Adult Education With Technology for Transformative Learning

Adult Education With Technology for Transformative Learning

Victor C. X. Wang (Grand Canyon University, USA) and Uta M. Stelson (Wayne State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5667-1.ch003
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Adult learners often fear that employment will be difficult if they lack technological skills. Newspapers, magazines, and advertisements for positions often emphasize the importance of the use of technology in the workplace. Without adequate skills in the use of appropriate technologies, adult workers may face challenges in finding employment. Web technologies can provide powerful teaching and learning strategies, enhance learner engagement, provide a chance to acquire critical technological skills, and promote critical reflection. This chapter addresses technological applications in vocational and adult education advancement from different perspectives. Technology has the potential to support transformative learning. Technology, along with the vital role of adult educators, helps learners grow, change, and develop. Through the discussion of these, and related issues, a model titled, Learners' Seeking Transformation via Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 Technologies, emerged.
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The question of whether or not technology can support learning and change for adult workers in vocational and adult education has been examined by both researchers and educators. There is no doubt that learners engage in learning through technology in order to seek change in Bloom’s (1956) three domains—the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains. Educators and researchers strive to find out whether adult learners can attribute their learning to the use technology by asking the following questions:

  • Do learners think differently after completing a class using technology?

  • Do learners act differently after completing a class using technology?

  • Do learners feel differently after completing a class using technology?

These three questions revolve around the three domains of educational objectives. Once these objectives are achieved by the learners, it may be possible to say that the learners are transformed since transformative learning is defined as a shift deep in perspective resulting in a frame of reference that is more open, permeable, discriminating, and better justified (Mezirow, 2012). The potential for transformative learning exists with the proper use of technology (Koehler, Mishra & Yahya, 2007); however, the question remains as to who or what contributes to transformation—instructors, Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies, the learners themselves, or a combination of all three. We now examine these three facets of the teaching and learning process with educational technology.

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