The Congruence Between Adjunct Faculty Understanding of the Learning Characteristics and Preferred Teaching Methods of the Adult Learner and the Self-reported Learning Characteristics and Preferred Teaching Methods of Adults Enrolled in Post-secondary Institutions
Wilson, Nancy L.
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The problem, The problem which this study investigated was the congruence between the adjunct faculty understanding of the learning characteristics and preferred teaching methods of the adult learner and the self-reported learning characteristics and preferred teaching methods of adults enrolled in postsecondary institutions. Procedure. The design of the study was an informative survey utilized to illicit responses from adjunct faculty and adult learners on the interests and needs of the adult learner. A 53-item survey was developed and sent to adjunct faculty who had taught a junior/senior level course or courses during the 1990-1991 academic year at the satellite campus of a private four-year college. Also, a 53-item survey was developed and given to adult learners at the same satellite campus. Findings. (a) There was not congruence between the faculty understanding of why adults return to college and the reasons provided by the adult learners. (b) There was congruence between the faculty understanding of physical and cognitive differences between the adult students and the traditional age students and those differences provided by the adult learners. (c) There was not congruence between the faculty understanding of the learning styles of adult learners and the learning style preferences provided by adult students. Conclusion. Although a generalization should not be made from the results of the study, the researcher feels the implications are not unique to the sample studied. With the increased numbers of adults entering college, awareness of motivational factors causing the adult student to return to college and sensitivity to the learning characteristics and the preferred teaching methods of the adult learner is an important issue for faculty development programs. Understanding of the adult learner enhances one's teaching ability as well as creates a successful learning experience for the adult learner.
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