2006. Midwest Research to Practice Conference Proceedings. St. Louis, MO: University of Missouri-St. Louis by reyty1

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Impacting Adult Learners Near and Far



                                                 October 4–6
                                                 University of Missouri–St. Louis
                                                 J.C. Penney Conference Center
                                                 A Conference in Adult, Continuing, Extension, and Community Education
                                                 A unique conference linking research and practice

   Hosted by: University of Missouri–St. Louis

   Co-sponsored by:
   University of Missouri–St. Louis
   College of Education, Continuing Education

   University of Missouri Extension

                                                                                             equal opportunity/ADA institution

                                   of the

      2006 Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference
in Adult, Continuing, Extension, and Community Education

      Impacting Adult Learners Near and Far

          Special 25th Anniversary Conference
                   October 4-6, 2006

                                Edited by
                             E. Paulette Isaac
    Chair and Associate Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
                       University of Missouri-St. Louis

                          Editorial Assistants
                           Lewis E. Blackwell
             Graduate Assistant, University of Missouri-St. Louis

                          Casandra Blassingame
       Assistant to the Dean, University of Maryland University College

                      Conference Hosted by
                  University of Missouri-St. Louis

                     Proceedings Published by
                  University of Missouri-St. Louis

                                             Thomas F. George
                                             Chancellor / Professor of Chemistry and Physics
                                             Office of the Chancellor
                                             401 Woods Hall
                                             University of Missouri-St. Louis
                                             One University Boulevard
                                             St. Louis, MO 63121-4499, USA
                                             1- 314-516-5378 (fax)

October 4, 2006

Conference attendees,

On behalf of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, I would like to welcome you to the 2006
Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference. While on campus, you'll learn about new ways in
which distance technology and classroom techniques can be adapted to meet the unique needs of
adult learners more effectively.

Adult education has advanced extraordinarily in the 25 years since the first Midwest Research-
to-Practice Conference. Distance technology, one of the key components of this year's
conference, has created new means through which educators, practitioners and students can
learn. And even traditional classrooms are no longer considered traditional, thanks to
technological advances.

Surely there will be more developments that will shift the field during the next quarter century.
Staying ahead of the curve is why this conference is so vital to those in attendance.


Thomas F. George
UMSL chancellor

                                                                                               College of Education

                                                                                                          Office of the Dean

                                                                                                    One University Boulevard
                                                                                               St. Louis, Missouri 63121-4400
                                                                                                    Telephone: 314-516-5109
                                                                                                          Fax: 314-516-5227

 October 4, 2006

 Dear Midwest Research-to-Practice Attendees:

 On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students of the College of Education, I welcome you to St.
 Louis and to the University of Missouri-St. Louis. We are glad you decided to attend this year's
 conference and we are elated to host you on such an auspicious occasion-your 25th Anniversary.

 During your visit, I hope you will have time to visit the College of Education's E. Desmond
 Lee Technology and Learning Center and our Regional Center for Education and Work.
 Both provide numerous adult education opportunities throughout the St. Louis Region.

 As you celebrate your Silver Anniversary, I imagine, like other disciplines, you have witnessed
 many changes in the field during the past 25 years. Your history is outlined in the Conference
 Proceedings provided to you by Dr. Mary Cooper.

 I hope the information you gain during this year's conference will enable you to continue
 impacting adult learners near and far.

 Again, welcome. I hope you enjoy your visit with us. Enjoy St. Louis, our wonderful hometown.

Charles D. Schmitz, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor

                                                                                           VICE PROVOST’S OFFICE
                                                                                                         108 Whitten Hall
                                                                                                     Columbia, MO 65211
                                                                                                  PHONE: (573) 882-7477
                                                                                                    FAX: (573) 882-1955

October 4, 2006

Dear Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference Participants:

University of Missouri Extension is pleased to join in co-sponsoring the 25 th
anniversary of the Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult,
Continuing, Extension, and Community Education. Congratulations on achieving
this silver anniversary!

Clearly, Extension programs embrace the conference theme, “Impacting adult
learners near and far.” Across our nation, land-grant universities such as the
University of Missouri use science-based knowledge to engage people in
responding to change, solving problems, and making informed decisions.
Extension programs reach out to learners around the world through:

    •   Local extension centers;
    •   Distance education, including on-line courses and degrees;
    •   Webcasting, video, audio and other conferencing technologies; and
    •   Publications, including print and web-based resources.

Best wishes for a successful and meaningful conference. We look forward to
partnering with conference participants in their quest to make life-long learning
timely, relevant and accessible to all.


L. Jo Turner, Ph.D.
Interim Vice Provost and Director of Extension

University of Missouri, Lincoln University, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Local Extension Councils Cooperating
                                        EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/ADA INSTITUTIONS

                                                                                    EAST CENTRAL REGION
                                                                                        212 J. C. Penney Building
                                                                                            One University Drive
                                                                                              St. Louis, Mo. 63121
                                                                                            PHONE   (314) 516-5184
                                                                                               FAX  (314) 516-5559
                                                                        E-MAIL ECRegional Director@missouri.edu

October 4, 2006

Dear Research-to-Practice Conference Participants:

On behalf of the many faculty, staff and volunteers here in the East Central Region and
across the state of Missouri, I am honored to welcome you to Missouri and our particular part
of the state.

We are extremely excited to serve as the site for this 25th anniversary of the Annual Midwest
Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Extension, and Community

While here we hope that you take time to enjoy the many amenities afforded by our state and
area. We believe that the conference theme of “Impacting adult learners near and far” has
particular importance and significance here in Missouri. For nowhere else in the nation do
the terms “Back East,” “Up North,” “Down South” or “Out West” have greater significance
than here in Missouri. Our state is literally and figuratively at the crossroads of our nation.
St. Louis is the westernmost “eastern” city while Kansas City will boast a strong “western
flavor.” Much of North Missouri resembles Iowa while the Ozarks have a definite southern

Wherever you go in Missouri you will find the impact of University of Missouri Extension
programs. We are in small towns, big cities and certainly on farms and rural areas.
Extension epitomizes the concept of “Research to Practice” in all that we do in improving
the lives of people all across the state and nation.

We want your experience with us to be one filled with pleasant memories of building
networks, learning from others and sharing your own knowledge, skills and expertise. We
believe that this conference promises to meet those positive outcomes and much more. We
hope that you too will find this conference to be beneficial to you, your institution and your


Bud Reber
East Central Regional Director
University of Missouri Extension

                                                                                             ST. LOUIS COUNTY
                                                                                        121 South Meramec, Suite 501
                                                                                                  Clayton, MO 63105
                                                                                                PHONE  (314) 615-2911
                                                                                                  FAX  (314) 615-8147
                                                                                      E-MAIL StLouisCo@missouri.edu
                                                                     WEB SITE   http://extension.missouri.edu/stlouis
October 4, 2006

Dear Research-to-Practice Conference Participants:

Welcome to the 25th anniversary of the Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in
Adult, Continuing, Extension, and Community Education, co-sponsored by the University of
Missouri-St. Louis and University of Missouri Extension. We are pleased to have you join us in
St. Louis for this special occasion.

For the past quarter century, this conference has attracted researchers and practitioners from
Midwestern universities with graduate programs in adult education and from professional
associations for adult, continuing, and community educators. Since it began at Northern Illinois
University in 1982, the conference has offered a unique blend of practice and research rarely
found in a conference setting. For those involved through the years, the conference has been like
a “family reunion,” drawing colleagues together to share ideas and support one another, while
offering a friendly, nurturing environment for graduate students. If you’re returning this year
after being gone a few years—welcome home! If this is your first Midwest Conference, we’re
glad you could join us!

We’ve attempted to increase participation of adult educators and students this year, including our
colleagues from Extension (note the addition of Extension in our title), as well as those unable to
attend in person, yet interested in participating through our interactive web site. We’re excited to
have such an experienced Extension professional and technology guru as Joe Levine not only
serve as keynote speaker, but also facilitate our conference’s first pre-conference online

We wish to thank everyone on our local committee for their tireless efforts over the past year, as
well as the regional steering committee, those persons submitting proposals and papers, and the
volunteers who have contributed to the success of this conference. We also thank our sponsors
for their financial support, especially our host institution.

Thank you for being a part of this special 25th anniversary celebration! We are honored by your
presence and look forward to an inspiring conference.


Roxanne T. Miller                                      Thomas L. Titus
Conference Co-Chair                                    Conference Co-Chair
Regional Civic Communications Specialist               Manufacturing Execution System
University of Missouri Extension                       Deputy - Project User Manager
                                                       The Boeing Company

       Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult,
       Continuing, Extension, and Community Education

                                    Mission statement

The conference provides a forum for practitioners and researchers to discuss
practices, concepts, evaluation, and research studies in order to improve practice in
Adult Education. It facilitates dialogue and the initiation and pursuit of projects
among individuals and groups working in the various fields of Adult Education.
Through such discussion and collaboration, participants contribute toward the
realization of a more humane and just society through lifelong learning.

Prepared on behalf of the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference Steering Committee by Boyd
Rossing, May 28, 1991.

        25th Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference
     in Adult, Continuing, Extension, and Community Education

                               October 4-6, 2006
                               St. Louis, Missouri

                              Conference Host
                        University of Missouri-St. Louis

                            Conference Sponsors
                        University of Missouri-St. Louis

                College of Education, Continuing Education

                        University of Missouri Extension

                          Local Planning Committee

Roxanne T. Miller – Co-Chair                     Thomas L. Titus – Co-Chair

Angeline Antonopoulos                            Mary Ann Horvath
Casandra Blassingame                             E. Paulette Isaac-Savage
Mary K. Cooper                                   Susan Isenberg
Cynthia Foht                                     Rachael Johnson
Gina V. Ganahl                                   Victoria Knapp
John A. Henschke                                 Jack Perry
Robert (Rob) Hertel                              Von Pittman
Clark J. Hickman                                 Debbie L. Robison
                                                 Brenda Shannon Simms

                                SPECIAL THANKS

            St. Louis Community College – Forest Park, Hospitality Program
                    Paul Wilmarth, University of Missouri-St. Louis

                        2006 Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference
                               Steering Committee Members
                                   John A. Henschke               Roxanne T. Miller
Joseph Armstrong                   University of Missouri-        University of Missouri
Ball State University              St. Louis                      Extension

Casandra Blassingame               Lisa R. Meriweather Hunn       David Nickolich
University of Maryland             Ball State University          Indiana University Purdue
University College                                                University-Indianapolis
                                   Susan Imel
Jennifer Calvin                    The Ohio State University      Richard A. Orem
Southern Illinois University                                      Northern Illinois University
                                   Cheryl L. Engle
Simone Conceição                   The Ohio State University      Tonette S. Rocco
University of Wisconsin-           Extension                      Florida International
Milwaukee                                                         University
                                   E. Paulette Isaac-Savage
Mary K. Cooper                     University of Missouri-St.     Elice Rogers
University of Missouri-            Louis                          Cleveland State University
St. Louis
                                   Laurel Jeris                   Amy Rose
Barbara J. Daley                   Northern Illinois University   Northern Illinois University
University of Wisconsin-
Milwaukee                          Nina Kowalczyk                 Regina O. Smith
                                   The Ohio State University      University of Wisconsin-
John M. Dirkx                                                     Milwaukee
Michigan State University          Randee Lawrence
                                   National-Louis University      David S. Stein
Trenton R. Ferro                   Wheaton, IL                    The Ohio State University
Indiana University of
Pennsylvania                       S. Joseph Levine               B. Allen Talbert
                                   Michigan State University      Purdue University
Cynthia L. Foht
University of Missouri-St.         James H. McElhinney            Thomas L. Titus
Louis                              Ball State University          The Boeing Company

Michelle Glowacki-Dudka            Larry G. Martin                Daniela Truty
Ball State University              University of Wisconsin-       Northeastern Illinois
                                   Milwaukee                      University
Catherine A. Hansman
Cleveland State University         Henry S. Merrill               Connie Wanstreet
                                   Indiana University Purdue      The Ohio State University
Tom W. Heaney                      University-Indianapolis
National-Louis University                                         Jeani Young
Chicago                                                           Indiana University Purdue

                 Midwest Research-to-Practice Hosts, Locations,
           and Listing of Conference Proceedings in the ERIC Database
No.             Host(s)                    Location               Dates            Editor       ED Number

1.    Northern Illinois University   DeKalb, Illinois       October 8-9, 1982     K. Czisny     ED226116
2.    Northern Illinois University   DeKalb, Illinois       November 4-5, 1983                  ED262214
3.    Northern Illinois University   DeKalb, Illinois       September 27-28,                    ED262215
4.    University of Michigan         Ann Arbor,             October 10-11, 1985   L.S. Berlin   ED261172
5.    Ball State University          Muncie, Indiana        October 3-4, 1986     G.S. Wood,    ED274774
                                                                                  Jr. & D.
6.    Michigan State University      East Lansing,          October 8-9, 1987     S.J. Levine   ED295046
7.    University of Wisconsin        Madison, Wisconsin     October 21-22, 1988   C.C.          ED321029
8.    University of Missouri         St. Louis, Missouri    October 12-13, 1989                 ED330781
9.    Northern Illinois University   DeKalb, Illinois       October 18-19, 1990                 ED326663
10.   University of Minnesota        St. Paul, Minnesota    October 3-4, 1991                   ED378307
11.   Kansas State University        Manhattan, Kansas      October 8-9, 1992                   ED361532
12.   The Ohio State University      Columbus, Ohio         October 13-15, 1993   K. Freer &    ED362663
      & Indiana University of PA                                                  G. Dean
13.   University of Wisconsin        Milwaukee,             October 13-15, 1994   L. Martin     ED378359
14.   National-Louis University      Wheaton, Illinois      October 12-14, 1995                 ED446213
      & Northern Illinois
15.   University of Nebraska         Lincoln, Nebraska      October 17-19, 1996   J.M. Dirkx    ED477391
16.   Michigan State University      East Lansing,          October 15-17, 1997   S.J. Levine   ED412370
17.   Ball State University          Muncie, Indiana        October 8-10, 1998    G.S. Wood     ED424419
                                                                                  & M.M.
18.   University of Missouri         St. Louis, Missouri    September 22-24,      A. Austin,    ED447269
                                                            1999                  G.E. Hynes,
                                                                                  & R.T.
19.   University of Wisconsin        Madison, Wisconsin     September 27-29,      M.            ED445203
                                                            2000                  Glowacki-
20.   Eastern Illinois University    Charleston, Illinois   September 26-28,      W.C. Hine     ED457336
21.   Northern Illinois University   DeKalb, Illinois       October 9-11, 2002    R.A. Orem     ED471123
22.   The Ohio State University,     Columbus, Ohio         October 8-10, 2003    T.R. Ferro    In ERIC in
      Cleveland State University,    (Printed at IUP)                             & G.J.        Fall 2003
      & Indiana University of PA                                                  Dean
23.   Indiana University – Purdue    Indianapolis,          October 6-8, 2004     M.            Digital
      University                     Indiana                                      Glowacki-     Library
24.   University of Wisconsin-       Milwaukee,             September 28-30,      S.            Digital
      Milwaukee                      Wisconsin              2005                  Conceição     Library
25.   University of Missouri - St.   St. Louis, Missouri    October 4-6, 2006     E. P. Isaac   Digital
      Louis                                                                       L. E.         Library
                                                    KEYNOTE SPEAKER

                                   Fascinated by his own inquisitive desire to learn, Dr. Joe Levine has
                                   devoted his professional career to awakening that same spirit in
                                   others. As Professor of Adult Education and Extension Education at
                                   Michigan State University (MSU), Joe’s learning journey has
                                   provided him the wonderful opportunity to practice the very
                                   philosophy that guides so much of what he does. His ability to ask
                                   questions, challenge ideas and encourage reflection is a hallmark of
                                   his teaching.

                                   Dr. Levine has been on the faculty of the Learning Systems Institute,
                                   the program of studies in Adult and Continuing Education, and the
                                   graduate program in Agricultural and Extension Education. He was
S. Joseph Levine, PhD
                                   Chief of Party for MSU’s Nonformal Education Project in Indonesia.
    Professor Emeritus
                                   Joe has taught graduate courses in adult learning, instructional
Michigan State University
                                   strategies for teaching adults, program planning and evaluation,
  East Lansing, Michigan
                                   and—most recently—how to effectively teach at a distance. He tries
                                   to juggle his own time between teaching, writing, leading workshops
                                   and designing instruction.

With a strong background in electronics and technology, Joe has been involved with a variety of
distance education initiatives for both formal and nonformal education. In particular, he has been an
advocate for the learner and is concerned that distance education programs be developed that respond
to the unique needs of each learner.

Always looking for new things to challenge his own learning, Joe is an accomplished clarinetist, a
long-time amateur radio operator, a fairly good carpenter, a self-taught Web designer, and always able
to put off work when something enticing strikes his fancy. His wife, a speech pathologist, is quick to
point out that learning is fine “except when it stands in the way of cleaning the basement.”


Wednesday, October 4

Noon – 1:15 p.m.         Registration – Lobby

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.    Graduate Student Pre-Conference – Room 126
                         Mary K. Cooper, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Missouri-
                            St. Louis
                         John A. Henschke, Ed.D., Associate Professor, University of Missouri-St.
                            Louis; Continuing Education Specialist, University of Missouri
                         Trenton R. Ferro, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus, Indiana University of
                            Pennsylvania; Part-Time Faculty, Walden University
                         Casandra Blassingame, Adult Education Doctoral Candidate, University
                            of Missouri-St. Louis
                         Rosanne Vrugtman, Adult Education Doctoral Candidate, University of
                            Missouri-St. Louis

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.    Registration – Lobby

6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.    Welcoming Reception – Summit Lounge

7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.    Social Discussion & Networking – Summit Lounge
                         An informal gathering to share ideas about research, practice,
                         technology, and the future of adult learning

Thursday, October 5

8:00 a.m. – Noon         Registration – Lobby

8:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.   Opening Session: Conference Welcome and Introductions – Summit
                         Roxanne T. Miller, Conference Co-Chair, Regional Civic
                            Communications Specialist, University of Missouri Extension
                         Glen Hahn Cope, Ph.D., Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic
                            Affairs, University of Missouri-St. Louis
                         Deborah L. Robison, J.D., Associate Vice Provost for Extension &
                            Associate Director of Cooperative Extension, University of Missouri-
                         John A. Henschke, Ed.D., Associate Professor, University of Missouri-St.
                            Louis, Continuing Education Specialist, University of Missouri

                         Keynote Address
                         S. Joseph Levine, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University

Thursday, October 5 (cont.)

10:15 a.m. – Noon             Concurrent Sessions 1 and 2 (see Presentation Schedule)

Noon – 1:15 p.m.              Luncheon – Summit Lounge

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.         Poster Session and Networking – Lobby

2:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.         Concurrent Sessions 3, 4 and 5 (see Presentation Schedule)

5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.         25th Anniversary Celebration Reception – UM-St. Louis Alumni Center
                              Sponsored by St. Louis Community College-Forest Park Hospitality
                              Studies Program

Friday, October 6

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.         Steering Committee Meeting – Room 119

8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.         Plenary Session: Introductions – Summit Lounge
                              Thomas L. Titus, Conference Co-Chair, Manufacturing Execution System
                                 Deputy - Project User Manager, The Boeing Company

                              Graduate Student Award Announcement
                              Randee Lipson Lawrence, Ed.D., Associate Professor, National-Louis

                              25th Anniversary Reflections
                              Distinguished guests reminisce about how their involvement and
                              experiences with the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference have
                              impacted their careers

10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.       Concurrent Sessions 6 and 7 (see Presentation Schedule)

Noon – 1:30 p.m.              Lunch and Closing Session – Summit Lounge

                              Invitation to 2007 Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference
                              Local Planning Committee, Ball State University

                                                                                       Conference at a Glance

                        CYPRESS ROOM                         ROOM 72                         ROOM 78                        ROOM 126                      ROOM 222                    ROOM 229
                          Methods & Issues in           Reports on Research              Reports on Research            Practitioner Concerns         Reports on Research           Evaluation Studies
    10:15-11:00                                         Plakhotnik/Delgado/          Stein/Wanstreet/Engle/Glazer/              Berger                Dirkx/Anger/Brender/
Concurrent Session 1               Lord                      Seepersad               Harris/Johnston/Simons/Trinko      Perceived Neutrality of        Gwekwerere/Smith              Merrill/Freeman
                         Disciplined Interactive           Autobiographical             From Personal Meaning to          Technology and its        Beyond Culture Shock: The       Program Evaluation
                         Literacy: Developing a       Exploration of Self as Adult     Shared Understanding: The        Potential Impact When          Meaning of Affect and        Projects Promoting
                           Holistic Framework            Educators and Adult             Nature of Discussion in a      Used in Adult Education      Emotions in International      Authentic Learning
                                                               Learners                    Community of Inquiry                Settings               Educational Experience

                         Reports on Research            Reports on Research              Reports on Research             Reports on Research          Reports on Research          Methods & Issues in
    11:15-12:00                Lindeman                      Barrett/Murk               Glowacki-Dudka/Brown                     Borger               Brockman/DeJonghe                    Razvi
Concurrent Session 2   Late Transition to Technical    Life Satisfaction Index for    Faculty Learning Communities:     Putting the “Classroom”     Resolving Conflict Between        Image-Based
                       College: Perspectives from       the Third Age (LSITA):         Exploring How Participation     Back in Online Instruction    Graduate Students and         Research: The Ethics
                           Males Approaching               A Measurement of                   Contributes to                                          Faculty: A Two Phase           of Photographic
                               Adulthood                    Successful Aging            Professional Development                                        Design Approach                Evidence in
                                                                                                                                                                                   Qualitative Research

                            Poster Session                 Poster Session                   Poster Session                  Poster Session
     1:15- 2:00                Githens                          Kaplan                        Manbeck                         Thomas
 Poster Session        Older Adults and Distance      Exploring an Online, Video-           Adult Learners’             Broadening the Cultural       Poster Session will be
                               Learning               based Alternative to Face-      Conceptualization of Thinking    Frame on Recent Master’s      held in the J. C. Penney
                                                           to-Face Teacher                                                TESOL Graduates                     Lobby
                                                      Professional Development

                         Reports on Research           Practitioner Concerns             Reports on Research             Reports on Research           Methods & Issues in         Reports on Research
     2:00-2:45                    Daly                                               Hopkins/Monaghan/Hansman                     Dokter                        Miller                 Rocco/Stein/
Concurrent Session 3       Putting the Puzzle              Conway/Jeris              Who Has Access: The Impact of     Student-Centered Learning        Research Challenge:             Munn/Ginn
                         Together”: Reflection,            Models, Models             the Workforce Investment Act        or Funding-Centered               Developing a            From Social Policies
                             Learning, and            Everywhere and Not a One          (WIA) of 1998 on Funding       Learning? A Case Study of     Comprehensive Approach          to Organizational
                          Transformation in an                that Fits?                Resources for Incumbent           a British Institution’s     to Evaluating a Practice-    Practice: Do National
                         Integrated Liberal Arts            Cross-cultural                       Workers                 Technology Integration      Generated Extension Life      Policies Translate into
                                 Course                 Implementation of the                                                                        Skills Curriculum for Hard-       Organizational
                                                          DACUM Process                                                                             to-Reach Adults and Teens        Policies to Retain,
                                                                                                                                                                                     Retrain, or Rehire
                                                                                                                                                                                      Older Workers?

                         Practitioner Concerns          Reports on Research                Evaluation Studies            Methods & Issues in          Reports on Research              Practitioner
                                                                                                                             Research                                                   Concerns
     3:00-3:45                    White                   Geerling/McTyre                       Thompson                                                     Henschke                       Truty
Concurrent Session 4           The Lack of            The Great Divide: Differing     Utilizing External Evaluators:          Strachota                 Common Elements for           Political Savvy:
                           Diverse Community            Perceptions of Quality       Assessing Student Outcomes in         The Use of Survey             Re-orienting Higher          Elusive yet Vital
                           Nutrition Educators          College-Level Writing                an Adult Education          Research to Measure           Education Institutions in
                                                       Between Adult Learners                 Master’s Degree            Student Satisfaction in      various Countries toward
                                                         and Adult Educators                                                Online Courses          Lifelong Learning: Research
                                                                                                                                                         and Implications for

        25th Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Extension, and Community Education

                CYPRESS ROOM                         ROOM 72                       ROOM 78                         ROOM 126                   ROOM 222                    ROOM 229
                 Reports on Research             Reports on Research           Reports on Research             Practitioner Concerns       Reports on Research         Methods & Issues in
 4:00-4:45                Ty                           Moulden                        Morris                           Hellman               Stein/Wanstreet         Lawrence/Buckley/Cueva
Concurrent    GABRIELA: Contributions of          Hope—Heartbeat of         Working Class Learning One        Online Humor: Oxymoron       Through the PRiSM: A      /
 Session 5      a Third-World Women’s             Adult Education: A            Hundred Years Ago:            or Strategic Teaching Tool    Decision Model for          Giordani/Ramdeholl/
              Movement to Feminist Theory       Phenomenological Inquiry   Workingmen’s Institutes in Inner                                 Adult Enrollment in              Simpson
                      and Practice                                                 City Sydney                                               Higher Education          Once Upon a Time: The
                                                                                                                                                                     Power of Story in Research

                      ROOM 72                        ROOM 78                       ROOM 126                        ROOM 222                   ROOM 229
                 Practitioner Concerns           Practitioner Concerns     Methods & Issues in Research        Reports on Research
10:00-10:45        Otsuki/Yamashita                 Abbott/Beech                Strachota/Conceição/             Donaldson/Rentfro
Concurrent          How to Leverage              Service Learning and                   Schmidt               Adult Undergraduates in
 Session 6    International and Intercultural   Non-Traditional Students   The Development and Validation        the Adult Education
                       Perspectives                                         of a Survey Instrument for the    Literature: Mainstream or
                      in Classrooms                                                  Evaluation of                     Marginal
                                                                                   Instructional Aids
                 Practitioner Concerns           Methods & Issues in                                           Reports on Research         Reports on Research
11:15-11:45        Folkman/Barnett/                     Pryor                    Graduate Student                 Henschke/Cooper               Ndon/Martin
Concurrent            Davis/Gotts               A Theory for Recruiting-           Paper Award                  International Research     The Lived Experiences
 Session 7          Documenting the               and-Retaining Adult                                         Foundation for Andragogy      of University Faculty:
                    Elusive Outcome                    Learners                                                and the Implications for    Reflections on the Use
                                                                                                               Adult Education Practice         of the Hybrid
                                                                                                                                             Instructional Model

             Twenty Five Years of Midwest Research to Practice
                                 Mary Katherine Cooper

       The intent of this conference is to bring together practitioners and
       researchers to discuss the results of theoretical and empirically-based
       inquiries. We have attempted to achieve this purpose by inviting paper
       submissions and conference participation not only through the traditional
       channels (e.g. universities), but also through the professional associations
       in the Midwest. We hope to include participants and presenters who have
       been to many research conferences and those who have never attended
       one. We believe the interactions which occur…can only strengthen our
       field of study and practice. (Cervero, Czisny, Ewert, Hentschel, p. 1)

         Thus began the first Midwest Research-to–Practice Conference (MR2P) on
October 8, 1982, at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. Sponsored by ten
Adult Education organizations that represented seven states, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan,
Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin, a research to practice tradition began. It has
continued for 25 years. While it will not be possible to list every paper submitted in this
article, trends in keynotes and procedural changes give a picture of the evolution of this
conference. Each host site has had the freedom to arrange things as they would, however,
the issues of adult education can be traced by examining the development of Midwest
Research-to-Practice in both topics and structure. As precedents were set, issues in
research, practice and life began to take form. This paper is organized according to the
three decades that it has touched, beginning with the eighties.

                                       The Eighties

         Submitting a call to researchers and practitioners alike, during the 1982
conference, 27 papers were presented. While the majority of the presenters had some
university affiliation, many were graduate students who also had links to practice. This
first conference began with a keynote entitled: Research Needs and Issues in Adult and
Continuing Education. This was presented by Wendell Smith of the University of
Missouri-St. Louis, and President of the Adult Education Association of the USA (now
AAACE). An evening seminar, Explaining Explanations, included: The Scientific
Explanation: A Paradox in the Human Quest for Understanding and The Politics of
Explanation: The Ongoing Human Quest for Power.
         Throughout this conference, there were opportunities for informal and formal
conversation, including two scheduled social hours. This set a precedent for future
conferences as a venue for informal discussion and fellowship. MR2P became a place to
visit, discuss, and learn for educators, practitioners, students and all lifelong learners,
formally, informally and incidentally. The conference ended with a closing address:
“Lessons from Dekalb: The Kernels of Truth.” There must have been some truths in
those lessons, since the conference was scheduled to repeat in 1983.

                                Different Time, Same Place

        Again in DeKalb, on November 4-5, 1983, the interaction of research and practice
was considered. The steering committee wrote:
        It is our hope to present a quality conference which would more closely
        link research and practice. Our emphasis has been on the application of
        research findings. Indeed, if proper research questions are asked, there
        should be no problem in putting the findings into practice.
To begin this process, Cyril Houle began the conference by presenting the
keynote address. Although there is no record of the topic, having such a well-
known speaker indicated a commitment to the concept of the conference, since
Houles’ work in continuing education and research is well-known. He most
likely provided a great deal to consider and discuss.
        In this second conference, an Iowa organization came on board with the other
organizations to lend its support. In addition to the topics of the first conference, this one
included literacy, continuing education, extension, adult learners in universities and other
settings, topics of policy, aging, disabilities, and mentoring. The evening keynote address
was Community Education in Appalachia through Participatory Research and Medi,
givena by Helen Lewis of Kentucky, in order to provide an example of how research and
practice were closely linked. The conference ended with a panel that discussed The
influence of Practitioner Involvement in the Research Process on the Quantity and
Quality of Research Utilization. So it became apparent that one could not exist without
the other.—practice without research or research without practice.
        Continuing in DeKalb, at Northern Illinois University, the third annual MR2P
conference took place on September 27 & 28, 1984. The introduction in the program had
the following to say:
        The conference is the result of a cooperative effort and the part of
        numerous individuals, more than a dozen adult education organizations,
        and…to present to you a quality conference in which researchers and
        practitioners are brought together to share ideas, articulate research needs,
        and disseminate research findings.
        This conference began with a panel that included an anthropologist, a professor of
philosophy, and a professor of sociology. The topic discussed; Evaluating Research: An
Interdisciplinary View set the stage for the presentations to follow. Specific research
paradigms, such as phenomenology and phenomenography, were included in the twenty-
eight paper presentations. Additionally, the use of computers in education began to be
discussed, since retention and motivation remained a concern.
        While continuing education for the professions still played a key part of the
research and practice, workforce education began to emerge as an issue for adult
educators and practitioners. To end this conference, a precedent was set that was to
continue for a number of years: the keynote address followed a luncheon at the end of
the conference. The then editor of Adult Education Quarterly, Hal Beder of Rutgers
University, spoke on The State of Research in Adult Education.
        Midwest Research-to-Practice had become an informative and friendly place to
discuss the connections of research to practice and practice to research, since now the
conference was well established, thanks to the work of many and especially those at

Northern Illinois University. So, the time was right for the other supporters in the
Midwest to take a more active role in MR2P.

                                  Sharing the Experience

        Michigan University in Ann Arbor Michigan hosted the 4th annual Midwest
Research-to-Practice Conference on October 10-11, 1985. This began a twenty-five year
road trip. According to the abstract in ERIC, this conference contained “… papers on
practical applications of research on adult and continuing education.” Thee practical
applications of research included, in addition to other ongoing topic: parent and clergy
education; McClusky's Concept of Margin; The Adult Learner and Microcomputer
Manuals; Educational Needs of Hispanics; Returning Women Students; Naturalistic
Research Methods; and work Work-Related Self-Directed Learning.
        From Michigan, MR2P traveled to Indiana. Hosted by, The Institute for
Community Education Development at Ball State University, Muncie, IN., the 5th annual
conference took place October 3-4, 1986. Additional topics and those of growing
concern for the field of Adult Education made up the wealth of presentations. Some
topics of interest included: Professional Certification: A Critical Research Issue;
Graduate Studies in Adult Education; Displaced Workers; Herman Hesse's Siddhartha
compared with Fowler's Stages of Faith Development; Advancement of Women in
Senior Managerial Positions; and Computer Awareness for Adults. Although the
personal computer had not yet made it to everyone’s home, computers began to be
researched as instructional technologies for lifelong learning.
        Still in Michigan, MR2P was hosted by Michigan State University in East
Lansing, in October 8-9, 1987. This 7th conference began with a hospitality time on
Wednesday evening, followed by the actual conference on Thursday and Friday. The
General session on Thursday morning included a presentation entitled Adults Pursuing
Self-Directed Learning: An Example from Medicine by Dr. Robert Edwards, Assistant
Dean of the College of Human Medicine of Michigan State University. Wednesday
afternoon and Friday morning, concurrent sessions and research colloquys provided an
opportunity to hear your choice of 27 papers presented. Some topics included: A decade
of Research contributions to the Adult Basic Education Literature; The Study of Human
Resource Development Practitioners’ Communication Methods in Organizations;
interactive video, critical thinking, social and economic injustice, community and
agricultural education. The conference ended with a keynote address, Social Structure in
the Education of Adults: Towards a Comparative Analysis, given by Dr. Peter Jarvis,
University of Surrey, UK. The final event was the presentation of the Graduate Student
Research Award; that is now done at every MR2P.
        The MR2P traveling show went to the state of Wisconsin in 1988. The
Proceedings of this 7th MR2P included the following in the welcome:
        …The opportunity for dialogue among researchers and practitioners is
        critical. Each shares common concerns and questions. Each brings a
        different perspective to their resolution. Through the application of
        research findings to practice and the struggle to resolve the practical
        problems through research, our mutual enterprises of adult, continuing and
        community education are advanced.

So the research to practice and practice to research continued. In fact, a key phrase listed
in ERIC is that of Theory Practice Relationship. Twenty-six paper presentations
continued to discuss issues of literacy, transfer of training, continuing education,
international adult education, decision making, cognitive styles, expert systems and other
issues of lifelong learning.
        To round out the eighties, MR2P traveled to St. Louis, Missouri in 1989. On
October 12-13, the 8th annual MR2P took place. The local committee stated two primary
objectives for planning the conference that included:
        1) to incorporate Adult Education principles into the conference format in
        order to establish a balance between theory and practice; and 2) to provide
        an optimal level of hospitality to put you at ease and promote comfort.
These objectives remain at the heart of MR2P.
        After an evening of hospitality on Wednesday, the conference began with a Panel
of Experts discussing Qualitative-Quantitative Research and Practice Issues. Thirty-one
papers were presented in four focus areas: Research Studies; Evaluation Studies;
Research Issues; and Practitioner Concerns. This focus provided much to think about. To
help to round out the balance of research and practice, included in the presentations were
six specially invited sessions conducted.
        Continuing the international flavor, the final keynote was presented by Dr
Guenther Dohmen, Professor and Chair of Adult Education Department and Eberhard
Karls of the University of Tuebingen in the Federal Republic of Germany. The topic
was Linking Research and Practice in Adult, Continuing and Community Education.
Further moreit was stated that the presentation would focus on:
             • An Educational Working Center for Adult Education: A Linkage
             • Research methods that help to understand learner patterns of
                 interpretation and their modifications as well as transformations in
                 learning processes
             • Background conditions favorable for research-to-practice linkages
The final presentation of the Best Graduate Research Award concluded the conference.

