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Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes

Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes
Author(s)/Editor(s): Terry T. Kidd (Texas A&M University, USA) and Jared Keengwe (Department of Teaching and Learning, University of North Dakota, Grandforks, ND, USA)
Copyright: ©2010
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-828-4
ISBN13: 9781605668284
ISBN10: 1605668281
EISBN13: 9781605668291

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Description

As instructors move further into the incorporation of 21st century technologies in adult education, a new paradigm of digitally-enriched mediated learning has emerged.

Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes provides a comprehensive framework of trends and issues related to adult learning for the facilitation of authentic learning in the age of digital technology. This significant reference source offers researchers, academicians, and practitioners a valuable compendium of expert ideas, practical experiences, field challenges, and potential opportunities concerning the advancement of new technological and pedagogical techniques used in adult schooling.



Table of Contents

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Preface

Foreword

Today, I learned my 2:00pm webinar was available to stream directly into my iphone. I followed the meeting planner’s link and in two minutes I downloaded the application and am now untethered from my desktop. Last month, I installed a desktop interactive video conferencing system and now, instead of tying up a classroom, I teach from my office students at four Texas regional campuses. Last year, I joined Facebook and have happily “friended” several hundred classmates from the class of 1976 (high school), 1981 (undergrad), and 1992 (PhD). Next week, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Kindle and will begin the conversion of my paper-based library to digital. I’m only 50 years old (the new 30) and when I began my career, none of this technology existed. Today, students expect and demand institutions (and aging faculty) to be technology literate. This book fills an important gap for those of us trying to keep up.

When I arrived at the University of Texas in 1992, I remember lobbying hard to convert email from the mainframe to my PC. I wanted the ability to easily attach files to emails and when that capacity arrived, collaborating within and across universities opened considerably. That marked the beginning of my digital library, both professionally and personally. Today, my computer has thousands of .pdf files of books, government reports, and peer-reviewed published manuscripts. My iphone has 74 full length books ranging from puppy training to the biology of the brain (Obama and I made the same promise to our children in exchange for moving). Across all my computers, I have close to two terabytes of digital content. Granted, the majority is music and video files, however research and teaching also fills a lot of space. The management and distribution of digital content has become an essential faculty responsibility.

At the University of Texas, School of Public Health, we offer master’s and doctoral degrees in public health and related sub disciplines to students at the Houston main campus and five regional campuses across the state. By necessity, we transmit courses originating from any of the locations to all the others to over 1,000 currently enrolled students. Our students increasingly expect synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. All of our core courses are taught either in-person, by interactive video conferencing, or with on-line course management software. The challenges this system has created boils down to: a) keeping up with the rapid pace of technological development, both in software and hardware; and b) persuading faculty and administration to embrace (and pay for) new technological advancements. This book offers perspectives on both and serves as a guide to faculty who want to learn how to incorporate digital technologies to extend adult learning practices.

The digital revolution has rewritten the university professor’s job description and that’s why Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes is such an important book. Meeting at the crossroads of student expectations and technological advancements requires continuing faculty education in digital instructional design and delivery. In short, if you want to be a better instructor, read and study this book. Professor Terry Kidd has pulled together key leaders in instructional design and web 2.0 technologies to help you leap into the 21st century. The book offers important case studies on the practical use of cutting edge technology. Learn firsthand how others are successfully changing their educational practices and how different organizations have approached content management and delivery. The book also steps back and offers viewpoints from philosophical and pedagogical perspectives and puts these into a framework for integrating web technologies into higher education.

I read the New York Times every day on my iphone. I also listen to books and podcasts, check my calendar, email, and Facebook. Occasionally, I actually make a phone call. From my laptop, I check student progress on Blackboard, comment on threaded discussion groups, adjust the weekly on-line self correcting quiz, and post slides for tomorrow’s lecture. I also like to visit Netflix to stream a movie from any computer that’s nearby. Mastering this technology makes life easier and more fun. Although I suffer from e-mail overload and because I can work from anywhere, I end up working all the time, embracing the digital revolution is better than the alternative: getting left behind. This book offers the heuristics and the tools to help you manage your online and digital teaching life. Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes is a must have.

