Adult learning and motivation Essay Help

An exploration in to the multi-dimensionality of participatory behaviour; and what motivates adults to return to education. The research question that was initially formulated aimed to inductively generate a theory (Rothchild 2006; Cohen et al. 2000). Unfortunately the initial question became subject to ethical challenges; and within a framework that would demonstrate rigour validity and reliability unsurprisingly; it was far better too approach/explore the multi-dimensionality of participatory behaviour; and what motivates adults to return to education. An enquiry designed around this approach has a better fit to a pragmatic framework (Armitage and Keeble-Allen 2007; Bryman 2007) and theAdult learning and motivation BERA ethical directives. Furthermore this should help bolster the totality of coherence; or as Moss et al. (2009) would suggest as; ?a chain of reasoning and logic?. Similarly individual agency and how the experiences of adult learners? are co/re-constructed (Clark 2011; Flowers 2009; p. 3) needed a greater relationship to an interpretivist epistemology (E891 Part 2: Action 2.9; Gage 1989). As the researcher primarily overlooked these factors that in turn determine what is seen as valid and invalid knowledge; then [those] factors would have been overlooked when inferences were made during the research process reducing the quality and internal ? and possibly external ? validity. Obviously this incommensurability will be addressed before the researcher analyses any data generated (Bryman 2007; p. 19). With these approaches better placed the researcher could demonstrate that ? generally ? social and cognitive phenomena are simultaneously quantitative and qualitative (Ercikan and Roth 2006; p.16) and participatory behaviour is an outcome of the ?meaning-made? (Clark 2011) i.e. social-cognitive collocation. This would then show that cognition is co-constructed (Clark 2011) and re-constructed by experience resulting in the multiple interpretations that create the social realities in which people act (Flowers 2009; p. 3). It could be suggested that the initial ?meaning-made? is a primary motivator which persists until the time the learner feels satisfied (Park and Choi 2009) or has achieved ?what they set out to achieve? (Gustafsson & Mouwitz 2008). This also implies that ?meaning-made? is mutable (Gibbons Bylsma 1984) and subject to further co/re-construction; adjustment; or complete abandonment. Research philosophy After extensive ?Adult learner? research and talking with tutors that instruct adult learners? highlighted a distinct difference in the approaches from which children (Pedagogy ? teaching method) and adults (Andragogy ? teach how to learn) are taught. The implementation of informal learning methods however appears to have dominance in the adult education field (Gibbons Bylsma 1984). Therefore in order to shape and advance the theory research design and instrument/s required conducting a focussed literature review of several learning theories (see fig 1); namely Knowles?s Andragogy Theory (Houde 2006) Cross?s Characteristics of Adult Learners (CAL) (Kohl-Frey and Schmid-Ruhe 2007; Crittenton Women?s Union 2012) Margin (Gibbons Bylsma 1984) and Proficiency Theory (Gustafsson & Mouwitz 2008). Fig. 1 is showing the associated theories that characterize adult learners? What becomes problematic is; adult learning has not been researched as vigorously as others areas of education so the real challenge will be ? as Hodkinson and Macleod (2010) encountered ? to anchor the line of enquiry in a combined paradigmatic harbor. In contrast to Hodkinson and Macleod (2010) the upcoming report will be combining the aforementioned theories with the following paradigms? as they display a distinct homogeneity. Specifically social (E891 Part 2: Action 2.5) and cognitive constructionism (De Abreu 2000) Interpretivism (E891 Part 2: Action 2.4; Gage 1989) with quantitative and qualitative data collection i.e. mixed methodology. A critical review of the initial report by Street (2013) and Holmes (2013) exemplified the scarcity of knowledge and understanding some had on the associated theories. Both commented on differing aspects of the line of enquiry but these were conceptual in nature. Street (2013) illustrated that the researcher must remain aware of the macro/micro societal effect that the learning environment has on the adult?s lived/shared experience and Holmes (2013) suggested that there needed to be a better fit to the realities of the adult learner. With this in mind I re-conceptualized the report and reflected more specifically on the feedback and guidance. Therefore in order to steer the paradigms so that they pull in the same direction the aforementioned theories naturally occurring and overlapping dimensions will be grouped (i.e. constant comparison method; Cohen et al. 2000; p. 151) by their substantive statements (i.e. content analysis; Gillham 2000; p. 137) and used to engender questions. This process generated four themes that naturally expanded upon their shared features. Social contact and Relationships Goal and relevancy orientated External expectations Internal expectations In order to check for consistencies/inconsistencies (Denscombe 1999; p. 217-8) between the questionnaires i.e. Phase 1 and Phase 2 and interview responses both datasets will be triangulated to assess the overall motivation/s toward participatory