                                        MR2P Traditions
         At the end of the eighties, Midwest Research-to Practice had established itself as a
unique entity. But not being affiliated with any organization or university, MR2P was
able to provide a balance between research and practice, as well as nurture diverse study
into all aspects of adult education and the adult learner. After six years certain patterns
began to emerge. While the beginning conferences were scheduled in the first week of
November, the time for MR2P became the end of September or beginning of October.
Initially the conferences were was primarily on Friday and Saturday, but by the end of
the eighties it was begun with an event on Wednesday evening, with the remainder of the
conference going through Thursday and into Friday through luncheon. On Thursday the
conference began with a keynote address or panel, and ended with a keynote or panel
after luncheon on Friday. Also established was the graduate student research award. The
following described the award:
         It has been a tradition of this conference that an award has been given for
         the best research presentation by a graduate student. This award is given

       on the basis of: the written proposal; abstract and paper; management of
       the session presentation; and competence in dealing with questions and
       comments directed during the session. Occasionally more than one student
       has been given this award.
Many of the traditions begun during the eighties still continue, but most importantly,
MR2P continues to explore the research-to-practice linkages, not favoring one over the
other. However, therewas the encouragement of a combination, and it continues to be a
place of learning, fellowship for everyone ,and the encouragement of MR2P graduate

                           The Nineties – There and Back Again

         The start of a new decade brought MR2P back to its beginning location, Dekalb,
Illinois. This 9th conference took place ON October 18-19, 1990, at Northern Illinois
University. Welcome thoughts included:
         This conference has developed its distinction and excellence by linking research
and practice. The sessions you attend as well as the others you just read in this
publication, will provide opportunity for you to learn and grow…(we) offer you
opportunities to consult and interact with colleagues from throughout the Midwest.
         Twenty-four paper presentations continued the tradition. Papers on literacy,
distance education, graduate studies, gender, and continuing education were included.
Some titles included; The Continuing Professional Education of Corporate Technical
Professionals: Reasons, Formats, and Implications; The Use of Audio Interaction in a
Telecourse Offered by Satellite: Foundations of Adult Basic Education; Applied Futures
Research: A Practitioner's Role; Getting the Horse before the Cart: Determining
Continuing Education Needs of Vocational Educator; and Life Transitions and Trigger
Events Leading to Participation in a Volunteer Literacy Program.
         Ninety ninety-one saw the participation of another host site. The 10th annual
conference took place at the University of Minnesota ON October 3-4, 1991. The
Mission Statement had evolved to the following:
         The conference provides a forum for practitioners and researchers to meet
         and discuss practices, concepts, evaluation and research studies and
         related issues in order to improve practice in adult education. It
         encourages, fosters and facilitates dialogue and the initiation and pursuit
         of projects among individuals and groups working in the various fields of
         adult education. Through such discussion and collaboration participants
         contribute toward the realization of a more humane and just society
         through lifelong learning.
Each host, while following MR2P traditions, brought a unique flavor to the conference.
Such was the case in Minnesota when Michael Patton OF Union Institute Graduate
School, presented the opening keynote: The Research to Practice Linkage: Where all the
Findings are above Average.
         Throughout the conference there were opportunities to make site visits,
interestingly enough, to a variety of technology centers, as well as attend concurrent
sessions.. Paper presentations were again balanced and included such topics as: A
Research Agenda for Adult Civic Education; Learning Strategies Concerns among ABE

[Adult Basic Education] Practitioners; Teaching toward Self-Directedness; and,
Conducting Evaluation in Adult Literacy Programs. In a letter to conference participants,
the co-chairs wrote:
        Ten years ago, a group of practitioners and researchers from the region
        had the wisdom to meet and to begin discussing practices, concepts,
        evaluation, and research studies in order to improve the practice in adult
        education. A decade later we are continuing this discussion…Two features
        were added to this conference, site visits…(and) a symposium exploring
        the state of research and practice inquiry, as represented by the papers…
So the conference ended with two events. There was an invited symposium entitled
Research to Practice: Implications of the 1991Midwest Research-to Practice Conference,
and there was the keynote address, Education for Excellence in Service to Society: The
Critical Issue for Research and Practice in Adult Education Today and Into the 21st
Century. This was presented by the President and Executive Director of the General
Mills Foundation, Reatha Clark King.

                          More States Come On Board

        On October 8-9, 1992, the MR2P road trip, found itself in Kansas. Kansas State
University, in Manhattan, Kansas, that hosted the 11th conference. Now having the
articulated mission statement published in 1991, the conference chair welcomed
participants by stating:
        Since its founding…the Midwest conference has provided an opportunity
        for graduate students, faculty, and practitioners from the broad field of
        adult education to critically explore ideas, innovations, and principles
        exemplified in the research-to-practice challenge…We encourage you to
        take advantage of the rich learning environment associated with Kansas
        State University…and the Manhattan Community.
On Wednesday afternoon, conference participants had the opportunity to choose from
four pre-conference tours to areas of practice within the community. Taking us back to
the research component, the conference began with a panel of educators discussing,
Diversity in Global Awareness: Research Directives for Adult Education. In addition to
concurrent sessions, there were also receptions and other opportunities to gather
scheduled. The final luncheon keynote was delivered by Sharan Merriam, Professor of
Adult Education, University of Georgia. Demonstrating the commitment to graduate
students and all participants, the topic was Writing up and Publishing your Research.
        With the 12th annual conference, trends were becoming more apparent. In the
conference proceedings prepared by the committee at Ohio State University the following
was noted:
        Several trends regarding the theory-to-practice dynamic in adult,
        continuing, and community education can be observed. First, research has
        largely been driven by practice. That is, research has been seen as a means
        of generating knowledge to solve practitioner related problems…Second,
        naturalistic inquiry has become increasingly popular as a means of
        conducting research in the field. Third, the issues identified for
        research…are becoming increasingly complex. Issues such as gender,

        diversity, multiculturalism, economic and social development, and the
        social contexts of adult learning are presenting new challenges to
        researchers as well as practitioners in the field. (Freer & Dean, p iii).
Indeed, even as MR2P pursued the research to practice linkage, it was noted that:
        As research becomes increasingly complex and sophisticated, it is less
        accessible, either to conduct or use, for practitioners. At the same time,
        the need for good information upon which to make sell informed decisions
        has never been greater.
        At the conference on October13-15, 1993, at Ohio State University in Columbus,
Ohio, the presentations were organized in a new way. There were eight distinct areas
presented. They were: adults as learners; continuing education/professional development;
Gender, culture & diversity; human resource development; literacy; programming;
research issues; and, teaching and learning. Concurrent sessions included both individual
presentations and panel presentations.
        As the conference moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 13-15, 1994, it
was noted in the introductory letter that:
        This conference was developed in the early 1980’s by researchers and
        practitioners from Midwestern universities with graduate programs in
        adult education and from professional associations to which adult,
        continuing, and community educators belonged. Since its fledgling
        beginnings, the conference has grown in the number of proposals
        submitted, the total number of papers presented, the number of students
        presenting, the geographic area from which participants are drawn, and the
        number of conference participants.
        Following the format developed through the previous conferences, the conference
began with a keynote address by Mezirow entitled Transformation Theory: Implications
for Practice and Research, and ended with a panel that discussed the topic of Critical
Reflections on Urban Practice: Implications for Research. Interestingly enough, it should
be noted that the conference went back to a Thursday through Saturday schedule.
        The 14th annual MR2P conference went back to Illinois. Co-hosted by National
Louis University and Northern Illinois University on October 12-14, 1995, and
conference participants gathered at National Louis University. With thirty-three papers
accepted, the conference began with a panel discussing, Issues and Concerns from
Community Based Educators. Issues of literacy, equity, mentoring, and transformation
were at the forefront of the concurrent sessions. The conference closed after a closing
lunch and panel.

                                     Going on Fifteen
        As the fifteenth year of MR2P was planned, the mission remained the same, and
the beginnings of the conference were acknowledged. Schedules were similar, and the
length of the conference remained the same. A comfortable tradition had been
established. The issues of adult education continued, with new insights added, and new
contexts coming to the fore. On October 17-19, 1996, the University of Nebraska-
Lincoln continued the tradition. Some new ideas were added to the schedule. On the first
evening, In addition to a reception and hospitality room, a town meeting was held to
consider, Research and Practice; A False Duality? Also added to the conference were

luncheon theme based discussions, and, foreshadowing a national trend, there was a
symposium on HRD and Adult Education. This conference also ended with a panel at a
         Going back to a Wednesday evening through Friday noon schedule, Michigan
State University held the 16th annual MR2P conference on October 15-17, 1997.
Continuing an idea from the previous conference, a town hall meeting was held on
Wednesday evening. The topic under discussion was The Role of Politics in the
Research and Practice of Adult Education. During the following morning, the theme
continued with the opening panel on How Does the Political Context Shape and Influence
the Practice of Helping Adults Learn? While many conferences had a particular theme
used in the planning process, it has been understood that a variety of papers would be
considered regardless of whether or not they matched the current theme. With this
conference, issues of politics and social and economic global equity were stressed in the
conference wide presentations, and the final keynote was presented by Budd Hal of the,
University of Toronto. He spoke on Adult Learning, Global Civil society and Politics.
Although participants at previous conferences came from other countries, MR2P was not
just for the Midwest USA anymore.
         In nineteen ninety-eight the conference was expanded to include a pre-conference
program for graduate students and a practitioner research showcase in addition to the
four categories of presentations. During October 8-10, 1997, Ball State University
presented what was now essentially a three day conference. The conference co-chairs
stated their objectives thus:
         We hope that you will be able to use your time well in exploring new
         research, new issues, and new concerns in new ways with your
         professional colleagues. We hope that you will be challenged to look
         beyond the simplistic and the mundane. We hope that you will find
         yourself constantly engaged in reflecting upon ides being shared at this
         conference. And we hope that you leave here exited about something
         which will improve you professional practice.
         To assist the graduate student, the pre- conference included the following topics
sessions: Scholarly Writing; How to Publish; and, The Dissertation Process. In the
evening, a special guest presentation was offered. It was An Evening with Butch Wilson,
presented by Arthur L. Wilson of North Carolina State University. Practitioner Research
Showcases included: Adult Basic Education, Literacy, GED, ESL Practitioner
Researchers; Business and Industry Practitioner Researchers; and, Health Practitioner
Researchers. These three constituencies had been and would continue to comprise a large
segment of the research to practice conversations. The final keynote was presented by
Rosemary Caffarella of the University of Northern Colorado on Learning in Adulthood:
The Individual and Contextual Perspectives. Caffarella wrote the following on two
approaches that she also presented, focusing on the learning processes and a contextual
approach to learning::
         My basic belief is that both perspectives inform our practice as adult
         educators. They can in fact be brought together, providing a more
         comprehensive platform than either perspective does by itself from which
         to design adult learning activities.

         Nineteen ninety-nine saw the 18th annual conference returning to St. Louis,
Missouri, on September 22-24 at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In keeping with
the MR2P traditions, the following was stated:
         Our goal is to balance voices of adult educators in a dialog that will be
         exciting and provocative. Past traditions have been preserved and newer
         features have been added. We hope that the Graduate Student Pre-
         Conference, Industry Site Visits and the Town Hall Meeting will
         complement the thirty-nine papers that will be presented this year.
         The Graduate Student Pre-Conference featured Sharan Merriam of the University
of Georgia in a conversation about the graduate experience. Since new learning
technologies impacted the field of adult education, the scheduled keynote speaker, one of
the founding fathers of the conference, Larry Berlin, traveled from his new home in
Christchurch, New Zealand. He shared his personal reflections as a catalyst and
practitioner in our field in The Accidental Tourist. Fittingly, the very first Keynote
speaker at the nineteen eighty-two conference, Wendell Smith, closed the conference. In
the first conference the topic was concerned with research needs in continuing education.
At this conference, the topic was more narrowly focused to reflect current trends. The
topic was Research Needs in distance Education.

                                     The 21st Century

        To begin the new century, on September 27-29, 2000, at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, the 19th annual conference, “Honoring our Roots and our
Branches…Our History and Future,” continued the MR2P experience. On a Wednesday,
the conference began with the Graduate Student Pre-Conference, featuring Alan Knox.
That evening a reception and open forum reviewed Trends in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education. On Thursday, the day began with a panel entitled Social Justice
and Adult and Continuing Education. This issue had been presented in previous
conferences but now came to the fore as global equity issues were researched in adult
education. The second important issue for adult education was the topic of a luncheon
keynote address. Dr. Colim Latchem, an educational and open learning consultant from
Australia, presented Open and Distance Education: Adding Value to the Community?
The closing remarks were presented by another former speaker, Michael Patton, who now
spoke on Changed Practice: The Fruit of Applied Research.
        The century continued with the 20th annual conference on September 26-28, 2001,
and was hosted by the School of Adult and continuing Education, Eastern Illinois
University in Charleston, Illinois. After the Graduate Student Pre-Conference and
reception on Wednesday, the main conference began on Thursday with a keynote address
by Alan Knox on Partners in Praxis The themes of spirituality and andragogy joined
those of international adult education, transformative learning, online education and faith-
based programs. On Friday after a concurrent session, the keynote address was delivered
by Dr. Donald E. Hanna, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Reflecting current issues of
important to adult education, the topic was Research for 21st Century Learning in an Era
of Organizational Change.
        The 21st conference saw a return to the original host. The conference chair
outlined the history in the following manner:

        This conference got its start here at NIU in 1982. It was the brainchild of
        a handful of adult education faculty and practitioners working in various
        institutions throughout the Midwest who thought it was time to provide a
        regional forum for scholar/practitioners to exchange ideas on topics of
        immediate relevance as they affect adult learners. Twenty years later, this
        conference is back on the NIU campus and going strong. Its relevance is
        no less important to the growing body of adult education
        scholar/practitioners who work in different contexts, from literacy to
        higher education, from corporate training to the promotion of social
        justice, and much, much, more.
This was the sixth time that Northern Illinois University hosted the conference.
        The first day of the conference began, again, with the Graduate Student Pre-
Conference followed by a reception. An evening seminar, Local Activism, Feminism and
Globalization was presented by Angela Miles of the University of Toronto. She helped
continue the conference with the keynote the following day. The topic was Global
Visions. In addition, this conference consisted of poster presentations. The conference
concluded with a panel discussion on Current and Future Research Issues for the Field of
        Two thousand-three saw a return to The Ohio State University on October 8-10
for the 22nd annual conference. This pre-conference consisted of two concurrent sessions
with topics of interest to graduate students. An evening reception provided opportunities
through table-top sessions. The keynote address was provided the following morning by
Patti Lather, Professor, Educational Policy and Leadership at the Ohio State University,
who spoke to Paradigm Proliferation: A Good Thing to Think About. The conference
concluded with a panel that discussed the following question:
          From your perspective based on our conference theme of ‘Adult
          Education and Work, Family, and Community,’ how do you connect
          research and practice to one or more of those areas?
This provided a good question for all to consider as we looked forward to the next
        Hosted by both Indiana University and Ball State University, the conference
traveled back to Indiana. It took place October 6-8, 2004, in Indianapolis at Indiana
University- Purdue University-Indianapolis ( IUPUI). The theme of the conference,
“Future Directions in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education,” was based upon
the work of Dr. Alan Knox who presented the keynote address. He encouraged us to
consider the topic, You are the Future. Conference participants we encouraged to
consider future directions related to professional roles, provider agencies, and the field of
adult and continuing education. Themes included: aspirations, praxis, mission,
collaboration, leadership, and societal benefits. Many of the ongoing issues of adult
learning were represented at this conference; however, the use of electronic technology
for adult education was, by far, the majority topic. This is no surprise if one considers the
trend of organizational administrators to promote current technology. The conference
ended with a panel discussion, and all looked to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the next
MR2P conference.
        The 24th Annual Midwest Research to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing,
and Community Education took place September 28-30, 2005. After the Graduate

Student Pre-Conference and reception on Wednesday, Karen Watkins, from the
University of Georgia, opened the conference Thursday Morning. On Saturday morning,
Dr. So posed the following question, and Cheryl Keenan, Director of Adult Education
and Literacy of the US Department of Education was scheduled for the final keynote.
The conference concluded with lunch and a presentation on the wonders of St. Louis,
Missouri, the site of the coming 25th annual conference.
        Now we are looking forward to this 25th Annual Midwest Research to Practice
Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education that will be taking place at
the University of Missouri.-St. Louis. As we celebrate a quarter century of MR2P, many
traditions are continued, while some from the past have been revisited. Beginning with
the Graduate Student Pre-Conference, we will go through three days of discussion
learning, and fellowship. Just as technology has come to the fore in paper presentations,
electronic means have been used to allow participants to consider issues to be presented
in advance of the conference.

                                     A Life of Its Own

        When first considering an article highlighting 25 years of MR2P, the original
intention was to provide a literature review. However, after seeking out notes and
conference proceedings, the paper began to take another direction. The evolution of this
unique experience that is Midwest seemed to provide a description of why, in my belief,
this venue needs to continue.
        I have provided a reference list that can take you to locations that you will find the
papers for all of the conferences except for 2005, since these papers have not been
‘uploaded’ yet. As I searched, I determined that what was often missing, were the
program schedules that highlighted special keynote and general sessions. Whoever we
chose to speak provided a chronicle of what was forefront in our minds. So, for future
reference, I would ask that the entire conference proceedings be archived. Our roots are
        In the last few years, there has been discussion about the future of both Adult
Education and MR2P. Is there a future for Midwest? As someone who began MR2P as a
graduate student 11 years ago, I would certainly hope so. For me and many others, this
conference has become family, and provides and environment that no other conference
provides. Maintaining a balance keeps researchers thinking about practice, and
practitioners thinking about how research can assist them. So I pose the following
question; who will host MR2P in the future? I hope you all consider it.
        You will note that not everything is included in this paper, so, I charge everyone
at the conference to seek out those who have attended any or all of the conferences (there
will be at least two that have attended all but one) and have them share their experiences.
There is much that cannot be communicated on paper, so let us keep the oral tradition
        Have a fun and productive 25th!

                                 (In conference date order)

Cevero, R., Czisny, K., Ewert, M., & Hentschel, D. (1982). Midwest Research-to-
      Practice Conference on Adult and continuing Education. DeKalb, Il.: Northern
      Illinois University, College of Continuing Education, Education Outreach. (ERIC
      Document Reproduction Service No. ED226116)

_____. (1983). Proceedings of the Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in
       Adult and Continuing Education, November 4-5, 1983. DeKalb, Illinois: College
       of Continuing Education, Northern Illinois University. (ERIC Document
       Reproduction Service No. ED262214)

______.(1984).Proceedings of the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult
      and Continuing Education, , September 27-28, 1984. DeKalb, Illinois: College of
      Continuing Education, Northern Illinois University. (ERIC Document
      Reproduction Service No. ED262215)

Berlin, L. S. Ed. (1985).Proceedings of the 4th Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice
        Conference in Adult and Continuing Education, October 10-11, 1985. Ann Arbor,
        Michigan: School of Education, Michigan University. (ERIC Document
        Reproduction Service No. ED261172)

Wood, G. S., & Wood, D. (Eds.). (1986). Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in
      Adult, Community, and Continuing Education. Proceedings. October 3-4, 1986,
      Muncie, Indiana: Institute for Community Development, Ball State University.
      (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED274774)

Levine, S. J. (Ed.). (1987). The Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult and
       Continuing Education., October 8-9, 1987. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan
       State University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED321029)

Coggins, C. C., (Ed.) (1988). Midwest Research-to-Practice. Proceedings of the
      Conference in Adult and Continuing Education , 7th , October 21-22, 1988.
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    25th Midwest Research-to-Practice
Conference in Adult, Continuing, Extension,
        and Community Education

      Refereed Papers
                                   Proceedings of the
                      25 Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference
                    in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education

                                  Table of Contents

                                     Refereed Papers

          Author(s)                                    Title                            Page
Abbot, Mark                   Service Learning and Non-Traditional Students              1
Beech, Richarlene

Barrett II, Andrew J.         Life Satisfaction Index for the Third Age (LSITA): A       7
Murk, Peter J.                Measurement of Successful Aging

Berger, Jim                   Perceived Neutrality of Technology and its Potential       13
                              Impact When Used In Adult Education Settings

Borger, Peter                 Putting the “Classroom” Back in Online Instruction         19

Brockman, Julie L.            Resolving Conflict between Graduate Students and           25
DeJonghe, Erika S.            Faculty: A Two Phase Design Approach

Conway, Agnes E.              Models, Models Everywhere and not a One That Fits?         31
Jeris, Laurel                 Cross-cultural Implementation of the DACUM Process

Daly, Jacqueline              Putting the Puzzle Together: Reflection Learning and       37
                              Transformation in an Integrated Liberal Arts Course

Dirkx, John                   Beyond Culture Shock: The Meaning of Affect and            43
Jessup, Jody E.               Emotions in International Educational Experience
Brender, John R.
Gwekwerere, Bernard
Smith, Regina O.

Dokter, Christina             Student Centered Learning or Funding Centered              49
                              Learning? A Case Study of a British Institution’s
                              Technology Integration

Donaldson Joe                 Adult Undergraduates in the Adult Education Literature:    55
Rentfro, Allison              Mainstream or Marginal

Folkman, Don                  Documenting the Elusive Outcome                            61
Barnett, Dawn
Davis, Danea
Gotts, Sheryl

Geerling, Falinda            The Great Divide: Differing Perceptions of Quality        68
McTyre, Sr., Robert E.       College-Level Writing Between Adult Learners and
                             Adult Educators

Glowacki-Dudka, Michelle     Faculty Learning Communities: Exploring How               74
Brown, Michael P.            Participation Contributes to Professional Development

Hellman, Stuart V.           Online Humor: Oxymoron or Strategic Teaching Tool         80

Henschke, John A.            Common Elements for Re-orienting Higher Education         86
                             Institutions in Various Countries Toward Lifelong
                             Learning: Research and Implications for Practice

Henschke, John A.            International Research Foundation for Andragogy and       93
Cooper, Mary K.              the Implications for Adult Education Practice

Hopkins, John L.             Who Has Access: The Workforce Investment Act (WIA)        99
Monaghan, Catherine H.       of 1998 on Funding Resources for Incumbent Workers
Hansman, Catherine A.

Kowalczyk, Nina              An Investigation of the Relationship between Radiology    105
                             Administrators’ Perception of a Hospital’s
                             Organizational Learning Environment and the Adoption
                             of Medical Informatics Technology

Lawrence, Randee             Once Upon a Time: The Power of Story in Research          111
Savarese Buckley, Veronica
Cueva, Melany
Giordani, Tania
Ramdeholl, Dianne
Simpson, Soni
Lindeman, Gary               Late Transition to Technical College: Perspectives from   117
                             Males Approaching Adulthood

Lord, Ramo J.                Disciplined Interactive Literacy: Developing a Holistic   121

Merrill, Henry               Program Evaluation Projects Promoting Authentic           127
Freeman, Tyrone M.           Learning

Miller, Roxanne T.           Research Challenge: Developing a Comprehensive            133
                             Approach to Evaluating a Practice-Generated Extension
                             Life Skills Curriculum for Hard-to-Reach Adults and

Morris, Roger K.             Working Class Learning One Hundred Years Ago:             139
                             Workingmen’s Institutes in Inner City Sydney.

Moulden, Phillip L.          Hope—Heartbeat of Adult Education: A                      145
                             Phenomenological Inquiry

Ndon, Udeme T.            The Lived Experiences of University Faculty:              151
Martin, Larry G.          Reflections on the Use of the Hybrid Instructional

Otsuki, Yumiko            How to Leverage International and Intercultural           157
Yamashita, Miki           Perspectives in Classrooms

Plakhotnik, Maria S.      Autobiographical Exploration of Self as Adult Educators   163
Delgado, Antonio          and Adult Learners
Seepersad, Rehana
Pryor, Brandt W.          A Theory for Recruiting—and Retaining—Adult               169

Razvi, Meena              Image-Based Research: The Ethics of Photographic          175
                          Evidence in Qualitative Research

Rocco, Tonette S.         From Social Policies to Organizational Practice: Do       181
Stein, David              National Policies Translate into Organizational Polices
Munn, Sunny L.            to Retain, Retrain, or Rehire Older Workers
Ginn, Gina

Stein, David              Through the PRiSM: A Decision Model for Adult             187
Wanstreet, Constance E.   Enrollment in Higher Education

Stein, David E.           From Personal Meaning to Shared Understanding: The        193
Wanstreet, Constance E.   Nature of Discussion in a Community of Inquiry
Engle, Cheryl L.
Glazer, Hilda R.
Harris, Ruth A.
Johnston, Susan M.
Simons, Mona R.
Trinko, Lynn A.

Strachota, Elaine         The Use of Survey Research to Measure Student             199
                          Satisfaction in Online Courses

Strachota, Elaine         The Development and Validation of a Survey Instrument     205
Conceição, Simone         for the Evaluation of Instructional Aids
Schmidt, Steve

Thompson, Joy             Utilizing External Evaluators: Assessing Student          211
                          Outcomes in an Adult Education Master’s Degree

Truty, Daniela            Political Savvy: Elusive yet Vital                        217

Ty, Rey                   GABRIELA: Contributions of a Third-World Women’s          223
                          Movement to Feminist Theory and Practice

White, Jill H.      The Lack of Diverse Community Nutrition Educators       229

                        Poster Session Papers

Githens, Rod        Older Adults and Distance Learning                      235
Kaplan, Lorie F.    Exploring an Online, Video-based Alternative to Face-   236
                    to-Face Teacher Professional Development

Manbeck, Natalie    Adult Learners’ Conceptualization of Thinking           237

Thomas, Ildiko S.   Broadening the Cultural Frame on Recent Master’s        238
                    TESOL Graduates

      Service Learning, Non-traditional Students, and the Historic Black University:
                                The Harris-Stowe Model

                               Mark Abbott and Richarlene Beech


        The university traditionally has had three roles: a) student instruction, b) pure research,
and c) community service. While these roles have become disconnected in the contemporary
university, they have remained integrated in Historically Black Colleges and Universities
(HBCUs). Due to budgetary constraints and constituent expectations, HBCU faculty and
students have pursued these roles simultaneously. In recent years, the concept of “service
learning” has been used by HBCUs to further integrate traditional university roles. Service
learning involves student performance of course competencies in a community setting. This
pedagogical approach has been beneficial for HBCUs because a) student projects aid the
community, b) data from student projects may form the basis for faculty research, and c) service
learning has shown promise as an effective form of instruction for non-traditional students who
are a large contingent of HBCU students. This paper describes how service learning has been
used at one HBCU—Harris-Stowe State University—to assume the roles of a university as it
transitions from being a college to a university.


        Since the time of Thomas Aquinas, the role of the university has been three-fold: to
instruct students, to expand knowledge, and to serve the community. These roles have not been
conceived as being separate and distinct, but mutually reinforcing. Teaching, research, and
service are meant to intertwine and reinforce one another. What makes a university education
unique from that of a college is the expectation that students actively take part in research and
apply that research in a worldly setting.
        However, in the modern university, the connections between these traditional roles have
become blurred. Students, faculty, and members of the community have become insular and
isolated from one another. Students have come to view their education as something to be
endured on their way to a job. Faculty see students and teaching as distractions from their real
work as researchers. The community sees the university as a force that competes for resources
rather than an asset.
        There have been calls to put the university back together again. One initiative has been
to stimulate undergraduate research. Another reform has called for a “community service”
component in course requirements to push students to become involved in community affairs
(e.g. Rhoads, 1997). Politicians, business leaders, community stakeholders all talk about the
university as an engine to drive community and economic development. But there still has not
emerged a coherent vision of how all three traditional roles of the university can be molded
together in contemporary society.

        Perhaps, though, it is the Historically Black University (HBU) that provides the best
model of what the fusion of these traditional roles might look like. Because of the nature of its
students, the research pursuits of its faculty, and the obligations that are imposed on it by its
community, the HBU has been coerced to continue to treat the traditional roles of the university
as one instead of three opposing tracts. The remainder of this paper will describe the
experiences of one HBU—Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis—as a case study of how
one HBU and its students, faculty, and administration blend teaching, research, and service

                         Harris-Stowe and the Non-traditional Student

        Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) is a member of the Missouri state university
system and is located in Midtown St. Louis. HSSU has an enrollment of 2,000 students and is
the product of a merger of two predecessor institutions that was a response to the Brown v. Board
of Education decision in 1954. Both of the two predecessor institutions were teacher colleges
that were operated by the St. Louis Board of Education. Harris was the teachers’ college for
white student teachers and Stowe was the teachers’ college for black student teachers. The St.
Louis Board of Education merged the two colleges immediately after the Brown decision was
passed down. The merged institution, however, only kept the name of the white institution
during the fifties and sixties. It was not until the seventies when the institution had become
predominantly African-American was there pressure to hyphenate the name. In the late
seventies, fiscal pressures, dropping enrollment and new academic expectations about teacher
education led the Board of Education to hand over control of the institution to the state. At
which time Harris-Stowe became part of the state university system.
        The initial mission of HSSC (it was still a college at that time) was limited to elementary
education. But in the early eighties, HSSC was able to expand its mission to include an Urban
Education program that was designed to train non-classroom specialists who were intended to be
problem-solvers in areas such as educational policy, research, fiscal management, and
management information systems. It was also at this time that the institution was able to secure
designation as an HBCU—a Historically Black College or University. In the early nineties, the
college was able to expand its mission again. This time the state gave it the authorization to
offer degrees in “applied professions.” HSSC quickly created degree programs in Criminal
Justice, Business Admission, and modified the Urban Education program so that it became
essentially a degree program in either Urban Studies or Public Administration. It was also in the
mid-nineties that the college obtained a tract of property adjacent to it that was a failed
subsidized housing project. Since that time, Harris-Stowe has built several buildings on its
enlarged campus.
        During the last year, Harris-Stowe expanded its mission again. In 2005, the state
changed the institution’s status from a college to a university. The change in status has forced
the college to re-examine its mission especially in terms of its role in research and community
service. Not content to be a university in name only, HSSU has begun a strategic planning
process that is intended to generate strategies on how it can best assume its new responsibilities.
        But in large part, Harris-Stowe’s status as a Historically Black College and University
(HBCU) has already dictated in what directions this mission expansion will take the new
university. As an HBCU—especially one in a distressed urban area—it has been forced to
accept its obligations as a major stakeholder in the African-American community. Even while it

was a teachers’ college, the African-American community expected the college to assume all of
the roles of a university because if it did not, no other institution would. By making Harris-
Stowe a university, the state has merely institutionalized roles that the college had already
assumed—teaching, researching, and performing community service—to address needs of the St.
Louis African-American community.
        One need that this community has, which it shares with many other urban African-
American communities, is to make higher education accessible in terms both money and time to
non-traditional students. The median age of HSSU students is 29. Most students have full time
jobs. Many students have families. Many students with families head one parent households.
For HSSU students, higher education must not only be affordable, but time efficient. Many
HSSU students, however, come with poor academic backgrounds that would make it difficult for
them to succeed academically even if they were traditional students that did not face the
obstacles confronting these students.
        For Harris-Stowe, the backgrounds of its students is both a challenge and an opportunity
to make the institution a “new sort of thing” that recaptures the traditional essence of what a
university is supposed to be—a fusion of teaching, research, and service. An approach that other
HBUs have utilized in fulfilling their roles as a university and addressing the particular academic
needs of their students has been service learning. Service learning has been shown to be both a
means that HBUs can incorporate instruction and research with community service and as a way
of accelerating the remediation process of academic deficient students (National Dropout
Prevention Center, 2001). The age of HSSU students, their employment backgrounds, and their
educational deficiencies all make Harris-Stowe not just an institution where service-learning
might be an alternative instructional strategy, but the foundation of what Harris-Stowe can
become in terms of being a university.

What is service learning?
        While service learning as a pedagogical technique has been discussed since the early
nineties, there has been a tremendous amount of confusion about just what that term implies
(Astin, Ikelda, Vogelgesang, & Yee, 2000). For many academics, service learning is just another
word for community service or the practice of having students volunteer service to the
community which may or may not pertain to course work. The main objective with community
service is to impress upon students their responsibility to take ownership for the community.
However, true service learning needs to be course based. Instead of consisting of volunteer
activities, service learning entails course requirements designed to meet course objectives or
competencies. The purpose of service learning then is not just to provide service to the
community, but that it leads to mastery of course content.
        Service learning lends itself well to students at Harris-Stowe because it takes their
backgrounds as strengths rather than as weaknesses. In a service learning environment, their
age, their maturity, their work experiences allow HSSU students to undertake real projects with
real consequences. In a sense, their learning is accelerated because they are forced to apply what
they know—and learn what they do not—to complete their projects. Because the projects often
take place in the very community in which they live, students see very clearly the importance of
the theory and skills they learn in the classroom and in their reading.
        Where service learning is fully integrated in the curriculum, it has ramifications for
research. Service learning projects become not only a means of instructing students in content,
but a means of generating data. For example, in an urban problems class, students can be taught

how to conduct a building conditions survey to generate the data for a longitudinal study on how
particular neighborhoods change over time. Armed with data, residents and neighborhood
leaders in a community can design strategies to effectively address community problems.

Harris-Stowe and the Lucas Heights Partnership
        An interdepartmental group of Harris-Stowe faculty began experimenting with how
service learning might address student deficiencies and help Harris-Stowe become more
involved in research and service to the community in the late nineties. Initially, it began slowly
with faculty in the Business Administration and Urban Specializations departments incorporating
service-learning components into their classes.
        Business administration faculty made assignments that required their students to apply
concepts learned in the classroom to community setting. Courses in entrepreneurship, required
students to assist potential entrepreneurs in low-income communities prepare business plans.
After exposing the students to the basic elements of a business plan, the instructor oversaw
student work with the community entrepreneurs. Instead of lecturing every class period, some
class periods were devoted to working with “clients.” Just as on the job, students were forced to
acquire information and skills needed to complete the project.
        It quickly became apparent to the participating faculty that the students were not the only
beneficiaries of the experiment. The community was indebted to the instructors and Harris-
Stowe for facilitating economic stimulation. Moreover, the faculty benefited as the students
generated a great deal of data to examine a number of interesting questions.
        After the initial success with service learning, a group of faculty started a research center
at Harris-Stowe based on service learning, called the Center for Neighborhood Affairs (CFNA).
The first major project of CFNA was a collaborative effort with residents and stakeholders in
Lucas Heights—a distressed neighborhood adjacent to the University to pair the resources and
expertise of the University to address the needs and concerns of the community. To support the
partnership, CFNA received a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This grant funded three major activities. One activity created a homeowner improvement fund.
Students helped track how the funds were used and their impact. The second activity assisted a
settlement house in the neighborhood to help preteens start their own businesses. Teams of
youth paired with Harris-Stowe business majors and developed a business concept, wrote a
business plan, bought supplies, and produced a product. The third activity involved students in
the Urban Specializations department working with staff of the city planning department,
community leaders, and neighborhood residents develop a long- term strategic plan for the
        The funded activities have been completed successfully, but Harris-Stowe faculty and
students have continued to work in the neighborhood. At present, they are conducting two
evaluations. One is for the St. Louis Housing Authority where faculty and students assess the
redevelopment of a large public housing project. The other is of an innovative faith-based after
school program. Another initiative under consideration is assisting local entrepreneurs start a
new business district. Also, students and faculty are involved in a “community service project”
where members of the HSSU family help seniors at a senior apartment complex maintain their
community garden.

         Of course there have been challenges in incorporating service learning as the foundation
for Harris-Stowe’s mission as a university. These challenges include students and faculty.
         Student work schedules. HSSU students are older and have full time jobs. Since many
students are in various service fields, they often have evening and weekend hours. As a result, it
is very difficult to schedule an out-of-class field experience. Faculty have overcome this
dilemma by either using class time or by offering a number of time options.
         Student academic deficiencies. As with many public HBCUs in a major metropolis,
many Harris-Stowe students come to the university with severe academic deficiencies. Writing
skills are generally poor. Mathematics preparation is weak. Computer knowledge is usually
limited to word processing. In many cases, service learning helps students to self-mediate their
shortcomings at a faster rate than in traditional classroom setting. They are forced to “polish”
their writing knowing that it will read by outside readers. They can more readily visualize why
certain statistics are used when applying them to a real situation. They can pick up a certain
computer skill “on the fly” to deal with an actual problem. However, when students are not able
to overcome their deficiencies, they many need “one-on-one” attention. But even here, service
learning is beneficial because it helps the instructor and the student to pinpoint accurately and
quickly where the student needs help.
         Faculty resistance. As with faculty everywhere, many HSSU faculty have resisted
service learning. Hopefully, more extensive assessment of service learning will lessen this

Next Steps
        Over the course of the next year, there will be a number of initiatives involving service
learning at HSSU.
        Evaluation process. Service learning has been a part of HSSU teaching, research, and
community service efforts for ten years. Faculty members are devising an evaluation process
that will assess the impact of the model on the university.
        Strategic Plan. Last year, the university started work on a new strategic plan as part of
Harris-Stowe’s self-assessment on becoming a university. Several faculty are advocating
strongly that student learning become the focus of the plan.
        Course expansion. Service learning has been adopted primarily by faculty in the social
sciences and business. These faculty will work with faculty in the humanities, sciences, and
education to incorporate service learning into their curricula.


        In conclusion, service learning, and the initiatives specific to Harris-Stowe where service
learning is concerned, suggests a strategy for fusing together the traditional roles of a university.
Not only is it an effective teaching strategy, it is a useful approach for involving undergraduates
in faculty research and university involvement in the community. Because Harris-Stowe is a
new university, it has an opportunity to re-examine its mission as a university and how service
learning can define that mission.


Astin, A. W., Ikelda, E. K., Vogelgesang, L. J., & Yee, J. A. (2000). How service learning
   affects students. Higher Education Research Institute. Los Angeles: University of California.

National Dropout Prevention Center. (2001). Service learning at Historically Black Colleges and
   Universities: A Preliminary Study. Clemson, S.C.: Clemson University.

Rhoads, R. (1997). Community Service and Higher Learning: Explorations of the Caring Self.
   New York: State University of New York Press.