    Steven H Kelder, MPH, PhD
    Beth Toby Grossman Professor in Spirituality and Healing
    Division of Epidemiology
    Co-Director, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living
    University of Texas School of Public Health
    Austin Regional Campus

Preface

Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism are the three broad learning theories most often used in the design of adult instructional environments. These theories, however, were developed in a time when learning was not influenced by information and communication technology. Over the years, digital technologies have grown and revolutionized how we live, think, communicate, and learn. As education moves forward into the digital age researchers must remain critical of implications ahead.

In the years the declining cost of digital technologies have made digital technologies accessible to nearly everyone in all parts of the world, from inner-city urban neighborhoods in the United States to rural villages in developing nations across the world. These new technologies have the potential to fundamentally transform how and what people learn throughout their lives. Just as advances in biotechnologies made possible the “green revolution”, digital technologies make possible a “learning revolution” that has changed the face of education as we know it. This remains true for adult learning.

Adult learning within the scope of the digital age has emerged as a popular venue for both students and educational institutions. For universities and other educational programs, this introduction and expansion of digital technologies has completely changed the means and levels of educational access to reach and engage learners in distant and diverse locations. Given this new reality of a global technologically connected society, adult learners through digital technology will face an even greater challenge as digital technology becomes more pervasive and ubiquitous. Moreover, as instructors move further into the digital age, a new paradigm of digitally-enriched mediated learning has emerged giving way to theories and strategies for the adult teaching and learning process.

Adult teaching and learning in the digital age is moving away from the passive acquiring of factual information towards a more active application of knowledge. The focus is on assisting learners to construct knowledge and new ideas both as independent self-directed inquiry and communally in peer groups in order to demonstrate their knowledge attainment through enactment and application.

While digital technology could make a learning revolution possible, it certainly does not guarantee such opportunities. In most places where digital technology is used in adult learning, it is used simply to reinforce obsolete approaches to learning. Even as scientific and technological advances have transformed other fields, ideas and approaches to teaching and learning for adults remain mostly unchanged.

To take full advantage of new digital technologies, we need to fundamentally rethink our approaches to adult learning and education and our ideas of how digital technologies can support them. To that end, Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes will serve as a spring board to better understanding the role of digital technology in adult learning.

With this ideal, the purpose Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes serves to identify the factors that shape and impact adult learning opportunities in the digital age. As educators move forward in this new frontier of teaching practice, understanding the impact of digital technology on adult learning is crucial not only in terms of the tools itself, but also of the impact on those undertaking adult learning opportunities. The information presented in this text will lead to the development and implementation of innovative strategies that promote quality adult teaching and learning. In order to effectively develop a conducive environment for adult learning in this digital age and to capitalize on the digital technologies, instructional designers, educators, trainers, and facilitators must pay particular attention to the design of instruction, the mode of delivery, instructional and teaching practices, as well as the digital technologies employed to disseminate the learning to that comes from adult learning online learning.

Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes provides a comprehensive framework of trends and issues related to adult learning for the facilitation of authentic learning in the age of digital technology. This significant reference source offers researchers, academicians, and practitioners a valuable compendium of expert ideas, practical experiences, field challenges, and potential opportunities concerning the advancement of new technological and pedagogical techniques used in adult schooling.

Based on the trends of adult learning in the digital age we often considered the following questions information: What knowledge is most important for adults to know? What are the best ways to transmit that knowledge from one person (a teacher) to another (a student)? What are the best ways to represent and display knowledge so that it is both understandable and learnable? It’s not surprising that these questions are at the forefront instructors who strive to create a quality learning experiences for adult learners. However, the question that remains is how do we best confront these questions and produce solutions for the adult learners in the digital age.

In order to understand this new frontier for teaching practice, Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes serves to bridge and support adult learning methodologies with digital ICT advancements. Further, this text will highlight the principles and theories of learning including the adult learning methodology or andragogy, active learning principles, and digital technology and its connection to authentic adult learning experiences. Moreover, other principles associated with this text includes instructional design, learning communities, learning management systems, web based instruction, and social networking.

