Epistemology and Ontology: The Lived Experience of Non-Traditional Adult Students in Online and Study-Abroad Learning Environments.

To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.


The goal of this study was to better understand the lived experiences, perceptions, and attitudes of nontraditional, adult university students enrolled in an online baccalaureate degree program, who were given an opportunity to participate in an engaged, study-abroad program. This understanding was achieved through rigorous analysis of student learning journals required as part of the course. Students were asked to journal their feelings, perceptions, experiences and learning. The purpose of the analysis was to identify and describe the various experiences and perceptions, then group these experiences and perceptions into a logically organized description of the lived experience of adult students.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
The pressure to 'marketise' the tertiary education sector coupled with technological advances make it possible to communicate in an increasingly removed fashion. Universities have moved to an increased use of technology and on-line publishing platforms. However, the effectiveness of this form of education will in part be dependent on the ability of students to understand and access the technology available. From the educators perspective an understanding of the technology, together with an appreciation of students' competency in using technology is vital. Such a change in the method of delivery will inevitably impact upon curriculum development. This paper will describe the establishment of a program to implement web-supported teaching, and the experience of lecturers and students in doing so. In addition, it introduces some educational issues to be considered in the establishment of such a program and looks at the applicability of certain models of teaching and learning.
Full-text available
Metacognition is one of the buzz words in educational psychology, but it is not always clear what is meant by metacognition. Metacognition refers to higher order thinking that involves active control over the cognitive processes engaged in learning. Because metacognition plays a critical role in successful learning, it is important to study metacognitive activity and development to determine how students can be taught to apply their cognitive resources through metacognitive control. The term "metacognition" is most often associated with John Flavell (1979), who proposed that metacognition consists of both metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive experiences or regulation. Flavell further divides metacognitive knowledge into knowledge of person variables, task variables, and strategy variables. Most definitions of metacognition include both knowledge and strategy components. Most individuals of normal intelligence engage in metacognitive regulation when confronted with an effortful cognitive task, but some are more metacognitive than others. The most effective approaches to metacognitive instruction involve providing the learner with both knowledge of cognitive processes and strategies and experience or practice in using both cognitive and metacognitive strategies. The study of metacognition has important implications for instructional intervention. (Contains 16 references.) (SLD)
Full-text available
The goal of this research was to better understand the lived experiences and perceptions of nontraditional, adult college students in an asynchronous online environment. Contemporary researchers have investigated the differences between online education and the traditional, in-class learning. Most of the work has been done in quantitative methodologies, focusing on the similarities and differences in cognitive achievement. The extant literature is replete with studies and positions claiming little or no difference between the two delivery methods. However, most research is not presented in a theoretical construct; therefore, it is difficult to create a nexus between one study and the next. Investigating the different ways in which students report their experiences and perceptions in the asynchronous, online environment provides a much richer understanding of nontraditional, adult students.This research used hermeneutic phenomenology, a qualitative methodology to explore and interpret deep human experiences. In other words, this research was conducted to better understand the lived experience of nontraditional students in an asynchronous online learning environment. This understanding was achieved through rigorous analysis of in-depth, semi-structured interviews and journal entries of four nontraditional, adult students enrolled in an online baccalaureate degree program. The purpose of the analysis was to describe the various experiences and perceptions, then group these experiences and perceptions into a logically organized description of the lived experience of adult emergency services students in the asynchronous online environment.Results revealed that student experience fell into two overarching themes, each with related subthemes. The two identified themes and subthemes are: (a) Theme I: Flexibility, with the subthemes of convenience, self-directedness/self-discipline, and reflectivity; (b) Theme II: Conflict of Values: A Paradox of Learning, with the subthemes of communication/socialization between students, student/instructor interaction, and the students' paradigmatic shifting and conflicted beliefs on learning. A discussion on the relationship of the study results with the constructivist learning theory is presented, as well as the relationship of the results to adult learning theories and the affective domain of learning. A discussion on the study implications regarding asynchronous online delivery and suggestions for further research conclude this work.
Online learning is taking part in one of the greatest instructional transformations since mass public education was introduced in America in the 1880s. Traditional classroom settings now contend with the implementation of asynchronous (online, self-directed) and, even more recently, synchronous (online, real-time) environments. These uses of technology challenge our historical instructional models, raising many questions about how to appropriately integrate such processes into business and educational instruction.
Cover Blurb: Researching Lived Experience introduces an approach to qualitative research methodology in education and related fields that is distinct from traditional approaches derived from the behavioral or natural sciences—an approach rooted in the “everyday lived experience” of human beings in educational situations. Rather than relying on abstract generalizations and theories, van Manen offers an alternative that taps the unique nature of each human situation. The book offers detailed methodological explications and practical examples of hermeneutic-phenomenological inquiry. It shows how to orient oneself to human experience in education and how to construct a textual question which evokes a fundamental sense of wonder, and it provides a broad and systematic set of approaches for gaining experiential material that forms the basis for textual reflections. Van Manen also discusses the part played by language in educational research, and the importance of pursuing human science research critically as a semiotic writing practice. He focuses on the methodological function of anecdotal narrative in human science research, and offers methods for structuring the research text in relation to the particular kinds of questions being studied. Finally, van Manen argues that the choice of research method is itself a pedagogic commitment and that it shows how one stands in life as an educator.