Mark Abbott, Professor of History, Department of Urban Specializations, Harris-Stowe State
University; Richarlene Beech, Instructor of Business, Department of Business, Stowe State

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education,
University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

                 Life Satisfaction Index for the Third Age (LSITA):
                        A Measurement of Successful Aging

                               Andrew J. Barrett and Peter J. Murk

 The purpose of this research was to develop an updated scale based on the framework that
Neugarten, Havighurst and Tobin (1961) used to design the Life Satisfaction Index- Form A
(LSI-A). The new instrument, the Life Satisfaction Index for the Third Age (LSITA), was used
to assess 654 third age adults in a measurement development process to establish the LSITA’s
psychometric properties. These individuals were Midwestern United States adults from selected
third age learning events, retirement centers, church events, community centers and the general
public. The participants were all over fifty years old consistent with the definition of the third
age. The authors had been involved in a research study that used LSI-A that led to an
appreciation of the importance of measuring successful aging as well as the need to apply current
statistical techniques to a revised instrument. The LSITA was designed and its psychometric
properties assessed using the eight-step design process from DeVellis (1991). The reliability of
the 35-item scale was .93 with satisfactory content, construct and criterion validity. In addition,
confirmatory factor analysis was performed using structural equation modeling and a very
satisfactory goodness of fit was obtained. The new instrument has been made available to
researchers by emailing ajbarret@purdue.edu. The expectation is that the researchers will
provide the author with an electronic copy of their responses to add to the database.

                   Successful Aging and Life Satisfaction in the Third Age

        More and more individuals are arriving at the threshold of the third age. The simplest
way of considering the third age is the period of life that begins when the responsibilities for the
care of others has ended and ends with decrepitude, debility and death (Laslett, 1996).
Understanding the meaning of aging that is experienced in the third age of life, the influences
that bring about a more positive internal sense of what is happening, and an acceptance of the
inevitable aging process are areas of research that can benefit all adults. It was to this purpose
that Bernice Neugarten, Robert Havighurst, and Sheldon Tobin developed the original forms of
the Life Satisfaction Index (1961). The 20 item Life Satisfaction Index – Form A (LSI-A) has
become the most used survey instrument for older adults (Lawton, 1977, p. 13 as cited in
Helmes, Goffin & Chrisjohn, 1998). As Dychtwald explained in Age Wave, the impending entry
of the post World War II baby boomers into the third age of life over the next decade will mean
that over 70 million Americans will become third aged adults (1999; Dychtwald & Flowers,
        The LSI-A was designed to assist a group of gerontologists and psychologists
undertaking a major research project into adult life in Kansas City, Missouri in the early 1960’s.
While the name of the instrument involved the term life satisfaction, this expression was
considered “an operational definition of ‘successful aging’” (Neugarten et al., 1961). Successful
aging as contemplated by Neugarten and her associates was defined in a more complex manner
than the attainment of goals or the feeling good about oneself.
        The new instrument, the Life Satisfaction Index for the Third Age (LSITA), was based on
this work of Neugarten nd her colleagues (1961). The LSITA was crafted as a research and

measurement tool that would be useful in the fields of Adult and Community Education,
Gerontology, Psychology, Health and Medical Sciences, and other social science disciplines. The
research applications can include the study of those factors that are contributors or barriers to
achieving a sense of aging in a positive fashion in third age individuals (Settersten, 2002; Pavot,
Diener, Colvin, & Sandik, 1991; Robinson, Shaver & Wrightsman, 1991).
         It was the authors’ involvement in just such a research project reported at an earlier
Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference (Murk, Garofalo, Skinner, & Barrett, 2000), that
generated their curiosity about the development of a revised instrument to measure successful
aging. This study was designed to assess the contribution that engagement in third age learning
events had on the participants’ perceptions of successful aging. The LSI-A was one of the
instruments used in the study. It was a powerful contributor to the understanding of the research
questions in the Murk et al. study (2000). However the authors concluded and were supported
by other researchers (Settersten, 2002; Robinson, Shaver & Wrightsman, 1991) that the
psychometric properties of the LSI-A could be improved by the application of the latest
statistical processes. Powerful computer based statistical analysis tools were not available to
Neugarten and her colleagues in the early 1960’s when the LSI-A was developed. The results of
the instrument development and demonstration project for the new LSITA is the topic of the
research study discussed in this report.
Life Satisfaction and its Five Factors
         Life Satisfaction is a theoretical construct that can not be observed directly, and is,
therefore, a latent variable. Latent variables are defined as factors that must be measured
indirectly based on operational definitions (Byrne, 2001). Neugarten, Havighurst, and Tobin’s
theoretical framework provided an operational definition of the latent variable of life satisfaction
which consists of the five following variables.
The Five Factors of Life Satisfaction
         Zest vs. apathy relates to an enthusiasm of response to life in general and was not related
to any specific type of activity, such as social or intellectual engagements. A subject who was
enthusiastic about sitting home reading was scored as high as an energetic person was on this
scale. Physical energy as well as intellectual energy and other highly involved pursuits
contributed to a high score (Neugarten et al., 1961).
         Resolution and fortitude measures the respondents’ active acceptance of personal
responsibility for their lives rather than passively accepting or condoning what has happened to
them. Erikson’s integrity is similar in conceptualization and relates to the meaningfulness of life
and the lack of fear of death (Neugarten et al., 1961).
         Congruence between desired and achieved goals measures the relative difference
between desired and achieved goals caused one to be satisfied or dissatisfied with life in this
rating (Neugarten et al., 1961).
         Self-concept is based on one’s present emotional, physical, and intellectual dimensions.
Persons who do not feel old but are concerned with their appearance and judge themselves to be
wise and competent tend to rate themselves higher on this factor. Past successful living may
contribute to this component but only indirectly.
         Mood tone. The final factor, mood tone, relates to optimism and happiness and other
positive affective responses. Depression, sadness loneliness, irritability, and pessimism are
feelings that would result in very low scores. Assessing life satisfaction is more complex than
just measuring happiness but happiness with the present life state is an important contributor
(Neugarten et al., 1961).

LISTA Scale Development Process
         The process used to develop the LSITA scale was guided by DeVellis (1991). According
to DeVellis (1991) the outcome of the scale development process should be a measurement with
known reliability and an understanding of the scale’s validity. His eight steps in developing
measurement scales were as follows: Step 1: Determine clearly what it is you want to measure.
Step 2: Generate an item pool. Step 3: Determine the format for measurement. (Construct
Validity) Step 4: Have initial item pool reviewed by experts. (Content Validity) Step 5: Consider
inclusion of validation items. (Criterion Validity) Step 6: Administer items to a development
sample. Step 7:Evaluate the items. (Reliability) Step 8: Optimize scale length. (DeVellis, 1991,
pp. 51-90)
         The data collected from the participants included selected demographic information as
well as responses on the LSITA and two instruments that were used to establish criterion
reliability, the Salamon-Conte Life Satisfaction in the Elderly Scale (SCLSES) and the
Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). The SCLSES and SWLS were used as criteria to establish
measures of criterion validity. There was a total of 101 response items for each participant.
Demographic data
         Information on age, gender, socioeconomic status, education and employment
background, and marital status was collected and analyzed.
         The LSITA consists of five factors derived from 35 items to be assessed for their
contribution to the reliability and validity of the revised scale. Twenty of the items were restated
items from Neugarten’s original LSI-A. Fifteen additional items were developed to be consistent
with the theoretical foundations of the original LSI-A. An expert panel reviewed all items for
issues of construct validity.
         The Salamon-Conte Life Satisfaction in the Elderly Scale (SCLSES) consists of 40 items
contributing to eight sub-scales, five of which are similar to the LSI-A’s as noted in the table
below (Salamon & Conte, 1984). The other three factors measured in the SCLSES are Health,
Finances, and Social Contacts.

          LSI-A and LSITA Factors                    SCLSES Factors
Zest vs. Apathy                               Daily Activities
Resolution and Fortitude                      Meaning
Congruence of Goals                           Goals
Self-concept                                  Self-concept
Mood Tone                                     Mood
Figure 1: Comparison of LSI-A/LISTA Factors and SCLSES Factors (Neugarten et al.,
          1961 and Salamon & Conte, 1984)

       The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) is a global measure of happiness, defined as the
cognitive, judgmental component of satisfaction with life. In contrast, the LSITA is a measure of

life satisfaction as represented in successful aging. Using the SWLS as one of the criterion
measures would demonstrate whether the revised LSITA correlates with instruments that
measure a more general life satisfaction construct as well as the construct of successful aging.
Data Analysis
         Responses from 654 subjects on the five instruments were analyzed using two statistical
software applications: SPSS and AMOS. SPSS was used to establish the scale reliability and
descriptive statistics from the sample data. AMOS was used to demonstrate the underlying
structural equation model supported by the sample data and its goodness of fit with Neugarten’s
theoretical framework.
Coefficient Alpha Goal
         For a standard of reliability, DeVellis (1991) stated “his personal comfort ranges for
research are as follows: below .60, unacceptable: between .60 and .65, undesirable; between, .65
and .70 minimally acceptable; between .70 and .80, respectable; between .80 and .90, very good;
much above .90, one should consider shortening the scale” (p. 85). The reliability coefficient for
evaluation uses would be at least .70 and preferably .80 for groups and at least .90 for individual
decision making (Nunnally, 1978). The LSITA scale development process achieved an excellent
reliability with a Cronbach α = .93.
         At this level of reliability, LSITA can be used in individual assessments as well as group
research. The individual factors attained an adequate level of reliability ranging from a high of α
= .84 to a low of α = .56 for the self-concept factor. The reliability of LSITA (α = .93) compared
favorably to the reliability of the criterion scales, namely, α = .93 for the SCLSES and α = .85
for the broader SWLS. In addition, the reliability of the five SCLSES factors that matched up
with the five factors from LSITA had a reliability of α = .91. In summary, all of the instruments
had excellent reliability in this research study. This was important not only for the instrument
under development, the LSITA, but it was an important factor for using the SWLS and SCLSES
as criteria for the LSITA since high reliability is a requisite for such criteria.
Measurement Validity Goals
Criterion validity.
         The criterion validity process compared the scores of LSITA with two external criteria
known or believed to measure the attribute or similar attributes under study (Kerlinger, 1973). A
significant correlation between the SCLSES and SWLS would demonstrate that the LISTA was
consistent with the theoretical constructs that were represented in these two instruments. These
two scales, the SCLSES and the SWLS were used to “provide support for claims of validity or,
alternatively, provide clues if the set of items did not perform as anticipated” (DeVellis, 1991, p.
Table 1
Correlations between associated LSITA and SCLSES Factors (See Figure 1)
      LSITA Factors                       SCLSES Factors                Correlation
      Zest vs. Apathy                     Daily Activities                .75
      Resolution & Fortitude              Meaning                         .65
      Congruence of Goals                 Goals                           .56
      Mood Tone                           Tone                            .66
      Self-concept                        Self-concept                    .60
      All correlations were significant at the .01 level.
      The correlation coefficient between the LSITA and the SCLSES was .78. The correlation
coefficient between the LSITA and the SWLS was .70. These Pearson correlations exceeded

the expectation of at least .70 for the SCLSES and .50 for the SWLS and were good
demonstrations of criterion validity. In addition, the correlation of the LSITA with the five
matching factors in the SCLSES was .78. The individual matching factors had correlations
ranging from .56 to .74 (See Table 1).
Construct validity
     In seeking evidence of construct validity related to a measuring instrument, the researcher
tests hypotheses bearing on the underlying theoretical framework…One can test for the validity
of (an instrument’s) underlying factorial structure; either exploratory or confirmatory factor
analytic procedures would be used, depending on the development status of the instrument. If an
instrument is in the embryonic stage of development, then exploratory procedures would be most
appropriate; if, on the other hand, its development has been completed and, thus, it purports to
measure one or more constructs, then confirmatory factor analyses would be most appropriate
(Byrne, 1996, p. 43).
        The instrument development process in the present research project was based on the
revision and enhancement of a well-established measurement scale, the LSI-A. Confirmatory
factor analysis was deemed appropriate to the goals of the study.

        CFA, in contrast to exploratory factor analysis, involves an a priori specification of
“which items in a measurement should group together as indicators of shared latent variables. In
this type of (factor) analysis, the investigator explicates the desired factor structure when
submitting the data for factor analysis and the program provides an indication of how well the
actual data conform to the specified factor pattern” (DeVellis, 1991, p. 108). “Structural equation
modeling (SEM) is a statistical methodology that takes a confirmatory (i.e., hypothesis testing)
approach to the analysis of a structural theory bearing on some phenomenon (Byrne, 2001, p. 3).
One of the statistical processes in this research project, SEM, was used to assess the goodness of
fit between the hypothetical model under study and the model derived from the collected data.
         1      Zest vs                                            Zest vs
                Apathy                                   err1
    0,                                                                       .62
         1   Resolution and                                     Resolution and
               Fortitude                                 err2
                                                                  Fortitude        .79 .88
    0,                                0,                                     .47
         1   Congruence of                                      Congruence of      .68
                Goals             LSITA                  err3
                                                                             .59   .77
 err4         Self-concept    1
                                                         err4    Self-concept      .89

    0,                                                                       .79
         1       Mood
                 Tone                                    err5
Figure 2: Hypothesized and data derived five factor LSITA Models Using AMOS.
        The five factors represented as rectangles are observed variables and the LSITA
represented as an ellipse is the theoretical construct. The single headed arrows represent the
relationships of the impact of one variable on another. The measurement error terms are also
displayed. The Goodness of Fit Index for these models was the Comparative Fit Index with a
score close to .95 considered to be a good fit. The CFI score obtained in the Scale Development
Process of .939 in demonstrated a more than adequate goodness of fit between the hypothesized
model for LSITA and the model derived from the sample data. The Normed Fit Index of .937

and the Incremental Fit Index of .940 support this result. The structure equation modeling
process supported the LSITA’s construct validity.
        The theoretical framework that was developed by Neugarten et al. in 1961 to appraise life
satisfaction in adults over the age of fifty has withstood the many cultural and social changes that
have occurred and continues to provide the structure for assessing this important construct. As
the baby boom generation proceeds on its life’s journey into their third age, the ability to
measure successful aging will be very useful to researchers and practitioners in adult education,
gerontology, medical sciences, and other fields. At least as important as the ability to assess life
satisfaction in the third age is the knowledge of the theoretical components that form the
construct. This understanding provides the ability to propose activities that will influence the
component and thereby change subjective sense of well-being.
        The research study participants provided several insights into their thought process as
they were completing the surveys. One woman stated that she would have had a higher score if
her husband had not recently passed away. And she assured me that it would continue to improve
as time passed. Another respondent expressed her gratitude for having the opportunity to think
about the items and her answers. These and other similar comments affirmed the interest in
understanding aging and its effects and demonstrated a resonance of the concepts in the
individuals. Additional qualitative and quantitative research into the theory is warranted.
Implications for Research and Practice
        The LSITA can be used to assess the barriers and contributors to the attainment of life
satisfaction in third age individuals. With the high degree of reliability achieved in the
demonstration project, researchers and practitioners can use this scale in both large group
projects and in individual cases.
        Clinical research in elderly wellness program design, for example, could provide insight
into strategies to prevent, intervene with, and evaluate alternatives to enhance the sense of
successful aging in adults. The five components of LSITA; zest vs. apathy, resolution and
fortitude, congruence between expected versus achieved goals, mood tone and self-concept;
could be individually targeted as more narrow areas of investigation. For example, the effects of
an exercise program on zest vs. apathy or an autobiography writing program on resolution and
fortitude could be studied as well as the effects on the individual component scores on the entire
scale. Program directors could also use the LSITA scores as program outcome measures for the
services they render to the older adult. An increase in the average score on the scale as an
achieved program goal would provide a concrete and measurable metric for Council on Aging
and community center initiatives. The most interesting effect on practitioners in adult education,
psychology, and gerontology is the increased reliability of LSITA and the ability to apply the
revised instrument in individual as well as group decision making and evaluations. LSITA can be
an important tool in diagnosing barriers to successful aging and determining if practice
interventions are improving the attainment of intended goals. In fact, improvements in life
satisfaction in individual cases can be established as treatment goals since progress toward such a
goal can be reliably measured using LSITA. The achievement of successful aging can be simply,
reliably and validly measured using LSITA, the Life Satisfaction Index for the Third Age.

Andrew J. Barrett II, Executive Director, Lifelong Learning and Technology Center, Decatur, IN
Peter J. Murk, Professor Emeritus, Ball State University, Department of Educational Studies,
Program in Adult, Higher and Community Education, Muncie, IN pmurk@bsu.edu
References available by contacting Andrew Barrett at ajbarret@purdue.edu

       Perceived Neutrality of Technology and its Potential Impact:
Recontextualizing Technology into Adult Education Settings Using a Cultural
                            Studies Approach
                                             Jim Berger


This article seeks to describe technology and how its design and use embodies values embedded
in the dominant culture and is meant to support the hegemonic goals of the dominant culture
while suppressing the growth and development of marginalized groups. This article explores the
viewpoints of several philosophers and researchers in the field of science and technology studies
and uses a cultural studies model to define various ways technology is viewed and its impact on
adult learners. This article will provide various definitions of technology, including feminist and
afro-centric viewpoints, and seeks to explore the cultural dimensions of technology and its uses.
I will draw from these various views of technology and propose a means of researching many
“moments of intersection” between technology, adult learners and facilitators of adult learning.


         Technology is often seen as a neutral, value-free artifact used as a means of enhancing
learning with adults. However, technology has been showed to be the artifact of a culture and
contains the values of the culture. In today’s society, technology represents the values of the
dominant cultures and supports the goals and ambitions of the hegemony while suppressing
marginalized groups and individuals. While much of the literature on the use of technology
promotes it as a positive tool that enhances learning and provides an attractive and meaningful
way for the learner to engage with the material being learned, the largess of the literature fails to
describe ways in which technology impacts adult learners culturally. The purpose of this article
is to take a critical view of the development of technology as a cultural artifact that is deeply
imbedded with mainstream values and serves the needs of the hegemony. This article will
examine the various views of technology and delineate its potential impact on adult learners.
Finally, I will conclude this article with a description of directions for studying technology in
adult education settings and suggest various points of interaction to be studied.

                                       Views of Technology

         Views of technology can typically be divided into three categories. In the first,
Instrumental Theory, technology is viewed as a means to an end; technology is neutral. In the
instrumental view, neutrality of technology implies four points: 1) Technology is indifferent to
the ends it can be used to attain. 2) Technology is not concerned with the politics of societies of
capitalist or socialist cultures. 3) The rational nature of technology is the cause of technology’s
neutrality and the universal truth it symbolizes. This allows people to believe that because a
technology works in one culture, it will work in all cultures (Feenberg, 1991). 4) Because
technology is neutral and it is used as a means to an end, the only rational stance is to employ it
to solve any problems, regardless of the cost to the environment, culture, or human beings.

         Opposite Instrumental Theory, substantive theory of technology believes that technology
is a new type of cultural system that restructures the social system to fit the needs of the
technology rather than the other way around. Technology operates to control society and its
members rather than as a tool to help society. A similar example of this is the current state of
fast food which sees eating only as a technical act while ignoring the social and cultural
dynamics involved in the process. By treating the act of eating as a means of ingesting food
rapidly, use of fast food has abandoned the cultural and familial impact sitting at the table has
had on the development of family and relations. Feenberg (1991) concludes that “technology is
not a means but has become an environment and a way of life. This is its ‘substantive’ impact”
(p. 8).
         A third view of technology is the critical view which seeks to break from the determinist
view that technology will take over and direct society. The critical view of technology
(Feenberg, 1991) takes a deconstructivist approach to technology and attempts to develop means
of influencing the development and implementation of technology to enhance its use rather than
perpetuate the hegemonic structures present in today’s society.
         In the critical view of technology, there are three predominant feminist perspectives of
technology: Eco-feminism, liberal feminism, and technology as masculine. The first, Eco-
feminism, views technology as another means males attempt to control both women and the
environment. Eco-feminism (Grint & Gill, 1995) values women’s biology and supports
women’s ways of knowing (See Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule). Liberal feminism
views technology as neutral but examines the use of technology as a means to position gender in
relation to the technology. Thus, the use and mastery of technology by women has been
hampered by societal roles and stereotypical images of women and their capabilities. Liberal
feminism views gender as a socially constructed concept that is the result of several small steps
taken to deprive women of what is rightly theirs. Its view of technology as neutral, however,
denies the potential of society or culture to impact its design and development. The third view,
technology as masculine culture, sees technology as an embodiment of masculine culture where
masculinity has become central to the definition of technology (Grint & Gill, 1995).
         A fourth perspective, the Afrocentric perspective, has not been found to be clearly
delineated in the literature but appears to view technology as a means to modify the appearance
and performance of African Americans so they look and act more like whites. Examples include
x-ray technology which was used to remove the short curly hair and to bleach the skin (Herzig,
2004); and photography film (Dyer, 1999) which was developed to enhance the appearance of
the white person to the detriment of the appearance of African Americans. Other bodies of the
literature tend to ignore the role African Americans played in shaping technology and inventing
it for popular consumption and vice versa.
         While each of these views approaches technology differently, the following further
explains how science and technology can be viewed as culturally embedded.

                                Science and Technology Studies

        Science and Technology Studies (S&TS) views science and technology as a social
activity subject to society’s norms and interpretations. Scientific activities are structured by
members of committees which set standards of inquiry and evaluate knowledge claims. The
S&TS field (Sismondo, 2004) investigates how scientific knowledge and technological artifacts
are constructed and pays attention to how scientists and engineers use the ever-changing material

world to construct stable structures and networks. S&TS, using a constructivist approach, views
the construction of science and technology as a social activity impacted by several beliefs. First,
knowledge and reality are constructed and scientists and technologists work to construct them.
Second, knowledge derived from laboratories is knowledge that is not natural. Scientists and
technologists work to control every variable in the laboratory whereas in reality, these variables
have the ability to impact the outcome. Third, research into causes assumed to be natural, such as
gender, naturalizes those differences. If we, as researchers, assume that there is a difference
between male and female, then we will find those differences. However, it is us who has socially
constructed those differences through our observation rather than being informed by nature that
those differences exist.
        Fourth, representations of nature may be connected to nature but do not necessarily
correspond to it in any strong sense. We use data to generate theories but it is entirely possible
that the data could be interpreted differently or that other data would skew our results in such a
manner that we would interpret the data completely differently. Fifth, heterogeneous
construction is the idea that builders of technology work to develop knowledge, realities, things
and social worlds so their product fits into reality. Heterogeneous construction is both the
simultaneous shaping of the material and social world to be able to work together. (Taylor,
1995). Heterogeneous construction means that as engineers work to develop technology in a
material sense, they are also discovering ways that society needs training to be able to use the
technology successfully and, therefore, are looking for ways to shape society for the successful
implementation of that technology. This is evidence by well documented history of such
technology as the zipper (Friedel, 1996), the computer (Zuboff, 1988), Sony Walkman (du Gay,
Hall, James, Mackay, and Vegas, 1997), and the nuclear reactor (Winner, 1986). Sixth, while
some scientists believe that truth exists outside of their reality others believe that we construct
our own reality leaving the possibility that the taxonomy of objects is really an imposition onto
objects by ourselves. Finally, when we represent an object, that representation immediately
shapes that object and its future perceptions. The focus here is on the social construction of
reality and its impact on how we perceive the world. Technology, developed to help represent
that reality, can be seen as a product of particular hegemonic cultures and is designed to meet the
needs of dominant society.

                               Potential Impact on Adult Learners

         Considering the above views of technology, I believe that members of the current
hegemony view it in the form of technical rationality or that they view it as a means to an end
without considering its impact on the person or the environment. This is similar to the capitalist
technical rationality which has four potential impacts on workers: 1) Decontextualization, 2)
Reductionism, 3) Autonomization, and 4) Positioning. Decontextualization is the process where
objects are taken out of their context and viewed as objects of technical practice. Once these
objects have been separated from their normal contexts, they can be analyzed according to their
parts and usefulness and not the context that developed them. Reductionism occurs when the
secondary characteristics of technology are ignored and while focusing only on the primary
characteristics. This can be seen when workers are viewed as objects with certain skill sets and
ignored as people with families, views, feelings, etc. Autonomization removes the subject of
control from the object of control to prevent feedback to the controller allowing the controller to
exert control without knowledge of the unforeseen or unwanted consequences. This is

exemplified in the use of technology to speed up processing for efficiency and profits while
ignoring the existence of repetitive stress injuries or pollution to the environment (Feenberg,
1991). Positioning occurs when the user of technology seeks to place themselves in such a
position as to gain the most out of nature as possible. The goal here is to control nature as much
as possible to “squeeze” every benefit out of nature possible regardless of the negative impact it
may have on the environment, the worker, or society. “Thus the decontextualization of labor
opens the space of operational autonomy occupied by modern hegemonies” (Feenberg, 1991, p.
         A poststructuralist approach to analyzing technology’s impact on adult learners, reveals
using technology can help to have the same impacts on adult learners which will lead to new
impacts: Alienation, oppression, and fear. Alienation refers to the effect using technology will
have on marginalized groups in relation to the dominant culture. As this is a separate culture, one
where the rules are not explicit, those who reside at the margins will find conflict and feel left
out, further marginalizing them. As Bruce Sinclair (2004) points out, technology is “contingent
and contains unequal power relationships . . . Technology may be socially constructed, but the
players are not all on the same footing – a truth familiar to [women and] people of color, who
have also long known that both its benefits and consequences are distributed unequally” (p. 12).
As marginalized persons attempt to engage with the power relationships that technology
supports, they face fear the changes to their lives that can result. If they do take on the culture of
the technology developed for current hegemony, they are faced with scripts that may require
them to abandon their culture to adopt a dominant culture.
         Scripts (Akrich, 1992) are ways that the design of technology impacts how it is used. Use
of technology is impacted in two direct ways. First, designers have a particular vision of who the
users are, how they will use it, and for what limited purposes. This image includes specific
tastes, competences, motives, aspirations, political prejudices, etc. and are inscribed into
technology. Second, the actual design limits the acts that can be accomplished thus shaping the
user (Akrich, 1992). Consider using the car which requires the user to sit, face forward, place at
least one hand on the wheel, etc. The design of the technology requires certain actions to be
performed. This is used to bring about conformity in the user and, if enough users employ the
technology, then technology can have an impact on society (e.g. the automobile). As newcomers
to the technology attempt to learn and use these scripts, they will face the choice of adapting to
the scripts, modifying those scripts, or rejecting them. If users follow imbedded scripts, there is
potential for users to face pressure to adapt their actions to enhance the performance of the
technology. This adaptation carried out over several behaviors could modify thinking and beliefs
at the individual’s cultural level. If users attempt to modify the scripts, they face the dangers of
the technology performing less than desired or worse, being dangerous to themselves. Finally, if
users rejects the scripts and the use of the artifact altogether, they face alienation and potential
ostracization from society.

                                         Cultural Studies

        While there have been a great many studies on the use of technology with adult learners,
there appears to be very little which take a critical view of technology and seek to understand
how the culture of technology shapes or affects the learner. In this next section, I will propose
using cultural studies as a means to studying technology and its use.

        Cultural studies is “a particular approach within the wider field of the study of culture”
(Johnson, Chambers, Raghuram, and Tincknell, 2004, p. 9). I believe that cultural studies is the
best approach to studying the effect of technology on adult learners because, as we have seen,
technology, social practices, and adult learning are all governed by cultural norms which have an
impact on how the adult learner views and uses technology. Cultural studies focuses on six
important areas (Johnson et al., 2004): Culture and Power, Culture as Value, Culture as Policy,
Culture as Cohesion, Culture as Standardization, and Culture as Language or Understanding.
Cultural studies views cultural processes as a vehicle for powerful social relationships to be
enacted. Culture as power studies seek to examine the identities of those involved in power
relationships and understand how the process of betterment is promoted or restricted. The
second agenda, culture as value, sees the “aesthetic or moral value of literature, music, or art that
is supposed to make them worth studying” (Johnson et al., 2004, p. 10). Culture as policy
examines policies set by large institutions, usually those of governments, that organize behaviors
and conduct. Culture as cohesion seeks to understand the pressures to conceive of culture as
bounded, uniform, and shared among many individuals and examines the view that any break
from the unity of one culture as a social pathology of the other culture. Culture as
standardization looks at the uniformities of mass culture in the hopes of understanding how
commercialization or commodification commonly found in modern society can cause social
control. Examples of this would include the spread of such organizations as McDonald, Disney,
and Wal-Mart. Culture as language or understanding encompasses structuralism and
hermeneutics as means of studying language or culture. Thus, cultural studies has much to offer
researchers as a method for studying the culture of technology and its impact on adult learners.

       Studying Technology’s Impact on Adult Learner Using a Cultural Studies Model

        Research in cultural studies typically occurs in moments, or practices that gain particular
importance at a particular time in the research process (Johnson et al., 2004). Research into the
effect technology has on adult learners can take place during many moments. I have attempted
to encapsulate a few in this section and will discuss each of these in more detail below.
        Interaction of the learner with technology Considering that technology is steeped in
cultural values and overtones, it is plausible that the user of technology could be impacted by
using it. Research needs to be conducted to examine the extent technology facilitates or hinders
the learning process as the culture of the technology and the learner either creates a symbiotic or
conflictual relationship. Directions in this vein would include understanding the meaning
making schemes of learners as they use technology and what changes, if any, occur with its use.
        Facilitator with technology Facilitating learning is culturally dependent and requires a
in-depth understanding of cultural norms. In order for facilitators of adult learning to be
effective, it is imperative that they understand how their learners make meaning. Using
technology impacts the facilitation of learning with adults. Researchers need to understand how
using a culturally loaded artifact affects a culturally loaded activity such as teaching.
        Technology as power Those who are privileged to use technology hold power and sway
over those who either do not know how to use it or have access to it. As Apple points out, the
social activity of adult education is “tied to the larger arrangement of institutions which
apportion resources so that particular groups and classes have historically been helped while
others have been less adequately treated” (1990, p. 10 as quoted in Cervero and Wilson, 2001).
Technology, often used in adult education, has the potential to continue unequal power

relationships and hinder development of adult learners rather than providing the opportunity for
emancipation. Research needs to examine the role technology plays in perpetuating power
relationships to the detriment of marginalized groups or individuals.
         Interpretive Flexibility Interpretive flexibility (Brey, 2005) is the notion that artifacts
can be interpreted in a variety of ways; including ways different from those of the designers. A
simplistic example is that of a mug which can be used to hold a beverage but could also be used
as decoration or to hold paint brushes. Just because the designer expects the user to conceive of
the artifact in a particular way does mean that the user will. It is imperative for researchers to
consider the role interpretive flexibility has on technology’s use and adult learning.
         Acceptance, modification, or rejection of scripts As adult learners encounter technology
and embedded scripts (Akrich, 1992), they are faced with a choice of using it as the designers
expect them to, modifying its use to suit their needs or rejecting it outright for another
technology or none at all. Research needs to be conducted to better understand how adults learn
or make meaning of those scripts, what process they go through to modify the scripts, and the
impact such acceptance, modification, or rejection of those scripts has on the development of
their identity.

        Technology is becoming ubiquitous in adult education settings yet very little research has
focused on the impact culture imbedded in technology has on adult learners. This paper seeks to
develop conversation around the role culture plays in the development and use of technology and
its potential impact on adult learners.

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Jim Berger, PhD., Assistant Professor, Department of Special Instructional Programs, Western Kentucky University,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education, University of
Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

                  Putting the "Classroom" Back in Online Learning

                                           Peter J. Borger


        It is not difficult to see the advantages that online learning promises. However, it is only a
virtual classroom, not a brick and mortar one. It is only an interface, not a face-to-face
environment, and I began to wonder what current instructors were doing in efforts to make this
kind of environment as effective as a classroom. To find out, I sought out online instructors who
had taught extensively in classrooms. I asked them about what they were doing to promote the
kind of student-to-student discussion and mentoring that takes place in a classroom environment,
not only in the class, but before class, during breaks and afterward. This paper outlines the
problem, and depicts what these instructors had to say about their efforts in dealing with these
issues. Within these interviews I found working instructors who are attempting to make a virtual
environment a livable, breathable, and sustainable place to learn and grow.


         The proliferation of online coursework in colleges and universities has grown at an
alarming rate in the minds of many educators whose concerns have been cast aside by
proponents claiming that “the lack of face-to-face interaction can be substituted by online
discussion in bulletin board systems, online video conferences or listserves (Blake, 2000)” (Yang
& Cornelius, 2004, p. 862). There seems, however, to be a great deal of variation in the forms,
abilities, and security safeguards of the software used for these online classes. Actual
synchronous communication of audio, video, and even text is rare. The concern questions the
validity of equating these technical communication boards with the face-to-face learning that
takes place in a classroom, and “Many educators and trainers do not support online instruction
because they do not believe is actually solves difficult teaching and learning problems (Conlon,
1998) “ (Johnson, Aragon, Shaik, & Palma-Rivas, 1999, p. 2). “Typically, the electronic
discussion board is part of an online environment. What instructors oftentimes forget is that the
discussion board takes the place of the verbal discussion and interaction that occurs in a face-to-
face classroom” (Aragon, 2003, p. 63). In doing so, such boards negate the possibility of tacit
learning between students and instructor, mentoring between students, and, in some cases,
student collaboration within these course structures.

       “Students in face-to-face courses can more easily get together for an extended period of
       time to discuss class projects, work out any differences of opinion, and build social
       relationships. In contrast, online students do not have similar opportunities, although the
       technology provides a surrogate form for similar interactions. This suggests that the
       online environment may lack the strong social dimension that is beneficial to face-to-face
       classroom experience” (Johnson et al., p. 6).

It is obvious that such classes can reach far greater numbers of students, freed from geographical
presence requirements, time constraints, and social family obligations that once barred them
from university coursework. One student I know of personally had wanted a master’s degree for

years, but was prevented from attending a college or university for a long enough period to
obtain such a degree due to the fact that she was married to a military man who simply had to go
where he was ordered. The reasons for offering online coursework are myriad and valid. Still,
many opponents of online coursework “question whether or not online learning can provide the
same interaction between instructor-students and students-students as traditional classrooms
offered (Roblyer & Ekhaml, 2000)” (Yang & Cornelius, 2004, p. 862). There is also a question
of appropriate and immediate feedback. “Face-to-face students received live and dynamic forms
of support from the instructor while the online group received it in the form of one-way static
communication” (Johnson et al., 1999, p. 6).
        There is no doubt that “Students can conduct their own self-directed learning without
interacting with others in an online learning environment. However, several scholars asserted
that interaction would increase the learning quality in online learning“ (Chen, 2004, p. 119).
“According to Bibeau (2001), teaching and learning functions are inherently social endeavors”
(Aragon, 2003, p. 57), and social interactions online miss important features that are inherent in
face-to-face classrooms. Chen tells us that “people cannot express moods or emotions by only
using text” (Chen, p. 119), but emotions aren’t all that is missed, body language, dynamic
debate, the transfer of the instructor’s awe and wonder in the depths of his subject area. All is not
roses in the online course corner of the World Wide Web. “The persistence rates for online
learners are considerably lower than in face-to-face classes. One of the reasons cited has been the
isolation students feel when they have only their computers for company” (Lawrence, 1999, p.
1). This fact alone indicates that something in the face-to-face environment is not only missing,
but unaccounted for in the use of bulletin boards for discussion. Many students have simply
given up the notion with all its advantages and moved their efforts in learning to a face-to-face
         I am not dissuaded in these arguments from the fact that online learning is here to stay,
and properly so. The needs of a large population of learners cannot be and should not be ignored,
and the technology, as is its nature, will improve if we search out and make use of the
experiences of both instructors and students in these courses and programs. Maor tells us that
“good teaching involves learners actively participating, reflectively thinking, and collaborating
with one another” (Maor, 2003, p. 128). Many online instructors believe that forming an online
community within the course or program can accommodate these needs. “Distance educators
show increasing acceptance of the idea that the development of a sense of community among
learners in online courses enhances their learning” (Anderson, 2004, p. 183). Anderson feels that
such communities are either “task-focused or relationship-focused” (Anderson, p. 183), but I
would venture that some element of both might likely be present in an online group that has
formed a learning community. Chen talks about Clark’s 1998 proposal of three principles
associated with these online learning communities. The first emphasizes that a learning
community is not built, but grown itself…molded by its members to create its own environment.
Second, strong leaders are needed, not only to manage the community, but to act as online
facilitators, and third, he notes that personal narratives are encouraged (Chen, 2004, p. 121).
Some believe that forming learning communities can be better accomplished if students have
some face-to-face experiences mixed in with the online experiences. Colleges and universities
are experimenting with what is called hybrid classes, where a class meets face-to-face perhaps
once a month with the interim class-work being done online. Other universities, especially in
cohort modeled programs, require a residential experience to initiate the program though all the
class work is done online. Of this Lawrence says, “They now had faces, voices, and memories of

shared experiences to give fuller dimension to the words on their computer screens (Lawrence,
1999, p. 1).
There is no lack of suggestions to make online learning more palatable and less isolating to
students, but the effectiveness of these suggestions is generally unknown as “there is little
research to fully understand the benefits and pitfalls of online instruction, especially compared to
face-to-face learning environments (Johnson et al., 1999, p. 2). It was expressions such as this
that led to this research project. The question of what online instructors are doing presently to
encourage both student-to-student and student-to-instructor interaction formed a basis for
interview questions. I sought to determine their present practices in these kinds of courses and
determine their impressions of effect as compared to face-to-face experiences. Only instructors
with extensive face-to-face experiences who were now instructing online as well were selected.

