Adult Education and Adult Learning Processes with ICT

Adult Education and Adult Learning Processes with ICT

Y. Inoue (University of Guam, Guam)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-845-1.ch003
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Abstract

Cognitive walkthrough (CWT) is a usability inspection method which allows users to learn a system by using it to achieve tasks rather than studying a manual or documentation. It starts with a task analysis that specifies the sequence of steps required by the users to complete a task, and the system responses to those actions. The users then walkthrough the steps as a group and questioning themselves at each step. Data and information are gathered during the CWT and potential problems are identified. However, problems rose if the CWT and user based evaluation were being conducted in the mobile context environment. It became clear that static lab is not ideal for the CWT to be carried Brookfield (1995) has identified four areas as representing unique and exclusive adult learning processes: (1) self-directed learning (which focuses on the process by which adults take control of their own learning—in particular, how they set their own learning goals); (2) critical reflection (which is the idea of the decade for many adult educators who have long been searching for a form and process of learning that could be claimed to be distinctively adult); (3) experiential learning (which is based on the notion that “experience” is the adult’s continuing process of evaluating experiences); and (4) learning to learn (which is the ability of adults to learn how to learn to become skilled at learning in a range of different situations). Brookfield has further noted that one of the trends in the study of adult learning that emerged during the 1990’s, and that promises to exercise influences into the 21st century, might be the ways in which adults learn within the systems of education (distance education, computer assisted instruction, and open learning systems, for instance) that are linked to technological advances.
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Introduction

“Adult education”—involving planned and intentional learning opportunities that enable adults to acquire skills and knowledge they need to participate fully in the economic and social life of their community—takes place in both formal and informal settings, and provides clear pathways for learners to achieve their goals and objectives (Recommendation for action, 2004). Adults would like to learn in order to improve their qualifications and to bring their skills up to date for a new line of work. Adults would also like to learn because of the rapidity and constancy of change in society and because of life-long learning dealing with changes in lifestyles or value systems.

Brookfield (1995) has identified four areas as representing unique and exclusive adult learning processes: (1) self-directed learning (which focuses on the process by which adults take control of their own learning—in particular, how they set their own learning goals); (2) critical reflection (which is the idea of the decade for many adult educators who have long been searching for a form and process of learning that could be claimed to be distinctively adult); (3) experiential learning (which is based on the notion that “experience” is the adult’s continuing process of evaluating experiences); and (4) learning to learn (which is the ability of adults to learn how to learn to become skilled at learning in a range of different situations). Brookfield has further noted that one of the trends in the study of adult learning that emerged during the 1990’s, and that promises to exercise influences into the 21st century, might be the ways in which adults learn within the systems of education (distance education, computer assisted instruction, and open learning systems, for instance) that are linked to technological advances.

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Background

The “new economy” implies a society in which information communication technology (ICT) is changing the nature of the workplace and contributing to more efficient and productive practices geared toward enhancing the equality of both products and services (Brown, 2003). As the new economy increasingly requires people to learn new knowledge and skills in a timely and effective manner, the advancement of computer and networking technologies are providing a diverse means to support human learning and cognition in a more personalized, flexible, portable, and on-demand manner (Zhang, Zhao, Zhou, & Nunamaker, 2004). The new economy—which is an increasingly “global” economy—“is a term that was coined in late 1990s to describe the evolution of the United States from an industrial/manufacturing-based economy into a high technology-based economy, arising largely from new developments in the Internet, telecommunications, and computer sectors” (Wikipedia, 2006, ¶1).

Adult education has emerged as an increasingly important component in education policy and planning; the 1980s and the 1990s were a period of rapid development in adult vocational education and as a result of the structural change in industry and the labor market, “life-long learning” has become an important principle underpinning education policy (Ministry of Education Finland, 1999). Open and online education is a growing force in life-long learning. Due to the rapid development of Web-based technologies, increasing bandwidth, decreasing costs, and widening access, online programs of distance education are becoming increasingly popular teaching strategies for higher education to adopt (Townsend & Wheeler, 2004).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Adult Basic Education: A process by which adults obtain their life skills training, citizenship and employability skills, such as training in job readiness, job skills, job seeking skills, basic computer skills, and job retention activities, so that they can participate fully in society.

Computer-Mediated Learning: In the context of teaching and learning, the use of electronic mail, computer conferencing, and the Internet to deliver learning material and provide learners and instructors with opportunities for interaction. It is also called Networked Learning.

Distance Learning/Education: It occurs when the instructor and the students are in physically separate locations. It can be either synchronous or asynchronous and can include correspondence, video or satellite broadcasts, or computer based online education.

Distributed Learning: It emphasizes learning rather than the technology used or the separation between teacher and learner; distributed learning makes learning possible beyond the classroom and, when combined with classroom environments, becomes flexible learning.

Virtual Library: Library resources (indexes, journals, and reference materials, for example) or online reference services are available over the Internet. Terms such as Electronic Library and Digital Library are often used synonymously.

Technical/Vocational Training: Training that is designed to prepare technicians, middle management and other skilled personnel for one or a group of occupations, trades or jobs.

Life-Long Learning: A conceptual framework within which the learning needs of people of all ages and educational and occupational levels may be met, regardless of their circumstances.

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