behaviour i.e. cross-sectional design (Bryman 2006; p. 104). This ?Mutual? approach (Armitage and Keeble-Allen 2007) will be implemented during the adult learners? regular session/s which should (1) reduce bias (Nederhof 1985) and attrition (Torgerson 2009) (2) be more pragmatic than experimental research (Torgerson 2009) (3) increase internal validity reliability and research quality (4) support external validity and (5) decrease demand characteristics due to any researcher effects. Research enquiries can be polarized into qualitative and quantitative classifications based on how phenomena are represented (Ercikan and Roth 2006). But the researcher firmly believes; if representative qualitative and quantitative data have shared aspects that are dependent on their counterpart for completeness (Ercikan and Roth 2006; p.16; Bryman 2006; Bryman 2007) then the incorporation of cross-validation is warranted to best serve this enquiry. This strategy should ensure internal validity; especially when considering using complementary methods (Armitage and Keeble-Allen 2007). Moreover as these quantitative and qualitative counterparts contain a fundamental element of the interactive dependency that is shared and required for individual understanding i.e. the connectivity of interactivity and the influence on representative individuality then the research must be aware to consider that both methods have shared and conflicting elements. Consequently when considering multidisciplinary approaches mixed methods i.e. quantitative and qualitative and triangulation one must be aware that incommensurability can exist between them. Brannen (2005) suggests that some methods become more feasible than others and deemed a better ?fit? as [they] provide more sensitivity when investigating complex social phenomena. Hence certain methods used in conjunction can become less than complimentary with the other. Additionally Yin (2006) suggests that the ability to tighten the use of mixed methods so that they do in fact occur as part of a single study requires integration. The claim is that the more that a single study integrates mixed methods the more that mixed methods research as opposed to multiple studies is taking place (Yin 2006). Furthermore Houghton et al. (2010) highlight one of the ethical challenges which have important implications for qualitative research practical examples and solutions. The unpredictability of qualitative research means that an a priori prescription for ethical conduct is not always possible. Therefore the researcher must be constantly mindful of the on-going impact that the research might have on those involved while simultaneously being ethically sensitive and morally competent Although mixing methods does provide an inferential narrative to the statistical outputs from quantitative analysis it might not sufficiently negate the qualitative and quantitative dichotomy (Yin 2006) or necessarily produce the expected scholarly standard for presenting credible evidence (Maclure 2005). These qualitative and quantitative complements are noticeably ? even arguably ? intrinsic facets of social/cognitive interaction/functioning; hence the methods used to collect data in this enquiry will be trying to procure what happens when the internal interact/s with an external influence/s (Yin 2006). This illustration provides a start for thinking about yet other types of mixed method research. The point is if a relationship is completely absent? particularly where two or more methods address wholly different dependent independent or descriptive variables?the mixed methods are likely to form separate studies not a single study (Yin 2006). All these influences are important and relevant but they are only some of the processes that together comprise a complex social world and unfortunately; understanding that the relevance and value assigned to learning by adults? highlights the importance induced does not necessarily liberate them (Hacking 1999; p. 2) from any disenfranchisement they could feel. Likewise the researcher understands that the aforementioned factors are not the only variables that are existent; however the researcher is of the opinion that those factors (see fig. 3 + 4) are the most prominent from the observations made and literature review conducted. Research Design Fig. 2 is illustrating the design and flow of data analysis that establishes the internal validity reliability and quality of the research enquiry. Historical background Considering participation in adult learning since 1996 we see it has remained around 40% for those of working age (16 ? 69) for seventeen years. These were either currently participating or had recently participated in the last three years. Of those that did participate there is an equivalent amount that has not participated since leaving full time education. Although 80% of students? currently participating intend on continuing in further education after they have completed the present course (see Tab.1). Whilst participating in Further Education and Lifelong Learning I observed a possible explanation for the existence of these variances (that being relevance and value). A possible explanation for the disordinal interaction (percentages decrease in the ?Likely to learn in the future? group whilst percentages for ?Unlikely to learn in the future? group increase) demonstrated in table 1 could be; the further in years an adult moves away from education