                                       The Study in General

         There were 6 interviews conducted with instructors who all had extensive teaching
experience both in the classroom, face-to-face, and online. Of the six two were male and four
were female. The names presented in this study are fictitious to safeguard their identities. All are
currently employed in public and private universities as of the summer of 2006, and most are
involved in teaching graduate students as well as undergraduate classes. In general I found that
they were a very concerned but hopeful group of individuals who have both the presence to view
the problems they face as surmountable while acknowledging that the online learning
environment may not as yet be as effective a learning medium as the face-to-face classroom at
least in the sense of social interaction.
         The males seemed to feel that the online classes provided sufficient social interaction
while the females were more concerned about the student’s needs for social interaction and their
abilities to supply those needs with proper outlets. I found that while there were many concerns
expressed by all, there were many instances of attempts to increase the social interactions of
online students as well. There were also a number of unique ideas to enhance the social aspect of
the online classes. I found that the importance of creating a social presence was more on their
minds than the creation of a learning community, although I had the distinct impression that most
of these instructors felt that every online class was such a community of learners, and thus did
not feel it was necessary to make that a point of their discussions. There was also general
agreement as to stating a set of ground rules about discussions. All noted that they felt this was
imperative to a successful online experience. The technologies employed by their individual
universities varied, however all indicated that the tools associated with them were growing in
response to expressed needs, though slowly. Most expressed the need for training for would be
instructors, and most were appalled at both the lack of technical support provided by their
schools and the lack of understanding of the online process by administrators of the online
programs in which they were participating.

                                    Some Interview Specifics

       The interviews showed several notions that were commonly used to increase socialization
among the students. Jean mentioned, “I usually create a link in every class called the Water
Cooler link.” Such chat rooms allow students to socialize within the class but outside of the class

       Sandy explained it this way:

       In face-to-face classes you know people go to breaks together, they have coffee before
       class, they chat after class, the teacher chats with them usually. You can come up and ask
       questions. You don’t have that online, so, when I first started teaching, I set up the
       lounge. So, the first couple of classes people would go there to share personal things like,
       ”I found this really interesting book,” “I lost my job,” or “my best friend died.” It was a
       place where we connected to each other.

I found a later comment by Sandy about this perplexing as she said, “The last couple of groups
have not been interested in the Lounge, and I don’t know why.” It may not be an unusual
happenstance for learners to grow out of some things and grow into others. It may be time for
Sandy to retire the lounge and replace it with something more relevant to her current learners.
         David made a comment that may apply to Sandy’s dilemma. He said, “I found that
different classes confronted with the same choices, will inexplicably reject offerings
unanimously accepted by the sister class.”
         Sharon did something unique in this area, although the link she set up was not a social
link; it seemed to draw students into discussion about things within the course or the text that
they did not understand. She put it this way:

       I do have this conference that’s called “What’s new to you,” and it’s open through the
       entire course, and it’s…there’s very little structure to it except that it’s not the social area,
       you know. It’s about what’s new to you, about what you’re reading, what strikes you like,
       “I don’t get it.” Well, this is the place to talk about it.

        When asked how they get the students talking, many replied, as Jerry did, “I said they
have to respond three times a week if they wanted a certain grade.” The notion of forcing
responses was echoed by most of these interviewees, although the methods differed.
        Susan said, “I made them be interactive. I actually gave them assignments that paired
them off; that put them in small groups, and they could do their assignment any way they wanted
to, e-mail, phone, meet at a coffee shop.”
        Sandy’s approach was a bit different; she told me that, “They had to present a mini-lesson
that they had to develop and present to the class.” She mentioned that in a face-to-face class with
only thirteen weeks of meetings, this was a difficult process, while online she simply had each
student sign up for three of the lessons that they could take online anytime. Essentially, being
online made this notion work better than being in a classroom.
        There was, however, one participant who disagreed wholeheartedly with this idea of
forcing participation. David expressed it this way:

       I’ve seen it done this way we most recently did it where I didn’t impose any rules on
       them except that they had to respond to the prompt with five paragraphs, and that was
       more so I could assess their abilities with English conversations, but I did not make any
       requirements that they post to anyone. And what I was amazed to find was that the
       discussions and the postings since the students didn’t feel they had to … it increased
       parallel posting almost ten-fold. I still find this true with the new class.

        Some of the other participants spoke at length about backing into the shadows after they
get the group going; in essence letting the group take over the mainstay of the conversation so
that they can act only as a facilitator. Sandy says of this, “It’s real tricky because I don’t want to
make a comment after every comment because people are going to listen to me and not each
other, but I don’t want them to feel that I’m not there.” It would seem that presence is important,
but a student centered approach carries as well online as it does in a classroom.
        Sharon says, “I let them keep it going and then, if I notice the communication was dying
out I would put something out there that would really bring them to life so to speak in some way
a new direction maybe.” This is equivalent to a classroom situation in which an instructor may
spur the conversation when it has reached a stumbling block or an impasse.
        Along these lines, Jerry noted, “I don’t want it to be a two way conversation between
them an me. I want them to develop the conversation amongst the members of this small group.”
        Sharon actually lays this notion out at the beginning of her classes in a mini lecture where
she says,”You’ll likely hear of a guy named Stephen Brookfield. Well, here’s what Steve says,
‘When you teach by discussion, this is what happens, blah blah…’ so here’s the deal, you can tell
by what he says that you can talk to me and I can talk to you, but it’s more important that you
guys talk to each other.”
        Jean uses a clever approach to keep the students at the center of the conversation. She
notes about student questions, “I’m going to answer it within the next forty-eight hours, but
here’s the deal. Post it to the web board. I want all of the students to have a chance to answer the
question.” Of course she comments on their answers and may add her own take on the subject
        Several of these instructors find the use of telephone conferences to be significant in both
lines of social presence and heightening a sense of community. Jean requires that the students
participate in at least one phone conference a term. She actually sets up two, but with students in
different time zones around the world, it is difficult to get her students together all at one time.
Later, she posts the dialogue form the conference, “so they don’t miss out on what their
questions were in conversation.” She feels strongly that these conference calls are an important
feature of her online classes. As she says, “Things like that just continue to make it real to them.”
        Sandy said about these kinds of calls, “I really think they need other ways of connecting
than just the asynchronous online communication.”
        My last question to each of these participants was, “Which do you prefer, online or face-
to-face?” The answers were as varied as the individuals. Susan likes the face-to-face interaction,
she likes to see their faces to gauge whether she is getting through to them or not. David talked
about his animated and demonstrative teaching style, and feels that it is lost in the online classes.
Sandy loves being able to do both; she loves the convenience of not having to go to campus to
teach, but she wouldn’t want all her classes to be online. Jerry also doesn’t see himself going in
one direction or the other; he sees benefits in doing both. Jean teaches almost exclusively online,
but tries to teach at least a couple of classes a year so as not to lose her classroom skills. Sharon
says she’s a bit shy in front of a group, and prefers the online classes to face to face. Yet she did
mention that she thought it would help if she could see the students.


        Online learning is here, we face the challenge as instructors to make it or make of it the
best use of time and effort in terms of student’s learning. Orey, Koenecke, and Crozier state,

“The vision of Epic Learning that is the best solution for tomorrow will be a combination of
traditional methods enhanced and/or used in conjunction with technology-driven learning tools,
better known as Blended E-learning”(Orey, Koenecke, & Crozier, 2003, p. 261). I spent some
time thinking about that sentence and what all of the interviewees had said to me. Both Sharon
and David would heartily disagree with that statement. Sharon said that she would never design a
distance education class unless it could be taken by distant students, and David said that Hybrids
and Blended E-learning begs the question as, if they are close enough to meet, why bother doing
it online? From these individual instructors, I heard that online learning is not equivalent to face-
to-face classroom environments, but I heard more than that. I learned that the instructors of today
in online classes are not just teaching; they are working toward making that form of learning a
better, less isolating, and more reflective method of learning. In this I have gained some faith that
they can put some of the classroom back into online learning.


 Association for Educational Communications and Technology, (2004, October 23). Building an
       online learning community. Chicago, IL, Chen, Y.
Anderson, B. (2004, June). Dimensions of learning and support in an online community. Open
       Learning, 19(2), pp. 183-190.
Aragon, S. R. (2003). Facilitating learning in online environments. In S. R. Aragon (Ed.), New
       Directions for adult and continuing education, no. 100 (pp. pp. 57-68). New York, NY: J
Association for Ecucational Communications and Technology, (2004, October 23). Student's
       perceptions towards the quality of online education: A qualitative approach. Chicago,
       IL:Yang, Y., & Cornelius, F.
Johnson, S. D., Aragon, S. R., Shaik, N., & Palma-Rivas, N. (1999). Comparative analysis of
       online vs. face-to-face instruction. In: Webnet 99 World Conference on the WWW and
       Internet Proceedings.
Lawrence, R. L. (1999). Cohorts in cyberspace: creating community online. In Proceedings of
       the 19th Annual Alliance/ ACE conference.
Maor, D. (2003). The teacher's role in developing interaction and reflection in an online
       learning community. Retrieved April 20, 2006, from http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals
Orey, M., Koenecke, L., & Crozier, J. (2003, August). Learning communities via the internet a la
       epic learning: You can lead the horses to water, but you cannot get them to drink.
       Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 40(3), pp. 260-269.

Peter J. Borger, Doctoral Candidate, Northern Illinois University, 641 Western Ave., Glen Ellyn,
IL 60137, 630.858.8377, pborger@juno.com

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education,
University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

           Resolving Conflict Between Graduate Students and Faculty:
                        A Two Phase Design Approach

                                        Julie L. Brockman
                                        Erika S. DeJonghe

This study was designed to better understand the conflict resolution preferences of graduate
students and to ascertain the effects that a conflict resolution workshop has on those preferences.
Forty-three graduate students completed questionnaires regarding their own conflict-resolution
behaviors prior to a workshop on resolving conflict between graduate students and faculty and
then approximately 2-3 months after the workshop. Three participants elected to participate in a
5-month follow-up focus group. Mean decreases in undesirable, controlling behaviors were
documented. However, participants’ general conflict resolution style was likely to be stable over
time. Results of the study have implications for future interventions and research on graduate
student-faculty relationships.
    Graduate students, especially those at the doctoral level, regard their relationships with
faculty members as the most important aspect of the quality of their graduate experience, but
many also report it as “the single most disappointing aspect of their graduate experience”
(Hartnett and Katz, 1977). Conflict between graduate students and faculty advisors can impair
the graduate student-faculty relationship, with negative consequences for both parties (Golde,
2000; Keltner, 1998; Lovitts, 2001; Nerad and Miller, 1996). Therefore, efforts to maintain
and/or foster the graduate student-faculty advisor relationship through preventing and/or
constructively resolving conflict are important.
    Researchers have constructed models and measures of conflict resolution styles to help
define and understand responses to everyday conflict. The most widely used models and
measures have been developed by Blake and Mouton (1964), Hall (1969), Thomas and Kilmann
(1974), Putnam and Wilson (1982) and Rahim (1983). Adult educators often use these models
and measures to evaluate the impact of conflict resolution training interventions by attempting to
measure change in conflict resolution style before and after an intervention (Mikheev, 2005;
Rashid, 2001; Deen, 2000; Watt, 1994; Johnson, 1991). Results of these studies are mixed. For
example, Mikheev (2005) used an experimental design to evaluate the efficacy of a conflict
resolution curriculum in reducing peer victimization and increasing the use of a cooperative
strategy. The self-reported data suggested that the intervention was effective at significantly
increasing the treatment group’s use of a cooperative strategy in resolving conflict, while
decreasing the use of avoidance in conflict situations. In contrast, Deen (2000) found no
difference in conflict styles of 4-H leader volunteers who had participated in conflict resolution
training and those that had not participated in training.
    Though studies exist which seek to measure the conflict preference/style shift following a
specified amount of conflict resolution training, we know of no evaluation published to date
which seeks to understand the impact of a conflict resolution training program on the conflict
style preference of graduate students. Furthermore, it is recommended that an investigation is
needed in using conflict management interventions with various groups on college campuses to
help with student retention (Rashid, 2001).

                                         Research Questions
Overarching Hypothesis: Active participation in a 6 hour conflict resolution workshop, using an
interactive teaching method, would enhance the student’s knowledge and understanding about
the interest-based approach to resolving conflict thereby altering their perceived preference when
selecting a conflict resolution strategy. Participation would reinforce pre-existing tendencies for
conflict management that are consistent with the interest-based approach.
    Prediction 1: Participant’s scores would show a significant change in conflict resolution style
    from pre- to post- test such that in the post-test, participants would show higher scores on
    desirable types (collaboration) of conflict resolution strategies and lower scores on
    undesirable (positional/competitive) conflict resolution strategies.
    Prediction 2: Participants with desirable conflict resolution strategy preferences would retain
    these preferences and people with undesirable strategies would shift to desirable preferences.
    Prediction 3: Analysis of the transcripts of the focus groups would show that workshop
    participants would engage in the use of the interest-based approach to resolve conflicts with
    their faculty advisors.
    Participants were 48 graduate students enrolled in the “Setting Expectations and Resolving
Conflict Between Graduate Students and Faculty” workshop. Participants were 38% male and
62% female. Twenty-three percent were between 18-25 years old, 49% were between 26-35
years old, 13% were between 36-45 years old, 11% were between 46-55 years old, and 4% were
between 56 or older. Forty-five percent were international students and 55% domestic students.
Domestic students reported their ethnicity as 84% Caucasian, 4% African-American, 4%
Chicano/ Mexican-American, 4% Hispanic, and 4% Asian/Pacific Islander. Most of the students
(53.3%) indicated that they had recently begun their coursework. Participants were from both
doctoral programs (57%) and (44%) masters programs.
         Conflict resolution style. Conflict resolution style was assessed using an adapted version
of the Organizational Communication Conflict Instrument (OCCI; Putnam & Wilson, 1982). The
original measure is a 30-item scaling that measures communicative behaviors in the management
of interpersonal conflict. For this study, items were split into two parallel forms, resulting in 14
items on the pre-test and 14 items on the post-test surveys. For example, 12 of the 30 items in the
original OCCI measure were statements representing non-confrontational behaviors. These 12
items were split in half, with 6 items placed in the pre-test and 6 items placed in the post-test.
Prior to completing the pre-test, participants were asked by the evaluator to consider past
disagreements with supervisors and then asked to rate how often they were likely to respond as
described in a statement on a scale ranging from 1 (always) to 7 (never). Examples of items
include “I assert my opinion forcefully” and “I steer clear of disagreeable situations.” The scale
derives three factor scores; non-confrontation, solution-orientation, and control. Of these three
factors, solution-orientation is considered to represent a more desirable conflict resolution style.
These three factors 1) instantiate the five conflict orientations of compete, cooperate, avoid,
accommodate and compromise (Thomas & Kilmann, 1974); 2) describe concrete verbal and/or
non-verbal behaviors, and 3) focus on goal oriented disagreements. Putnam & Wilson (1982)
report subscale coefficient alphas of 0.88 for non-confrontation, 0.83 for solution orientation, and
0.77 for control. In the current study, coefficient alphas (computed across both pre-test and post-
test) were 0.84 for non-confrontation, 0.66 for solution orientation, and 0.67 for control.

        Focus Group. Focus group participants attended a semi-structured focus group interview
led by a facilitator who was independent of the research study. The protocol consisted of six
questions such as, “Do graduate students attempt to prevent or manage conflict with faculty?”.
The semi-structured nature of the protocol allowed the facilitator to ask clarifying questions and
to probe participants’ answers to the main protocol questions.
        This research study is in its first year of a three-year research project. Participants self-
selected to enroll in a workshop sponsored by the Graduate School at Michigan State University
entitled “Setting Expectations and Resolving Conflict Between Graduate Students and Faculty”.
The workshops were advertised via e-mail sent out by graduate secretaries to all graduate
students and via fliers posted on-campus. This workshop strives to teach graduate students and
faculty a cooperative or integrative approach to preventing and resolving conflicts within the
faculty-graduate student relationship.
        Upon arriving at a workshop, the researcher introduced the intent to evaluate and
presented participants with consent forms for their review, along with the survey instrument and
re-contact information. Participants completed the informed consent procedure and then
proceeded to complete the survey instrument. All complete and incomplete surveys were
collected by the researcher who then exited the location. The workshop was then conducted by
presenters from the Graduate School. Approximately two months later, a post-survey instrument
was mailed to all subjects, with a self-addressed, stamped return envelope.
        Approximately five months following the completion of the pre-test, subjects received an
invitation to attend a focus group session. Three participants completed a focus group designed
to gather qualitative information regarding changes in conflict resolution style as a result of
participation in the initial workshop. The focus group interview was tape-recorded and
transcribed. The next focus group is planned for September, 2006. A financial incentive is
planned to improve participation.
Data Preparation
   The current study included data from 48 participants. These data included some missing values,
largely due to post-test surveys in which it was impossible to reach the participants by mail due to
incorrect mailing addresses (n=4) or because a participant simply did not return the post-test survey
(n=10). In one case, a participant failed to complete the pre-test survey. Because it was not suspected
that participants who did not complete the post-test differed systematically from those who did
[missing data were found to be missing completely at random (Little MCAR test statistic=40.57,
df=36, p=.28)], missing data were imputed using the EM algorithm in SYSTAT 11.0, resulting in a
complete dataset.
Prediction 1: Mean Changes in Desirable and Undesirable Behaviors
   To examine whether significant change occurred in conflict resolution style, two methods of
analysis were employed. First, paired t-tests were used to compare pre- and post-test subscale
scores on the OCCI. In general, participants showed a reduction in controlling behaviors at post
test (M=10.05, SD=2.98) as compared to at pretest (M=10.81, SD=2.76) [t(47) = 2.14, p <0.05].
Significant mean differences were not found for non-confronting behaviors [t(47) = 0.83, ns] or
solution oriented behaviors [t(47) = -0.48, ns].
Prediction 2: Change & Stability in Resolution Style Preference
    To examine participants’ conflict resolution style before and after the intervention,
participants were classified into 1 of 3 conflict resolution styles as follows. First, all scores were

standardized. Next, standardized values were compared across the three conflict resolution types.
The subscale for which a given participant received the highest standardized value was
considered to represent the participants’ conflict resolution style preference at that time. Table1
below indicates the number of participants per conflict resolution style at pre- and post-test.

Table 1
Number of Participants Who Preferred Each Conflict Resolution Style at Pre-Test and Post-Test
                                         Pre-Test                         Post-Test
       Non-Confronting                           16                                15
      Solution Oriented                          13                                16
          Controlling                            19                                17

         To examine change and stability in conflict resolution style preference at pre- and post-
test, a configural frequency analysis CFA (von Eye, 2002; von Eye & Gutiérrez Peña, 2004) was
employed. This method of analysis determines whether a particular configuration of
classifications differs significantly from chance expectation by comparing observed and expected
cell frequencies. In this case, CFA types are combinations of pre- and post-test style preferences
that occur significantly more often than expected; CFA antitypes CFA types are combinations of
pre- and post-test style preferences that occur significantly less often than expected. A first order
CFA (testing against a null model of main effects) was conducted using Lemacher’s test. This
test revealed the presence of three CFA types and two antitypes. More participants than would be
expected due to chance had stable classifications at pre-and post-test; these CFA types were: (1)
non-confronting at both pre- and post-test, (2) solution oriented at both pre- and post-test, and (3)
controlling at both pre- and post-test. Fewer participants than would be expected due to chance
(the antitypes) were (1) solution oriented at pre-test and controlling at post-test, and (2)
controlling at pre-test and non-confronting at post-test, suggesting that these patterns of change
would be unlikely.
Prediction 3: Focus Group Transcript Analysis
   Major themes revealed in the focus group were concerns about time (e.g. how to best make
use of/get access to advisor’s time, planning schedules for completing work, etc.), a
preoccupation with self-presentation, awareness of the importance of the graduate student-
faculty relationship, the general uncertainly about the graduate process, and the use of avoidance
as a conflict-management strategy.
                                    Discussion and Implications
   Partial support was found for study hypotheses. Examining mean changes in employment of
conflict resolution strategies across the group as a whole, participants showed lower scores on
undesirable (controlling) conflict resolution strategies at post-test. However, there was no
significant increase documented in solution oriented behaviors nor was there a significant
decrease documented in non-confronting behaviors. Partial support was also found for the
prediction that participants with desirable conflict resolution strategy preferences would retain
these preferences and people with undesirable strategies would shift to desirable preferences.
Consistent with expectations, solution-oriented styles were likely to be stable over time.
However, competitive and non-confrontational styles were also likely to be stable over time.
Contrary to expectations, transitions from either of the undesirable styles to solution-oriented

styles did not emerge as particularly likely. Participants were unlikely to transition from a
solution oriented to a controlling style or to transition from a controlling to a non-confronting
style. In terms of the focus group prediction, three researchers who independently conducted a
thematic content analysis of the focus group transcripts identified a theme of avoidance as a
conflict-management strategy used by focus group participants. As one student commented,
“…being careful of what you say on certain topics you know could have bad consequences so
you wisely avoid them…just forgetting about them completely.” Another stated, “(we manage
conflict)…by avoiding it.”
   Though this is only the first of a three year study and despite limitations (e.g., self-reporting,
lack of a control group, and small effect size) the findings suggest that some participants did
experience minor shifts in their conflict resolution style preferences post-intervention. Such
finding are consistent with Watt’s (1994) study wherein he sought to examine whether an
individuals’ approach to conflict management could be altered by completing a college conflict
resolution course. He concluded that individuals shifted toward a preference in using a
collaborative management style but continued to use competing and compromising styles.
Evidence for such a pattern of results exists in this study. Though conflict resolution style
preferences in this study showed remarkable stability from pre- to post-test, it is also true that a
significant overall decrease in mean levels of controlling behaviors was indicated. In addition,
the likelihood that a participant might switch from a solution-oriented preference at pre-test to a
controlling preference style at post-test is statistically lower than would be expected. It is also
interesting to note that there was no indication of behavior change as in prediction three. It may
be that such a brief intervention would not affect a comprehensive change in conflict resolution
style. Pronounced behavior change may simply be too ambitious for a brief intervention. What
may be more reasonable to predict is a change in awareness that may result in slight behavior
changes post intervention. As one focus group participant stated,

        The thing that I actually learned a little bit from the conflict resolution (workshop) is to
        not only just tell them what you want. Sort of make it a relationship. Show the advisor
        that this is in their best interest as well. And I think that’s the thing I really wasn’t aware
This study, supported by similar studies in the literature, implies that a conflict resolution
intervention which focuses on using collaborative skill techniques may affect conflict resolution
preference for participants who attend conflict resolution training. Graduate student educators,
defined broadly, are interested in improving the graduate school experience for graduate students
which necessarily includes interventions which support effective relationships among students
and faculty.

Bowen, W.G. and Rudenstine, N.L. (1992). In pursuit of the Ph.D. New Jersey: Princeton
       University Press.
Deen, M.Y. (2000, February). Differences in the solution-oriented conflict style of selected
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Golde, C. (2000). Should I stay or should I go? Student descriptions of the doctoral attrition
       process. The Review of Higher Education, 23, 3, 309-332.

Hall, J. (1969). Conflict management survey: A survey on one’s characteristic reactions to and
         handling of conflicts between himself and others. Conroe, TX: Teleometrics
Harnett, R.T. and Katz, J. (1977). The education of graduate students. Journal of Higher
         Education, 48 (6), 646-664.
Johnson, L.W. (1992). The effects of conflict management training upon the conflict
         management styles of teachers. Dissertation Abstracts, 52/07: 2323.
Keltner, J.W. (1998). Views from different sides of the desk. In S.A. Holton (Ed.), Mending the
         cracks in the ivory tower. Bolton, MA. Anker Publishing Co.
Lovitts, B.E. (2001). Leaving the ivory tower: The causes and consequences of departure from
         doctoral study. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, Inc.
Mikheev, C.C. (2006). A conflict resolution intervention’s effect on adolescents’ rates of peer
       victimization and conflict strategy use. Dissertation Abstracts, 66/07: 3955.
Nerad, M. and Miller, D. (1996). Increasing student retention in graduate and professional
       programs. New Directions for Institutional Research, 92, 61-76.
Putnam, L.L. & Wilson, C.E. (1982). Communicative strategies in organizational conficts:
       Reliability and validity of a measurement scale. In M. Burgoon (Ed.), Communication
       yearbook (yearbook 6, pp.629-652) Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Rahim, M.A. (1983). A measure of styles of handling interpersonal conflict. Academy of
       Management Journal, 26(2), 368-376.
Rashid, J.W. (2001). Leadership development: Conflict management for college student leaders.
       Dissertation Abstracts, 62/06: 2049.
Thomas, K.W. & Kilmann, R.H. (1974). Thomas-Kilmann Conflict MODE Instrument. Tuxedo,
       NY: Xicom.
Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition.
       Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
von Eye, A. (2002). Configural Frequency Analysis: Methods, Models, and Applications.
       London: Lawrence Erlbaum.
von Eye, A., & Gutiez-Pe E. (2004). Configural Frequency Analysis: the Search for
       Extreme Cells. Journal of Applied Statistics, 31, 981-997.
Watt, W.M. (1994, November). Conflict management: Using the Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode
       instrument to assess levels of learning in the classroom. Paper presented at the Annual
       Meeting of the Speech Communication Association, New Orleans.

Julie L. Brockman, Assistant Professor, The Graduate School, 110 Linton Hall, Michigan State
University, E. Lansing, Michigan, 48824, brockma4@msu.edu.
Erika S. DeJonghe, Doctoral Student/Graduate Research Assistant, The Graduate School, 110
Linton Hall, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, Michigan, 48824, dejonghe@msu.edu.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice conference in Adult, Continuing and Community
Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

                  Models, Models Everywhere and Not a One that Fits?
               Cross-cultural Implementation of a DACUM-inspired Process
                              Agnes E. Conway and Laurel Jeris

        The goal? Design a one-year program to develop grassroots leaders in Sri Lanka. The
time allowed? Less than three days. This paper describes situational constraints, requirements
for the program and the process used to develop it, the basic planning model, what was
accomplished, and evaluation results. The approach, inspired by the Developing a Curriculum
(DACUM) process, proved to be efficient and effective – from both process and program
        Most business and educational institutions are being affected by the increasingly global
nature of our world and work. As adult educators we are called upon to work with international
partners – cross-culturally and across distances. We must and will continue to function in group
decision-making settings, often with people whose first language is not English and with people
who have experienced only top-down, hierarchical decision-making processes. Also, we are
being asked to create learner-centered, formal and informal educational experiences – in very
short timeframes, with limited resources. To facilitate sound decision-making under these
conditions, practitioners need research-based models, with proven track records of meeting
practice needs in a global context. We offer our experience as one example where practice needs
were met by using a research-based model. Here is the story.
         An eight-member delegation from Sri Lanka arrived at the Northern Illinois University
campus for a three-week professional development program in good governance. Their charter?
Build a one-year diploma program to develop grassroots leaders in their country. Three weeks is
a very short time to accomplish such a task, but they didn’t even have that much time. Their
itinerary included field visits, discussions with municipal government officials and university
faculty, and ceremonial events. The actual time available for the task was less than three days,
spread across the three-week period in half-day sessions. Typical of curriculum development
projects, they faced serious time constraints, but time was not their only constraint!
         Sri Lanka is a small, tropical island nation situated less than 20 miles from the southern
tip of India. Shaped like a tear drop, the island is about the same size as the state of West
Virginia. Formerly known as Ceylon, this country is home to nearly twenty million people.
Although the country is multi-ethnic, Buddhists comprise the 80% majority and the Buddhist
world view has shaped every aspect of the society’s traditions and culture. Tamil-speaking
Hindus (about 12%) and Tamil-speaking Muslims (8%) remain politicized minorities,
marginalized economically largely through language differences. Although Sinhala is the official
language and Tamil the second language, many Tamils do not speak Sinhala. Currently, about
10% of the people speak English.
         Sri Lanka’s economy is basically agricultural with about half of the labor force working
to produce tea, rubber, and coconut; its industry is dominated by apparel manufacturing. Sri
Lankan government, democratic and parliamentary, was a pioneer in granting voting rights to all
male and female residents (74 years of universal franchise, the longest in South Asia). Education
is free through the university level, but because of severe competition for admission, only 1%

ultimately enter university. The country has a high literacy rate ( 90%). Health care is free, but
suffers from the government’s increasing inability to meet rising health care costs.
         Although life in and around large cities is heavily influenced by a growing capitalist
private sector, life in the 25,000 rural villages is very different, characterized by high
unemployment, high rates of alcoholism among men, and poor to non-existent infrastructure
(e.g., roads, water availability, sanitation). In spite of the country’s impressive traditions, women
in the bottom strata of the society, who constitute the majority of the population, are struggling to
provide basic necessities for their families. Unemployment among women is high and double
that of men. Elected female politicians comprise less than 2%, which restricts female influence in
the political decision-making process. Gender-based violence is common: rape, emotional and
physical abuse, sexual harassment, domestic violence. Civil conflicts have forced women into
the position of main breadwinners. Violation of human rights for women is worse in war zones.
Historically, non-governmental organization’s (NGOs) main missions have been poverty
alleviation, but constantly shifting global relations, donor priorities, and political conflicts leave
poverty firmly entrenched.
        The visiting Sri Lankan delegates faced significant constraints on the program to be built,
in terms of sponsorship, participant characteristics, and funding. Multiple stakeholder
organizations, with very different interests and power positions, were sponsoring the program –
academic institutions and NGOs would have to be satisfied with the results. Most of the
program participants (people to be trained) would need to travel long distances to attend sessions
and could not attend full time. They would be drawn from grassroots communities and would
have neither a college education nor a common first language; they would speak either Tamil or
Sinhala with limited proficiency in English. They would be familiar with either a local
government or NGO culture (depending on their sponsoring organization) but not both.. A grant
was available from the US Department of State, but it would not be sufficient to cover all
program expenses.
        Added to these constraints were two requirements: To meet funding objectives, the
curriculum development process had to be participatory. To meet the design team’s concerns,
the process had to be transparent: the decision-making – from needs analysis to final plan – had
to be traceable (visible) to the planners themselves and to other stakeholders. All the
stakeholders who were involved in the program design wanted the process, and the resulting
program, to model and teach democratic, participatory and transparent decision-making.
                     Choosing a Model – Which Approach Should We Use?
        Adult educators have many programming models to choose from – some drawn from
academia and others from the business training arena. Before selecting a process, we identified
requirements: first, for the program, and then, for the process used to design it. The training
program needed to be practical (i.e., focus on real world application), efficient (i.e., include only
essential learning activities) and experiential (i.e., provide participants with experiences of
democratic, participatory and transparent decision-making.) The design process needed to be
rapid, participatory, and transparent. Because the program would be housed within a formal
setting, it needed to meet institutional requirements for length, level of content, etc.) Because
the delegates were not course designers and were working in their second (or third) language, the
design process had to be structurally simple, relatively jargon-free, and culturally neutral (i.e.,
neither reeking of Western corporate culture nor loaded with academic program planning
jargon.). Because the delegates would become the program’s faculty, we wanted to foster

ownership and accountability among them. Also, work had already been done at the village level
to identify what the potential grassroots leaders believed they needed to learn, and this work
needed to be the starting point for design decisions.

Developing a Curriculum (DACUM)
         DACUM refers to (1) a process for occupational analysis, performed by expert workers
in the occupation, (2) a skill profile, and (3) a tool to support initiatives such as program
planning, curriculum development, training materials development, and evaluation of participant
performance. Research and practice have established that DACUM results are as robust as more
lengthy needs analyses conducted under other models (Adams, 1975). “Its use with many
companies, community colleges, and government agencies has also shown the process to be very
effective, quickly accomplished, and low cost” ("Ohio State DACUM Process Page", 2006).
 The DACUM process relies on a panel of expert performers drawn from the occupation, who
work under the guidance of a facilitator for two days to develop a profile of the tasks and duties
performed in the occupation (or profession). For our purposes, the delegates comprised the Panel
and were joined by two NIU faculty members who had expertise in both the Sri Lanka situation
and instruction. Creating the chart uses a cards-on- the-wall strategy. All members face the wall
rather than sitting around a table facing each other. All information is visible to all participants at
the same time. All work is done by the entire panel. Cards are shifted until consensus among
group members is reached. This technique               Duties Tasks
focuses Panel members’ attention on content
rather than on each other, which avoids (or at
least minimizes) the extent to which people
employ politics, posturing, and intimidation in
group situations.
The Panel also identifies the knowledge and
skills required of successful workers; the               Figure 1. Cards-on-the-wall Technique
tools, equipment, supplies and materials
needed; and future trends and concerns that might affect performance requirements.
        The profiled observable behaviors become defined learning goals. The profile helps
instructors avoid adding non-essential information into courses. The Chart helps avoid
duplication within a curriculum, and when multiple instructors are involved, the Chart helps
them all sing from the same sheet of music.
Comparing DACUM to Other Models
       Tyler suggested that to develop a program, planners should answer four fundamental
questions: What are the purposes? What experiences will attain the purposes? How should the
experiences be organized? How will we know that the purposes have been attained? (Tyler, 1969,
p. 1) Many models have surfaced since Tyler’s, but one can find responses to his questions
within each program development model that has gained acceptance in the adult education field.
        Another common aspect of accepted models is that, although the terms may vary, each
addresses the elements of planning, design, implementation, and evaluation (Boone, Safrit, &
Jones, 2002). Areas where variation occurs include starting points and primary focus
(philosophy, social context, institutional requirements) and the use of questions or designated
tasks to guide the process. Freire’s (1970) approach begins and carries through with the

participants themselves. Although his approach could be a powerful one for our participants to
use when helping their local communities identify and resolve local problems, we did not have
access to the future participants and we chose not to create a program for which the design would
change for each cohort. Businesses tend to use systematic training development processes – their
own or a general one such as the ADDIE model: Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement,
Evaluate ("ADDIE Model", 2006). What all of these models have in common is that their
implementation requires a lengthy, involved process.

                         Our DACUM-inspired Process and its Results

        From a purist’s perspective, we did not apply the DACUM process exactly as outlined.
For example, the panel members were experts in leadership, but they were not drawn directly
from the target population. We relied on strong facilitation not only to orient the planners and
lead them through the process (in the time available), but also to ensure that every person’s voice
was heard. Allowing only one voice at any given time and ensuring that everyone gets heard
foster respect for each person’s contributions.
        We did not include the performance evaluation criteria-building component (for lack of
time), but we did build formative and summative evaluation into both the process and the
program, and we planned follow-up evaluation with program graduates.
The process elements that we retained included using facilitation and the seating style
recommended for the process (everyone facing the wall instead of each other) and documenting
all decisions using the cards-on-the-wall strategy and flip-charts. Because transparency was so
important, each card on the
chart was labeled to show its        Knowledge,
relationship to the initial list     Skill, or
                                     Attitude    S-024                               Project
of skills identified by the          Number

villagers, as well as to                            Manage community
learning segments the
program would include.                Item       improvement projects
By the time the group                 from      N-131                                     8
                                                                                             Place in
headed back to Sri Lanka,             Needs
                                                           Action Language:
the Panel had produced a              done by            verb, adjectives, noun
mission and goals for the
program, requirements for              Figure 2. Sample card from the Profile chart.
individual candidates
(desired potential leader characteristics, education, language, etc.) and the cohort overall (quotas
for Sinhalese/Tamil mix, male/female mix, etc.), the DACUM profile, learning module
descriptions (content outlines, timing, materials, learning activities), the sequence for modules
within the program, and assignments of faculty to content areas.

                                  Learning from the Experience
       A basic principle of DACUM is that Panel members be drawn from people considered to
be expert performers within the occupation. Our Panel members were expert leaders, but none
were drawn from the target population who would be the program’s participants. It would have
been helpful to involve at least one or two representatives of the actual target population, but
funding did not allow for it.
        Although our attempts to implement a culturally-neutral process were genuine, our
participants still experienced the process as very counter-cultural. (Perhaps, any group that tries
to use this approach to decision-making would find it counter-cultural, regardless of what the
members’ cultures were.)
Gender Issues. During early discussions, only the men talked. They asked each other for
opinions, but did not ask the women. If a woman tried to speak, the men talked over her or
simply ignored what she said and moved on with their own conversations. The men seldom
interrupted each other, but usually interrupted when a woman was speaking. Facilitation created
space for the women to gain voice; this was crucial.
Hierarchy Issues. Not only was the facilitator a female, but she held a much lower position
(graduate student) in the academic hierarchy than did the NIU faculty members participating in
the design process. Both male and female panel members found it amazing that the NIU faculty
members followed whatever directions the facilitator gave and spoke only when called upon.
They also found it amazing that the facilitator did not seem intimidated by the asymmetrical
power positions
Design Decisions. After considerable debate, the Panel decided to break away from the teacher-
centered, lecture method used in traditional Sri Lankan pedagogy. Instead, they decided to
include participatory and experiential methods of learning (e.g., discussions, case study analysis,
tours, reflection journals.) They also decided to use performance assessment methods other than
objective-style tests. Decisions such as these were evidence of the panel members’ growing
sense of empowerment and commitment.
                                        Evaluation Feedback
        Formative, summative and follow-up evaluation methods were used with this project.
Both the process and the program were evaluated. The delegates commented on three areas with
respect to the process: Comments on the process itself and facilitation were discussed earlier in
this paper (hierarchical, gender and asymmetrical power relationships.) With respect to the
design and course content, delegates mentioned how the Chart helped them keep themselves and
each other accountable to focusing only on the agreed-upon behaviors. They also admitted that
until they saw their end result (the entire program, holistically represented), they really didn’t
believe that an authentic and transparent program could be built in so short a time. In the third
area, implementation, the issue of language remained a concern. The Panel had decided that the
program would be offered in English (and materials provided in English only). Their wish was to
foster a sense of equality between Tamil and Sinhalese participants. Choosing one of those
languages would leave the other participants feeling disadvantaged. Providing materials and
lectures in both languages was not a viable option in terms of costs. Using English would be a
disadvantage, but all participants would be equally disadvantaged. Although they remained
conceptually committed to their decision to use English, they also knew that it would be a
difficult decision to implement.

