Factors That Influence Learning Outcomes of Adult Students Enrolled in Distance Education

Topics: Educational psychology, Learning styles, Education Pages: 26 (8225 words) Published: October 19, 2011

Table of Contents
Relevant Background Information3
Statement of the problem6
Purpose of the Study7
Research Questions7
Theoretical Framework8
Distance Learning12
Conceptual models: Adult-learning models15
Adult Learning Styles17
Barriers to Learning in distance education19
Faculty Barriers in Distance Learning20
Adult Learners and Motivation in distance education20
Personality Type/Learning Style and Computer Anxiety21
Chapter 4 – FINDINGS and RESULTS24
Chapter 5 – CONCLUSION27


Distance education have given adult the opportunity to enroll in courses with the advantage to study any where when there is time, and do not have to give up important personal responsibilities. According to Knowles (1991) adult learn differently and for different reason. Hill (2001) stated that distance learning is the process of creating an educational experience of equality for the learner to best suit their out side the classroom. This paper will explain the different theories of adult learning, the different factors that effect and motivate adult learning in a distance education. Also, how personality type and learning styles influence learning in distance education.

Relevant Background Information

While distance education is often presented as a relatively new education mode, it has been around for some time. It began as a correspondence learning during the nineteenth century and continued into the twentieth century, transforming into mass communications through the use of radio and television (Cohen, 1999). As the century progresses, distance education further developed in the forms of extended education, open education, and distance learning (Towie 2008). The University of London was the first University to offer distance-learning degrees. Today there are many private and public, nonprofit institutions offering courses and degree programs through distance education (Towie 2008). Distance education has evolved from the use of primarily print based materials into a worldwide movement using various technologies (McIsaac & Blocher, 1998). Consequently, distance education continues to further develop through the utilization of newer technologies including teleconference, web-based instruction, chat rooms, satellite television, computer networks, virtual classrooms, and the internet that have made distribution easier and faster (Towie 2008). While the number of Master degree courses being delivered via the internet or the concept of distance learning is increasing rapidly, our knowledge of what makes these courses effective learning experiences for students is still limited. Therefore according to research a study was done to examine the effects of technological, pedagogical, and student characteristics or personality traits on student learning in internet-based or distance courses. Of these characteristics my research found that only those reflecting instructor efforts to create an interactive classroom environment were significantly associated with student learning. Other characteristics such as the perceived ease of use of the course software package, the perceived flexibility of the online classroom environment, and the amount of time student spend logged on the course website were not significantly associated with student learning (Arbaug (2000) These findings suggest that while some level of technological sophistication may be important, teaching expertise may be the primary criterion for teaching success in the online classroom environment, therefore instructors may need to spend more time developing and cultivating instructional skills such as simultaneously working with several smaller groups of students, developing interesting...

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