the less relevance and value they attribute to returning to it. Or is it as Siraj-Blatchford (2010) may suggest; that the adults are overscheduled and more committed to sustaining the home environment and maintaining a career with ?on the job? training. Multimodal Heuristics Informal learning is seemingly multimodal i.e. being valuable and relevant to the matter at hand and socially constructed through long/short term interactions (GTC 2006). The informal learning mechanisms that mediate influence shapes learning environments? (Evans et al. 2010; p. 6) cognitive processes and our social interactions (Evans et al. 2010; p. 6). ?Meaning? then is co/re-constructed by experience resulting in the multiple interpretations that create the social reality in which people act (Flowers 2009; p. 3). And as Vygotsky would state; context affects cognitive ? and by way of ? behavioural activities (De Abreu 2000; p. 3) Bruner?s suppositional framework suggests that learners form new ideas or theories based upon what they already know (GTC 2006). His theory of learning not only related to the way children?s thinking developed but it could also be applied to adults learning new and unfamiliar material (GTC 2006). Learners as Bruner proposes are creators and thinkers through the use of inquiry (GTC 2006). The process of which how learners dynamically construct knowledge is heavily in focus: implying the transformation of information which suggests that Bruner?s theory of Constructivism falls into a cognitive domain (GTC 2006). Learners are provided with opportunities to construct new knowledge and new meaning from authentic experiences (Brockmann 2011). As a result this exposes the pivotal role Multimodal Heuristics start to have when adults? decide to return to education. For instance a parent can reassure a frightened child that ?shadow monsters do not exist!? Although a sibling can suggest leaving the light on to scare the monsters? away. This indicates that informal learning can alter our worldview (e.g. ?When did you stop believing in Santa??) if it is seen to offer a plausible solution. This supports the concept of how informal learning can contribute to our understanding cognitive processes (De Abreu 2000) social interactions and the associated behaviours (Schwartz 1995; p. 5). These multimodal components; not only determine the level of commitment and motivation (Park & Choi 2009) that is ascribed to the retention of relevant and valuable information (Gibbons Bylsma 1984; p. 23) but also contributes to the ease of transfer and retrieval of that information (Ekey 2012). The characteristically pragmatic nature of adult learners? (Abdullah et al. 2008; Kohl-Frey and Schmid-Ruhe 2007; Crittenton Women?s Union 2012) also demonstrates this need/requirement for information to have applicability to their life. This is determined by the perceived applicability it has to their future experiences and interaction. The internal dimensions of meaning-making are also multimodal (Clark 2011) and seemingly derived from the combination of the value and relevance (or Multimodal Heuristics ? adults? decide through cognitive appraisal their own level of involvement) assigned by the adult to measure applicability. Consequently we could suggest that this is an ad hoc contribution to our social cognition (Aronson et al. 2005; p.57 ? 64; De Abreu 2000; p. 4) our availability heuristics (Rules of thumb; Aronson et al. 2005; p. 74 ? 75) and the associated behavior and schemas (Aronson et al. 2005; p. 59 ? 61) which then assist navigation of social environments?. Unfortunately understanding that the relevance and value assigned to learning by adults? highlights the importance induced does not necessarily liberate adults? (Hacking 1999; p. 2) from the disenfranchisement they could feel in institutions where learning is delivered primarily from a traditionally pedagogical approach. Similarly these interactions are situational and experienced directly by participation so it will be difficult to generalize the results further than adult learning. Theory development Essentially humans tend to seek out information that confirms what they think/believe to be most relevant or true to their experiences and/or future interactions; a relative cost-benefit/means-end (Evans et al. 2010; p. 6) cognitive appraisal that enables Multimodal Heuristic co/re-construction (Clark 2011). This process begins to filter out information that is considered worthless. The cost-benefit (Primary appraisal) and means-end analyses (Secondary appraisal) along with the personal value and relevance adults? assign to learning (?rule of thumb? Gustafsson L. & Mouwitz L. (2008); p. 5) appear to be hierarchical and Maslowian in nature. Additionally an adult must consider through means-end analysis the benefit of actively participating and building upon their knowledge and experience throughout their participation in learning. Ultimately mediating their need for satisfaction i.e. Socio-emotional negotiation and selectivity (Houde 2006). As a result for the adult to consider participation Multimodal Heuristics must negotiate support for expectation and assess the benefit knowledge learning and education have in recompense for reorganizing multiple obligations and competing priorities (Evans et al. 2010; p. 12). Therefore is socio-emotional negotiation and selectivity a process of fragmenting information so that it creates a heuristic commensurability