PROBLEMS FACED BY WORKING ADULT LEARNERS
Some of the basic assumptions under-pinning adult educations are that adults tend toward self-directedness, that adult learning needs are generated by real-life problems, and that adults wish to apply acquired knowledge and skills. Part time studies is the potential method for increasing participation, through the integration of learning into the life space of adults. It has always been the concern of adult education to democratize education and encourage greater participation. Part time education methods are supposed to have the ability to overcome the problems that prevent participation in adult education programs and thus to be self-directed. Situational barriers are those related to one's situation in life at a given time. These include lack of time due to job and home responsibilities, transportation problems, lack of childcare and so on. Dispositional barriers refer to one's attitude about learning and perception as a learner. This includes lack of confidence, the feeling of too old to learn and bored with learning. Institutional barriers are those erected by learning institutions that include inconvenient schedule, compulsory attendance, restrictive locations and the like which discourage working adults from participating in educational activities.
Who Are the Adult Learners?
Generally, when we talk about the adult working population who are seeking higher education we will think of various different groups. Firstly, there are the graduates who have already obtained their first degree and who are coming back to school. These are people who want to upgrade their qualifications, they seek knowledge and new skills and they have numerous other reasons for coming back. In addition, most important of all they want to study part-time. They are not leaving their jobs and other commitment but they want to pursue a higher degree. The value of postbaccalaureate level study is increasing every year as a greater number of new jobs require higher level knowledge and skills. There are those who are qualified to pursue higher education or to enter university but did not manage to get a place. They went to work because to study in private colleges would be costly. After working for a while they decided to get a degree but they also need to hold on to their jobs. In fact this is the only way they can keep themselves in school.
2.0 Three Main Problems Faced By Adult Learners
Adult students faced several problems to being self-directed in carrying out their learning in a part time program. Although they did not prevent or stopped these students from participating in the program, these barriers had prevented active learning that was required in the part time system and environment of the university.
The adult students were between the ages of 35 to 48 years old. They said that because of their age they face problems like trying to remember what they learn and trying to remember the methods of solving problems and application. These students worry because they know that they are competing with younger people.
As one student described:
I worry about certain subjects like Statistics. I have not studied it before so I worry. And subjects like Mathematics. I studied Mathematics in school, and I left school long ago. I do not use Mathematics anymore. I totally forgot the applications of it. That is why I worry, because I wonder whether I can remember or not, because as you grow older, your memory is not so good.
Another student described his problem as below:
I have a bad memory, this is due to my age and other problems that I have. I get tired easily and have difficulty in staying up late to do my assignments, read and study. I think my age is taking a toll on me. The participants perceived that their age has a bearing on the vigor of carrying out their learning. Although age did not stop them from participating in the...
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