Until we begin to rethink the uses of digital technology and its application to adult learning, digital technology will not live up its full potential. Like paint, digital technologies can be used for designing and creating things. For example, students can create their own web pages, blogs, wiki’s or podcasts that reflect their learning and learning outcomes. In addition students can create their own music files as an expression of their experience in the learning process. It is through the design activities that digital technology offers the greatest new learning opportunities for adult learners. Research has shown that many of the best learning experiences come when engaged in designing and creating things, especially things that are meaningful either to us or to those around us.

Like art, digital technologies can also be used as “material” for making authentic lessons. Indeed, digital technology in adult learning is the most extraordinary construction material ever invented, enabling students to create a variety of products. In addition digital technology can be seen as a art, greatly expanding what adult learners can create and what they can learn in the process.

To that end Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes presents learning model that offers educators and students a wealth of information that was never possible in the classical age of education. The possibility of linking these ideals together worldwide in a multitude of formats creates a remarkably rich medium for learning allows for the robustness of what digital technology has to offer. Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes is not merely duplicate of an original discussion, but a new structured conversation to spark the burning desire to continue strong teaching practices that include digital technology. Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes represents a new type of discussion which takes full advantage of the digital technologies in order to achieve an effective yet enjoyable learning process. Thus, with Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes concepts are introduced in innovative ways – ways that involve the adult learner and integrate them into the learning process. Moreover, Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes links to vast resources available worldwide and introduces new levels of value to adult learning in the digital age.

Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes can be envisioned as a dynamically-evolving resource that will prove beneficial to both the adult learner and instructors alike - making it a great source for strategy and content. In the light of this text, Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes presents evidence that assists in the design of authentic learning opportunities for adult learning. Thus, Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes teaches that authentic learning experiences in the digital age are developed through the efforts of a team of professionals with a complementary range of skills, as opposed to classical course design, which is typically developed by faculty alone. Designer and educators alike will have opportunities to see teaching practices and principles made alive for the next generation of adult learners

The richness of Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes allows for unlimited creativity when it comes to adult learning in the digital age. Such richness offers educators new opportunities to develop innovative learning material while posing a challenge in that it requires faculty to rethink their own teaching practices. In order to best serve adult learners and related Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes takes an active look at effective practices and strategies that inform adult learning in the digital age. It is not enough for educational institutions to just give financial resources, hardware and software, however, they should fundamentally equip educators to effectively teach, engage, extend, and enhance the adult learner’s educational experience.

By equipping the all stakeholder for effective adult learning practices, Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes offers effective design strategies, content, learning templates, materials, and models to further quality teaching and active student engagement within the realm of adult learning. It is important to understand that in order to foster an environment conducive to effective learning in the adult learning atmosphere, we must pay close attention to the factors that affect instructional quality as discussed in this new frontier of learning. For such research, the future seems very bright and encouraging. This theme will be repeated as other aspects of the digital age come under scrutiny. We know enough at this point to optimize quality in visual aesthetics, however the instructional quality and quality of deliver is more difficult to define and measure; that is why Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes offers to fill this gap with strategies, process, and procedure effectively engage all stakeholders in the development of adult learning in the digital age.

In order to provide the best balanced coverage of concepts and issues related to the topics of this book, current researchers from around the world were asked to submit their chapter describing their unique coverage of online education and adult learning and the new teaching practices associated with such innovation. Each chapter submission began with the proposal phase. Following the submission phase, each proposal was submitted for blind reviewed by a team of reviewers who indicated the accepted or rejection of the chapter proposal. Following the proposal review phase, each author was then given permission to complete their own chapters for the book. After completing their respective chapter, the chapter was then submitted once again for blind peer review once more. After a two round rigorous referred processed of two reviewers, the chapters that were strong and favorable from the reviewers were chosen as entries for this book. The ideas presented in this book were assembled by the best minds in the online learning field. Further, the chapters authored were selected based on the author’s expertise and leadership roles within the field as well as their unique perspective they tell relating to the subject. As a result of the double blind submission process, Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes highlights current concepts, issues and emerging trends relating to adult learning in the digital age. To this end, Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes offers twenty two chapters that highlights teaching digital immigrants, emerging frontiers of learning online through digital ecosystems and blended learning, empowering adult learning through blogs and social media, understanding the realities of a virtual learning experience, using course management systems to teach constructivist learning design skills to adult learners, community of inquiry in adult online learning, social networking, web 2.0, collaborative learning in adult learning, information literacy, and elearning.

