No description available.
In the early years of the twenty-first century, Scottish Further Education Colleges experienced a decline in student intake as a result of demographic changes and competition within the tertiary education sector. As a result, one such college actively sought new students from outside its core student base, specifically targeting both international students and migrant workers, most of whom speak English as a second language. Subsequently, these students have often been perceived by the academic staff as not achieving their full academic potential because of issues around English language competence. This thesis takes a case study approach, drawing on sociocultural theory, to examine the experiences of five such students and their lecturer.s in the college, in order to explore factors contributing to this perceived lack of success. The research used semi-structured interviews, as well as learning centre observations, college marketing and policy documentation and an analysis of statistical data on student academic attainment. The interviews gave five students an opportunity to talk about their experiences of the college as well as allowing eight staff members to relate their perceptions of the students. Staff were also asked about the challenges they faced as professionals in, meeting the required learning outcomes of the curriculum, while balancing the needs of students with those of the college. Both thematic and discourse analysis were applied to the data to explore structural themes suggested by the research questions around language competence, language support, educational expectations and both staff/student and student/student relationships. This analysis also exposed specific emergent themes for each group: for the students, conflicting identities as they try to balance the opportunity costs of their investment in their education against other aspects of their life: and, for the lecturers, perceptions of the 'ideal student' and their own professional identity .
Ways of learning in later life : older adults' voices. An exploration into older adults' preferred learning and communication styles and how these fit with recent neuroscience insights into adult learningBissland, Val January 2011 (has links)
This study explored older adults’ preferred learning and communication styles to identify the types of classroom experiences which could best contribute to wellbeing and mental capital. Growing evidence from the brain sciences points to associations between learning and well-being, and between learning and protection from cognitive decline (Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project, 2008; Field, 2009; Frith, 2011). The mixed method study has an equivalent status design (Creswell, 1995) which used Honey and Mumford’s (1986) Learning Styles Questionnaire, followed by a supplementary questionnaire. Then, it moved to a social constructionist/interpretive framework (Gergen, 2004), which involved conversations to determine older adults’ subjective understanding of learning now and in the past. The main framework for thematic analysis came from neuroscience which has uncovered knowledge about lifelong brain plasticity and the interconnectivity of emotions and memory. Also, of importance were the theoretical frameworks of Yang’s (2003) holistic theory of knowledge and adult learning and, to a lesser extent, Gee’s (2005) Discourse analysis. The study found a range of learning styles, encompassing 14 combinations, from activists to theorists. Therefore, this indicates the need for a wide range of imaginative classroom practices. The participants conveyed a sense that they wished to build on their existing understanding in open and interactive modes, which contrasted strongly with early memories of learning. This also chimes with developments at the interface of neuroscience and adult learning, where constructing one’s own knowledge in a social context has been shown to activate multiple brain networks and build stronger memory. In essence, the older adults were seeking enrichment, not acquisition. While there is no single right way to learn, this study provides evidence that insights from neuroscience indicate that classrooms where social dimensions and active engagement are intertwined, create learning spaces attractive to older learners, and can offer opportunities to build cognitive reserve, wellbeing and mental capital, which is vital with the new timeframe of possibilities that longer lives afford.
Supporting lifelong learning with Open Educational Resources (OER) among diverse users : motivations for, and approaches to, learning with different OERKozinska, Katarzyna Aldona January 2013 (has links)
This thesis presents a study which aimed to understand: 1) What motivates and influences learning with Open Educational Resources (OER) among different users, and 2) What role OER play in supporting lifelong learning among different users. The activities of key international organisations promoting lifelong learning as significant in the context of globalisation, combined with the innovative character of OER as high-quality open learning resources, were the reasons for the focus. The aim was to understand the function of OER through exploring motivational aspects, approaches to and contexts of individual learning among users of five different OER: penLearn, OpenSpires, OpenStudy, METU OpenCourseWare and Wolne Lektury. A case study approach allowed the focus on the uniqueness of specific OER. Semi-structured interviews and virtual output collection were triangulated as data gathering methods. Interviews were analysed using the Miles and Huberman’s (1994) qualitative framework and output - using Preece et al.’s (2002) thematic analysis guidelines. Results show OER as not only resources but learning environments supporting ‘expansion of human learning’ (COL, 2011:2) through being accessible free-of-charge, openly, without registrations, exams; providing various subjects, levels and formats suitable for users with different needs, disabilities, interests and resources. OER support wider access to and inclusion in learning, empowering individuals in directing their learning, especially 9 during transitions or ‘critical periods’ (Knowles, 1973). OER users emerged as motivated by various online and offline factors related to supporting formal education or non-formal learning, and exchanging expertise or support. Even if linked to supporting formal goals, learning, participation and communication within OER are motivated intrinsically, by interest, knowledge, curiosity, enjoyment and appreciation of learning, subject or interactions. OER help foster positive attitudes to learning and teaching as flexible and innovative possibilities of skills development and re-using OER are valued by learners, educators and organisations using OER to promote their missions.