                             Reflections on Program Results to Date
       During the first cohort’s graduation ceremony, the graduates expressed their appreciation
not only for the content provided, but especially for respect they had experienced. They
appreciated how the faculty members and program modeled democratic, participatory,
transparent decision-making – in their terms, good governance. They talked about the new
appreciation that they had for each other’s cultures. They left feeling prepared and empowered.
High praise for a program that was designed in two days!
        Several people who have gone through the program have been promoted. They are now
managing people and can create more participative and empowered teams within their own
organizations. Two women from the first cohort are pursuing a Bachelor’s degree and one is
pursuing a Master’s degree. Open University is accepting their diploma program in place of A-
levels, and is accepting the program in lieu of certain prerequisites for graduate programs. These
actions by academia speak volumes in terms of their respect for the program.
         The DACUM-inspired process met and exceeded our expectations. It provided powerful
experiences to the Panel members of democratic, participatory, transparent decision-making.
Those experiences enabled them to design learning modules that would foster those same kinds
of experiences. The design document provided a sound frame of reference for ongoing program
design decision-making. It helped the faculty team hold each other accountable for intended
results. It provided participants with a picture of what they would need to be able to do as they
pursued grassroots leadership, what they already knew, and what they still needed to learn.
        This experience has been powerful for the authors as well. Although we believed that
research can inform practice and practice can inform research, we now have wonderful success
stories that emphasize that point. When faced with clients who need a new program design fast,
as well as one that is culturally elastic, we have one more process in our practice that can help us
help our clients achieve their goals.
Adams, R. E. (1975). DACUM: Approach to curriculum, learning, and evaluation in occupational
         training. Ottawa, Canada: Department of Regional Economic Expansion.
ADDIE Model. (2006). Retrieved July 3, 2006, from http://www.dacum.com/ohio/dacumpro.htm
Boone, E. J., Safrit, R. D., & Jones, J. E. (2002). Developing programs in adult education: A conceptual
         programming model. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press.
Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Herder and Herder.
Ohio State DACUM Process Page. (2006). Retrieved July 3, 2006, from
Tyler, R. W. (1969). Basic principles of curriculum and instruction. Chicago: The University of Chicago

Agnes E. Conway, Doctoral Candidate, Counseling, Adult and Higher Education, Northern Illinois
University. 30W109 Fairfax Court, Warrenville, IL 60555-1065. aeconway1@att.net. Laurel Jeris,
Associate Professor, Counseling, Adult and Higher Education, Northern Illinois University. Gable Hall,
201C, NIU, DeKalb, IL 60115. ljeris@niu.edu.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-5, 2006.

  “Putting the Puzzle Together”: Reflection, Learning, and Transformation
                    In an Integrated Liberal Arts Course

                                         Jacqueline Daly

Over fifty percent of students in higher education are non-traditional adult learners. Some
institutions have developed and implemented integrative liberal arts courses enhancing effective
study strategies with interactive methods of instruction, relative and practical content, and a
learning environment encouraging a deep learning approach through reflection. As part of a
larger exploratory qualitative research study, this paper reports on the contribution of an
integrated liberal arts course, the Proseminar, on learning identity and the learning process of
the adult student. The findings suggest that participants of the integrated liberal arts course
experienced significant changes in their identities as learners and the learning process through
reflective activities and self-exploration within a liberal arts breadth of knowledge: Increased
confidence as a learner, awareness of varied perspectives, impact of life experiences on values,
beliefs, and assumptions of self, and their role in the world.

     The ability to learn is fast becoming a valuable skill for today’s workforce. To-date the
older, non-traditional adult students appear to be the majority of the student population
comprising over fifty percent of the enrollments at many campuses. Serving the needs of the
adult returning student has created opportunities as well as special challenges for higher
education. Several institutions have taken an entrepreneurial approach in providing
comprehensive and effective degree programs for adults with the development of innovative,
integrated course work reacquainting this cohort of students with the formalities of written and
oral communication skills, group work, critical thinking, self-assessment, and goal development
through critical self-reflection and self exploration. This has been done through the
implementation of first year seminars, inclusive of liberal arts assisting a diverse student
population in the development of strong analytical and communication skills encouraging higher
order thinking levels.
     The prevailing assumption that the ability to analyze evolves automatically as students take
courses no longer exists in today’s colleges and universities. This course development is aimed
at facilitating students in making sense of complex issues and events, developing research skills,
and application of knowledge to new problems and unscripted questions. Through a liberal arts
education a student may begin to see things as a whole. Knowledge becomes unified and allows
for transfer of knowledge from one context to another.
      A small Midwestern-based, Christian, liberal arts university developed such an integrated
liberal arts course identified as the Proseminar. This the first course all adult returning students
take at this university, and can best be described as a general education course engaging the adult
student in learning and skill development “that contributes to the accomplishment of individual
educational goals . . . engage students in group interaction, and critical thinking through issues
related to adult development, self-assessment, and goals development” (Foxx, 1990, p. 51). The
hallmark of the education program at this university is the Learning Autobiography, consisting of
three self-reflective essays written by the students in the Proseminar class. The integrated liberal

arts course addresses four broad breadth areas: art/expression; social/civic, science/description,
and value/meaning. The course work provides the adult learner with opportunities for self-
exploration and examination of beliefs and assumptions relative to the liberal arts breadth areas
through written assignments, current and classic readings, as well as discussions in each of these
breadth areas.
     While education brings about changes in comprehension and application, there are other
equally significant changes occurring for the adult student as they critically reflect on themselves
and the impact of the liberal arts breadth of knowledge in their daily lives. To-date little is known
about the experience of the adult learner in a liberal arts integrated course and the relevant
contribution to the learning process and learning identity.
Research Questions
The research questions guiding this inquiry are: 1) What is the contribution of the integrated
liberal arts course on the learning process? 2) How has the integrated liberal arts course
facilitated the development of the adult students’ learning identities? 3) How do learners
perceive their learning as a result of their experiences in this integrated liberals arts course? 4)
How has reflection and self-exploration contributed to transformative learning and changed
meaning perspectives?
The phenomenon was explored at two university adult campus locations where the content and
structure of the Proseminar class is similar. Datum for this qualitative case study was obtained
from a purposeful sampling of sixteen adult students who completed the course within two years
of the onset of this research. The participant sampling was diverse in gender, age, and ethnicity.
The chosen participants were required to have completed the course receiving a grade of “C” or
higher, and must complete a minimum of twenty-four credit hours at the university. Two semi-
structured, taped interviews and a document analysis of the Learning Autobiography essays
written by adult learners participating in the study were analyzed. Participants reviewed verbatim
transcripts for accuracy. Using a qualitative research software program each transcript and
document was categorized and coded.
Conceptual Framework
How adults learn to make major life changes is a question that has fascinated adult education
researchers for over twenty years. According to King (1998) a common and familiar goal of
adult education is the development of the whole person whereby students have the opportunity to
achieve their greatest potential as new doors of learning are opened for them. The framework
utilized in this case study research will focus on the role of critical reflection, development of
learning identity, and transformational learning as it contributes to the learning process of adult
students in higher education.
     Learning identity: Learning identity is a way in which individuals acknowledge the
complex interrelationship of learning and identity. For the non-traditional student learning
identities co-exist with and influence and are in turn influenced by other adult identities.
Learning can relate the sense of whom individuals are in the world. Field, Biesta, MacLeod, and
Malcolm (2004) noted that there appears to be a relationship with learning and the way an
individual perceives self. Field, et al. further noted that identity may be connected with one’s
orientation and practice toward learning. Identities, as noted by Field and Merrill (2002) are
stronger sources of meaning as a result of the processes of self-construction and individual
perceptions. Johnston and Merrill(1993) purported that new experiences as learners may result
in changing attitudes and expectations of learning that can lead to new learning identities

associated with independent/self-directed and reflective approaches to adult learning in higher
education and in the students’ personal lives.
    Critical reflection: One of the most salient and distinguishing characteristics of the adult
learner is his or her ability to critically reflect on his or her life experiences, integrate that newly
acquired knowledge, and act upon resulting insights (Stein, 2003). According to Wolf & Holmes
(2003), developing skills for critical reflection helps to facilitate lifelong learning assisting the
learner through clarification and creation of the meaning of an experience as it relates to self and
one’s relationship to the world. The most significant adult learning experience involves a critical
reflection of one’s own assumptions about self (Geerling, 2002; Mezirow, 1997). Brookfield
(1995) noted that adults are capable of learning through critical reflection. Moon (2000)
identifies five phases in the learning process moving the student from a more surface learning to
transformative learning.

           Moon, J.A. (2000). A map of learning and the representation of learning and role of reflection (p. 154)
Reflection in the transformative learning phase allows the student to critically examine and
gather greater understanding of a situation, self, or his or her knowledge (Moon).
        Transformative learning: The works of Mezirow (1981, 1997) appear to be the impetus
for the study of transformational learning and remains the only theory of learned major lifestyle
change within adult education (Cooper, 2001; McDonald, 1999). At the center of Mezirow’s
theory of adult education is the concept of transformative or transformational learning. This
theory recognizes that the development of new knowledge or change in currently held
assumptions/perspectives through critical reflection may result in a dramatic change in one’s
meaning perspective. Learning process requires more than adding new knowledge to what is
already known. The new learning transforms the previous knowledge into a new perspective
enabling the learner to increase his/her world view and challenge current beliefs. Clark (1993)
sees transformational learning as “learning that produces change”.. . (p.47). One’s personal life

can become meaningful and rational when he or she is intelligent about the events that occur and
become aware of why they attach particular meanings to reality (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999;
Taylor, Marienau, & Fiddler, 2002).

A number of themes emerged from the research focusing on changes in learning identity and the
learning process. Critical reflection on previously held assumptions, and complex topics and
issues within the breadth of knowledge appeared to have a transforming effect on not only the
processes of learning, but perception of self and the world. Some of these themes identified in
this research are: 1) From Uncertainty to Confidence as a Learner; 2) My Personal History:
Telling My Story; 3) It Made Me Use My Head—Made Me Think; 4) The World and My Role;
and 5) Transformation through Reflection.
From Uncertainty to Confidence as a Learner: It appears that the learning identities for many
of the participants in this study changed as they progressed through the Proseminar course.
Several participants expressed a sense of fear relative to their capability in meeting demands of
the educational processes. However, there was an element of surprise as they discovered they can
still learn and be successful as an adult student as they progressed from uncertainty in their role
as an adult learner, to a confident, capable learner. The interviewees noted that the Proseminar
class influenced the way they learned, their perceptions as learners, and the learning process: “I
can become part of the learning process now. . . . not only can I learn, but there is, there are still
some brain cells . . . It’s just too much to let go!” Students felt the Proseminar class contributed
to their new found confidence: “. . . so, I really think it did help”. A participant believed the
Proseminar class helped her become more aware: “really opened my eyes to the fact that I really
am more intelligent than I give myself credit for so . . .” Students appeared to develop a better
sense of themselves as learners and saw themselves quite differently: “I was able to have a better
identity of who I am along with my dream building . . . god, this doesn’t look like my head here--
never gave myself that much credit before”. According to some participants the course
“provided them with a tool that can take them very far—a level of security and confidence in my
learning, uhm, future, or whatever”.
My Personal History: Telling My Story: The learning autobiographies provided an opportunity
for the adult student to revisit his or her life, reflect on his or her personal philosophy or purpose
in life, examine values and revisit previous goals. The self reflection helped some students
realize: “here is where I am, here is what I am doing, and how is this going to help me in my
career goals. Writing the “personal history” brought some students back on “track” and become
aware of where values, beliefs, and assumptions originated. “Dream building” was a special term
used for goals by one student; the reflective writing helped her continue “dream building” for her
future in new ways. “Because I now am building and have a whole different outlook and
perspective on my education . . . I know that I’ve grown already from the day I started school
. . . . It is quite a bit different”. Telling her story appeared to be an uplifting experience for
another student; it was exciting to feel the growth made over all these years. Writing it down in
“black and white”, and “it is looking back at me . . . sharing it with someone puts it to a whole
new level of intimacy”.
It Made Me Use My Head…It Made Me Think: Reflecting on the readings, activities, and
discussions in the Proseminar class appeared to have a significant impact on students’ realities.
Critical thinking was a term identified by participants. Not taking things at face value “TV,
radio, reading, anything, any information” and the realization of fact versus opinion, as well as

being able to identify and tell you “how it relates to me. . . what value it has. . . or how the
meaning has changed my world” were comments shared by several participants. Proseminar
participants noted that they had taken “pause for a minute . . . maybe this is an option”. Learning
activities, discussions, written and oral communication, and researching primed the participants
to look at themselves and issues going on around them “and how it all ties in to other things”. “It
was like walking into the class with a huge box of puzzle pieces, and slowly I began to put them
together”. The reflective activities helped adult learners to broaden their perspective on ideas, as
well as recognize and understand that everyone is not at the same point in time. One of the
participants was amazed at how quick she was to judge people by the color of their skin, or the
side of town they lived on—“I am amazed at how small minded I can still be . . .”.
The World and My Role: Students noticed that they now respond instead of react and reflect on
how something will impact me, my family, and greater society. One student described himself
as a “microscope” and a reflection of everything [society] represents. There was a sense of
wanting to give back, contributing and teaching someone else with the knowledge learned. There
was a realization of his or her value in society: “I am not just another person . . .I am another
voice that can be heard”. Students noted it was not just a matter of whom you are, but “how do
we all work together. . .” During the interviews, some participants expressed they had a
“responsibility to people . . . anybody can take, take, take”. The application of one’s belief
system to his or her community was identified as vital to how our society works together.
Transformation through Reflection: Students began to see things as a whole; knowledge
became unified. Through the various readings and discussions within the four liberal arts
breadth areas they became aware of the function and integration of this breadth of knowledge in
their lives. Another significant transformation revealed in the interviews was the confidence to
engage in dialogue: “I am finding that I am talking, I mean speaking more and trying to get my
thought and opinion across”. One student could hardly recognize herself when she discovered
that she was “really a strong person, a strong individual. . . .” Another student noticed a change
in his outlook with people enabling him to become more outgoing and appreciating that people
are not the same, nor do they come from the same backgrounds. Reaffirmation of values and
beliefs as a result of reflection in the Proseminar reawakened a student’s passion to reach his
                                  Implications for Adult Education
This research can assist adult educators and program development specialists currently aligned
with adult education institutions in identifying the value and contribution of integrated liberal
arts courses to the learning identity and learning process for the nontraditional, adult student.
Integrating the liberal arts breadth of knowledge in adult programming can enhance the ability
for continued learning through reflection and self-exploration, as well as lifelong learning skills.
The integrated liberal arts course can facilitate the transition of the returning adult students to the
higher education environment with the expectation that they demonstrate higher order thinking
skills, exhibit the ability to identify key ideas and concepts, and support interpretations of
readings based on their experiences and a breadth of knowledge. In creating an effective course
structure, the inclusion of interactive, practical and relevant learning activities closely aligned
with and building upon the students’ valuable life experience is an important consideration.
Approaching the development of courses and programs for the adult learner is somewhat
different than curriculum in place for the traditional student. To develop and implement this type
of integrated liberal arts course work educators, and those involved in curriculum development at
colleges and universities need to understand the integration and impact of the liberal arts breadth

of knowledge on the daily lives of the adult students. It is the responsibility of educators to not
only challenge students, but to educate the whole person.

Brookfield, S. (1995). Adult learning: An overview. In A. Tuinjman (Ed.) International
        encyclopedia of education. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Cooper, S. (2001, November). Transformational learning. Life Circles. Retrieved on
        September 27, 2003 from pp datase.
Field, J., Biesta, G., MacLeod, F. & Malcolm, I. (2004). Researching learning, identity and
    agency across the life course: the Learning Lives project. University of Stirling, Scotland &
        University of Exeter, England: UK.
Foxx, Jr., D. L. (Spring 1990). The Proseminar. New directions for adult and continuing
        education (45). pp. 49-60.
Geerling, F. (2002). Amanda’s story: A case study of adult transformative learning and
        teaching. Retrieved September 27, 2003 from www.bsu.edu/teachers/departmentsedld/
Johnston, R. Merrill, B. (2004). Changing learning identities for working-class adult students
        in higher education. University of Warwick. England: UK
King, K. (1998). How adult learners change in higher education. Paper presented at the
        1998 Adult Education Research Conference. Retrieved on September 27, 2003
McDonald, B. (1999). Explaining the transformation of ethical vegans: Is Mezirow’s theory
        adequate? Paper presented at the meeting of the Adult Education Research
    Conference. Retrieved on September 27, 2003 from www.edst.educ.ubc.ca/aerc/1999/99
Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative learning: Theory to practice. In P. Cranton, Transformative
        Learning in action: Insights from practice. New directions for Adult and
         continuing education, 74. pp. 5-12.
Mezirow, J. (1981). A critical theory of adult learning and education. Adult education
        quarterly, 32, 3-24.
Moon, J.A. (2000). Reflection in learning & professional development: Theory and practice.
        London: Kogan Page.
Stein, D. (2003). Teaching critical reflection. Exploration Hall: Articles, Stories & Tidbits.
        Retrieved on January 24, 2004 from http://
Taylor, K., Marienau, C., & Fiddler, J. (2002). Developing adult learners: Strategies for teachers
        and trainers. Linking learning with development. On-line version. Retrieved
        September 28, 2003 from www.EBSCOHost.com.
Wolf, P., & Holmes, T. (2003). Critical reflection. Teaching support services: University of
        Guelph. Retrieved on January 24, 2004 from http://www.tss.uoguelph.ca/themes/

Jacqueline M. Daly, MS, PhD, Assistant Professor: Education and Leadership, Ottawa
University-Milwaukee, Email: dalyj@ottawa.
Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education,
University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

                                Beyond Culture Shock:
       The Meaning of Affect and Emotions in International Educational Experience

John Dirkx, Jody E. Jessup Anger, John R. Brender, Bernard Gwekwerere, and Regina O. Smith

       Abstract: Short-term study abroad has become an increasing feature of graduate
       programs in adult and higher education. Their educative value, however in
       professional preparation remains unclear. We explore the meaning of emotional
       experiences in study abroad and their contribution to self-formative processes in
       professional preparation.

Lisa, Derek, and Erica are higher and adult education graduate students who have participated in
short-term study abroad experiences. In reflecting on her experience Lisa remarked, “I was
blown away by the trip. I don’t know what I was expecting but I never realized how different
they are, even though we share the same language. This experience will stay with me for a long
time.” Derek commented that the trip “stirred up a lot in me. It made me think about things I
hadn’t every really paid attention to. At first I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere but now I see it was
more me than them.” Several years later, Erica still recalls her study tour as a “a life-changing
experience” that contributed to her altering the focus of her graduate program and ultimately a
career with nongovernmental agencies.
        These comments represent fictitious composites of stories told by students participating
in a short-term, study abroad program that we have offered over the last four years. Surprised by
the depth of emotional and affective experience reflected in these accounts, we set out to
understand what they suggest about the meaning of cross-cultural experiences. In this paper, we
explore how emotional and affective dimensions of intercultural experiences can potentially
provide access to hidden aspects of the person and ultimately contribute to construction and
reconstruction of one’s sense of self. We frame our theoretical exploration within
psychodynamic cultural psychology (Roland, 1988; West, 2001) and our own experiences with
short-term study abroad.

            Summary of Our Graduate-level, Short-term Study Abroad Program

        Four years ago we began an international dimension in our graduate curriculum.
Conceptually analogous to undergraduate, short-term study-abroad, this experience explicitly
focuses on comparing and understanding different educational practices within another country.
The program involves adult learners from both countries in reciprocal week-long “field trips” or
study tours with a program from another country. To minimize costs and potentially disruptive
effects on students who are also working fulltime, we limit the length of our study tour to
approximately one week. Students from the host country are invited to participate in the study
tour along with their international guests, and many of our students avail themselves of this
opportunity. The study tour focuses primarily on visiting different practice sites and engaging
staff and students in discussions about the nature and context of the practice. It is carefully
planned and tailored to address the specific needs and interests of its participants.
        We initiated this effort largely to provide our adult learners with a formal and systematic,
comparative educational experience in adult and higher education. Beyond new insights into
various aspects of educational practice, however, some participants often reported profound,

affect-laden experiences of confusion and resistance to some local cultural rituals. Others
described being surprised by a strong sense of connection and deeply moved by their experiences
within the host country. These affective experiences often overshadowed more explicitly
intended cognitive outcomes and have prompted us to reflect on what these emotional
experiences mean with respect to what is being learned about the self within these study tours.

                            The Study of Inter-cultural Experiences

         Research in intercultural experience stresses the learning processes associated with
intercultural adaptation and competence (Lyons, 2000; Taylor, 1994; Zieghan, 2000).
Encompassing a wide range of sojourner experiences, from tourist trips to studies of permanent
immigrants, most of the time frames reflected in the programs studied range from several months
to several years. One form of intercultural experience is study-abroad or the short-term study
tour, a rapidly expanding phenomenon in higher education (In this paper, we use “study tour”
and short-term study abroad synonymously). By short-term, study abroad, we refer to those
programs sponsored by institutions of higher education that involve participants in discipline
specific, international educational experiences for periods that are usually shorter than
traditional, semester or year-long study-abroad experiences. From 1985 to 2002, enrollment in
these programs more than tripled and the dominant major of the students enrolled shifted from
the humanities and social sciences to more professionally-oriented studies, such as business and
education. In general, study-abroad programs intend to help participants learn more about life
within another culture, to reflect on the values and way of life in their own country, and to
become more aware of their own country, their place in that country, and “its place in the world”
(Dolby, 2004, p. 150).
         Few studies describe the adjustment process of individuals and groups engaged in short
term study abroad (Sussman, 2000). Opinion pieces regarding the virtues of study abroad
abound and are often written by faculty members and returned students. Some of these describe
study abroad as the paramount experiential education encounter, where theory and practice come
together 24 hours a day as students negotiate both the classroom and the culture (Hopkins, 1999).
Student testimonials often describe the study abroad experience as one where the students not
only looked outward, learning about the new culture, but looked inward as well in an attempt to
reconcile their cultural assumptions and practices in a new cultural context (Hopkins, 1999).
         In other words, the process of intercultural adaptation reflects two dimensions of the
experience: (a) learning about the new culture and, (b) learning about one’s self within the
context of the new culture. Our research focuses primarily on how students’ experiences in a new
culture evoke and foster learning about who they are and how they come to re-think their sense
of self. In this sense, our work is consistent with those studies that have approached intercultural
experience as a process of learning in general, and transformative learning in particular (Lyons,
2000; Taylor, 1994; Zieghan, 2000). This perspective stresses the importance of participant
reflection on and modification of prior beliefs, values, and behaviors so that they align more
appropriately with the country and culture in which one is working or studying, allowing the
individual to “effectively accommodate the demands of living in a host culture” (Taylor, 1994, p.
         Related to the notion of intercultural competence are the idea of “cultural identity”
(Brender, 2006) and the processes of acculturation characteristic of experiences within a foreign
culture (Barry, 2001). Development of a cultural identity expresses the means by which beliefs,

assumptions, and values mediate the adaptation of practitioners and students to sometimes
radically different cultural forms and practices (Brender, 2006). Others have studied the ways in
which experience in cultures other than one’s own affect or influence the participant’s sense of
self (Dolby, 2004; Roland, 1988; Sussman, 2000), and the learning and perspective
transformation processes associated with these changes (Taylor, 1994). In other words,
transformative processes associated with the development of intercultural competence and the re-
examination of one’s cultural identity reflect fundamental processes of self-formation.
            Several inter-related areas of research are emerging within higher and adult education
   that depict the interaction of self-identity and study abroad, including the difference between
 psychological and sociocultural adjustment (Searle & Ward, 1990; Ward, Leong, & Low, 2004),
  the interaction of cross-cultural exchange and experiences of stress and coping (Arthur, 2001),
    and the re-examination and negotiation of a “national identity” in study-abroad experiences
(Dolby, 2004).This research underscores the importance of affective responses felt by sojourners
       who are engaged in cross-cultural experiences. These emotional dimensions are clearly
   illustrated in the concept of “culture shock” (Adler, 1975; Lyon, 2002; Oberg, 1960), a set of
  powerful and disequilibrating emotional or affective reactions often associated with experience
 of another culture other than one’s own. Participants in short-term experiences are often flooded
   with powerful emotions that reflect both uncertainty and a chaotic sense of being in a foreign
 country (Barna, 1997; Oberg, 1960). These powerful emotional and affective reactions are often
      perceived by scholars and practitioners as undesirable side-effects that often detract from
    effective learning and acculturation. Scholars focusing on the transformative dimensions of
     intercultural experiences, however, suggest that such emotional experiences are an integral
    component of inter-cultural experiences, such as study-abroad (Lyons, 2000; Taylor, 1994).
         Short-term study abroad programs are often too brief to foster cultural competence or the
reworking of a cultural or intercultural identity. Their educative value, however, may well rest
with their capacity to foster self-learning and self awareness among participants. The emotions
experienced by participants in these programs provide a kind of language that, when understood,
may contribute to professional and personal self-formation (West, 2001). Research on
intercultural experiences have explored the possibility that the emotional aspects associated with
initial participation in a new culture can serve as catalysts for change and the development of
intercultural competence (Taylor, 1994; Zieghan, 2000). Rather than just emphasizing adaptation
to an outer reality, this research suggests that these emotions express a deeper engagement of the
self of the learner in intercultural experiences. While these studies describe primarily processes
of acculturation and socialization (Lyons, 2002; Taylor, 1994), more research is needed on the
intrapsychic or intrapersonal meaning these affective experiences and emotions hold for adult
learners in study abroad experiences.

      Understanding the Subjective Meaning of Emotions in Intercultural Experience

        Prior research suggests that intercultural experiences contribute to the construction or
reconstruction of a sense of self, a process to which we refer as “self-formation.” This research,
however, reflects differing understandings as to what is meant by the self. In the view of the self
taken in this study, “the self can be thought of as a psychological structure that contains within it
the various processes of mental life….selfhood comprises a core element of each individual’s
personality and subjective existence” (Frosh, 1991, p. 2). Through observation and reflection,
one comes to know the self. Such views of the self as potentially knowable through observation

and critical reflection are prevalent in the concepts of cultural identity (Brender, 2006) and
intercultural transformation theory (Lyons, 2000; Taylor, 1994).
        The self, however possesses an ambiguous status, referring to both the object of
knowledge – coming to know about one’s self – and that which experiences or comes to know.
We cannot not fully know ourselves because the knower is in the self. That is, there are aspects
of the self hidden from the self and not readily accessible to the knowing self. This hidden
dimension of the self is expressed through the language “of the unconscious – of the impulses,
anxieties, wishes and contradictory desires that are structured and restructured by our immersion
in the social order” (Frosh, 1991, pp. 2-3). In other words, the unconscious is expressed through
emotional and affective experiences that are often beyond our levels of conscious awareness.
Aspects of the social order enter “unbidden and unnoticed into the foundation stones of our
psychic structure” (Frosh, 1991, p. 2). Aspects of one’s social context, especially those revolving
around interpersonal relationships and those which speak to our impulses, desires, and anxieties,
are intimately and unconsciously bound up with self-formative processes.
        The importance of self-formation to professional development and to society in general
cannot be overstated. While narcissism, borderline disorders, and psychosis define extreme ends
of disrupted self-formation, elements of these conditions are also evident in “normal”
personalities. Theorists agree that “all selves are thrown into confusion when faced with the
contradictions and multiplicities of modernity” (Frosh, 1991, p.3). Given modern society, the
struggle for selfhood becomes difficult. According to Palmer (2004), many educators experience
a sense of “divided self” that interferes with their capacity to work from the heart.
        Within psychodynamic theory, intrapersonal and interpersonal dialogues are critical to
developing awareness and knowledge of this hidden self. Developing self-knowledge that can
contribute to self-formation involves not only observing and reflecting on conscious experiences
but exploring and coming to know the unconscious dimensions of the psyche represented in
experiences of and relationships with the “other.” While psychoanalysis underscores the
importance of the analyst in this dialogue, scholars suggest that experience of a new culture as an
“other” may also contribute to a kind of self-directed analysis that allows the person deeper
insights into hidden or unconscious aspects of the psyche (Hopkins, 1999; Roland, 1988). Such
structures of one’s mental life become more visible through the emotional and affective
experiences resulting from immersion in a new and different culture.
        For example, some students visiting a collectivist culture, in which emphasis is placed on
the group and not individual autonomy, may find themselves desiring more time alone and
resenting the amount of time they are expected to participate in activities with members of the
host culture. Other students may be embarrassed and overwhelmed when members of the host
culture seem so quick and eager to anticipate and take care of their needs. Such emotional
experiences can help trigger critical reflection (Taylor, 1994) and potentially illuminate the
students’ assumptions around cultural and national identity (Dolby 2004). But they also represent
ways in which the self reveals unconscious aspects of itself, the impulses, anxieties, wishes, and
contradictions that have become, over the years, integral but unconscious aspects of the self.
Such emotions suggest how aspects of a current social context awaken within the psyche
memories of experiences from our past that involved unconscious conflict around similar issues
and how they continue to exert their influence in present-day life. Self-formative work, in which
the learner engages these deeper aspects of the self in dialogue, involves developing awareness
and understanding of their presence in one’s life and the ways in which they are making
themselves heard in the everydayness of practice (Dirkx, 2003).

         Recognizing, describing, and elaborating the specific contexts in which emotions arise
are critical to developing greater awareness of one’s self. Emotions are often associated with
specific images (Dirkx, 2001) that help connect evocative stimuli within the present social
context with prior, unconscious emotion-laden experiences. They facilitate understanding of the
deep personal engagement reflected in powerful emotions. For example, elaborating the specific
intercultural contexts that evoke feelings of resentment around not having more time for one’s
self may help one identify similar social contexts in the past in which such emotions are evoked.
Elaborating these contexts may suggest a common theme or image that allows the person to
discern deeper meaning to these experiences of anger and resentment.
         The unconscious journey of the self often moves in ways seemingly mysterious or even
contradictory to our ordinary, conscious awareness of self-presentations (Frosh, 1991). What the
self needs most for its own development is often what we most consciously fear or from which
we quickly turn away. Intercultural social contexts often evoke such emotional experiences.
Working with emotion-laden images that arise within such contexts provides a method for
differentiating and fostering individuation of the self (Dirkx, 2001) and a furthering of self-
formation associated with professional preparation and development (Palmer, 2004). It is in this
way that working with emotions arising within study abroad contributes to self-learning, self-
awareness, and authenticity in professional practice.

                            Implications for Practice and Research

        Prior research on intercultural experiences stresses the role of emotions in initiating
transformative learning (Lyons, 2000; Taylor, 1994; Zieghan, 2000). We suggest that emotions
represent more than trigger events for what has been essentially described as a cognitive, rational
process of transformation. Rather, such experiences express the manifestation of extra-rational
dimensions of the self that must be approached imaginatively rather than solely through analysis
and critical reflection (Dirkx, 2001). More information is needed on the kinds of emotions that
adult learners experience and the specific contexts in which they are evoked. Critical incident
methodology, using narratives of students’ experiences, can provide deeper understanding of
these emotions and their contexts. In addition, research is needed on the value of dialogical
journaling and the self-formative and transformative processes nurtured through this process.


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John Dirkx, Professor, dirkx@msu.edu, Jody E. Jessup Anger, Graduate Assistant,
jessupa1@msu.edu, John R. Brender, Graduate Assistant, brenderj@msu.edu, Bernard
Gwekwerere, Graduate Assistant, gwekwer1@msu.edu - Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education,
Michigan State University; Regina O. Smith, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Administrative
Leadership, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Education, rsmith2@uwm.edu

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

Student Centered Learning or Funding Centered Learning? A Case Study of
           a British Institution’s Restructuring with Technology

                                         Christina Dokter

        This paper is about faculty change and organizational transformation within student-
centered learning environments. The research examines a trend in higher education in England
by studying a college that implemented educational technology as part of their change strategy
for student-centered learning. This college integrated technology, all learning support staff, and
library resources into one location, per department, and created five Integrated Learning
Centres. Unlike learning centers found in the United States, classes have been integrated into
these Centres, across the college. However, this transformation has resulted in drastic work-
style change for faculty who hold feelings of ambivalence toward this model. While they see the
model as benefiting students, they also see it as a vehicle of undermining their teaching, their job
security, and subject-matter expertise.

          Higher education institutions around the world are trying to create curriculum that is
learning and student-centered. In preparation for the Knowledge Age, calls for a paradigm shift
(Barr & Tagg, 1995; Bateson, 1996) from teaching to learning targets a new era of student-
centered and self-directed learning in colleges. Fervently resting in the ideas of learner-centered
approaches and innovations in technology, O’Banion (1997) proposed the idea of a “learning
college.” Under this model, the instructor is not the center of teaching, but the student must
become the center of learning with technology as a means to facilitate such learning. Educational
technologists and philosophers promote technology as a means to carry out student centered
learning (Bates, 2000; Jonassen, Peck, & Wilson, 1999; O'Banion, 1997).
          As faculty serve as the vital element of college functions, faculty development has
become a key component of educational technology implementation and organizational change.
It is in this background that from the 1990s to the present, faculty development and their
adoption of technology inundate much of the literature about technology implementation. In this
area, while most studies have dealt with faculty adoption of technology, this study shows that
faculty work-life change impinges on their performance. In the end, the teacher’s role in
delivering quality student-centered learning becomes an issue.

The Research Problem
         Therefore, literature is replete with difficulties of faculty development and calls for ways
to help faculty adopt technology. Literature calls for systems approaches to technology
integration, rather than piece-meal approaches. The entire institution must restructure to create
learning centered environments. However, such restructuring has proven difficult in educational
institutions because they have been mired in traditional environments for hundreds of years. So,
when an institution claims to have restructured for student-centered learning, research needs to
show the response of faculty to such a model.

Context of the Study
        This study examines Ward-Smith College (pseudonym), a college in Great Britain, which
claims to have transformed into a learning college. The college has been chosen as a site for this
study because all of the above barriers seem to have been addressed in their change model. With
technology, learning, and information support staff integrated into one Integrated Learning
Centre (ILC), per division, faculty indirectly receive ongoing, “just-in-time” professional
development along with curriculum integration with technology.
        Moreover, ample support in the ILCs creates an environment of a “one-stop-shop” for
student-centered learning. Unlike the traditional one learning-center model, this college created
a center for each of the five major divisions in the college. The goal of the college is to provide
flexibility in meeting the differing needs of each subject areas.
        Ward-Smith College is a large, general further education (FE) college in England that
also houses higher education (HE) programs. "Student-centered learning" and "efficient use of
resources" seem to be the buzz words around the College. Technology use seems to be a
response to the government's mandate to expand college entry and increase the numbers of
students who traditionally do not progress through higher education. However, in a world where
there’s shortage of funds and shortage of teachers, meeting the demands of increasing numbers
of students seems to be an onerous task.
        As a solution, this college integrated the previously independent services of the Learning
Resources Service with instructional support staff, special education support staff, and library
and technology so that a more collaborative level of support could be created around students’
needs. To meet the goal of efficient resource use, they divided each center into subject clusters
and located them within the buildings where each department is housed. So, support staff such
as reading and writing specialists, special needs counselors, and librarians, as well as curriculum
experts would be at one central place in each building, in the ILC, where the resources for that
department would also be housed.
        This research is a case study to examine the ILC model itself, and to scrutinize it from the
perspectives of faculty. The study suspects that while such support for faculty may mitigate
anxiety toward technology, the role of teacher-as-facilitator, as a pedagogical construct, may still
be troubling for faculty. Thus, this study expected to find faculty tensions toward working in the
ILCs. Therefore, the research questions are:
        • What actions did the faculty take in response to the Integrated Learning Centers?
        • What beliefs do the faculty hold about the Integrated Learning Centers?
        • What are the tensions evident in their responses to the model?

