The New Adult Learner Integration with Technology
"Modem" is thus a very temporary state. My own assessment is that the half-life of current practices is about a decade. Malcolm Knowles, 1980
Purpose - The purpose of this article is to explore the impact of integrating information technology with andragogy as a new movement and way of learning from online education and traditional instruction. Aging, retirement, lost jobs; health, finances, globalization and lifelong education are a few reasons why the many adult learners are returning back for professional development or personal growth. This paper will review what is driving adult learners back to the classroom and how the experience contributes towards a more rewarding holistic and transformative lifestyle. Introduction
As the 21st century plunges forward there has been a new thirst for professional and personal development by adult learners who are choosing to take classes from online instruction and traditional brick-n-mortar environments (Donavant 2009). As the online and traditional schools are getting a plethora of adult learners they are also educating them through the use of technology. Integrating technology in training and education is a workable process that has given the adult learner motivation towards the acquiescence of new knowledge and personal growth (Jones, 2003). The use of technology is not new in education for younger age groups, but can be an overwhelming task for the adult learner who has limited use and access to advanced technology or have been out of the job market or classroom for years. Learning new ways of learning coupled with technological advances can be a welcoming challenge or a nightmare for adult learners based on their past experiences with technology. Examining past theories on andragogy will lay the foundation on how the new adult learner has transformed and embraced technology for personal development and job advancement in the 21st century. Revisiting the contributions of Malcolm Knowles will set the vision that opened the doors to research on adult learning. Moving towards the 20th and 21st centuries contributors such as (Jackson, Gaudet, McDaniel & Brammer 2009; Gatta 2008; Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner, 2007; Imel, S. 1998; Brookfield 1995) will share their theories and philosophy from a modern point of view on adult learning. Exploring how the adult learner responds to technology as a tool to learning professional development is the intent of this article. Does it make a difference for adult learners to take classes on line or in a traditional setting? Can elder persons use online technology to learn? What other factors are driving the new adult learner towards integrated IT learning? What are the advantages and disadvantages for the adult learner when IT is integrated in their learning? These are questions that will be explored in hopes of learning what benefits do adult learners get out from integrating technology with professional development courses. Application of Andragogy and IT Integration
Malcolm Knowles is considered by colleagues as a pioneer of andragogy or as Forrest & Peterson (2006) would espouse, he brought the term back to life and got educators attention on the subject matter. As a result Forrest et al. (2006), states, Malcolm Knowles revived the term andragogy as a contemporary discovery to encourage more studies by researchers. Merriam et al. (2007) have acknowledged Knowles assumptions does create controversy on how adults learn, but he implied technology as a tool that should be used for professional developmental...
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