Why and How Adult Learners Use the Internet?

Krishna K. Bista PSE 6660: Trends and Issues in Adult Education Dr. Barry S. Davidson June 26, 2008

Issues:
• Adults programs through computer and Internet • How adults use the Internet • Statistics of adult Internet users • Barriers to use the Internet for adults • Adult role model

Why Internet to Adult Learners?
• bridge the gap between the learners & instructors • create plenty of learning opportunities • reduce cost & time of learners • Help academic & non-academic activities • plan staff development

Adult programs through Computers & Internet
• Academic adult programs, e.g. degree programs • vocational and skill-based programs, e.g. health and food & diet • Internet-based software programs, e.g. drill, quiz • e-programs, e.g. e-shopping, econference

Adults Students Using the Internet
• Three types of adult users: highly experienced, moderate & new • As Rosen (2006) 70% adults were currently using the Internet and 55%nas "experienced users"; 45% as "new Internet users" • As Hooten & Davidson (2007) wrote 6.5 % of students had taken less than 5 courses on-line, 26.1 % had taken between 6 to 10 courses on-line, 19.6 % fell between 11 and 15, 23. 9 % had taken between 16 and 20, and 21.7% had taken more than 20 online courses in a total of 36 e-campus participants. • As Tallent-Runnels et al. (2006), 90% of all higher education students were taking at least one online course in 2006.

Demographics of Internet Users
(Source:
Total Adults Women Men Age 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+ Race/ethnicity White, Non-Hispanic Black, Non-Hispanic English-speaking Hispanic Geography Urban Suburban Rural Household income Less than $30,000/yr $30,000-$49,999 $50,000-$74,999 $75,000 + Educational attainment Less than High School High School Some College 38% 67 84 61% 78 90 93 77% 77 64 76% 56 79 92% 85 72 37
Pew Internet & American Life Project, October 24 – December 2, 2007 , N=2,054 adults, USA

75% 74 76

Access to the Internet
• A large number of adult students still do not have easy access to the Internet. • In technically less advanced countries, for instance, Nepal, Bhutan, India and Bagaladesh, only 0.25 % of total population has access to the Internet • The majority of adult students simply rely on school’s internet for their academic and personal use. • public libraries, offices, cyber café, home

How Adults Use the Internet
• By using quick search engines like www.google.com, www.yahoo.com, www.gale.com, www.ipl.com • By locating useful sites e.g. www.dashmovie.com, www.youtube.com • Browsing for news, history & geogrpahy ( www.nytimes.com), (www.worldtravel.com) , • Using Internet Catalog, learning software sites ( www.englishforliving.com) , (www.e-books.com), (www.tesl.org),

Health-related Information Sought by Adult Online Users
(Source: American Internet User Survey, 97)

US Internet Users

Barriers in using the Internet
• Problems of getting access; • having the system crash for a variety of reasons; • difficulty in figuring out how to navigate online; • problems with online and hardcopy instructions; • selecting out-of-date information; and • reading on-screen
(Hannum, 2008).

Getting Online
• Time consuming and slow connection • Lack of basic technical skills • Typing skills, website scanning and skimming, • managing incoming and outgoing emails

Figuring out How to Use the Internet
• Generally adult learners in informal and life-skill learning need instructions on how to use the Internet. • Lacking precise surfing the Internet: online video telephone, information by voice instead of by text; graphical ways to navigate; and language translators.

Reading and Other Problems
• Difficulty in on-screen reading or in proper listening • Problems in operation unlike a telephone. • Lack of good typing skills • Cost time and money • Computer viruses & old un-updated information • availability of offensive materials

adult learner role model
• Phyllis Turner,94, became the world’s oldest recipient of a master’s degree in Medical Science at the University of Adelaide in South Australia. She was enrolled at university at the age of 70 - more than half a century after leaving school when she was 12.
• Ninty four-year-old Phyllis Turner (C) poses with her supervisors, Professor Colin Groves (L) and Professor Maciej Henneberg (R)

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Conclusion
• There is an increasing popularity of using the Internet among adult literacy/basic education students. Many of them are interested in using the Internet for a wide range of purposes: for learning (e.g. to improve reading and writing skills, or take a course;) to access a wide variety of information (e.g. information about the weather, geography, history, health, travel, other cultures, and American news), for classes at school (e.g. lesson plans, reading materials, teaching aids); for shopping; to communicate with friends, family members; and for entertainment. • Online education has created a major shift in how educators and students think about teaching and learning by allowing students to learn in more convenient locations, time and cost. Internet based education has opened educational opportunity to previously unreached adult populations in learning arena though adults face several problem in using the Internet.

User and the Internet

References:
Gay, G., & Mazur, J. (1989). Conceptualizing a hypermedia design for language learning. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 22 (3), 119-126. Retrieved on June 10, 2008 from www.ericdigests.org/1992-4/esl.htm Hannum, W. W. (2008, May-June). Enhancing distance learning for today’s youth with learnercentered principles. Educational Technology. 48 (3), 11-21. Hooten, M. A. & Davidson, B. S. (2007). Distance learning in higher education: Innovative techniques for online course. National Forum of Education Administration and Supervision Journal, 24 (3), 91-100. Pradhan, K. (2007, June). A survey report: Internet user in south Asia. The Himalsouth Asia Times. 12 (2), 13-14. Rosen, D. J. (2006 May). Adult learners and Internet. Educational Technology. 24 (4), 34-43. Retrieved on June 12, 2008 from www.nifl.gov/pipermail/technology/2006/000313.html Tallent-Runnels, M. K., & et al., (2006). Teaching courses online: A review of the research. Review of Educational Research, 76 (1) 93-136.

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