Theoretical Framework
       In this study, theories and models about faculty members’ behaviors toward technology
were framed within literature about faculty beliefs, actions and intentions (Pratt & Associates,
1998). These beliefs, actions and intentions depend on faculty’s beliefs and commitments
toward the learners, the content, ideals and the context of teaching. The results of Pratt &
Associate’s study show five perspectives underlying faculty’s sense of commitment: 1) The
transmission perspective. 2) The apprenticeship perspective 3) The developmental perspective
4) The social reform perspective 5) The nurturing perspective.
       This study further noted that faculty work lives are changing (Baldwin, 1998) when
technology is implemented in an institution. Therefore the barriers to faculty work life may
include: hierarchy issues and role change, political in-fighting over ideologies about learning,

and other power struggles within the culture of change (Kerr, 1996). Thus, the work
environment of faculty seems central when studying how technology is changing an
organization. Therefore, in relation to organizational change theory and technology, the social
construction and shaping of technology (Bijker, et. al., 1987; Williams and Edge, 1996) theory
was used as a lens to look at the environmental context. This framework allows the researcher to
not only examine teacher beliefs about pedagogy, but their perceptions about the environment as

Research Design
         This is a dissertation research based on a qualitative case study method. First, the study
began by asking ILC administrators about the implementation of the ILCs, their goals and
mission statements, and how they approached transformation of the college into a learning
college. An online survey was conducted to determine the level of college ILC usage, types of
ILC usage, and demographics of faculty. From this survey, email addresses were obtained to
solicit interviewees from a list of faculty. Fourteen faculty with various degrees of ILC usage
participated in semi-structured interviews that lasted approximately one hour each. Then the key
administrators were interviewed one more time as a follow up and clarification. The study also
included analysis of existing institutional documents, such as the college website, government
documents and administrative planning sheets. Several observation sessions in each of the ILCs
were used to examine the daily life and activities within the ILCs. Faculty teaching was part of
this observation. Informal interviews of some 40 students were conducted during the
observation sessions.

Summary of the Findings
        The study findings show that students are empowered to learn in the ILCs and enjoy
learning in this environment. Most faculty engage in student-centered, resource-based learning
and hold a developmental perspective (Pratt & Associates, 1998). Most faculty assign problem-
solving and project-based work to students to work in the ILCs. They feel that the ILCs benefit
student learning, primarily because students enjoy working with technology and can focus better
in the ILCs than in a regular, traditional classroom environment. The faculty also feel that
learning by researching is a valuable tool that will transfer into the workplace. Institutional
survey data show that student retention rates have risen and informal interviews suggest students
enjoy learning in the ILCs.
        However, the faculty also feel that their work has drastically changed and that the ILCs
have dis-empowered them. As the faculty teach more and more in the ILCs, their teaching time,
per class, is cut more and more. They are also given additional duties in administration and
planning; faculty feel that they are overworked and underpaid. In fact, the recent funding cuts
have forced many layoffs of faculty. Therefore faculty beliefs also include feelings of ambiguity
which stem from the psycho-social and political climate of the college.

        At Ward-Smith, the idea of being student-centered seems to resonate among
administrators and management. Like a business, the ILCs seem to be driven by the need to serve
the client or the student. In fact, many of the ILCs’ theoretical underpinnings seem to parellel a
post-Fordist model of educational administration (Bates, 2000, p. 387). Rather than an emphasis
on bureaucracy, the ILCs offer flexibility; rather than being teacher-centered, the ILCs are client

or student-centered; rather than the traditional model of teaching the entire class at one time, the
ILCs offer a more individualized focus. All of the following characteristics that describe post-
Fordism are present in the ILC model: 1) Heavy dependence on information technologies; 2)
workers directly networked to clients (i.e. teachers to students via electronic communication); 3)
decentralized, creative workers, working in teams; 4) steering core of workers; 5) strong
leadership; 6) ability to respond to rapid development and change; 7) and global operations.
Moreover, as in a post-Fordist model, there is a flattening of hierarchy in which support staff also
take on the role of teachers.
         The presence of these elements of post-Fordism makes the ILCs an innovative model of
technology and learning integration. The ILC represents a deluxe model of learning centers
because Ward-Smith created an ultimate student-centered experience of bringing all student
services into one place. Moreover, it created a system of management that is both centralized
and decentralized along a matrix organizational principle. Both the management of the
organization and the way students learn is flexible and adaptable to change. Through many
fiscal constraints, the ILCs have grown and thrived. Most importantly, through the ILCs the
management was able to justify losses in other spheres of the college, mainly the loss of faculty
jobs. Only recently, have the ILCs lost some of its own staff to budget cuts. The ILCs at Ward-
Smith fit the needs of the 21st century in producing flexible learning environments that
emphasize the learning needs suited to the marketplace.
         However, as we follow such a model, which seems to mirror the world of business, it also
follows the Neo-liberal tendencies to manage the college for cost-cutting and efficiency. What
the ILC represents is the concept of “doing more with less.” In the process, the steering core has
shifted from the faculty to the administration. The implication for such change seems to mean
the debasement of the teaching profession. Therein lies the dilemma of this new model. While
restructuring has created a new model for student-centered learning, budget cuts create situations
where students still learn in the ILCs, but under the tutelage of support staff, not faculty. What
results is not only dis-empowerment of faculty’s subject-matter expertise, but de-legitimization
of content.
         Such results point to the need to examine the role of the teacher within the ILCs.
Some researchers say that when technology is used as information banks, as is the case in the
ILCs, the teacher no longer is the primary subject-matter expert (Gillespie, 1998; Koehler, 1998;
Whitesel, 1998). They also play a less hierarchical role in relation to the student as they are co-
learners with the students.
         According to other literature, the role of the teacher in student-centered environments is
more than sideline-sitting. The teacher engineers the cognitive and social environment so that
students can learn together effectively (Witfelt, 2000). The teacher is also responsible for
updating information and technology to make learning current and authentic. According to
Witfelt (2000), the teachers need to possess important competencies such as supervising,
supporting students, advising as subject-matter expert, encouraging, arbitrating group
discussions, evaluating and providing feedback, and motivating students to keep on track. The
Development Perspective requires the teacher’s expert knowledge in order to link students back
to content.
         However, the stark reality still remains. Faculty consume a large portion of the cost of a
college, and they remain a prime target for cost-cutting. How then, should student-centered
model thrive and provide quality learning? Perhaps the answer lies in a more challenging option
of further restructuring by integrating curriculum across departments. Truly integrating

curriculum would involve faculty teaming up across departments and sharing teaching duties.
This will provide enough teachers per class, while still maintaining cuts in teaching time.
Integration of curriculum suits the Knowledge Age in which students must understand the
contexts in which learning can transfer. Teaching writing and math within a business context
would be a good example. So, for example, a marketing teacher could teach a class for an hour,
and then a math teacher will teach the same class the next hour. Since the curriculum would be
integrated, the students will benefit from real-life learning, as well as the benefit of having
knowledgeable teachers (please see diagram below). Such a model would require funding
structures that are not based on department allocations, but per class allocation.


Baldwin, R. G. (1998). "Technology's Impact on Faculty Life and Work." In Kay Herr Gillespie
      (Ed.), Technology in Faculty Development, Life, and Work. New Directions in Teaching
      and Learning (76). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 7-21

Barr, R. and Tagg, J. (1995). "From Teaching to Learning: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate
       Education," Change. November/December, pp. 13-25.

Bates, A. W. (2000). Managing technological change: Strategies for college and university
       leaders. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Bateson, M.C. (1996) ‘Democracy, Ecology and Participation'. In Soder, R. (ed.) Democracy,
       Education, and the Schools. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.

Bijker, Wiebe E., Thomas P. Hughes, and Trevor J. Pinch, eds. (1987). The Social Construction
        of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology.
        Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gillespie, F. (1998). Instructional Design for the New Technologies. In The Impact of
       Technology on Faculty Development, Life, and Work. New Directions for Teaching and
       Learning. no. 76, edited by K. H. Gillespie, pp. 39-52. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Jonassen, D., Peck, K., & Wilson, B. (1999). Learning with technology: A
       constructivist perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Kerr, S. T. (1996). Toward a sociology of educational technology. In D. Jonassen (Ed.),
       Handbook of Research on Educational Technology. New York: Simon &
       Schuster/Macmillan. Pp. 143-169.

Koehler, A. G. “A New Paradigm for Teaching with Technology.” Journal of Developmental
      Education. 22, no. 1 (Fall 1998): 36-37.

O'Banion, T. (1997). A learning college for the 21st century. Phoenix, AZ: ACE/Oryx.

O’Banion, T. (1999). Launching a Learning-Centered College. Mission Viejo, CA: League for
      Innovation in the Community College and PeopleSoft, Inc.

Pratt, D. D., & Associates (1998). Five perspectives on teaching in adult and higher education.
        Malabar, FL: Krieger.

Whitesel, C. (1998). Reframing Our Classrooms, Reframing Ourselves: Perspectives from a
      Virtual Paladin. The Technology Source: Vision. Accessed from the Internet on May 25,
      2006 at:

Williams, R. and Edge, D. (1996) The social shaping of technology, Research Policy, 25, 865-

Witfelt, C. (2000). Educational multimedia and teachers' needs for new competencies to use
        educational multimedia. Education Media International, 37(4), 235-241.

Christina Dokter, Ph.D. Candidate, Michigan State University, 65 Three Oaks Road, Okemos,
Michigan, 48864, drdokter@msu.edu

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and
Community Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, MO, October, 4-6, 2006.

   Adult Undergraduates in the Adult Education Literature: Mainstream or Marginal?

                              Joe F. Donaldson and Allison L. Rentfro


        We conducted a content analysis of articles published from 1990-2005 in the Adult
Education Quarterly, Adult Learning, and The Journal of Continuing Higher Education to
determine the frequency with which adult undergraduate students were the focus of the articles.
Topics of these articles, as well as their type and scope, were also identified. Results of the
present study were compared with earlier analyses of higher education journals in order to
identify similarities and differences in the portrayal and treatment of adult students in higher
education by the two fields of adult education and higher education. The adult education
literature that we analyzed contained a larger proportion of articles on adult undergraduates, used
a greater variety of approaches to study adult undergraduates, and demonstrated a more diverse
construction of adult undergraduates’ identities than higher education literature. Still, the topics
considered in the two literatures were similar, which points to the need for more detailed analysis
of these two fields’ discourses to explore if and to what extent they construct the identity of adult
undergraduates differently.


        Kasworm, Sandman, and Sissel (2000) have noted that adult undergraduates have a
marginal status in research, policy, and institutional practices. This lack of attention to adult
students has been well documented by a number of researchers. Pascarella and Terenzini (1998,
2005) for example, in their exhaustive reviews of college student studies, have labeled the failure
of higher education scholars to focus on adult students a “substantial” research bias (1998, p.
152). Further, Quinnan (1997) has highlighted the lack of variety in research on adult learners in
academe and has noted how they are treated as “other” when compared to traditional age
students. Indeed, research on the journal literature of higher education has demonstrated that
researchers in higher education have paid little attention to adult undergraduates (Donaldson,
Townsend, & Thompson, 2004; Donaldson & Townsend, in press). But what about adult
educators – how do they treat adult undergraduates in their literature? And do adult educators’
portrayals of adult undergraduate students differ from the portrayals developed by those in
higher education? No study has looked at these questions. Therefore, the purposes of the present
research were to (a) determine the frequency with which articles on adult undergraduates appear
in the adult education journal literature, (b) detail the characteristics of this literature, (c) identify
the topics addressed in this literature, and (d) compare the portrayal of adult undergraduates in
the adult education literature with the portrayal of these students in the higher education
                                           Conceptual Framework

        This research was informed by the perspective that a field’s professional literature both
creates and reflects that field’s reality (Gumport, 2001). Journal literature plays a role in shaping
and reflecting a field’s practice (Hayes, 1992). The discourse that is present (or absent) from a

field’s journals also points to what counts as important or unimportant to that field and its
members (Shakeshaft, 1989). As Boshier (1992) has noted, discourse is “never neutral. Some
elements are included and legitimatized; others are excluded” (p. 126). Discourse is unique to
particular practice communities, constructing not only the identities of members, but also the
problems they address and the procedures used to address them. Sometimes the boundaries of a
practice community’s discourse are clear (e.g., a classroom setting with a particular discourse).
In other cases, such as the broad field of adult education, the boundaries of the discourse are less
than clear and may even be contested. Multiple and hybrid discourses may also be present within
a community of practice (Gee, 2005).
         For the purposes of this study, we assumed that journals represent distinctive forms of
discourse within a field of scholarship that also has its own discourse to which the journal
discourse (as well as other texts, talk, locations, and practices) contributes. Journals are an
important source of knowledge about topics in a field because journals play a role in shaping and
reflecting practice (Hayes, 1992). From a practice perspective, “lack of attention to specific areas
in the core literature suggests that non-specialists are not becoming aware of certain aspects” of a
practice (Silverman, 1987, p. 45). Journals also provide windows into what topics and research
questions scholars in the field define as important – and less important (Creamer, 1994; Taylor,
2001). Thus, “the number of publications about a topic, particularly in widely recognized
journals, is an indication of the recognition of a topic, as well as a measure of its integration into
mainstream research” (Creamer, 1994, p. 35). The portion of a field’s discourse in its journals
therefore bears greatly on the creation and maintenance of a field’s approach to the study of a
topic and to establishing practice conventions (Silverman, 1987). In reflecting a field, the journal
literature reveals particularities about a field – its history, norms, and social structure (Taylor,
2001). Therefore, an analysis of the adult education literature provides insight not only about
how adult undergraduates are treated within the field but also about how the field constructs
adult undergraduate students.

                                Research Design and Procedures

         This study employed content analysis (Krippendorf, 2003) of three adult education
journals: Adult Education Quarterly (AEQ), Adult Learning (AL), and The Journal of Continuing
Higher Education (JCHE). These three journals were selected to provide analysis of literature
addressed primarily to three audiences: (a) adult education scholars (AEQ), (b) practitioners of
adult and continuing education in general (AL), and (c) researchers and practitioners of
continuing higher education (JCHE). These journals were chosen since most but not all articles
on adult undergraduates in these journals focused on U.S. institutions, providing a somewhat
homogeneous focus. A recognized limitation of this research is lack of articles from Canadian
adult education journals, as well as those from Great Britain, a focus of our future research on
this topic. We also decided not to include the Continuing Higher Education Review since that
journal changed during the mid-1990s from a refereed journal to one that included speeches and
essays written by leaders in higher education and university continuing education. Other
limitations were that we focused on only not-for-profit higher education and eliminated any
article that addressed adult learners in career and technical education programs at community
         The research had four phases. In the first we examined titles of all articles in these
journals published from 1990-2005 (excluding book reviews, editorials, and program notes) to

determine if the article had a focus on adult undergraduates. We reviewed issues of Adult
Learning through only Spring of 2004, the most recent issue of this journal. Articles were
included if their titles contained one or more specific words or phrases that suggested a focus on
adult undergraduates (e.g., degree program, college, nontraditional students, postsecondary
education, associate degree). We relied on titles since this approach has been used successfully
by others (Creamer, 1984; Hayes & Smith, 1994) and because titles provide practitioners
guidance about the topic of an article, thus serving as a primary means of keeping current in their
field (Burke, Ben-Ezra, Hurley, & Ruprecht, 1992) The articles were then read to determine if
adult undergraduate students were indeed the focus of the article. We excluded articles if they
focused, for example, on graduate students, noncredit programs, or adults in higher education
who were not engaged in undergraduate study.
        In the second phase we examined each article for certain characteristics: (a) type
(empirical, conceptual, literature review), (b) methodology used if empirical (quantitative,
qualitative, mixed), (c) scope (single institution, multiple institutions, national), and (d)
definition of adult undergraduates. In the third phase we examined each article to determine the
specific topic addressed by the article, relying upon inductive analysis of major content themes.
In the final phase we compared the results of our analyses with the results of earlier analyses
(Donaldson, et al., 2004; Donaldson & Townsend, in press) of articles in higher education
journals, as updated by us to include articles in these journals through 2005. The higher
education journals reviewed in the earlier analyses included (a) Journal of Higher Education, (b)
The Review of Higher Education, (c) Research in Higher Education, (d) Journal of College
Student Development, (e) NASPA Journal, (f) Community College Review, and (g) Community
College Journal of Research and Practice. In all phases we examined each article independently.
Differences were discussed until complete agreement was achieved.


        Adult undergraduates were the focus of 72 (6.14%) of the 1,173 articles in the three adult
education journals published from 1990 through 2005. In contrast to this finding, only 1.16% of
the 3,694 articles published in the seven higher education journals focused on adult
undergraduates. The lowest percentage of articles on adult undergraduates in the adult education
journals was found in Adult Learning (2.3%), while the highest percentage was found in the
Journal of Continuing Higher Education (18.7%). Thirteen (5.88%) of Adult Education
Quarterly articles focused on adult undergraduate students. No particular variation in the pattern
of publication in the three journals was evident over the sixteen years.
Type and Methodology
        Most articles in Adult Education Quarterly (92%) and The Journal of Continuing Higher
Education (73.8%) were empirical. Only one article (5.9%) in Adult Learning was empirical;
others in this journal focused on principles of practice or program descriptions. Of the 44
empirical articles in the adult education literature, 15 (34.1%) used qualitative, 24 (54.6%)
quantitative, three (6.8%) mixed, and two (4.6%) historical research methodologies. The adult
education empirical literature was much more dependent upon qualitative methodologies than
the higher education literature (3%). In fact, the adult education empirical literature used more
varied approaches than research in the higher education literature which depended heavily upon
quantitative methodologies (78.8%) in studies of adult undergraduate students.

         The bulk of studies in the adult education literature (63.6%) was conducted at single
institutions; data from two or more institutions were used in 11(25%) of the studies. National
data were used in only five (11.4%) of the studies. The pattern in the scope of studies was similar
to what was found for the higher education literature where the single institution, multiple
institution, and national foci were respectively 69.7%, 12.1%, and 18.2%.

Adult Students Defined
        Most authors of articles in the adult education literature used age as a distinguishing
characteristic of adulthood, with the age of 25 years or more, followed by 24 years or more,
being the most frequently employed age criterion. However, a number of authors defined adult
students in terms of being out of school for five or more years, being enrolled in degree
completion or other specially designed programs for adults, or being defined as adult by others –
for example in the analysis of the portrayal of adults in night school in fictional literature
(Pittman, 1992). However, authors of over 25% of the articles in the adult education literature
simply labeled the students about which they were writing as “adult,” leaving a definition of
adult undergraduate students to readers’ discretion – assuming we suspect that the readers shared
a common understanding of what constituted an adult. In contrast, the authors of the higher
education literature relied much more heavily upon the age criterion, with a majority using 25
year of age or older as the criterion (Donaldson, et al., 2004).
        The definition or meaning of adult undergraduates was however more varied in the adult
education literature than in the higher education literature. For example, several studies in the
adult education literature focused exclusively on women and people of color, while the higher
education literature contained no article that focused exclusively on minority adult students and
only a few that focused exclusively on women (Donaldson et al., 2004).

         The articles in both the adult education and higher education literature focused in very
broad relief on three major categories of topics: (a) institutional /macro issues dealing with
access, participation, and retention, attitudes toward adult students, and the meaning of adult and
nontraditional students, (b) process issues that included adult experiences in and out of the
classroom, the needs of adult students, and services provided to adults by higher education
institutions, and (c) student learning outcomes, including affective, cognitive and other types of
college outcomes. The proportion of these three major categories did not differ appreciably
between the literature of adult education and the literature of higher education. However, a more
finely grained analysis did reveal some differences. Authors of adult education articles, for
example, were more concerned about issues of access (18.1% of all articles) as compared to
authors of the higher education articles (7%). In contrast, higher education authors (16.3%) were
more focused on retention than authors of articles in the three adult education journals (11.1%).
Authors of articles in the adult education journals were somewhat more interested in learning
outcomes than authors of articles in the higher education journals, and this was particularly the
case for outcomes that were more varied and disparate than just cognitive ones.

Comparison with Higher Education Literature
       The adult education literature focusing on adult undergraduates differed in three
important ways from the higher education literature. First, a larger percentage of articles in the

adult education literature focused on adult students. Second, the adult education research was
more balanced between qualitative and quantitative approaches. Third, the adult education
literature included articles on adult students of color, while the higher education literature
contained no articles on minority students. Despite these differences, research in these two
literatures was primarily limited to studies at single institutions, and topics addressed in both
literatures were strikingly similar.


        Not surprisingly adult educators demonstrate more interest in adult undergraduate
students than their counterparts in higher education. In addition, they appear to treat and portray
adult undergraduates as a more diverse group than researchers in higher education who tend to
treat adult students as a highly homogeneous group, especially when comparing adult learners to
traditional-aged college students (Donaldson & Townsend, in press). The adult educators’ use of
more varied approaches to studying adult undergraduates, especially the use of qualitative
methodologies to gain deeper understanding of the range of experiences adults have in higher
education, probably contributes to these differences between these two literatures. It is also not
that surprising that adult educators focused more on access and higher educators more on
retention, given the former’s historic concern about the topic of participation, and the latter’s
interest in helping institutions understand how best to retain the students they have.
        Despite these differences, the topics addressed in both literatures were relatively similar.
This conclusion raises questions about whether adult educators possess a unique discourse about
adult students in higher education or whether adult educators have constructed a discourse that
varies only slightly from the higher education discourse about adult learners in the academy. The
similarity or difference in these two discourses is a critically important topic since adult
education discourse plays an important role for the field, for practitioners, and for higher
education scholars in constructing the identity of adult undergraduate students. Are adult
students “other,” different, and more needful and deficient when compared to traditional age
students? Or, are adult students individuals who also belong in the academy and enrich it by
virtue of their presence?
        While the content analysis of this adult education literature, and comparison of our
findings with earlier ones about the higher education literature, has provided some insight about
how adult undergraduates are constructed and portrayed in the literature, the study has also
raised additional questions. For example, would the portrayal be similar if Canadian and British
journals were added to the analysis? How would the discourse about adult learners be
characterized if the adult education literature was analyzed using Donaldson and Townsend’s (in
press) “Classification of Scholarly Discourse about Adult Undergraduate Students?” How does
the construction of adult undergraduates’ identities in the adult education literature differ from
their construction in the higher education scholarly literature? And finally, is the research
identity of adult undergraduates the same as the identity that is constructed by practitioners as
they go about their work with adult undergraduates in institutions of higher education?


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Donaldson, J. F., Townsend, B. T., & Thompson, R. W. (2004). Adult undergraduates in higher
        education journals: A marginal and insecure status. The Journal of Continuing Higher
        Education, 52 (3), 13-23.
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Joe F. Donaldson, Professor, Higher & Continuing Education, University of Missouri-Columbia, 202 Hill Hall,
Columbia, MO 65211, donaldsonj@missouri.edu; Allison L. Rentfro, Director of Continuing Medical Education,
University of Missouri-Columbia, 2401 Lemone Indust. Blvd., Columbia, MO 65212, rentfroa@health.missouri.edu

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education,
University of Missouri-St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006

                               Documenting the Elusive Outcome

                   Daniel Folkman, Dawn Barnett, Danea Davis, Sheryl Gotts


A common complaint among staff members of community-based organizations is that evaluation
studies often miss the true impact their programs are having. This issue is addressed by
introducing a practical strategy to document the “real” outcomes that are being produce by
program participants. Included are examples of how three community-based organizations are
using this strategy to report the range and variety of results being produced by their programs.
The true value of this outcome assessment strategy, however, lies in how this information is
presented and used at different program planning tables. The paper concludes with the
implications for different stakeholders including program participants, staff members, boards,
funding sources, and adult educators.

This paper summarizes a strategy for documenting program outcomes that is being employed by
three separate non-profit agencies in a large midwestern city. The strategy has been developed in
concert with program staff and is designed to address the all too familiar complaint: “We know
our programs are working but we can’t always document all the positives that occur among our
participants. Most evaluation studies fail to document the really important outcomes that our
programs are producing.”
This line of reasoning led to the following question. What are the real outcomes that are being
produced by your program and what keeps you from documenting them?” The answer included
an array of anecdotal stories that were illustrative of the “true” outcomes that the staff members
have observed or heard about through testimonials from the participants and other sources.
However, the thought of collecting all of this data was too overwhelming for the staff to even
consider. “We don’t have time for additional paperwork,” they complained. “We have programs
to run and people to serve.” A corollary question was then asked. “If a practical strategy could be
developed that could capture the ‘real’ outcomes that are being produced by your program
participants would you be willing to give it a chance and test its validity and utility?” The answer
was a hesitant “yes.”
What followed was a series of discussions that resulted in a set of criteria that the outcome
evaluation strategy must meet.
        An outcome focus must be an integral part of program curriculum, not an add-on.
        Outcome data collection must be a byproduct of program activities, not additional
paperwork that has little or no direct value to participants and the program itself.
        Data should be relatively easy to collect and report
        Outcomes documented must be real in the eyes of staff and program participants.
        Results must be sufficiently rigorous to be accepted by administrators, board members
and funding sources.
The above criteria speak to the social and political issues surrounding program planning as well
as the technical issues associated with rigorous research and evaluation designs. In short, the
resulting strategy for documenting outcomes must be sensitive to differing interests,

commitments, and priorities of program participants, staff members, administrators, and,
ultimately, board members and funding sources. Cervero and Wilson (2005) capture this
situation aptly in their metaphor of working the planning table. They call attention to the need for
adult educators to be present and to negotiate democratically the technical, political, and ethical
issues embedded in the planning process. They call for a double vision through which technical
issues of program planning, implementation and evaluation are kept in focus while the political
and relational issues associated with social and organizational communication and ethical
concerns are also addressed.
Thus, this paper maintains a dual focus. First, a strategy used to document outcomes will be
described with special emphasis on the tools and techniques developed to ensure the rigor and
validity of the data being collected. Second, the paper includes examples of how this strategy is
being implemented by three separate community-based organizations in ways that address their
own programmatic needs, administrative responsibilities, and political issues. The paper
concludes with reflections on the dual nature of outcome assessment. It is not just a technical
research question but also a question involving issues of pedagogy, program administration, and
organizational survival. In short, the story of how this outcome evaluation strategy was
developed, implemented, and adapted by other organizations is a case study in democratically
                                                   negotiating, the different planning tables.
                                                       Documenting the Elusive Outcome:
                                                  As stated above, program staff and other
                                                  stakeholders refer to anecdotal data as evidence
                                                  of the “real” outcomes that are being produced
                                                  by their program participants. In short, they are
                                                  saying, “If you want evidence of outcomes then
                                                  look at what the participants are producing as a
                                                  result of our program.” The problem with
                                                  anecdotal data is that it’s difficult to generalize
                                                  from a single incident. Further, the incident
                                                  most likely occurred without supporting
                                                  empirical evidence. This double whammy
                                                  renders anecdotal evidence of program results
                                                  to be highly suspect and lacking in validity and
                                                  Still, the anecdote remains a powerful indicator.
                                                  The following strategy has been developed to
                                                  transform the anecdote into a single data point.
                                                  This information is then entered into a database
                                                  that documents the array of outcomes being
                                                  produced among individual program
                                                  participants. A collection of multiple data
                                                  points, outcomes, provides evidence that a
pattern of behavior occurs and is repeated over time and in different contexts. Further, each data
point must be supported with evidence that it has actually occurred and is not just hearsay.
Finally, to the extent that the documented behaviors can be related directly to a program strategy

and its curriculum, it is reasonable to claim that the pattern of outcome behavior is at least
associated with, if not caused, by the program.
Exhibit I. is the outcome data collection form being used by one of the authors’ organization,
PEARLS for Teen Girls. Program staff members using the form nominate a girl for recognition
of having completed a goal or other accomplishment, Good Stuff Done, while participating in the
PEARLS program. Nomination represents a noteworthy accomplishment that exemplifies a
change in behavior reflecting the kind of outcomes expected of a PEARLS Girl. The information
entered into the form identifies the staff person(s) making the nomination coupled with the name
of the nominee and the specific PEARLS Group in which she participates. The form also
includes a brief statement of the accomplishment and how this achievement represents a change
from an old pattern of behavior to a new pattern. The form also includes information on the type
of empirical evidence that documents the achievement. The form includes two ways to classify
the achievement. The first refers to the PEARLS Compass Point, which allows for a direct
connection to the PEARLS curriculum. The second is a set of alternative categories that has been
generated from the empirical distribution of accomplishments that is independent of the
PEARLS program. Finally, the rubric at the bottom of the form indicates the relative significance
of the outcome within the context of the individual girl. In other words, does the accomplishment
represent a minor but sill noteworthy shift in behavior or does it represent a major shift in the
developmental growth of the girl?
Nomination of a girl gives staff an opportunity to address issues of validity and reliability. When
staff members meet to review their nominations, they include a critical discussion on the quality
and type of accomplishment and whether it warrants recognition of the girl and inclusion in the
outcome database. Care is taken not to acknowledge trivial achievements. A major achievement
for one girl may not be so for another. It might even be a setback. In the end, the rigor within
which the nomination occurs is a function of the quality and integrity of critical discourse held
among staff. This discourse includes consideration of the behavior being acknowledged, the
context within which it occurs, the available supporting evidence, and, ultimately, a consensus
among the staff that the behavior should be acknowledged and included in the outcome database.
                                                                                                                     PEARS Outcomes by Category
          PEARLS outcomes by Compass Point for 2005
                                                                                                                   N=132 Girls, 327 Outcomes Reported
                 N=132 Girls, 324 reported
                                                                          Number of Outcomes

                                                                                                          100    90
                                         39%                                                              60
                                                                                                                                40   37
                          Striving to Achieve                                                             40                              32   31
                               40.0                                                                                                                 12
                                                                                                          20                                             8   8   7   4
               Helping Hands               Building Relationships                                          0
                   6%                                       27%
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           10%                                  18%




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 Figure I. PEARLS Outcomes by Compass Point Figure II. PEARLS Outcomes by Category

This section of the paper provides a brief summary of how three separate community based
organizations are using this outcome assessment strategy:

PEARLS for Teen Girls:
PEARLS for Teen Girls is an after-school program serving primarily low-income, African
American middle and high school girls. The goal is to help girls envision their personal power
and potential, take action, and direct the course of their own lives. The program revolves around
facilitated group meetings during which they practice communication skills, develop trust and
respect for each other, and focus on setting and achieving goals in five “compass point” areas:
loving myself, building relationship with others, striving to achieve, believing the sky is the
limit, and helping hands in the community. Staff members then work with girls to build a
capacity to set goals, undertake an action plan, and achieve results. They also help girls develop
the critical thinking skills needed to assess and understand why or how a goal was not achieved,
so that plans can be revised and a new course of action set. Most importantly, PEARLS uses its
goal-setting program to help girls cultivate self-reflection, decision-making, and critical thinking;
skills essential to success in school, relationships, work and life.
The above figures show how PEARLS reports behavioral outcomes that girls are producing.
The data is based on 132 girls having achieved over 320 documented outcomes. The radar graph
in Figure I shows the distribution of outcomes across the five compass point domains making up
the PEARLS curriculum. The distribution is highly skewed toward Striving to Achieve (39%)
followed by Building Relationships (27%), Loving Myself (19%), and Believing the Sky is the
Limit (12%). Helping Hands is the lowest area with only 4% of all outcomes. The bar graph in
Figure II shows the distribution of outcomes by category. This view indicates that improving
academic performance is the most frequent outcome being produced by the girls. This is
followed by social skills, taking initiative, positive group affiliation, group leadership and self-
These findings help staff raise a number of questions: A) Are these the “real” outcomes that our
PEARLS girls are producing? B) Does the skewed distribution of outcomes across compass
points indicate a need to shift group activities to encourage a more balanced focus across all five
domains? C) What might be done to increase attention to job readiness, self-discipline,
                                                                                                                      PEARS Outcomes by Category
           PEARLS outcomes by Compass Point for 2005
                                                                                                                    N=132 Girls, 327 Outcomes Reported
                  N=132 Girls, 324 reported
                                                                           Number of Outcomes

                                                                                                           100    90
                                           39%                                                             60
                                                                                                                                 40   37
                            Striving to Achieve                                                            40                              32   31
                                 40.0                                                                                                                12
                                                                                                           20                                             8   8   7   4
                 Helping Hands               Building Relationships                                         0
                     6%                                       27%
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  Figure I. PEARLS Outcomes by Compass Point Figure II. PEARLS Outcomes by Category

volunteering, and positive roles in family? D) What is needed to assist girls in preparing for and
applying to college? These and related issues are being raised by the PEARLS staff and board
members as they review their program activities and plan for future growth and improvement.

Running Rebels Community Organization (RRCO)
        Running Rebels is a community-based organization with the mission to serve central city
youth through education and recreation programs as an alternative to gangs, violence, substance
abuse, and other at-risk behaviors. It maintains an ongoing contract with Children’s Court to
provide mentoring services to serious chronic offenders, firearms offenders, and first-time
juvenile offenders. Other services include mentoring, academic achievement, life education,
sports and recreation. RRCO staff recently concluded a yearlong project with a central city high
school to reduce disruptions in the classroom and throughout the building while at the same time
providing mentoring services aimed at improving behavior, academic achievement, personal
self-image, and interpersonal communication. The organization was asked to work closely with
30 youth who were identified by school administrators, teachers, and even the students
themselves, to be part of the program. The goals included improved behavior accompanied by
improved academic performance.
       Figure III demonstrates how RRCO is integrating its outcome data with academic
performance for each of the 30 students participating in this program. Juxtaposition of the
student outcome data with academic performance during the same time interval reveals the
complexity of the change process. Academic indicators show a continued downward trend in
attendance and grade point average coupled with an increase in suspensions. Conversely,
RRCO’S mentoring and counseling interventions are producing gains in interpersonal skills,
classroom behavior, Spanish grades, school leadership, anger management, and school
involvement. This pattern is a familiar dilemma for programs working with troubled youth. The
juxtaposition of this data clearly underscores why program staff often claim that evaluation
outcomes (e.g., academic performance) often miss the real, tangible gains that students make.
The data presentation provides a framework for RRCO staff to document their impact on at-risk
youth, demonstrate the complexity of the change process, and negotiate the continuation of their
program in light of the documented complexity and challenges associated with turning the lives
                                                                                                                                                                            Student 2
                                                                      Student 2                                                                               Academic Performance
                                                                                                                                                              •School Attendance: down
                                                Attendance y = -0.7403x + 98.396
          Attendance and monthly contacts

                                            100                                                                                   4                           •Suspensions: up
                                             90                                                                                   3.5                         •GPA: down
                                                                                                                                        GPA and suspensions

                                             70                                                                                   3
                                             60                                                                                   2.5
                                             50                                                                                   2
                                                                                                                                                              RRCO Mentoring, Canceling Interventions
                                             40                                                                                   1.5                         Sept- March Outcomes
                                             20 Suspensions y = 0.025x + 0.1                                                      1                           •Interpersonal skills: deals better w. males; also
                                             10                                                                                   0.5                         •    interacts better with classmates;
                                              0                                                                                   0
                                                 2004200420042004200520052005200520052005    20052005200520052006200620062006
                                                                                                                                                              •Classroom behavior: from 8 referrals to 3/semester;
                                                                                                                                                              •Great improvement in Spanish B on report card
                                                 09 10 11 12 01 02 03 04 05 06UMMER
                                                                             S    09 10 11 12 01 02 03 04                                                     April-June Outcomes
                                                                                      3.21        3 3.43 2.29       3.14 2
                                                                                                                                                              •Showing leadership: not being known to school favorite; letting
                                                                                                                                                              people take advantage to being a leader
                                                  0   0   0   0   0   0   1   1   0    1      0   1    0   1    0    0   2   0
                                                                                                                                                              •Anger management: disrupting class to speaking to teachers
                      Attendance                 100 100 85 100 100 100 87.5 95 80 86.7      94.4 83.3 95 93.3 94.4 79 76.2 100                               when there is a problem
                      Monthly contacts                                                       15 28 38 54 46 52 24 24                                          •School involvement: not doing any activities to being very
                                                                                                                                                              involved in school

    Figure III: Running Rebels Outcome Data Juxtaposed with Academic Performance Indicators

of our most at-risk youth around.

Family Leadership Academy (FLA)
        The FLA mission is to develop parents as leaders in schools and advocates for students’
success. The FLA curriculum includes interactive classroom sessions where parents learn
concepts and skills associated with social interaction, personal development and community
leadership. Topics include team building, problem solving, and communication; knowledge
related to topics such as No Child Left Behind and special education; and support activities that
lead to asset building and home ownership. Parents use their knowledge, skills and abilities in
school settings through action projects designed to produce tangible results in changing the
school and/or improving student academic success. They receive 6 Continuing Education Units
from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee upon completion of the FLA curriculum.
Figure IV displays how the FLA reports its outcome data. The photograph on the left is a
storyboard that the FLA parents use to document the project that they implemented within their
school. It shows the project goals, its implementing activities and the results that were produced
within the school. The pie chart on the right captures the different life domains within which the
FLA members are practicing their newly acquired leadership skills in and beyond the school
setting. This outcome data reveals that among 32 participants there are 189 incidents of
leadership occurring with the schools, community, family, workplace, church, and personal
growth. The FLA uses this data presentation to demonstrate the true leadership outcomes that are
being produced among its members and their ripple effects throughout the community. The FLA
has recently received a demonstration grant from the Milwaukee Public Schools to offer their
program in several additional schools within the district.

