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The Journey into Higher Education

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Presentation on theme: "The Journey into Higher Education"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Journey into Higher Education
Liz Hoult National 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?
Class Age Gender Defined by lack – ‘dis-identification’

4 Mature Learners Those 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 Capital Bourdieu (1989) sees class as being based on a model of capital: Economic capital Cultural capital Social capital Symbolic capital

6 Challenges Facing Mature Learners
Practical concerns (access and support) Transitions Local to regional Internal to external Domestic or professional to academic Caring position to a critical one School-aged learner to adult learner

7 Educating Rita Transition to HE Why is Rita successful?
Her own resilience and resourcefulness Her relationship with Frank The 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 discourse Perceived associations with youth Perceived associations with masculinity Uncertainty 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 gap In 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 Generations Boomers – key experiences Vietnam, Watergate, space race, civil rights movement Generation X – Chernobyl, fall of Berlin Wall, emergence of AIDs, Tiananmen Square Millennials – 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 television Reality is no longer real Doing is more important than knowing Typing is preferred to handwriting Zero tolerance of delay Consumer and creator are blurring (Frand, J., 2000)

16 Implications for non-traditional learners
Patience supports deep level learning Writing by hand – slows down use of technology Knowledge is privileged and can be accessed in stages This is much closer to the pedagogical/andragogical processes embedded in universities

17 Building Capital Mature learners bring with them enormous amounts of experience Challenge is to harness that experience Audit is a tool to do that PETAL – personal information (including interests) Education Work history (paid and unpaid) Action plans Skills (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 References Bourdieu, P., (1989) ‘Social Space and Symbolic Power’ Sociological Theory, 7, 14-25 Frand, J., 2000)‘The Information Age Mindset: Changes in Students an Implications for Higher Education,’ EDUCASE Review 35 no.5 (September/October) 15 – 24 Oblinger, D. (2003) ‘Boomers, Gen-Exers, Millennials’ EDUCASE Review, July/August 37-47

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