Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

E-Learning attracts the ’usual suspects’

30.09.2004


Despite Government efforts to promote ‘lifelong learning’ and a more equitable and inclusive ‘learning society’ there is little special or new about adult learning in the digital age, according to research at Cardiff University.



The Adult Learning@Home project, which was funded by ESRC, concluded that ICT has not increased participation and achievement rates in adult education. Instead, e-learning tends to be associated with the same factors that determine school-leaving age, such as sex and socio-economic background. “It would seem that patterns of participation in adult education are not being changed for the better by changes in education policy,” says Dr Neil Selwyn.

The study, which was one of the first large-scale research projects to focus specifically on information and communications technologies and adult learning, shows that despite ‘universal’ levels of access to computers and the internet, actual use is limited to just over half of the adult population. Using the internet to learn a language or other new skill was secondary to communicating with family and friends, producing documents and searching for specific information and general knowledge.


The report shows that E-learning was most often concerned with the technology itself, rather than a means to learn something else. ‘We met pensioners who had learned to turn spreadsheets into pie-charts then never used them,’ says Neil Selwyn. The researchers concluded that ICTs appear to reinforce existing patterns of learning and were mainly of benefit to people who were already learners, or who would have become learners without the availability of ICT.

The findings were based on a large-scale door-to-door survey of 1,001 adults and semi-structured interviews with 100 respondents, followed by a year-long, in-depth ethnographic study of 25 ICT users, their friends and families. The research covered a broad cross-section of populations in Cardiff, Bath and North Somerset, the ex-mining and steel community of Blaenau Gwent and the rural community of the Forest of Dean.

The findings show that adult learning through ICTs was largely informal and unstructured, even when it took place at work or in educational institutions. It was often augmented by books, television programmes and help and advice from others. Most adults seem to create a use for the technology rather than the technology solving some existing problem or lack in their lives. This was most obvious in hobby and leisure use, such as adults producing greetings cards.

Other findings include:

  • Only 38% of the 1001 adults survey had continued with any form of formal learning directly after reaching compulsory school-leaving age.
  • The key determinant of learning in later life is experience of work and family life as an adult, rather than access to ICTs.
  • Only 8% of the survey could be classed as excluded from computers and the internet, but 48% had not used a computer during the past 12 months.
  • Only 11% of respondents reported using a computer in a public location such as a library, compared to 44% using one at home and 32% in the workplace.
  • The key factor underlying the success of ICT-based learning is an individual’s motivation and self-discipline.

    Becky Gammon | alfa
    Further information:
    http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Starting school boosts development
11.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht New Master’s programme: University of Kaiserslautern educates experts in quantum technology
15.03.2017 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>