My motivation for undertaking this research stemmed from the fascination I had in the ways of working with adult learners and the way in which adult and community education was a powertul tool for change. The purpose of this study was to explore this interest in close detail examining how praxis, the cycle of action and reflection, and critical pedagogy in adult and community education might work towards social transformation. Critical pedagogy, the dynamic interaction between 'really useful knowledge', the educators and the learners, in the learning environment, lacked an ingredient that I sought to uncover in the study. What do adult educators do that enables them and the learners to act upon the world? The study found that the practice which aimed to develop critical consciousness comprised a wide variety of methods, 'really useful methods', which engaged learners, motivating them to think critically, to discuss and to question. That was a way to create the environment for acting upon the work.
Crystal, Cheung Ching Ying
Lifelong learning was adopted as the guiding principle of the educational reform that took place in Hong Kong in 2000. This important educational agenda interested the author not only because of its position in many global and local education policies, but also because of the personal insights that she has gained throughout her years as a lifelong learner. Debates on lifelong learning in Hong Kong are dominated by economic imperatives and so the author's interest was to explore the topic from a humanistic perspective, informed broadly by interpretivism. Narrative inquiry was employed to gather the experiences of lifelong learning of four Chinese people in Hong Kong. The analysis of the narratives, together with her own reflexivity, enabled the author to identify the precursors to learners' commitment to engage in lifelong learning, i.e. the intrinsic motivation to personal growth and a close relationship between their learning and their personal life. There is a paucity of knowledge from the humanistic perspective in our understanding of lifelong learning. This study addresses this and underlines the importance of the learner's voice as a way of reflecting the influence of Confucian heritage culture (CHC) in her/his conceptualisation of lifelong learning. Problematising lifelong learning as an educational concept that has developed and flourished in Western contexts, such as the UK and Scandinavia, and been transferred somewhat uncritically to Hong Kong, the author indicates, using creative techniques, such as fictionalisation, how the narratives gathered shed light on understanding how lifelong learning manifests itself in Confucian cultures.
Literacy, a contested socio-political phenomenon, determined by the powerful, can be appropriated by the 'not so powerless' to reconstruct personal and perceived public positionings. Grounded in the social theory of literacy (Street, 1984), revisionist ideas about 'critical literacy' (Freire, 1996; Freire & Macedo, 1987) and the 'critical ethnographer', as liberator (Carspecken, 1996), I set out in 2010, with Mary, a then 70-year-old Jamaican elder in England, on this ethnographic-style journey. In the ensuing four years, I used the metaphor of 'script' to explore the research question: How does someone who views their formal education with ambivalence, engage with dominant socio-political scripts about literacy? Evidence from data analysis indicated that Mary required 'mediators of literacies' (Baynham, 1993: 294) to affect her critical re-positionings. In a complementary turn, it also highlighted the different ways in which she was a mediator of literacies in her networks of literacies. Networks of literacies exist in every sphere of life. In this investigation, therefore, two broad clusters of networks of literacies: the 'established' and 'transitory' networks of literacies are identified. Each type was visible in the three places: Mary's home, church and social club, where access to collect data was gained. While the focus of the research was intentionally on Mary, four other elders, Olga, Sylvester, Marlene and Rob, brought to the fore, the realities of doing research using an ethnographic approach. My engagement with, and in different ways, their stories of literacies and the jarring of the investigative process, served to heighten the ethical complexities involved in working with adults in later life. In concluding the study, these ethical, and other methodological issues and ideas generated from my work with Mary lead me to assert not only how organic, or 'living', literacies are (Castleton, 2001), but also how through their uses, they create affordances for elders to disrupt a range of dominant scripts within their respective life-worlds.
