The changing global marketplace is bringing in adult learners back to the campus to learn. Now the needs and requirements increases, results many adults engaging themselves in life-long learning. When adult learners are in the higher education environment, there are various elements that influenced adult learning. Those elements are adult learners’ roles and characteristics, the culture in which the learner is immersed in and the innovative technology they encounter (N.A Alias, H.Wahab, H.Jamaludin (2008)) as shown in the diagram below
Source: Alias, N. A., Wahab, H. and Jamaludin, H. (2008) A Context-Driven Approach to Designing the Adult Learning Experience
Adults have had a lifetime of experiences. These make adult learners more heterogenous than younger learners and also provide an additional base of knowledge that can be used in the classroom or technology-based learning experience. Adults want to use what they know and want to be acknowledged for having that knowledge. Adults are independent and have the ability to self direct their own learning. The adults keen to learn if it is directly linked to needs related to fulfilling their roles and coping to life changes (Merriam&Mohamad, 2000).
Thus several needs must be considered when designing the materials. As espoused by the Nebraska Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy [http://literacy.kent.edu/ Nebraska/curric/ttim1/art4.html], designers must consider:
1. The need to structure learning situations in which learners can develop new knowledge that are appropriate for their own future use.
2. The need to support acquisition of knowledge from experience with complex, meaningful problems rather than learning isolated bits of knowledge.
3. The need to provide educational experiences that help learners transfer skills, concepts, and knowledge they have learned (prior learning experiences) to new situations.
This research focuses specifically on the orientation of study and conceptions of learning as two attributes that make up the characteristics of the adult learners. As the learners tread into the learning environment, their study orientation and concepts of learning will influence their approach towards learning. These two facets must be understood and incorporated in the design of the learning environment.
The purpose of this paper is to
1) analyze the orientation to study and conception of learning of two groups of adult learners
2) provide a framework for designing the adult learning experience that incorporates the learner’s orientation to study and conception of learning
ORIENTATION OF STUDY
The definition of Orientation to Study, originally formulated by Elizabeth Beaty and revised by Taylor, Gibbs and Morgan (1980) stated
“ Orientation is defined as all those attitudes and aims that express the student’s individual relationship with a course and the university. It is the collection of purposes which orientates the student...