communication technology and lifelong learning skills Hyland Pinto Zipp Olson

Communication technology and lifelong learning skills

This preview shows page 11 - 13 out of 249 pages.

communication, technology, and lifelong learning skills (Hyland, Pinto-Zipp, Olson, & Lichtman, 2010; Ritt, 2008). From this perspective, adult learners are expected to use multiple resources including prior knowledge and experiences to participate in making learning meaningful to them. The shift is from how teachers teach (teacher-centered) to how learners learn (learner-centered) (McWilliams, 2008; Weimer, 2013). Teacher- centered instructors focus on transmitting information to students while learner-centered instructors focus on transmitting the learning process to the student (Weimer, 2013). In order to identify teacher-centered instructors and learner-centered instructors, Conti (1983) developed the Principles of Adult Learning Scale (PALS) to measure the tendency towards teacher-centered or learner-centered practices of instructors. Various researchers have used the scale in multiple settings with higher education instructors, full-time and adjunct, to determine their propensity towards teacher-centered or learner- centered practices (Conti, 1983, 1985; Seevers, 1995; Spoon & Schell, 1998; Werth, 2009). Regardless of an i nstructor’s development of instructional practices, teacher- centered or learner-centered, their instructional practices are influenced by their experiences and beliefs about teaching and learning (Markley, Miller, Kneeshaw, & Herbert, 2009; Northcote, 2009). The literature reports numerous studies on teacher beliefs and their influence on instructional practices. Studies have examined K-12
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12 teachers (Cross, 2009; Peabody, 2011; Powers, Zippay, & Bulter, 2006) and higher education instructors (Decker & Rimm-Kaufman, 2009; Norton, Richardson, Hartley, Newstead, & Mayes, 2005; Speer, 2008). A few studies specifically examined learner- centered instructor beliefs or beliefs about learner-centered practices (Bai & Ertmer, 2008; Shih-Hsiung, 2010; Yilmaz, 2008). Nevertheless, while there are numerous studies on instructor beliefs and the influence of beliefs on instructional practices, there is a gap in the literature regarding learner-centered adjunct instructor beliefs about how adults learn. This study seeks to address this gap in the literature by examining the beliefs about adult learning of learner- centerd adjunct instructors who teach adult learners in higher education. Understanding these beliefs may lead to practices that actively engage adult learners in the learning process. Understanding these beliefs may also improve professional development opportunities designed to inform adjunct instructors teaching practices with adult learners (Pajares, 1992). Background Adult learners are a significant population in higher education today (Simms & Knowlton, 2008). These learners have accumulated life experiences and knowledge that in turn provides a context for new experiences and knowledge (Abdullah, 2008; Bankert & Kozel, 2005). This perspective effectively shifts the focus from instructors transmitting knowledge to learners processing new knowledge in the context of prior knowledge and life experiences (Barrett, Bower, & Donovan, 2007). Knowles (1980) considered this learning experience necessary in developing life-long self-directed learners. Knowles (1980) further argued the mission of educators was not to develop
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