Graves, Sarah Catharine
This thesis aims to understand the catalysts and triggers that influence engagement in lifelong learning amongst adult learners undertaking access courses in the South Wales Valleys. As they are conceptualised within this thesis, catalysts and triggers pertain to how returners to formal learning explain their encounters with environmental influences, personal circumstances and shaping events throughout their lives. Together they constitute two interrelated influences in the lives of returners to learning that, when analysed, offer insight into learner participation and reengagement. The initial part of this thesis draws on a broad range of adult education literature to clarify the context of lifelong learning from the historical development of adult education to present initiatives, while exploring the development of the geographic region this study is situated in to contextualise some of the wider influences that may impact upon individual learner's reengagement. The latter component of the literature review draws together the previous research on more individual aspects of adult learner participation including motivation, lifespan development theory, learning careers work and research into learner trajectories. While much existing research is more functionalist in nature, failing to capture the perspective of the learners themselves, this research study eschews the deterministic conceptions of learner engagement by being situated within an interpretivist paradigm and focusing on deriving meaning from learners' lived experiences. The work adopts an interpretive interactionist perspective with a focus on creating meaning in social contexts and how individuals approach formal learning on the basis of prior personal experiences. The empirical data is collected via interviews with local South Wales adult education tutors and group interviews with access to higher education students at local further education colleges, which are supplemented by critical life path documents completed by the students. Key findings, derived through a grounded theory approach, and contributions to the literature in this field centre around the rich individual experiences of learners and the development of a conceptual framework outlining the diverse personal influences articulated by the learners and the convergence of multiple catalysts and triggers resulting in a powerful range of emotions and learning community engagement. The originality of the work lies in the interdisciplinary approach, the methods employed and the insights it provides into the unique influences on these participants' reengagement decisions in this context. The development of this framework constitutes an original contribution to knowledge as it has been constructed interpretively from the lived experience of learners, it offers greater contextual insight than existing models of participation and it focuses specifically on access learners and the context of the South Wales Valleys.
Morgan, William John
No description available.
Active ageing and later life learning : a qualitative study of informal education and the engagement of the older learnerMcCormick, Freda Mary January 2016 (has links)
This research study explores how older people are supported in their pursuit of informal learning within the context of Northern Ireland. It will particularly explore how middle-class retirees interpret and make sense of their involvement in later life learning and the extent to which this contributes to active ageing. Due to the increasing emphasis on informal learning, the responsiveness of Government policy and the role in educational provision by the voluntary and community sector is a particular focus. A qualitative approach was adopted and semi-structured interviews were carried out with a sample of 22 people that consisted mostly of middle-class retirees with the University of the Third Age. They are all over the age of 60 and no longer working and participating in informal learning groups whilst in retirement. In addition, three key stakeholders from separate organisations involved in policy development and delivery were also interviewed. The qualitative approach provided a deeper understanding of how older people are supported in their pursuit of informal learning and how they interpreted later life learning experiences. The study finds that despite a national and international policy emphasis on later life learning, there is a notable lack of support to encourage older people to become involved in informal learning. Whilst Government policy appears to offer learning opportunities to everyone, including older learners, in reality, support for learning in later life is primarily available only to those individuals with low academic attainment to provide them with a basic level qualification. However, the research findings show that middle-class retirees do not wish to pursue qualifications, rather they largely engage in later life learning for a variety of reasons analogous with the working environment. There is evidence of a need for social interaction and belonging; to exploit previously denied opportunities; and to create a sense of structure. Conclusions suggest that middle-class retirees involved in later life learning gain more than the new knowledge and skills acquired. Learning presents an invaluable contribution to their overall outlook on life and well-being in retirement. Therefore, not only do middle-class retirees need support to actively age, they also need support to actively learn.
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