With the mix of educational perspectives outlined in this book, a wide range of perspectives are covered to meet the needs of everyone. This book highlights adult learning and new associated teaching practices as a growing field of study which uses digital technology as a means to solving adult learning challenges. The chapters are not organized by industry; instead, they are divided into three major themes: introduction to adult learning in the digital age, perspectives on online technologies, and finally case studies for adult learning in the digital age.

For all practical purposes Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes discusses various methods and tools for assessment, testing and evaluation of effective adult educational opportunities and challenges the digital age presents. For future development of adult learning and associated teaching practices, this book presents information concerning the history, trends and major issues facing adult teaching and learning. In the end, this book contains a wide range of ideas, examples, guidelines, stories, models, and solution all with the basic premise improving teaching practices for adult learners

As adult learning in the digital age continues to progress, Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes will continue to serve the purposes of support quality instructional and teaching practices online. As advances in digital technologies reach a diversity of people and adult educational opportunities reach new territories, we can help and support to empower adult learners and related stakeholders throughout the world.

With the diverse and comprehensive coverage of multiple perspectives in adult learning education and its associated teaching practices, this authoritative book, Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes will contribute to a better understanding all topics, research, and discoveries in this evolving, significant field of study. Further, the contributions included in this book will be instrumental in expanding of the body of knowledge in this vast field. The coverage of this book will provide strength and support as a reference resource for adult learning. Not only will Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes provide support for better decision makers in obtaining a greater understanding of the concepts, issues, problems, trends, challenges and opportunities associated with adult learning in the digital age, Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes will continue to provide all stakeholders with the curiosity to seek better ways of teaching.

It is my sincere hope that this publication and the amount of information and research presented will assist colleagues, faculty, students, teachers, and organizational decision makers in enhancing their understanding of this discipline and to effectively design and implement strong yet high quality online educational opportunities to meet the needs of our global and society. Perhaps this publication will inspire its readers to contribute to the current body of research in this immense field, tapping into possibilities to assist educational institutions in making all educational opportunities open to participants.

    Editor
    Terry T. Kidd
    Texas A&M University
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Reviews and Testimonials

This book offers the heuristics and the tools to help you manage your online and digital teaching life. Adult Learning in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Online Technologies and Outcomes is a must have.

– Steven Kelder, University of Texas Health Science Center – School of Public Health, USA

For educators, researchers academics, and practitioners, Kidd and Keengwe assemble 21 chapters that examine the trends and issues related to adult learning in the age of the digital technology, and how educators can rethink their approaches and use technologies to support them.

– Book News Inc.

Author's/Editor's Biography

Terry Kidd (Ed.)
Terry T. Kidd received his doctoral education training from the Texas A&M University and has previous graduate training in information systems, human resources development, and instructional technology. Kidd has presented at international conferences on designing technology rich learning environments, technology adoption and diffusion, and issues dealing with faculty and staff development. His research interests include e-learning and ICT innovation and its diffusion within an educational and community context to support teaching, learning, and human capital development. Kidd is an experienced educator, consultant, and researcher in the field. He is the editor of the Handbook of Research on Instructional Systems Technology; the Handbook of Research on Technology Project Management, Planning, and Operations; Social Information Technology: Connecting Society and Cultural Issues; and Wired for Learning: An Educators Guide to Web 2.0.

Jared Keengwe (Ed.)
Dr. Sagini “Jared” Keengwe is a Professor of Teaching and Learning at the College of Education and Human Development, University of North Dakota (UND), USA. Keengwe is the editor-in-chief of two IGI Global Book Series: Advances in Higher Education and Professional Development (AHEPD) and Advances in Early Childhood and K-12 Education (AECKE). Keengwe has published over 85 journal articles, book chapters, and books with a focus on active learning pedagogies and mobile learning technologies in education. Keengwe’s work was honored with the 2011 UND McDermott Faculty Award for Excellence in Academic Advising. He was also a recipient of the 2010 North Dakota Spirit Faculty Achievement Award, and the 13th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Award in recognition of significant contribution in scholarship and service respectively. At the national level, Keengwe was one of the 10 recipients selected to receive the 2010 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Teacher Education Travel Award.

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