with an individual?s normative social and cognitive functioning which therefore influences behaviour i.e. influential connectivity of socio-cognitive interactivity affecting the potentials for action? Fig. 3 is showing the internal framework of the decision making and meaning-making mechanisms that help generate mental constructs of multimodal heuristics. To some degree we can compare the assessment of value and relevance to Gustafsson & Mouwitz (2008) description of Proficiency Theory and means-end and cost-benefit analyses to McClusky?s Margin Theory (1974 as quoted in Gibbons Bylsma 1984). These theories emphasize a need to be competent at tasks? whilst being realistic about certain physical mental and social capabilities. If there is conflict between primary and secondary appraisals this could be seen as a violation of expectation (Deffenbacher 1993) which may account for drop-out rates serial signers? absenteeism non-participation in task relevant activities specific course popularity the cost-benefit/means-end analysis (Evans et al. 2010; p. 6; Geertz 1993; p. 4 ? 5) for staying the course and societal perception of lifelong learning (Tab. 1). For instance after asking my students? (12 in total) if they had any questions about what had been learnt they responded with ?what would I do if??? and ?When would I use??? As there were only subtle variations in discourse in regards to relevance and value I feel this highlights (1) what comprises Multimodal Heuristic co-construction and (2) what is required from information when it is presented outside of their interpretation of it. Moreover adults maintain autonomy (Gibbons Bylsma 1984) by performing a cost-benefit analysis to justify their participation; being that peripheral or full (Swan 2005; p. 5). Firstly this amongst others mentioned will form the basis of ?what counts as value and relevance evidence? and from which quantitative data will be collected (questionnaire). Lastly the quantitative data will be qualitatively complemented with a semi-structured interview to produce a rich narrative and attain thick descriptions (Geertz 1993). The semi-structured interview will be conducted with a subset of the surveyed group and will represent a cross-section of the adult learners? in that group i.e. single parent co-parent and a single male/female with no dependants. And as Denscombe (1999) and Brockmann (2011) found; interaction is situational and experienced directly by participation making it essential to respect [their] views with further recognition given to the possibility that [their] priorities may not reflect the general consensus view or official theory. For example Gustafsson & Mouwitz (2008) have reported; what is valued and encouraged in formal learning environments lacks to varying degrees explicit relevance in the workplace. Therefore adults must demand a greater degree of relevance value and satisfaction when deciding to return to and participating in education (Abdullah et. al. 2008; Houde 2006). Fig. 4 is showing the internal framework of secondary appraisal that aims to justify the decision made and validate the perception of learning by paralleling meaning-made with the realities of the study. Illustrating not only that the individual agency of these interpretations of relevance and value are co/re-constructed (Clark 2011) cognitively (GTC 2006) and socially (Hacking 1999) but also that adults? apply this form of Heuristic Multimodality when seeking satisfaction from having their expectations fulfilled. Park & Choi (2009) have reported that relevance and satisfaction being sub-dimensions of motivation are known to be interrelated with various course-related issues. Even though the societal influences mentioned in this report can modify (1) the assessment of relevance and (2) affect the personal satisfaction adults cultivate (Park & Choi 2009) they can also mediate and reinforce participatory behavior (Park & Choi 2009) by enhancing the importance adults? induce when deciding an academic and/or social level of involvement (Gibbons Bylsma 1984). Furthermore students? have asserted that relevance is a significant mediator in their assignment of value. Many students? have commented that relevance paralleled the value assigned to learning and their specific choice of subject(s). These statements were observed over time and place using a relative constant comparison method (Cohen et al. 2000; p. 151). Their comments demonstrated the application of a cost-benefit and means-end analysis e.g. ?How relevant is?in the big scheme of things?? ?When would I use??? and ?I don?t see the relevance? Evidently the use of Multimodal Heuristics acts as a mechanism that could also increase commitment dedication and motivation (Park & Choi 2009). In constant comparison data are compared across a range of situations times groups of people and through a range of methods (Cohen et al. 2000; p. 151 ? 