This review of the literature focuses on experiential learning in higher education. This review is, in fact timely, as there is renewed academic interest in experiential learning. While the literature suggests that experiential learning is a necessary and vital component of formal instruction in colleges and universities, controversy never-the-less exists among scholars and educators about its place and use. These issues include: • A need for educated workers and citizens who can meet the challenges of a new world economy and order; • An increased understanding of learning theories and cognitive development; • More non-traditional learners with multitudes of learning styles and needs; • A changing American workplace which requires people to effectively interface with each other and understand their roles as team players; • An economic necessity for higher education to more closely interface with business and community; and • Administrative and faculty concerns about their roles in selection and control and evaluation of the learning process. This review of the literature provides the academic community with an understanding of the current state-of-the-art practices in experiential learning, with suggestions for program design and development and operation.
This chapter describes how experiential learning techniques such as service learning and problem-based learning can be leveraged to maximize transfer in adult populations. Specific examples of experiential learning in adult education programs are included.
Social constructivist theory has advanced the notion that distance education is inferior, because effective learning is thought to require immersion in a cognitive apprenticeship under the guidance of a mentor. Effective learning is said to be situated in activity, context, and culture as a collaboration in a community of practice. Administrators and practitioners in distance education are confronted with a challenge to the efficacy of their endeavors. The authors briefly trace the evolution of social constructivism, the influence of Piaget and Vygotsky, and analyze the effects of contemporary social constructivism with implications for instructional theory and practice.
Introducing technology into the curriculum means more than just "making it work." The principles of adult learning theory can be used in the design of technology- based instruction to make it more effective. Malcolm Knowles' theory of andragogy allows teacher/facilitators to structure lessons which are part of a relevant learning environment for adults students.
The current move towards outcomes or competence‐based qualifications within the education and training arenas begs many questions about the processes of learning as well as the measurable results. This paper explores how far the principles embedded in the andragogic approach to adult learning through the accreditation of prior learning are at odds with a qualification system predicated on the measurement of performance. It proposes a model of student‐controlled reflection that can lead to the identification of a range of prior achievements which may then form the basis for claiming credit, thus creating a bridge between two apparently opposed frameworks.
Anderson, Reder, and Simon (1996) contested four propositions that they incorrectly called “claims of situated learning.” This response argues that the important differences between situative and cognitive perspectives are not addressed by discussion of these imputed claims. Instead, there are significant differences in the framing assumptions of the two perspectives. I clarify these differences by inferring questions to which Anderson et al.'s discussion provided answers, by identifying presuppositions of those questions made by Anderson et al., and by stating the different presuppositions and questions that I believe are consistent with the situative perspective. The evidence given by Anderson et al. is compatible with the framing assumptions of situativity; therefore, deciding between the perspectives will involve broader considerations than those presented in their article. These considerations include expectations about which framework offers the better prospect for developing a unified scientific account of activity considered from both social and individual points of view, and which framework supports research that will inform discussions of educational practice more productively. The cognitive perspective takes the theory of individual cognition as its basis and builds toward a broader theory by incrementally developing analyses of additional components that are considered as contexts. The situative perspective takes the theory of social and ecological interaction as its basis and builds toward a more comprehensive theory by developing increasingly detailed analyses of information structures in the contents of people's interactions. While I believe that the situative framework is more promising, the best strategy for the field is for both perspectives to be developed energetically.
The increasing number of nursing faculty teaching in distance education programs represents a paradigm shift that has implications for faculty role and changing pedagogies. This descriptive study investigated experiences of nursing faculty teaching web-based courses. Participants were drawn from eight nursing schools in the United States and Canada. Nineteen faculty discussed perceptions of teaching online in small-group teleconference interviews. Major categories identified were: faculty role issues, redesigning/rethinking courses, handling communications, developing partnerships, managing time, and dealing with technology. The core category was: redesigning pedagogies and rethinking faculty role for online teaching. Dimensional analysis was used to develop a matrix telling the story of the experience within the perspectives of antecedent conditions, context, strategies, and consequences. Results indicated that support systems, technology partnerships, and policies should be in place before redesign. The context of redesign was evident in moving from "on stage" to a virtual environment. Strategies used to redesign courses included collaboration, rethinking communications, and faculty development. Consequences had positive and negative outcomes with respect to their impact on faculty role, teaching approaches, and student/faculty relationships.
Lessons from the edge: For profit and nontraditional higher education in America
  • G A Berg
Berg, G. A. (2005). Lessons from the edge: For profit and nontraditional higher education in America. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Learning in adulthood
  • S B Merriam
  • R S Cafferella
Merriam, S. B., & Cafferella, R. S. (1999). Learning in adulthood. San Francisco. Jossey-Bass.
Fostering critical reflection in adulthood: A guide to transformative and emancipator learning
  • J Mizerow
Mizerow, J. (1990). Fostering critical reflection in adulthood: A guide to transformative and emancipator learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Bridging the gap between asynchronous and traditional learning environments: Technology for adult learners
  • J E Pelletier
Pelletier, J. E. (2005). Bridging the gap between asynchronous and traditional learning environments: Technology for adult learners. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of New Hampshire.