Presentation on theme: "The Journey into Higher Education"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Journey into Higher Education Liz HoultNational Teaching Fellow
2 Supporting the Transition into Higher Education for Mature Learners ‘Non-traditional’ learners‘Non-traditional’ backgrounds‘Non-traditional’ routes
3 Who are the ‘non-traditional’ students? ClassAgeGenderDefined by lack – ‘dis-identification’
4 Mature LearnersThose aged 40 and over made up just 1.9% of the students accepted on undergraduate courses in 2004 (7,251 of 377,544 students)The student complaints ombudsman (the Office of the Independent Adjudicator) revealed (June, 2005) that students over 40 are by far the most likely to turn to the watchdog with a grievance
5 Educational CapitalBourdieu (1989) sees class as being based on a model of capital:Economic capitalCultural capitalSocial capitalSymbolic capital
6 Challenges Facing Mature Learners Practical concerns (access and support)TransitionsLocal to regionalInternal to externalDomestic or professional to academicCaring position to a critical oneSchool-aged learner to adult learner
7 Educating Rita Transition to HE Why is Rita successful? Her own resilience and resourcefulnessHer relationship with FrankThe institution
8 How might the e- portfolio help Rita? Internal resourcefulness and strength (provides a space for the student to articulate her resilience)Her intrinsic motivation (a writing space to consider and record motivation)Her relationship with Frank (informal, personal on-line support)Both teacher and learner share an optimistic approach to her learning (action plans and clear path of learning)
9 How might an e-portfolio help Rita? Her understanding of meta-learning (provides learning styles and skills analysis tools)She finds herself through learning (audits validate identity and previous knowledge)Secure learning environment (secure, collaborative environment in which to practise)
10 What are the challenges facing e-learning specialists? Perception that e-learning is an exclusive, expert interest because of:Technical discoursePerceived associations with youthPerceived associations with masculinityUncertainty about the boundaries between public and private spheres
11 Inter-generational experiences of higher education Who are the ‘new students’?Who are the ‘traditional students’?
12 Youth, Age and e-learning What is information technology for?Who uses it most?Who could most benefit from it?
13 The generation gapIn UK and US the trend is towards more non-traditional students“The implication is that campus populations today are quite different from those in the days when college and university decision makers were students.”Oblinger, D., (2003)
14 GenerationsBoomers – key experiences Vietnam, Watergate, space race, civil rights movementGeneration X – Chernobyl, fall of Berlin Wall, emergence of AIDs, Tiananmen SquareMillennials – born in or after 1982 – new technologies intrinsic to their life experiences
15 Information-age mind-set Computers aren’t technology (“To them the computer is not a technology – it is an assumed part of life”)Internet is better than televisionReality is no longer realDoing is more important than knowingTyping is preferred to handwritingZero tolerance of delayConsumer and creator are blurring(Frand, J., 2000)
16 Implications for non-traditional learners Patience supports deep level learningWriting by hand – slows down use of technologyKnowledge is privileged and can be accessed in stagesThis is much closer to the pedagogical/andragogical processes embedded in universities
17 Building CapitalMature learners bring with them enormous amounts of experienceChallenge is to harness that experienceAudit is a tool to do thatPETAL – personal information (including interests)EducationWork history (paid and unpaid)Action plansSkills (including managing one’s own learning)
18 Conclusions and Suggestions for Today E-learning resources can be enormously liberating for mature students.We need to consider the implications of the meanings that learners and potential learners will have constructed concerning e-learning.The chain of audits can help learners construct a learning identity that can convert life experience into ‘capital’
19 ReferencesBourdieu, P., (1989) ‘Social Space and Symbolic Power’ Sociological Theory, 7, 14-25Frand, J., 2000)‘The Information Age Mindset: Changes in Students an Implications for Higher Education,’ EDUCASE Review 35 no.5 (September/October) 15 – 24Oblinger, D. (2003) ‘Boomers, Gen-Exers, Millennials’ EDUCASE Review, July/August 37-47
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