2). The process resonates with the methodological notion of triangulation. The constant comparison method involves four stages: Comparing incidents and data that are applicable to each category comparing them with previous incidents in the same category and with other data that are in the same category Integrating these categories and their properties Bounding the theory Setting out the theory The subjective ontological/epistemological view research design and methodology exhibited in this report is sufficient and necessary to explore this direction of enquiry if it were absent it would prove problematic supporting a theory with an accompanying objective approach that advocates detachment (Flowers 2009; E891 Part 2: Action 2.2; Gage 1989; E891 Part 2: Action 2.5) when in this case it is more advantageous to explore the subjectivity of individual agency participatory behaviour and situational experiences motivation and the personal value and relevance assigned to learning as these are closer to the truth. Instrument Design There will be two distinct phases to data generation; firstly questions will be formulated from each of the four themes that CAL Andragogy and Margin and Proficiency theories appear to create and then randomly assigned (Nederhof 1985) to a questionnaire. A descriptive analysis of each question will be conducted to address whether the aforementioned multi-dimensionalities of adult learners? are being considered. The strength of the trend in the agreement/disagreement should build a picture of the shared experiences. These questions will then be relocated back to the themes that created them scored (Likert Scale; the higher the score the more relevance and value is attributed) and compared with the descriptive analysis to not only generate a semi-structured small group interview schedule (Gillham 2000) but also to get a sense of what is personally valuable and relevant about learning. This is an attempt to demonstrate; how meeting these multi-dimensionalities may be instrumental in maintaining learner participation (Park and Choi 2009). Furthermore by mapping these realities establish whether they support the general consensus view of these adult learning theories. An opportunity sampled group (16 ? 35+) will be surveyed using this questionnaire (13 in total) with a small group interview being administered to a subset of the surveyed group (5 in total). Ideally this subset should be representative of the adult learners? in that educational facility. Even though the whole group will be opportunistically surveyed; in phase 2 every effort will be made to be more purposive. In order to support internal validity and ensure the reduction of any bias the incorporation of a ?social desirability? measure (Nederhof 1985; SDR) will be added to the questionnaire. Certain questions will be cross referenced with one another to assess whether the adult learners? are responding in a socially desirable way. This local blocking technique should increase the internal validity of the questionnaire enhance the internal consistency of the small group interview questions reduce bias and maintain rigour when all the data is analysed. This should also allow individual agency (E891 Part 2: Action 2.4; Gage 1989; Denscombe 1999) shared experience and the personal value and relevance attributed to learning to be highlighted. Due to the amount of data that could have been reported the evaluation will be specifically limited to the triangulation narratives of the ?Theme Summaries? interview data i.e. content and descriptive analysis (Clark 2011). The researcher firstly formulated questions from these naturally occurring themes and searched for consistencies and inconsistencies (Denscombe 1999) between the summary narratives (Gillham 2000) and statistical outputs from the descriptive analyses (Bryman 2007). Phase 1 As there were 30 questions generated from the four themes the in-depth analysis of each question will be triangulated and presented in the theme summaries. In an attempt to expose any consistencies/inconsistencies (Denscombe 1999; p. 217-8) in the responses the data will be compared against the learning theories that created them: ensuring validity. Consequently due to the amount of quantitative data generated from the in-depth analysis of the individual questions this report will only include the second stage of Phase 1 i.e. descriptive analysis and theme summary triangulation. The interview responses from Phase 2 will be further triangulated with these summaries and content analysed to highlight the adult learners? realities and ascertain what influences their decisions and motivates them to return too education i.e. by constant comparison method. Theme Summaries Social contact and Relationships ? Q1 Q2 Q6 Q7 Q17 Q19 and Q30 The adult learners? appear to value social interaction and feelings of reciprocal respect whilst participating in learning which demonstrates that the adult learners? value a sense of ?belonging? (16/21). However there is a small percentage that does not see ?belonging? as being of value. Therefore the feelings of reciprocal respect and support cannot be generalised as influencing their decision to continue in learning. Internal expectations ? Q10 Q13 Q14 Q15 Q18 Q22 Q26 Q28 and Q29 This theme relates to the adult learners satisfaction. Satisfaction being a sub-dimension of motivation is something that must be regarded as paramount in the adult learning experience. The consistent attendance of the adult learners? at the session/s is testament to their satisfaction with the course and the delivery thereof (18/27). In essence if the adult learner considers that the potential learning opportunity is not transferable to the workplace is not satisfied or perceives it as inadequate at providing improvement to their problem solving capabilities could ultimately diminish their motivation to participate. Goal and relevancy orientation ? Q3

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