                                                             Family Leadership Academy:
                                                   Exercising Leadership in Different Life Domains
                                                          N=32Parents, 189 Incidents of Leadership
                                              Business/Job             School
                                                                        32%                            Church
                                              Personal Growth      Growth                            Community
                                              School                9%                                 21%

 Figure IV. Family Leadership Academy Producing Parental Involvement in Schools and Community

The preceding discussion highlights a practical way in which three community-based
organizations are transforming anecdotal examples of program results into a database of
documented outcomes. Issues of data collection as well as validity and reliability were
discussed. The true value and test of this information, however, lies not only in the rigor of the
evaluation report but also in the quality of negotiations that occur at the multiple planning tables
at which this data is presented. To collect this data the staff members themselves must negotiate
their own commitments in terms of agency time and energy to monitor the outcomes being
produced by their participants and to make programmatic decisions based on what they are
learning. Program participants can use the feedback about their own activities to negotiate new

patterns of thinking and behaving that reflect personal growth and development. Agency board
members and other stakeholders need to negotiate their vision of the organization and its use of
resources in light of what the outcome data is telling them in terms of program performance,
impact on the lives of participants, and realities of social and organizational change. Funding
sources too can use this outcome data as a “reality test” regarding their own priorities and what
are reasonable and appropriate expectations for program results when measured in concrete and
documented participant outcomes. Finally, Adult educators and other practitioners for social
change can use the collection and use of this outcome data as part of their negotiations when
dealing with program planning, staff training, organizational development, and social change.

Cervero R., and Wilson A. (2005). Working the planning table: Negotiating democratically for
adult, continuing, and workplace education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Folkman, D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Center for Urban Community Development,
161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee WI. 53203. folkman@uwm.edu. (Contact other authors
through Dr. Folkman).

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and Community
Education, St. Louis Missouri, October 4-6, 2006.

 The Great Divide: Differing Perceptions of Quality College-Level Writing Between Adult
                             Learners and Adult Educators

                             Falinda Geerling and Robert McTyre

Abstract: Over the last eight years the writing specialists in an accelerated degree-completion
program at the private, liberal arts, small Midwest University have observed a trend in students
coming into the program with weaker and weaker writing skills. This trend lead to the
reconsideration of the program’s required writing course, which was changed from assessment
of prior learning to a more developmental English course. The findings reveal a great divide
between adult educators and adult learners in their perceptions of quality college-level writing,
and this split may explain the frustration of each group with the other.

        An instructor at Midwest University approached a writing specialist in the accelerated
bachelor’s degree-completion program with her frustration with what she saw as a break down
between a particular student's ability to engage in in-depth classroom discussions and his ability
to synthesize this information into required writing assignments. The writing specialist noted that
the instructor’s concern created a dilemma for her as she was left with no choice but to grade the
poor written work accordingly. Yet, in doing so she realized that the student had demonstrated in
the classroom a clear conceptual grasp of the material. But his final grade did not reflect his
learning and growth in the subject.
        This story is repeated in many adult learning contexts in which the instructor is left to
assess students’ critical thinking or communication abilities based mostly or sometimes solely on
their writing. In particular, over the last eight years the writing specialists have observed a trend
in students coming into their accelerated, bachelor’s degree-completion program with weaker
and weaker writing skills, both in content and structure. This trend lead to the reconsideration of
the program’s required writing course, which was changed from assessment of prior learning to a
more developmental English course. In order to evaluate whether this change was beneficial for
the adult learners, this study was proposed by the writing specialists to explore both the theory
and practice of learning and teaching writing in this particular context. This article reports on the
question of what is quality college-level writing, which was asked of both adult learners and
adult educators.

                             Rationale and Theoretical Framework

         Since the mid-1990s advocates of assessment reform have been arguing for alternative
assessment practices such as performance-based assessment, portfolio-based assessment, and
authentic assessment. These alternative practices, which rely on constructivist learning theory,
differ from traditional assessment practices, which rely heavily on positivist learning theory.
Education from a constructivist perspective is about assisting students in learning how to obtain
knowledge and assessing that learning in the context of teaching, as opposed to a positivist
perspective that advocates the transmission of “truths” about the real world and assessment of
whether they have learned these “truths” mostly through objective tests (Anderson, 1998, pp. 5 –
         A common assumption of advocates of alternative assessment practices is that
“[b]ehaviors and skills are not the goals of instruction; rather, the focus is on concept

development, deep understanding, and construction of active learner reorganization” (Anderson,
1998, p. 7). This assumption, however, implies that students in successful constructivist-based
classrooms not only take responsibility for their learning but also have the critical thinking and
writing skills. Yet, the National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges
(2003) asserts that “analyzing arguments and synthesizing information are . . . beyond the scope
of most first-year students . . .” (p. 14). The Commission (2003) concludes that students can
write, but not well (p.19), that is, fail to meet “the demands they face in higher education and the
emerging work environment” (p. 19).
         Over the past eight years, the writing specialists have observed that too many adult
learners in their program could be described like the Commission’s report on freshmen. Their
critical thinking and writing skills are often weak at best. Furthermore, program administrators
and other faculty members have revealed much frustration and confusion with not only the poor
quality of the adult learners’ writing, but also the inconsistency and difficulty in assessing that
writing. One explanation for this situation may be the inconsistency between practices and
theories in the assessment of writing. At the heart of this discourse is the assumption that
assessment is the responsibility or authority of only adult educators. And that this assessment is
often the same as grading or testing or an adult educator’s summative, generalized, rigid decision
about an adult learner’s writing based upon a first draft or single paper. But for assessment to
work well in the teaching and learning of writing, it must be assumed to be part of any literate act
and to write well, not only adult educators, but also adult learners must be able to assess the
writing well (Huot, 2002).
         The results of a traditional view of assessment practices on adult learners’ writing show
that they often think of writing as products, not process. “Writing papers for a grade creates a
role for the student in which assessing the value of writing is secondary or moot and the
attainment of a specific grade is everything” (Huot, 2002, p. 168). Being able to assess writing
quality and to know what works in any particular writing situation are important tools for all
writers. So until adult educators “. . . teach students how to assess, [they] fail to provide them
with the authority inherent in assessment, continuing the disjuncture between the competing
roles of student and writer” (Huot, 2002, p. 169).
         Within this framework of assessment and its usual positivist role in the teaching and
learning of writing, the writing specialists proposed a study with the intention of learning
whether there was any agreement between what adult learners believed quality college-level
writing was and what the adult educators thought it was. Since “quality” is such a difficult word
to define, the writing specialists believed that the definition should emerge from the stakeholders
themselves. Thus, their theories about the teaching and learning of quality college-level writing
would be informed not only by other practitioners and scholars, but also by the program’s own
adult learners’ and adult educators’ experience and knowledge. These theories could then be
applied to the existing writing curriculum either by upholding it or by revising it.


        This study used qualitative methodology in a context of two undergraduate degree-
completion major groups (i.e., Family Life Education (FLE) and Management and
Organizational Development (MOD)) in four regions (i.e., North, West, East, and Central). The
participants included third-semester (i.e., final semester) adult learners in the two programs and
faculty who taught in that same semester. As students in a bachelor’s degree-completion

program, the adult learners had completed at least 58 undergraduate credits from accredited post-
secondary institutions. They entered essentially at a junior level and should have had a basic
grasp of quality college level writing from the start of their program.
        The data source was a two-question survey. The study’s primary research question was,
How do adult learners and adult educators in the third semester of an accelerated, degree-
completion program define acceptable or quality college-level writing? The secondary question
for adult learners was, Do you believe you have achieved the level of college writing you have
defined, and for adult educators it was, What percentage of learners do you perceive as meeting
the standard you have defined? In total, 165 out of 170 student surveys and 58 out of 71 faculty
surveys, which all met the study criteria, were used for the data analysis. This analysis was done
through an iterative cycle of constant comparative methodology until all themes were revealed.


    The data analysis revealed definitions or descriptions of quality college-level writing from
both the adult learners’ and the adult educators’ perspective. It also showed the degree to which
both groups believed that their standards or expectations for quality college-level writing had
been met. The educators and learners all agreed that writing, as with learning in general, is both
an outcome (i.e., product or document) and a process (i.e., a way to achieve the outcome or
product). Beyond that point, however, there was much disagreement about the topic.

Definitions of Acceptable Writing
        In particular, two themes seemed to resonate in the learners’ responses: 1) APA style use
(the learners overwhelmingly equated proper APA style use as tantamount to acceptable college-
level writing); 2) grammar, punctuation, and syntax use. About the first theme, the scenario
from the learners’ perspective varied with their program; that is, FLE students appeared more
likely to be critical of their for not providing enough support to assist them in weak areas of
writing, and MOD students were more likely to complain about an inconsistency of APA style
use or grading by instructors.
        For example, several FLE students did not respond to the questionnaire at all, but used it
as an opportunity to complain about the poor support system that the program provided for help
in writing. They all made similar comments about the need for assistance. For example, one
student commented: “College level writing, to me, includes additional assistance for students that
are struggling with their endeavor (stet) of writing the many assigned paper (stet). The school
tution (stet) is to (stet) high for one to go outside of the college for help. The college needs to
have more than one writing specialist.”
        Some common responses among the educators were as follows: Minimal problems with
grammar, punctuation, and spelling; evidence of having engaged in some degree of critical
thinking; evidence of having made connections to classroom learning and everyday life (i.e.,
cross application); evidence of a clearly defined thesis statement and proper APA style
formatting. Because of the tendency for mechanical issues to be mentioned early in most
educators’ responses, it could be assumed that a paper containing more than a few such problems
would begin to lose its value as a potential “A” paper. Moreover, there was an implied
frustration about this problem, considering how frequently it was mentioned.
        Furthermore, the educators’ responses indicated that the learners’ critical thinking skills
or having “thought through” the course concepts must be evident in their papers. That is, the

papers should communicate in a logical manner, and thus in value its structure seemed to be as
important, if not more important, as grammar and punctuation. For instance, one educator stated
this requirement as follows: “[To have quality college-level writing there must be] evidence of
higher/in depth thought and analysis of the material as opposed to shallow or surface thinking.”
Following references to critical thinking, the educators often mentioned that quality college-level
writing must also offer illustrations of connections between course content and the learners’
everyday experience. These responses suggested that students who have weaknesses in technical
areas, but could demonstrate critical thinking and cross application were assessed as effective
writers by the instructors.

Adult Learners’ Perceptions of Achievement of Quality College-level Writing
        Yet, to the second part of the survey about whether they believed that they had achieved
their definition of acceptable or quality college-level writing by the end of their program, only 59
percent of the 165 learners’ responses were positive. Twelve percent were negative. Besides
two who failed to respond at all, other responses included: “on occasion; close”; “yes, however,
much of my learning came from other sources”; “[the program] should offer more options for
learning writing skills”; “I believe I still have a lot to learn, not because of school, but because of
my inability to grasp it. A refresher course would have been nice since I haven’t been in college
for 7 years”; “not yet, but I’m working on it. I don’t feel the structures offered a lot of help with
writing. They expect our [papers] to be “college-level” yet aren’t real specific on what they
desire. I believe that I had this level of college writing before I came to [the program]. I don’t
think the writing class and subsequent writing I have had have improved my writing”; “I was a
writer when I began so have always known how and done well”; “yes, I’m working on it—not
arrived yet—stay tuned”; “yes, I have achieved college level writing but not from [the program].
I had to seek outside assistance”; “All of the writing practice sharpened my skills, but they were
already developed”; “yes, with critical ‘peramiters’”; “yes and no, depends on instructor. In the
middle”; “I’m getting there.”
        In sum, those learners who perceived that they had achieved the ability to write well at a
college level felt that they had learned this skill before coming into the accelerated degree-
completion program. Those who were less confident in their ability to write well at a college
level, with one exception, tended to blame the program for its lack of writing assistance or the
instructors for their lack of clear directions.

Educators’ Perceptions of Percentage of Achievement of Quality College-Level Writing
        Twenty-seven instructors responded to the second part of their survey about what
percentage of their students met their definition of acceptable or quality college-level writing.
Their responses ranged as low as 30 percent and as high as 90 percent. Seventeen responses fell
within the 60 – 90 percent range, and the other 10 estimated that 50 percent or less of their
students failed to achieve their definition of college-level writing. One educator commented
about what he did to brief his writing assignments and how successful he thought that method
was: “Fifty percent I would estimate that all tolled; 75 % of the papers I have graded have
earned a “B” or higher (meet or exceed my three criteria for acceptable college-level writing). I
would also say that I have gone out of my way to discuss my expectations and the requirements
for papers often for each class. I emphasize that most of their grade is based on the quality of
their papers. I want to make sure that every student understands what is required and what I
expect. I describe examples of poor and excellent writing. For me, a student’s paper is the

“crown jewel” of their (stet) course work. I want students to know that and plan to write
accordingly (MOD instructor, West Region).”
        In sum, even though more educators felt that most of their learners met their definition or
requirements for quality college-level writing, a significant number (37 percent) felt that only
half of their students achieved quality college-level writing.


        These findings provide evidence of the great divide between adult learners and adult
educators in their perceptions of quality college-level writing. This gap seems to be between
what adult educators expect and what adult learners bring to the classroom. The evidence shows
that too often adult learners lack critical thinking or evaluative skills that results in unsuccessful
and demoralizing learning experiences; for example, the Family Life Education student who,
even at the end of her program defined quality college-level writing as including “additional
assistance for students that are struggling with their endeavor (stet) of writing the many assigned
paper (stet).” The implication here is the student either felt little control or took little
responsibility for her own writing. She seems to lack confidence in her ability to produce or
assess quality college-level writing. And, according to the study, she is not alone with more than
40 percent of the respondents stating that they did not believe in their ability to achieve quality
college-level writing. Furthermore, the adult educators affirm this finding with 37 percent
saying that only 50 percent of their learners achieve acceptable or quality college-level writing.
        One explanation for this missing link between the teaching and learning of writing is the
perpetuation of a positivist theory of assessment. That is, it is the adult educators’ sole
responsibility to assess their students’ writing and that assessment is done in the same way as
grading a test—summarily and final. And in the accelerated bachelor’s degree-completion
program it is done on one paper that is often valued as 60 percent of the learner’s final course
grade. Huot (2002) posits that this traditional view of writing assessment often results in adult
learners’ thinking about writing as more product than process. However, this view, as evidenced
by these findings, often leads to adult educators’ frustration with their perception of their
students’ inability to write at a college level and the adult learners’ frustration with their
perception of inconsistent instruction (particularly about APA style) and a weak support system
that offers no writing labs or tutors. One example of the latter is the Family Life Education
student who thought all students who did “not possess the skills necessary to write effectively . . .
should have more writing/English staff available to help [them] remain successful.” She also
recommended an English/writing learning lab with “the cost expended on more support . . . made
up in student retention in the various programs.”
        Yet, the program is clearly designed for those adult learners who are supposed to know
how to write as juniors and seniors in college, well beyond the freshman level that the National
Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges (2003) reported could write, but not
well. For example, as one educator said, “I have gone out of my way to discuss my expectations
and requirements for papers often for each class.” Yet, he estimated that only 50 percent of his
students met them. On most grading scales, that percentage represents failure. But who has
failed—the teacher or the students?
        The evidence points to frustration and blame on both sides of this question. Nevertheless,
one missing link that might unite both parties would be more awareness and rethinking of their
positivist frame of reference about the teaching and learning of writing. As Nelson (1983) says,

“A product-oriented, preventive/corrective, error-avoidance approach [to the teaching and
learning of writing is] an approach with a built-in, self-fulfilling prophesy of failure for teachers
and their students” (p. 56). She suggests that writing should be “process-based and process
perpetuating,” but include “attention to products at appropriate states” (p. 56).
        Huot (2002) advocates a constructivist theory of writing assessment in which it is thought
of as a way to teach and learn writing, using three forms of evaluation by the adult educators:
summative (given at the end of the writing process); formative (given along the way of the
writing process); and instructive (given along the way of the writing process to help learners
evaluate “how well their current drafts match the linguistic and rhetorical targets they have set
for themselves . . .). The adult learners could begin rethinking their ideas about writing
assessment by evaluating samples of writing and creating lists of what makes good writing and
how to recognize it (p. 170).


        Supported by the study’s data, there seems to be an impasse as to who is responsible—
educators or learners—for the less than acceptable or quality college-level writing that has been
observed by the writing specialists in the accelerated bachelor’s degree-completion program.
But how this standoff might be resolved requires further research. Whether rethinking the
approach to the teaching and learning of college writing will make a difference is a question for
further research and is the intent of the next phase of this study. As Huot ((2002) says, “Just as
we have had to rethink the teaching of writing as a process, we also need to rethink what it
means for our students to evaluate the way writing works and to relate these decisions about
writing quality to the process of writing itself” (p. 170). This rethinking seems to begin with
study and discourse about assessment and what it means to the teaching and learning of writing
in higher education. Hopefully, it will mean less frustration and blame from both educators and


Anderson, R. S., & Speck, B. W. (Eds.). (1998, Summer). Changing the way we grade student
       performance: Classroom assessment and the new learning paradigm. New Directions for
       Teaching and Learning (74), 5 – 16.
Huot, B. (2002, November). Toward a new discourse of assessment for the college writing
       classroom. College English, 65 (2), 163-180.
Nelson, M. W. (1983, Fall-Winter). From “composition” to “writing”—revising an EFL
       tradition. WATESOL Working Papers (1), 53-67.
The National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges. (2003). The neglected
       “R”: The need for a writing revolution. New York: College Entrance Examination

Falinda Geerling, Ph.D., and Robert McTyre, Ph.D., writing specialists/assistant professors,
Spring Arbor University, Spring Arbor, MI, falindag@arbor.edu and rmctyre@arbor.edu.
Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, University of Missouri – St. Louis, St. Louis, MO. October 4 – 6, 2006.

   Faculty Learning Communities, Institutional and Independent: Exploring
          how Participation Contributes to Professional Development
                          Michelle Glowacki-Dudka and Michael P. Brown

         Faculty learning communities (FLC) have received considerable attention by the academy in the
United States and Europe. This research has primarily examined the history of learning communities
(Leigh Smith, 2001; Powell, 1981; Cronon and Jenkins, 1994), and how learning communities provide
forums for professional development (Gabelnick, MacGregor, Matthews, and Smith, 1990; Layne, Froyd,
Morgan, and Kenimer, 2002) and opportunities for collegial relationships (Boud, 1999). Most recently,
educators have focused on how learning communities can facilitate life-long learning in the United States
and the European Union (European Commission, 2001; Nyhan, Cressey, Tomassini, Kelleher, and Poell,
    A review of the literature indicates that there are two general types of FLC. On one end of the
    spectrum is FLC that are affiliated with universities. Most FLC research has focused upon university-
    affiliated FLC (UFLC). These FLC may have highly structured curricula; others give faculty
    participants relative autonomy in selecting topics of discussion. On the other end of the spectrum is
    independent faculty learning communities (IFLC). IFLC have received very little scholarly attention.
    These learning communities are unstructured and without an institutional affiliation, thus making
    them difficult to identify and research.
    The exploratory research reported here expands upon the FLC literature by looking at the similarities
    and differences that may exist between UFLC and IFLC. We were interested in gaining insight into
    whether faculty participated in UFLC and/or IFLC, why they participated, why they chose to not
    participate, and how they benefited from UFLC and/or IFLC. These issues were examined through
    close- and open-ended survey questions.

                                              Literature Review
         Many university faculty report that they seek assistance with their teaching from their colleagues
on a one-to-one basis (Wright and O’Neil, 1995). Public scrutiny or peer review of teaching is rarely a
part of university culture. Instead, teaching is frequently seen as a private enterprise, not subject to
constructive criticism or open discussion. From this perspective, teaching is not held to traditional
scholarly standards, such as those for scholarly research and writing (Boyer, 1990).
         Why is teaching held to a lower standard than academic research? Hodges (2006) suggests that
many faculty may be reluctant to enter into a dialog about teaching philosophy or teaching practice out of
fear that others may find out that s/he knows very little about teaching and learning. Knowles (1980)
points out another possible explanation. FLC have not been a place conducive to free and open
discussions about teaching. For faculty to feel comfortable talking openly about teaching, the
environment must be based upon the basic principles of adult learning. Specifically, learning community
participants must feel as though there is respect for their autonomy as a learner and an emphasis upon
their voluntary participation in the learning community.
         When faculty requests assistance with their teaching performance, it frequently involves stopgap
measures that focused on specific techniques rather than on developing a philosophy of teaching and
specific techniques that matched their goals (Layne, Froyd, Morgan, and Kenimer 2002). A focus on the
techniques of teaching, without the development of a philosophical foundation, is not likely to promote
general principles of lifelong learning. This, then, impedes the transference of knowledge across contexts
and hinders the advancement of the scholarship of teaching.

         Conversely, learning communities that are facilitated properly within a university culture that
encourage faculty professional development and the scholarship of teaching will likely see increased
interest in learning communities (Richlin and Cox, 2004). This would be especially true in learner-
centered economies in which life-long learning skills are a valued commodity. Faculty learning
communities are a principle mechanism to foster the development of “human capital” in a culture that
values and supports life-long learning (Layne, Froyd, Morgan, and Kenimer, 2002). Sharing common
teaching and learning experiences serve to bridge discipline-specific boundaries, promote
interdisciplinary endeavors, and advance of the scholarship of teaching.

                                           The Present Study
   This research was conducted through an online survey, developed based on the literature and our
   experiences with different types of learning communities. The survey was piloted with several faculty
   and graduate students. The survey link was e-mailed to 910 teaching faculty and graduate students at
   Ball State University (a medium sized university in the Midwest of the U.S.). We obtained 173
   useable surveys, about 19% of the total population. The survey was comprised of both close- and
   open-ended questions. This paper examines both the qualitative and quantitative responses related to
   why instructors participated in UFLC and/or IFLC, why they chose to not participate, and how they

Demographics of Survey Respondents
         The survey respondents represent a cross section of the faculty at Ball State University (BSU).
The survey respondents’ academic and demographic characteristics are relatively consistent with the
characteristics of full-time faculty from across campus as of Fall 2005 (http://www.bsu.edu/ web/
assessment/OIRfacts/FACULTY05.htm). Specifically, respondents are similar to Ball State University
faculty in terms of ethnicity, gender, age, academic credential, and tenure status. The respondents
represented the University’s academic colleges.

                                         Findings and Analysis
        Of the 173 useable survey responses, 147 (84%) of them indicated that they had participated in at
least one FLC. Nearly all (136 of 147, 92%) of those who had experience with FLC had participated in
UFLC. The most common forums for UFLC include the university’s teaching and learning office
(n=105, 77%), their academic department (n=102, 75%), professional conference-related activities (n=94,
69%), other-university sponsored events (n=47, 34%) and events sponsored by book publishers and
software vendors (n=21, 15%). A somewhat smaller number of faculty (n=90, 61%) reported that they
had participated in an IFLC. Most IFLC took place in faculty offices (n=79 or 87%), or off campus over
coffee (n=53, 59%), a meal (n=60, 67%), or a cocktail (n=18, 20%). As might be expected, most faculty
reported that members of their IFLC included those from within their own college (n=88, 98%), faculty
from other colleges on campus (n=39, 43%), colleagues at other universities (n=34, 38%), spouses (n=34,
38%), and graduate students (n=23, 26%).

Reasons for Participation in Faculty Learning Communities
   Respondents were asked why they participated in faculty learning communities. Several options were
   provided and respondents could select multiple responses. Table 1 provides the five most commonly
   mentioned reasons for participating in UFLC and IFLC. As can be seen, respondents had similar
   reasons for participating in UFLC and IFLC.
    Table 1: Reasons for Participation in Faculty Learning Communities
    Top 5       UFLC (n=136)                              IFLC (n=90)
        1.      Talk about teaching (70%)                         Talk about teaching (86%)

        2.       Gain insights into improved                 Peer input and sharing ideas (78%)
                 teaching and learning (57%)
        3.       Peer input and sharing ideas (57%)                   Gain insights into improved
                                                                      teaching and learning (51%)
        4.       Collegiality & connections (46%)                     Collegiality & connections (50%)
        5.       Strategies to improve teaching (45%)        Strategies to improve teaching (35%)
        *Percentages do not equal 100 due to multiple responses.

         However, when asked to elaborate on why they participated in UFLC and IFLC, some differences
emerged. For example, many respondents expressed that they felt pressured by their departments or other
academic offices on campus to participate in UFLC. As one respondent noted: “Teaching at BSU is very
political. It's the politics of t[eaching] and l[earning]. Political correctness is an issue too. It's grounded in
the local culture. [It is] required/expected within academic unit. Occasionally I've attended because of
special topics of interest within a given department.” A number of respondents mentioned being
motivated by stipends or external rewards for attending UFLC. Yet, other participants had loftier goals.
As one stated, “I find it extremely beneficial to interact and share ideas not only with peers but also with
the facilitators who have more experience. I believe that it not only helps to improve my teaching it also
helps to keep my motivation high.” Another respondent mentioned that “Collegiality and connections
outside of campus i.e. with faculty at other institutions…” that would help shape the direction of
curriculum development was a motivating force to participate.
         Several IFLC participants found it important to support and mentor one another while also
encouraging dialogue and learning new approaches for teaching. Other reasons for participation in IFLC
were driven more by personal improvement and connection to other colleagues in order to think together
and share ideas or even to vent concerns. For example, as one respondent state: “Sometimes I have
specific questions for a colleague who has already tried something new I'm planning or who is more
familiar with a particular student population.” Or, in the words of another respondent: “I try to be a very
innovative teacher and need the input of others to bounce my ideas off.” And in the words of yet another
respondent, there is a strong desire to establish “social connections with interesting faculty colleagues
who also feel passionate about being a great teacher and a great scholar/citizen.”

Benefits from Participation in Faculty Learning Communities
        Respondents were asked how they benefited from their participation in faculty learning
communities. Again, several options were provided and respondents could select multiple responses.
Table 2 provides the five most commonly mentioned benefits derived from participating in UFLC and
IFLC. As can be seen, while there are some commonalities, respondents reported that they had derived
substantively different benefits from participating in UFLC and IFLC. Perhaps the most substantive
difference between UFLC and IFLC is that UFLC participants were interested in teaching strategies and
IFLC participants wanted to better understand their students (i.e., learners).

        Table 2: Benefits Derived from Participation in Faculty Learning Communities
    Top 5        UFLC (n=136)                                IFLC (n=90)
        1.     Gain teaching strategies (73%)           Understand more about students (98%)
        2.     Network with colleagues (57%)            Network with colleagues (73%)
        3.     Understand more about students (51%) Friendships (65%)
        4.     Friendships (36%)                        Gain teaching strategies (45%)
        5.     Receive affirmation (31%)                         Receive affirmation (10%)
        *Percentages do not equal 100 due to multiple responses.

    The open-ended questions further revealed how the benefits differed in the UFLC and the IFLC. For
    example, in UFLC, faculty benefited through job related activities. They collaborate and help others.
    They achieved academic and personal goals. For example, “I have expanded my publications to
    include pedagogical articles materials and textbooks.” UFLC helped improve program quality. As
    one respondent put it: “I collaborate with others on the development of instructional technology.”
    Other respondents said that UFLC provided unique opportunities that lead them to become more
    balanced teachers. For instance, “It is important to me to put myself in the position as a learner to
    balance my position as a teacher.” There are also financial benefits to participating in UFLC. It
    “helps put food on the table”.
         In IFLC, the benefits seem to be consistent with the core principles of life-long learning, the
desire to understand students, and learning how to be successful in a dynamic and often political
university environment. As one respondent aptly wrote: “I think. I learn. I question. These are benefits
(regardless of possible application or becoming a better teacher.)” Another stated IFLC helped them
“Gain insights into what is going on in teacher-student interaction and with students.” Likewise, another
respondent mentioned that “I gain information on the politics of the university that I would otherwise not
obtain.” And, going beyond traditional academic boundries, another respondent stated “I am further
developing the mentor relationship with student to extend beyond the point of graduation.”

Reasons for Not Participating in Faculty Learning Communities
         Faculty who reported that they did not participate in faculty learning communities were asked to
explain why. Several options were provided and respondents could select multiple responses. Table 3
provides the five most commonly mentioned reasons for not participating in UFLC and IFLC. As can be
seen, although there are some common reasons why respondents do not participate in UFLC and IFLC,
there are several intriguing differences. UFLC and IFLC are similar in two ways. First, most of the
respondents who said they did not participate in UFLC said that they “do not have time” to participate.
Similarly, the second most common response among those who had not participated in IFLC is that they
“do not have time” to do so. Second, the fifth most common response for both the UFLC and IFLC is
that “teaching is not highly valued” by the university. But this is where the similarities end. Perhaps the
most striking difference is that the third most common response by those who do not participate in UFLC
is that “students have the responsibility to learn.” This reason did not make the top 5 for those who said
that they do not participate in IFLC. Instead, the third most common response for those who do not
participate in IFLC is that they “did not know that such resources were available.” It is also noteworthy
to mention that while “don’t need assistance” is the primary reason why respondents do not participate in
IFLC, it is the fourth most common reason mentioned by those who do not participate in UFLC.

        Table 3: Reasons for Not Participating in Faculty Learning Communities
    Top 5       UFLC (n=37)                                       IFLC (n=83)
        1.      Do not have time (31%)                            Don’t need assistance (26%)
        2.      Busy research agenda (19%)                        Do not have time (19%)
        3.      Students are responsible for their learning (16%) Didn't know resources were available
        4.      Don’t need assistance (12%)                       Busy research agenda (9%)
        5.      Teaching not highly valued (11%)                         Teaching not highly valued

        Multiple responses reported. Percentages are based on the number of responses

         The perception that one does not have the time for learning communities and that teaching is not
highly valued on campus dominated the responses to open-ended questions for both the UFLC and IFLC.
For example, one respondent mentioned that “Time is the biggest problem. I teach 9 hours + am
researching and have a hard time fitting everything in.” Another respondent conceded that “I guess I have
just been too busy with other kinds of personal development and my departmental duties.” Likewise,
another respondent noted that “I have a very heavy course load and there are not enough time slots in the
day which [I] can utilize.” Yet another respondent believes that some faculty are too independent to
engage in learning communities, and even if participation was desired there simply is not enough time in
the day. We teachers are often too independent to work with one another well. I am in the school of
nursing which requires me to teach from 8am-5pm most days...this does not allow me [time] to attend
many discussions.” It was also mentioned that participating in either UFLC or IFLC was enough, and
without incentives many respondents simply did not want to participate in either learning community.
         The written comments sometimes go in an entirely different direction. For example, as one
respondent wrote: “If I don't know how to teach well at this point in my career I shouldn't be in this
profession!” Other respondents were simply unwilling to invest any more time than they already do. In
one respondents own words, “As a contract faculty I tend to NOT put a lot of extra time into extra
activities on campus (I am already involved in the Freshman Reader selection committee.)” There is also
the lack of respect for and a deep seeded distrust of colleagues. For example, “Sometimes these faculty
meetings can turn into a bitch fest if there isn't a strong agenda at the outset. When a particular goal is set
the sessions go much better!” Another respondent asserts that “There have been instances where I have
chosen not to participate and the most common reason is that I do not trust the motives or integrity of my
colleagues or I do not believe they are intellectually or emotionally capable of entering into such a
discussion without an adverse emotional reaction.”

         UFLC and IFLC are popular among teaching faculty. As learning communities, UFLC and IFLC
are valuable resources for professional development, fostering collegial relationships, and seeking peer
input. Both types of learning communities are perceived as benefiting those who participate by providing
insight into student needs and teaching strategies. But this exploratory study appears to suggest that the
structure of the learning communities and perhaps the motivations behind participants have an affect on
the potential benefits of participation.
         And what about those who choose to not participate in FLC? There appear to be those who have
decided that they do not have a need for what FLC have to offer. Perhaps they may perceive themselves
as being effective instructors. Or they may believe that given the relatively low status associated with
teaching on campus that their abilities to educate are “good enough” and not in need of refinement.
Conflicting demands on one’s time, especially those associated with research endeavors, appear to have
an affect on the value one places on teaching, regardless of perceived pressures by the university to

Ball State University Faculty, (http://www.bsu.edu/web/assessment/ OIRfacts/FACULTY05.htm).
Boud, D. 1999. Situating Academic Development in Professional Work: Using Peer Learning.
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Boyer, E. L. 1990. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professorate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie
        Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Cronon, E. D. and J. W. Jenkins. 1994. The University of Wisconsin: A History 1925-1945, Vol 3.
       Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Gabelnick, F., J. MacGregor, R. Matthews, and Barbara Leigh Smith. 1990. Learning Communities. San
       Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Hodges, L. C. 2006. Helping Faculty Deal with Fear in To Improve the Academy, Resources for Faculty,
        Instructional, and Organizational Development by Sandra Chadwick-Blossey (ed), Bolton, MA:
        Anker Publishing Co.
Knowles, M. S. 1980. The Modern Practice of Adult Education. From Pedagogy to Andragogy. Chicago:
Layne, J, J. Froyd, J. Morgan, and A. Kenimer. 2002. “Faculty Learning Communities,” Proceedings,
        Frontiers in Education.
Leigh Smith, B. 2001. The Challenge of Learning Communities as a Growing National Movement. Peer
        Review, Fall 2001, at http: www.aacu-edu.org/peerreview/pr-fa01/pr-fa01features1.cfm.
        Retrieved 09/25/04.
Nyhan, B., P. Cressey, M. Tomassini, M. Kelleher, R. Powell. 2004. European Perspectives on the
        Learning Organization. Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 28,1:67-92.
Powell, J. W. 1981. The Experimental College. Cabin John, Md: Seven Locks Press.
Richlin, L. and M. D. Cox. 2004. Developing Scholarly Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching and
        Learning Through Faculty Learning Communities. New Directions for Teaching and Learning,
        97: 127-135.
Wright, W.A. and M.C. O’Neil. 1995. Teaching Improvement Practices: International Perspectives. In
        W.A. Wright and Associates, Teaching Improvement Practices: Successful Strategies for Higher
        Education. Bolton, MA: Anker.
Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Adult, Higher, and Community Education at Ball State
University, mdudka@bsu.edu, and Michael P. Brown, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Criminal Justice and
Criminology at Ball State University, mbrown@bsu.edu

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education,
University of Missouri- St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

               Online Humor: Oxymoron or Strategic Teaching Tool
                                        Stuart V. Hellman


         As more courses are offered in an online delivery format, instructors are concerned with
the best practices for conducting an online course. There is one tool many have failed to use and
that is humor. Multiple studies report the benefits of using humor in a face-to-face environment.
Those benefits include creating a more supportive learning environment, retaining knowledge,
creating a sense of community, and reducing stress. This integrative literature review describes
how humor was successfully used. A description of how humor has been used in online course is


        In 1997 Gubernick and Ebeling (as cited in Gaines, 2002) predicted the number of online
students would triple by the year 2000. Accordingly, there is a need to address the unique
concerns of the online student. The physical separation between student and teacher reduces the
personal interaction. The “hallway talk” occurring before and after a class session cannot be
replicated in an online format. Another element, spontaneity, is lost. A quip, pun, or humorous
story may be difficult to replicate online. The best thing that an instructor can do is to have the
students feel a sense of community in a cyber classroom.
        The benefits offered by an online delivery method include flexibility, effectiveness,
efficiency, multi-sensory experiences, interactivity, and affordability (Deal, 2002). A caveat is
that e-learning requires the student to adapt to a new learning approach. Going from a face-to-
face (F2F) to an online delivery format may be a difficult adjustment for some adult students.
There is a pedagogical change from the classroom setting. The online learner needs to be aware
of the “interactions between the learner, the tutor, and the teacher” (Helic, Krottmaier, Maurer
and Scerbakov, 2005) in an online learning environment.
        As there are advances in technology, the transition from a F2F format to an online course
is a logical progression. Experts are not certain about the best practices for instruction in these
new technologies. Schofield, Walsh and Melville (2001) stated that online courses are a new
frontier pedagogically, technologically, and organizationally. Many teachers teach an online
course with little preparation and need to be aware of the benefits humor brings.


