways to increase enrollment and students seek greater flexibility in their learning environments, blended learning is... Sample PDF
Blended Learning: The Best of Both Worlds
Chapter 49
Jim Berger
This chapter seeks to define technology, explore various views of technology, including feminist and afro-centric perspectives, and to identify the... Sample PDF
Perceived Neutrality of Technology and its Potential Impact: Recontextualizing Technology into Adult Learning Settings Using a Cultural Studies Approach
Chapter 50
James B. Martin, Royce Ann Collins
Teaching is the bedrock of the learning environment; however, few instructors receive formal instruction on how to teach. While the quality of... Sample PDF
Evaluating Teaching in Adult Education
Chapter 51
Elisabeth E. Bennett
Sophisticated uses of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have enabled informal learning in simulated and virtual environments. This... Sample PDF
Informal Adult Learning in Simulated and Virtual Environments
Chapter 52
Andreé Robinson-Neal
As postsecondary online learning opportunities continue to expand and interest in such opportunities continues to increase, online course and... Sample PDF
Resourcing Equity for Online Learners: Supporting Students-with-Limitations
Chapter 53
Virtual Collaboration  (pages 876-895)
Shalin Hai-Jew
A key construct in e-learning involves virtual collaborations through computer-mediated communications tools. These collaborations may be... Sample PDF
Virtual Collaboration
Chapter 54
Janaki Santhiveeran
This chapter presents a synopsis of the Blackboard Learning System (BLS), highlights how the BLS has been used in college campuses, and describes... Sample PDF
Blackboard Learning System on College Campuses
Chapter 55
Leping Liu, Livia D’Andrea
This chapter introduces the authors’ experiences to create three online graduate communities, focusing correspondingly on: (a) conducting program... Sample PDF
Initial Stages to Create Online Graduate Communities: Assessment and Development
Chapter 56
Ragnhild Mogren, Camilla Thunborg
The change of structures of work towards fewer boundaries in time, space and tasks are sometimes referred to as boundaryless work. ICT is pointed... Sample PDF
Boundaryless Work and the Role of Mobile ICT
Chapter 57
Michelle Lee D’Abundo, Cara Lynn Sidman
Online learning and instruction are important components of adult education in the field of health. This chapter describes how computer-based... Sample PDF
Online Learning and Instruction in Health: Addressing the Demands for Education and Training through Computer-Based Technologies
Chapter 58
Shalin Hai-Jew
In global e-learning, a mix of laws, policies, and professional practices informs the work environment. While legal issues may be addressed at the... Sample PDF
Staying Legal and Ethical in Global E-Learning Course and Training Developments: An Exploration
Chapter 59
Rosemary B. Closson, Carmeda Stokes
This chapter proposes learner case writing (LCW) as a case-based method that has been successfully used to increase adult learner engagement in an... Sample PDF
Increasing Adult Learner Engagement in E-learning Courses through Learner Case Writing
Chapter 60
David S. Stein, Constance E. Wanstreet, Hilda R. Glazer
This chapter explores the promise and process of knowledge building in online environments. The promise lies in the dual capability of knowledge... Sample PDF
Knowledge Building Online: The Promise and the Process
Chapter 61
M. F. Stuck, Mary. C. Ware
Research has shown that demographic factors such as age, race, ethnicity and gender affect one’s communication skills, learning style preference... Sample PDF
Age, Race and Gender Issues Related to On-line Learning
Chapter 62
Pamela M. Golubski
The transition to college is a difficult time for most students. Students experience changes in interpersonal and social adjustment, academic and... Sample PDF
Virtually Onboarding and Supporting Adult Students in College Using Web 2.0 Technologies
Chapter 63
John A. Henschke
This extended research study focused on bringing together personal learning, higher educational institutional elements to be considered for helping... Sample PDF
Bringing Together Personal Learning, Higher Education Institutional Elements, and Global Support for a Re-Orientation toward a Focus on Lifelong Learning and Education
Chapter 64
Victor C.X. Wang
Education and training programs for adults come in all shapes, sizes, and formats (Caffarella, 2002, p. 2). It is the responsibility of adult... Sample PDF
Program Development in Adult Education: An Example
Chapter 65
John K. Hope
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a vision of future information and communication technology based methods of adult education informed by... Sample PDF
Future Methods of Adult Education
Chapter 66
Manuel Ahedo
The chapter discusses how globalization has affected institutional changes in adult education. In the background it introduces first the necessary... Sample PDF
Adult Education and Globalization
Chapter 67
E. Paulette Isaac
Volumes of research exist which explains adults’ participation in adult education. Research suggests that adults participate in adult education for... Sample PDF
Barriers to Adult Education Participation, Distance Education, and Adult Learning
Chapter 68
Beth Kania-Gosche
While online courses may be more convenient and fulfilling for adult learners, they pose an additional challenge because much of the communication... Sample PDF
Using Principles of Andragogy to Teach Writing to Graduate Students Online
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