        Humor is a broad topic in the sense that the use of humor applies to almost any situation.
In the classroom or at the workplace there will be times when humor is used. In conducting the
literature review for this article, the subject areas were restricted to education and educational
psychology as these two fields are the focus of the research.
        A database search for literature on the topic of “humor” in combination with “online
education” or “distance education,” resulted in a short list of keyword matches. During the initial
research, only James’ (2004) commentary was displayed on the results list. Further searching

was conducted using keyword searching using “adult education” as the main keyword with
combinations of “humor,” “online education” and “distance education.” Database searching used
ProQuest, First Search (ERIC), and EBSCO periodical databases. There was little overlap or
cross referencing between the different databases.
        The results of the searches were examined using multiple criteria. The first criterion used
was to verify the keywords that the search engine used to locate an article. In some cases, the
results listed a match finding one of the keywords when using a compound keyword. An
example if this situation was when “online education” was used as one keyword parameter and
the search results indicated “education” as the classification. The next criterion was reading the
abstract, looking for keywords that may not have been used to classify the document. The final
criterion was the title. If the title indicated that the use of humor, or investigating online
education, the article was further investigated for inclusion in the literature review. Any results
listing only a citation and no other accompanying documentation, such as an abstract, were not
        After evaluation of the search engine results, a copy of the article was obtained. The
documents were acquired either as an electronic file or through the help of library resources. As
each article was read, main points of the study were documented, categorizing the results as per
James’ classifications as shown below. The literature review section in articles provided another
avenue to locate further research. The majority of the articles selected for this review revealed
how humor is used in a F2F delivery method. If a study reported using humor in a portion of
online course, that study was evaluated for inclusion.

                                    Conceptual Framework

       Because little research exists that specifically examines the use of humor in online
courses, instructors lack a theoretical foundation for effectively using humor in the online
environment. Although many of the same issues identified on the use of humor in F2F classes
may apply to online courses, the virtual context presents new issues and problems. A preliminary
review of the literature shows very little research of the usage of humor in the online delivery
platform. In contrast, the extensive research on the use of humor in a F2F environment as
documented by James (2004) includes:
       1. Creating a more supportive learning environment;
       2. Retaining knowledge;
       3. Creating a sense of community and;
       4. Reducing stress

       The following section is divided into two parts. The first section will show studies used to
measure the benefits of and the effective use of humor in the face-to-face environment. Next, a
review of effective communication in online courses is presented.

Humor in the Face to Face Environment
        There have been multiple studies (e.g. Ziv, Kaplan and Pascoe, et al) investigating the
different applications of how humor can be applied in the classroom as evidenced by summaries
below. The results of these studies show the effective use of humor in a F2F delivery mode
presenting evidence to support the list of humor benefits shown above.

         Creating a More Supportive Learning Environment. Ziv (1979) reported the effects on
learning when teaching with humor. The amount and type of humor influences learning (Gorham
and Christophel, 1990). Communicative behaviors that enhance physical and psychological
closeness have a positive effect on learning outcomes. There is a relationship between a teacher’s
sense of humor and creating a more favorable climate for learning. Wanzer and Frymier (1999)
found that student learning and an instructor’s humor orientation was associated with increased
perceptions of learning.
         Retaining Knowledge. Kaplan and Pascoe (1977) stated that groups receiving lectures
with more concept-related humor did significantly better in recalling examples. Although the
comprehension was not affected, there was a better recall of humorous examples than the non-
humorous examples. Studying the effect of humor vs. non-humor on learning and retention in a
computer based science lesson, Snetsinger and Grabowski (1994) found there were no significant
differences in terms of learning and retention.
         Sense of Community. Stuart and Rosenfeld (1994) examined the relationship between
students’ perception of teachers’ use of humor and classroom climate. Humor is a tool that helps
establish rapport between the students and the teacher, producing a better learning community.
Hübler and Bell (2003) stated that humor serves as an ethos (the distinguishing characteristic or
nature) function in online communities that form around e-mail. Humor can be a central appeal
to a group’s discourse. The use of humor allows virtual groups to perform social functions, such
as hierarchies within, forming and maintaining the community.
         Reducing Stress. Flowers (2001) promotes the use of humor in technology education. In
this article, a list of when to use and how to use humor is presented in the literature review.
Included in this list is stress relief.

Effective Communication in Online Learning
        As with any endeavor, communication is an important component. In an online
environment, the importance is increased. A definition of an online course has the student
working in a solitary environment without the direct support of or interaction with the instructor
and other students. The instructor of an online course needs to have his/her presence felt in the
online delivery format. Although the instructor is not physically present, immediate feedback and
the quick answering of questions, build this perception.
    Using e-mail or forums such as threaded discussions (similar to a bulletin board system with
questions and responses listed chronologically in an electronic format) to post responses creates
an electronic dialogue. Instead of listening to a lecture, the students access the learning materials
and exchange their ideas and thoughts. Instructors should use written language that includes
humor and metaphor (Gibbs and Fewell, 1997) in their responses. This concept applies to e-mail
as well as Internet learning materials. Note that the dynamics of class interactions change when
the dialogue is shared.
    Most frequent e-mail users have had the unpleasant experience of attempting humor in a
message only to have the recipient take offense to a message that, if delivered in person, would
be received with the expected response. This problem is magnified in threaded discussions
because each comment is available to the entire group. Experienced online instructors tend to err
on the side of caution in the use of humor. As a result, they could be avoiding the use of an
important instructional strategy that demonstrates enhancing learning in F2F courses.

    Computer–Mediated Communication. CMC is the “talk” metaphor in an online course. By
comparing online interaction to F2F conversation, CMC is more like conversation. This form of
communication is interactive, spontaneous, and unplanned.
        Adapting asynchronous communication calls for need of CMC (DeBard and Gurdera,
2002). Due to advancement of educational technology as a delivery platform, there is concern
over economy and quality of education provided. The authors list seven principles of effective
teaching in any environment. The one principle listed is the need for student-faculty contact.
        Described in a study by Baym (1995) is the use of humor in CMC communication. The
author indicates that there has not been much research in this area. When using CMC, there is a
lack of visual and auditory information. This missing information strips cues found in normal
speech. Some say that using an electronic communication causes anonymity for the author of the
message while others say an identity is created. Humorous performance in the messages creates
group solidarity, group identity, and individual identity.


         Communication and an instructor’s presence and support within the virtual classroom are
essential elements of effective online instruction. This presence includes timely feedback to the
students, accessibility, and the encouragement to build a learning community among the class
members. The best way to accomplish this task is through computer-mediated communication.
Baym (1995) has shown that humor can be injected in e-mail messages or threaded discussion
posts that bring an instructor’s personality to light.
         These instructor attributes, such as presence and support, are accomplished with
communication. CMC, as noted previously, works well with humor. The unknown variable in
this situation is will students know when instructor being humorous? Until the students are
familiar with the instructor’s personality and ways of communicating, the humor should be used
with caution. If the instructor must interject humor and wants the students to know that the
communication was an instance of humor, the use of an emoticon, such as a smiley or frowning
face, would be in order.
         There is a need for supporting the online delivery method. As stated above, an online
student is in a solitary mode with no physical connection to other students or the instructor. The
instructor needs to create that support and a favorable climate for learning; at the same time build
a sense of community. How the instructor uses the humor, such as establishing rapport will help.
Since online is multimedia, humorous graphics of examples can be used in the online
environment as well as serious ones. Unfortunately, the humorous example may be recalled more
than the serious one.


       As noted in this literature review, many uses of humor have been successfully used in the
F2F environment. There are many benefits to using humor such as a creating a supportive
learning environment, building a sense of community, and knowledge retention. With the use of
humor as a teaching tool, one needs to consider the delivery format. The online format is one of
multimedia, using multiple presentation methods of the learning materials to have the students be
engaged. The more students are engaged, the more successful the students will be in a course.

         Communication is integral in the online delivery method. That communication, that
connection will also help create a supportive learning environment and a sense of community
among those enrolled in an online course. The presence, be it physical or psychological, will help
students be successful in this delivery mode. An instructor has to make their personality come
through via communication. As described above, CMC can be an important tool, a method in
which to continue the communication between student and instructor as well as between student
and student. Threaded discussions would be another tool to increase communication. Until
students know you, the instructor as a person, humor in a message may be misunderstood.
         There is some crossover from F2F to the online environment. Research indicates there are
no significant differences between distance education and face-to-face courses in terms of
learning outcomes (Snetsinger and Grabowski, 1994). Usage of humor reviewed can be applied
in the online delivery mode. However, the quick quip or pun many not be interpreted correctly in
a textual format as opposed to the verbal format. Humor does have many forms such as cartoons,
pictures, and sound files. These types of humor could replace any of the banter that normally
occurs in a classroom
         Further directions for research include replication of reviewed studies in an online
delivery method. Little of the treatments or measurement instruments would have to change as to
the methodology. The exception to this statement is the sample of study conducted by Ziv (1979)
did not include adult learners as subjects. All learning materials used in the replication studies
would be uploaded to the course management software for access by the students. The same
measuring instruments used in F2F could be used such as surveys or course grades to determine
the variables of interest noted in the humor studies.
         It is possible that this integrative literature review is not complete. There may be more
combinations of keyword searches, subject areas, and authors that could be used or not
referenced to in the literature reviewed here. One of the desired outcomes of this article was to
initiate the further investigation of the use of a powerful teaching tool, humor, in a different
delivery format. One can use humor as a teaching tool regardless of the delivery format.


Baym, N. K. (1995). The performance of humor in computer mediated communication. Journal
      of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11, (2).

Deal, W. (2002). Distance learning: Teaching technology online, The Technology Teacher, 62, 1,

DeBard, R., and Guidera, S. (2000). Adapting asynchronous communication to meet the seven
      principles of effective teaching. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 28(3), 219-

Flowers, J. (2001). The value of humor in technology education. The Technology Teacher, 60,
      (8), 10-13.

Gaines, M.C. (2002). Educational infrastructure in an age of globalization: Intelligent buildings,
       virtual facilities, and virtual instruction? The Educational Forum; Fall; (67) 1, 63-68.

Gibbs, W. J., Fewell, P.J. (1999) Virtual Courses and Visual Media. VisonQuest: Journeys
       toward Visual Literacy. Selected readings from the Annual Conference of the
       International Visual literacy Association (28th, Cheyenne, Wyoming, October 1996)

Gorham, J., and Christophel, D.M. (1990). The relationship of teachers’ use of humor in the
      classroom to immediacy and student learning. Communication Education, 39, 46-62.

Helic, D., Krottmaier, H., Maurer, H. and Scerbakov, N. (2005). Enabling project-based learning
       in WBT systems. International Journal on ELearning, 4(4) 445-461.

Hübler, M.T. and Bell, D.C. (2003). Computer-mediated humor and ethos: Exploring threads of
       constitutive laughter in online communities. Computers and Composition, 20, 277-294.

James, D. (2004). A need for humor in online courses. College Teaching, 52, 3, 93-94.

Kaplan, R. and Pascoe, G. (1977). Humorous lectures and humorous examples: Some effects on
      comprehension and retention. Journal of Educational Psychology, 69, 61-65.

Snetsinger, W. and Grabowski, B. (1994). The use of humor in a CBI science lesson to enhance
       retention. National Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and
       Technology. (16th, Nashville, TN, February 16-20, 1994)

Schofield, K., Walsh, A., and Melville, B. (2001). Online learning and the new VET practitioner:
       Implications for the organisation of their work. Working paper. Technology University-
       Sydney, (Broadway). Research Center for Vocational Education and Training

Stuart, W. D. and Rosenfeld, L.B. (1994). Student perceptions of teacher humor and classroom
        climate. Communication Research Reports, 11, 1, 87-97.

Wanzer, M. B., and Frymier, A. B. (1999). The relationship between student perceptions of
      instructor humor and students’ reports of learning. Communication Education, 48, 48-62.

Ziv, A. (1979). The teacher’s sense of humour and the atmosphere in the classroom. School
        Psychology International, 1(2), 21-23.

Stuart V. Hellman, Professor – Computer Information Systems, DeVry University, 1221 North
Swift Road, Addison, IL 60101, hellman@dpg.devry.edu . A special thanks to Dr. Laurel Jeris
for her encouragement in the development of this paper.
Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

  Common Elements for Re-orienting Higher Education Institutions in Various Countries
          toward Lifelong Learning: Research and Implications for Practice

                                                John A. Henschke

         Abstract: This research study focused on the question: What common elements will need to be considered
         to help higher education institutions in various countries shift toward a lifelong learning focus? Research
         is presented on the background and experiences of various institutions in this regard, developing a policy
         statement on elements of this re-orientation as a product of a worldwide conference, and ultimately
         constructing “measurable performance indicators” [MPI] for the seven elements — overarching
         frameworks, strategic partnerships and linkages, research, teaching and learning processes,
         administration policies and mechanisms, decision support systems, and, student support systems and
         services. Research and implications for practice within various organizations and countries are also

         Higher education institutions around the world in the 21st century are being faced with serving the
educational and learning needs of a non-traditional population [older than the traditional college age of 18-22]. This
new population requires different approaches for fulfilling their educational desires. They come into the higher
education setting on a part time basis, study and take courses for a period of time, and then drop out for a while.
They return later, seeking to ‘pick up’ their course of study again where they were when they were previously
enrolled. Research on how institutions may be able to address this situation is needed.
Research Design
          This research study focused on the question: What common elements will need to be considered to help
higher education institutions in various countries shift toward a lifelong learning focus? Some Adult Educators at
the University of Missouri — St. Louis (UMSL) were involved in researching the background of this topic on the
North American Continent and the Northern Hemisphere. Other Adult Educators at The University of The Western
Cape [UWC], Cape Town, South Africa were involved in researching the background of this topic on the African
Continent and the Southern Hemisphere.
          This information was shared as one backdrop for a worldwide conference on the topic of “Lifelong
Learning, Higher Education and Active Citizenship” held in Cape Town in October, 2000. There were 95 Adult
Educators from 19 countries at the conference. This was also a follow-up and continuation of the work begun at the
UNESCO Fifth International Conference on Adult Education in Hamburg, Germany, 1997, continued at the
University of Mumbai, India in 1998, and the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education in Paris in 1998.
           These gatherings of adult educators resulted in the formulation of the Cape Town Statement on
Characteristic Elements of a Lifelong Learning Higher Education Institution. They named six major elements. The
next step in the process saw the two schools from South Africa and The University of Missouri, changing those six
elements to seven major elements, and developing measurable performance indicators [MPI] for the practice of
lifelong learning in higher education institutions.
          A five member team from The University of Missouri [UM] went to Cape Town to work with personnel
from The University of The Western Cape [UWC] in May, 2001. The aim and task of this meeting was to address
the issue of moving a higher education institution moving from a traditional orientation toward a lifelong learning
orientation. They developed Measurable Performance Indicators [MPI] for tracking the progress of any educatrional
institution in the direction of Lifelong Leaning. This information also applies to the educational function of other
institutions as well. This coming together of adult educators two different times resulted in the formulation of the
Cape Town Statement on Characteristic Elements of a Lifelong Learning Higher Education Institution, and the MPI.
The six [and ultimately seven] elements included: [1] Overarching Frameworks, [2] Strategic Partnerships, [3]
Research, [4] Teaching and Learning Processes, [5] Administration Policies and Mechanisms, [6] Decision Support
Systems, and, [7] Student Support Systems and Services. Some of the major changes that occurred during this
process included, but was not limited to the following.
Developing a Life Long Learning Definition
          A master concept or principle regarded as the continuous and never complete development, changes, and
adaptation in human consciousness that occur partly through deliberate action but even more as a result of the
business of living, where learning may be intentional or unintentional that includes acquiring greater understanding
of other people and the world at large, based on five pillars of learning: learning to live together, learning to know,

learning to do, learning to be, and learning to change (Henschke, 2000)..

Faculty Development of Good Practices Oriented Toward Understanding and Helping Adults Learn
  1. Determining learner needs                                                                      (Maehl, 2000).
             • assessed carefully
             • addressed
                     o fairly &
                     o equitably
  2. Adult learning programs
             • arise from needs assessment
             • planned to accomplish learner outcomes
  3. Adult learning experiences
              • high quality
                      o positive learning environment
                      o flexibility
                      o adaptability
                      o mutual respect between
                                   teacher &
              • adult learner-centered
                      o encouraging a positive psychological environment by learning
                      o allowing learner participation in the design of experiences
                      o relating learning to learner’s
                                   prior experience &
                      o using varying types of learning techniques
                      o recognizing & addressing different learning styles
                      o providing continuous feedback to learners
                      o arranging appropriate physical settings
  4. Adult learning assessment
              • outcome based
              • (designed to evaluate participants’ previous learning
                      o formal or
                      o informal
   5. Faculty and staff needing
              • to be adequately prepared to work with adult learners by
                      o participating in faculty development learning experiences &
                      o keeping abreast with the current literature and research in how to help adults learn
              • to participate in ongoing evaluations and development of their own capabilities in six major
                  building blocks of
                      o beliefs and notions about adults learners
                      o perceptions concerning qualities of effective teachers
                      o ideas of the phases and sequences in the learning process
                      o teaching tips and learning techniques
                      o implementing the prepared plan
                      o cultural and contextual awareness
              • to articulate and clarify their own teaching philosophy regarding adult learners
   6. Programs for adult learners having
              • clearly stated missions
              • sufficient resources to carry out their missions
                             rigorous financial administration that supports the adult, lifelong learning mission
                             necessary services for
                                  • learning &
                                  • student support
                             policies governing

                                      • learner confidentiality &
                                      • other matters
                                ethical standards for
                                      • learner recruitment &
                                      • professional practice
7. Identifying Characteristics of Highly Effective Adult Learning Programs
          Characteristics of Highly Effective Adult Learning Programs are clearly delineated by a major piece of
research (Billington, 2000; Henschke, 2000). It was as though this research snapped multiple pictures of a barely
visible phenomenon from various angles, and when developed, all pictures revealed the same clear image. Results
revealed that adults can and do experience significant personal growth at midlife. However, adult students grew
significantly only in one type of learning environment; they tended not to grow or to regress in another type. What
was the difference? The seven key factors found in learning programs that stimulated adult development are:
     1) An environment where students feel safe and supported, where individuals needs and uniqueness are
              honored, and where abilities and life achievements are acknowledged and respected.
     2) An environment that fosters intellectual freedom and encourages experimentation and creativity.
     3) An environment where faculty treats adult students as peers-accepted and respected as intelligent
         experienced adults, whose opinions are listened to, honored, and appreciated. Such faculty members often
         comment that they learn as much from their students as the student learn from them.
     4) Self-directed learning, where students take responsibility for their own learning. They work with faculty to
         design individual learning programs which address what each person needs and wants to learn in order to
         function optimally in their profession.
     5) Pacing or intellectual challenge. Optimal pacing is challenging people just beyond their present level of
         ability. If challenged too far beyond, people give up. If challenged to little, they become bored and learn
         little. Pacing can be compared to playing tennis with a slightly better player; your game tends to improve.
         But if the other player is far better and it’s impossible to return a ball, you give up overwhelmed. If the
         other player is less experienced and can’t return one of your balls, you learn little. Those adults who
         reported experiencing high levels of intellectual stimulation – to the point of feeling discomfort—grew
     6) Active involvement in learning, as opposed to passively listening to lectures. Where students and
         instructors interact and dialogue, where students try out new ideas in the workplace, and where exercises
         and experiences are used to bolster facts and theory, adults grow more.
     7) Regular feedback mechanisms for students to tell faculty what works best for them and what they want and
         need to learn—and faculty who hear and make changes based on student input.
8. Changing Faculty Roles
         Emphasis on changing faculty roles focused on moving according to the following paradigm (:Lemkuhle,
        2000; Henschke, 2000):

Away From                                                                                Towards

             The Instructional Paradigm                                The Learning Paradigm
                                                 Learning Theory

> Knowledge existing ‘out there’                           > Knowledge existing in each person’s mind & being
                                                                shaped by individual experience

> Knowledge coming in ‘chunks’ & ‘bits’ delivered by       > Knowledge being constructed, created, and
     instructors                                                internalized

> Learning as cumulative and linear                        > Learning as a nesting & interacting of frameworks

> Fits the ‘storehouse of knowledge’ metaphor              > Fits the ‘learning how to ride a bicycle’ metaphor

> Learning as teacher-centered                             > Learning as student-centered

> Learning as teacher controlled                             > Learning as the students’ responsibility

> ‘Live’ teacher, ‘live’ students required                   > ‘Proactive’ learner required with teaching resources

> The classroom and learning are competitive and             > Learning environments and learning are cooperative,
       individualistic                                             collaborative & supportive

> Talent and ability are rare                                > Talent and ability are abundant


> Definition of productivity as instructing the unlearned        > Definition of productivity as helping adults learn

> Cost per hour of instruction per student                   > Cost per unit of learning per student

> Funding for hours of instruction                           > Funding for learning outcomes

                                                    Nature of Roles

>Faculty as authoritarian experts                            >Faculty as models exemplifying lifelong learning

>Faculty as primarily lecturers                              >Faculty as primarily designers & implementers of adult
                                                             learning techniques & environments

>Faculty and students acting independently and in            >Faculty and students working in teams with each other
isolation                                                    and with other staff

>Teachers classifying and sorting students                   >Teachers helping develop every student’s
                                                             competencies and talents

>Staff serving/supporting faculty and the process of         >All staff as educators who help produce student
instruction                                                  learning and success

>Any expert can teach                                        >Empowering learning through challenging and
                                                             complex means

>Line governance; independent actors                         >Shared governance, teamwork

The Measurable Performance Indicators
          One of the major trends in LLL focuses on Performance Indicators (P1) that requires the characteristic
elements to be measurable and concrete in action. It is well to note that moving educational institutions toward
serving the needs of all lifelong learners is a lifelong endeavor that will continue for many years. The discussions
between the UM Team and the UWC Personnel modified the original six (6) “Characteristic Elements” into seven
(7). The seventh one that was added to the original six was “Decision Support Systems. A few accompanying
“Measurable Performance Indicators” [MPI] are indicated in the list that follows. The complete MPI Instrument is
available from the author by request from the following e-mail: henschkej@missouri.edu
(1) Overarching Frameworks — provide the context that facilitates operation as a lifelong learning institution. This
     would mean that all stakeholders relating to the institution have a financial policy and implementation plan, the
     legal framework, and the cultural/social sensitivity as a foundation to operating the institution for serving
     lifelong learners.
(2) Strategic Partnerships & Linkages — form collaborative relationships internationally, with other institutions
     nationally, and with other groups in society. The indicators needed will focus on increasing the institution wide
     concern with promoting and increasing the number and quality of partnerships across multiple departmental,
     institutional, national, and international boundaries. Decisions regarding choice of programmes, assessment of
     learning outcomes, curriculum design and methods are a shared responsibility based on collaborative processes
     among academic staff, service staff and learners.

(3) Research — includes working across disciplines, institutions, investigating what kinds of institutional
      adjustments need to be made to help the institution better serve lifelong learners: i.e. convenience,
      transportation, child care services, locations of offerings, library accessibility, computer and website services,
      etc. In addition, targets are set for increasing and encouraging a broader range of research paradigms: action
      research, case studies, story telling, etc.
(4) Teaching & Learning Processes — Educators will need to move their teaching and learning processes away
      from the “instructional paradigm” toward the “learning paradigm,” thus encouraging self-directed learning,
      engaging with the knowledges, interests and life situations which learners bring to their education, and using
      open and resource based learning approaches. They will need to use different teaching methods that respond to
      the diverse learning styles of lifelong learners, including CO-learning, interactive learning, and continuous
      learning while integrating appropriate technology. The learners and faculty will need to mutually design
      individual learning programs that address what each learner needs and wants to learn in order to function
      optimally in their profession. This all means that the institution plans to employ and develop faculty who see
      their primary roles as facilitators of the learning process as opposed to dispensers of information, thus moving
      their development toward: knowing as a dialogical process; a dialogical relationship to oneself; being a
      continuous learner; self-agency and self-authorship; and connection with others.
(5) Administration Policies & Mechanisms — service to learners is the top priority of the administration. The
     mission statement and allocation of resources, including staffing is increased to reflect the institutional
     commitment for operating a lifelong learning institution. The operational system in imbued with a belief that
     demonstrates active and systematic listening turned into responsiveness to meet needs of lifelong learners.
     Registration, class times, and courses — including modular choices and academics support — are available at
     times and in formats geared to the convenience of learners.
(6) Decision Support Systems — provide within the institution and community an atmosphere that is people-
     centered, caring, warm, informal, intimate and trusting. It also maintains a demographic profile on programs
     aimed at increasing the numbers of: students served, courses offered, locations of offerings, and contracts for
     educational programs with different organizations.
(7) Student Support Systems & Services — provides learner-friendliness, convenient schedules, and in various
     ways encourages independent learning. Obligations and responsibilities of the learners, educational providers
     and administration service are made clear from the beginning.
Updates and Follow-Through in Higher Education and Other institutions
          In 2002, John A. Henschke was instrumental in enlisting two people he knew and had worked with to
translate the Cape Town Statement into two other languages beside English. Dr. Eihab Abou-Rokbah, a Saudi
Arabian Ph. D, graduate from the University of Missouri - St. Louis, translated it into the Arabic language. Ms.
Wang Yan, Director of the International Educational Programs at the Beijing [Peoples’ Republic of China]
Academy of Educational Sciences translated it into the Mandarin Chinese language. These are being used in the
countries where these languages are spoken in conjunction with the efforts of the UNESCO Institute of Education
           In September, 2003, a six-year review on the UNESCO Institute of Education [UIE] 1997 Hamburg,
Germany Confintea V Conference was held in Bangkok, Thailand. The “measurable performance indicators” [MPI]
for characteristic elements of a lifelong learning higher education institution were distributed and discussed among
the eighteen [18] representatives of the participating institutions. The MPI have been shared and presented at
numerous adult education conferences in the USA and internationally.
           In addition, The Barnes, Jewish, Christian [BJC] Health System in St. Louis, MO [the fourth largest health
care system in the USA] adopted the MPI as the standard toward which the institution will move itself in re-
orienting their focus. In 2004, Dr. Susan Isenberg, a Ph. D. graduate from University of Missouri - St. Louis, and
Director of the Center for Training and Development, A BJC Center for Lifelong Learning at Christian Hospital,
implemented adult learning principles [andragogical] and the MPI into their institutional operation. They developed
“Strategic Plan 2004” with the vision to be recognized as a magnet lifelong learning center by 2009. The Strategic
Plan includes four [4] major components: Demonstrate Excellent Customer Service, Demonstrate Teamwork to
Earn Each Other’s Trust, Create a Change Welcoming Healthy Work Culture, and Be Financially Responsible.
          The reflection of this BJC Strategic Plan moving forward is depicted in additional documents entitled:
“Operational Plan,” “GAP Plan,” and “Action Plan.” Results from the first year of implementing the Strategic Plan
included the following new things: Place, name, responsibilities, programs, partnerships, and attitude. The second
year results instituted: An e-learning center, online registration, Wound Center, Diabetes Center, six [6] promotions
to leadership positions of the original twelve [12] staff. In addition, Dr. Isenberg has been promoted to a new staff
position [reporting to the President], that will oversee the development of the Christian Hospital in accordance with
the adult learning [andragogical] principles and the Measurable Performance Indicators [MPI], thus connecting these

with Corporate Profitability.
         In the 2002 annual report of the Division of Lifelong Learning at The University of The Western Cape
[UWC] in South Africa, they posted their progress regarding key performance areas of lifelong learning:
Recognition of Prior Learning [RPL], advocacy for a lifelong learning orientation, workplace learning and
continuing education, part-time studies, and lifelong learning research and teaching. By 2003 the UWC Senate
decided to adopt a thematic approach to monitoring the lifelong learning mission at UWC.
         The theme for 2004 at UWC was on accredited part-time studies, in which they also developed the
substantially revised fourth edition of “Juggling to Learn,” which is a handbook for students, educators and
administrators in the UWC part-time programme. The aim of this document is to improve the quality and success of
part-time provision at UWC by: [1] Providing suggestions for getting started in the programme; [2] Giving
information on useful services; [3] Giving tips on learning and teaching; and, [4] Communicating the protocol and
encouraging its implementation.
         Additional examples of implementing the MPI will be provided as they become available and known in the
future. Further explanation of the MPI implications will also be presented, as information about the results is shared
by the various organizations and institutions.
Implications of Applying the Findings to Practice or Theory
         Developing the 78 Measurable Performance Indicators [MPI] for the seven Characteristic Elements of a
Lifelong Learning [LLL] Orientation for Higher Education Institutions, was what made the ‘rubber meet the road’ in
applying this research to the practice of a higher education institution. Numerous institutions, educational and
otherwise, have adopted the MPI in helping move their LLL educational operation into reality.

                                            Bibliographical References

“Action Plan,” Christian Hospital Center for Training and Development, St. Louis, Missouri.
“Agenda for the Future” and “The Hamburg Declaration,” (July, 1997) Confintea V-UNESCO International
         Conference on Adult Education, Hamburg, Germany.
Billington, Dorothy D. (1988) Ego Development and Adult Education. Doctoral Dissertation, Santa Barbara, CA:
        The Fielding Institute.
Delors, Jacques. (1998) Learning: The Treasure Within: Revised Edition. Report to UNESCO of the International
         Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century. Paris, France: UNESCO Publishing.
Division of Lifelong Learning [DLL], (2002). Annual Report. The University of the Western Cape, Beilville, Cape
         Town, South Africa [SAl. See Website for full annual report updates: www.uwc.ac.za/dll
Equity, access, and success in higher education in South Africa for adult learners and workers. (2005,,).
         C;\ptreseai’ch\che 2005 0313 draft article — v3mbsw.doc.B, CT, SA: UWC Document,
Flint, Thomas A., & Associates, (1999) Best Practices in Adult Learning: A CAEL / APQC Benchmarking Study.
         New York: Forges Custom Publishing.
 “Gap Plan March 2004,” Christian Hospital Center for Training and Development, St. Louis, Missouri,
Henschke, John A. (2000) “Moving a University or College Toward a Lifelong Learning Orientation,” Proceedings
        of the International Conference on Lifelong Learning,Beijing, China: Beijing Normal University—
        Divisions of Lifelong Learning &International Comparative Education; Beijing Adult Education
        Association; Caritas Adult & Higher Education Service — Hong Kong.
Henschke, John A. (1987) “Training Teachers of Adults.” In Materials & Methods of Adult Education. Menlo Park,
        CA: Klevens Publications, Inc.
Juggling to learn: Planning for success ni the part-time programme (4th substantially revised edition). (2005). A
        handbook for students, educators and administrators in the part-time programme. Beilville, Cape Town,
        South Africa: The University of The Western Cape
Kohl, Kay J., Ed. (2000) Lifelong Learning Trends: A Profile of Continuing Higher Education, Sixth Edition.
         Washington, D. C.: The University Continuing Education Association.
Lemkuhle, Steve. (2000). “Instructional & Learning Paradigm.” Adopted from Barr & Tagg, Change, 1995, p. 16,
        and adapted by Henschke.
Maehl, Wm. H. (2000) Lifelong Learning at Its Best: Innovative Practices in Adult Credit Programs. San Francisco,
         CA: Jossey—Bass Publishers.
Monitoring the implementation of the lifelong learning mission. (27 October 2004). Draft report prepared for
         submission to the Senate Lifelong Learning Committee (SLLC). Accredited part-time studies provision at
         The University of The Western Cape [UWC]. B, CT, SA: UWC Document.
“Mumbai Statement on Lifelong Learning, Active Citizenship and the Reform of Higher

        Education,” (April, 1998) Department of Adult and Continuing Education and Extension of the University
        of Mumbai in Mumbal, India. Statement developed and made in preparation for the World Conference on
        Higher Education: Higher Education in the 21~ Century in Paris, October, 1998.
“Operational Plan 2004,” Christian Hospital Center for Training and Deveolpment, a BJC Center for Lifelong
          Learning, St. Louis, Missouri.
Profiles of Success for 2005. (2000) Cape Town / Bellville, South Africa: The University of The Western Cape —
        Division of Lifelong Learning.
Serving Adult Learners in Higher Education: Principles of Effectiveness, Executive Summary. (2000) Chicago:
         Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.
Smith, Wendell. (1998) “Report and Recommendations on the Implementation of Lifelong Learning at UWC.”
         Unpublished Manuscript — University of Missouri.
“Strategic Plan 2004,” Christian Hospital Center for Training and Development, a BJC renter for Lifelong
         Learning, St. Louis, Missouri
Taylor, Kathleen, C. Catherine Marienau, & Morris Fiddler. (2000) Developing Adult Learners: Strategies for
        Teachers & Trainers, San Francisco: Jossey—Bass Publishers.
“The Cape Town Statement on Characteristic Elements of a Lifelong Learning Higher Education Institution,”
         (2001) Co-Authored by Shirley Walters, Werner Mauch, Kathy Watters, & John A. Henschke. Cape Town,
         South Africa: The University of The Western Cape — Website http:llwww.uwc.ac.za/dll/conferencelct-
The University of The Western Cape JUWCJ regognizes your prior learning: Your experience and motivation can
         become the key to your future degree at UWC. (2005). B, CT, SA: UWC Document.
Walters, Shirley. “Draft Report and Recommendations on the implementation of Lifelong Learning at UWC.”
         Unpublished Manuscript — UWC.
Walters, Shirley, & Volbrecht, Terry. “Developing Lifelong Learning at the University of the Western Cape:
        Strategic Plan for the University Mission Initiative on Lifelong Learning.” Unpublished Manuscript —
Wood, Tahir. (2001) “Academic Planning 2001.” Unpublished Manuscript — UWC.

   John A. Henschke, Associate Professor, Adult Education, University of MO-St. Louis, and Continuing
                      Education Specialist with University Outreach & Extension

International Research Foundation for Andragogy and the Implications for the Practice
                             of Education with Adults
                                     John A. Henschke and Mary K. Cooper

         This study searched the literature providing an international research foundation for
         andragogy. Six themes have emerged: The evolution of the term; historical antecedents
         shaping the concept; comparison of American and European understandings; popularizing of
         the American concept; practical applications; and theory, research, and definition.
         Implications are provided for the practice of andragogy within the fields of adult, continuing,
         community, extension, and human resource development education.

    Merriam (2001) posited that the scholarship on andragogy since 1990 has taken two directions. One seeks
analysis of the origins of the concept for establishing it as a scientific discipline. The other critiques andragogy
for its lack of attention to the learning context. She also asserts andragogy as one of two “pillars” of adult
learning theory [self-directed learning being the other pillar] that will engender debate, discussion, research, and
thus further enrich our understanding and practice of facilitating adult learning. Kapp (1833) first introduced the
term [see replica on http://www.andragogy.net ]. Lindeman (1926) was the first to bring it to the USA, with the
term coming into common use internationally through the work of Malcolm Knowles (1970).
     On the one hand, some adult educators tended to strongly favor Knowles’ version of andragogy, by using a
practical approach when facilitating adults learning within their own setting and context. Kabuga (1977)
advocated using highly participative teaching/learning techniques with children as well as adults in his native
Africa. Zemke and Zemke (1996) selected at least thirty ideas/concepts/techniques that they think we know for
sure about adult learning. Henschke (1995) focused on describing a dozen different andragogical episodes with
     On the other hand, some adult educators tended to dismiss Knowles’ version of andragogy as being quite
inadequate and unscientific. Hartree (1984) asserted that Knowles’ theory of andragogy fails to make good its
claims to stand as unified theory and does not incorporate an epistemology. Davenport (1987) presented a case
for questioning the theoretical and practical efficacy of Knowles’ theory of andragogy. Jarvis (1984) wrote that
the theory of andragogy has moved into the status of an established doctrine in adult education, but without being
grounded in sufficient empirical research to justify its dominant position.
     The weakness of the above picture is that both sides seem to stop short in their discussion and understanding
of andragogy. In our quest, we found that most of the published material on andragogy that reaches beyond these
limitations is largely untapped and not understood.
     The purpose of this study was to answer the question: What are the major English works published around
the world on andragogy [the art and science of helping adults learn] that may provide a clear and understandable
linkage between the research on andragogy and the practice of andragogy within the fields of adult, continuing,
community, extension, and human resource development education?
     Two major underpinnings were relevant for the decision of what was included in this interpretive study: Any
material in English that presents various aspects of the concept of andragogy as viable and worth consideration
for the field on a world–wide basis; and, a presentation and view of the content of andragogy within any country
of the world that includes no date/time boundaries. Sources included that referenced andragogy were: Various
data bases, research and theory journal articles, practice pieces, conference proceedings, books, dissertation
abstracts international, and bibliographic references within the above materials. The six major themes discovered
are: Evolution of the term andragogy; historical antecedents shaping the concept of andragogy; comparison of
the American and European understandings of andragogy; popularization of the American concept of andragogy;
practical applications of andragogy; and, theory, research and definition of andragogy.

Evolution of the Term Andragogy
     Van Gent (1996) asserted that andragogy has been used to designate the education of adults, an approach to
teaching adults, social work, management, and community organization. Its future lies only as a generic term for
adult education and as a complement to pedagogy, which has been used mainly to focus on the art and science of
teaching children.
     Nevertheless, in recent years pedagogy has been used to refer to the art or profession of teaching. Thus,
Davenport (1987) argued that some adult educators strongly urge that adult education would simply be better off
to drop the word from its lexicon. However, Hooks (1994) said “the possession of a term does not bring a
process or practice into being: concurrently one may practice theorizing without ever knowing/possessing the
term…” (p. 61). Kaminsky (no date given) suggested that whether we have knowledge for naming something
academically or not, we may still be practicing pedagogy, andragogy, or any other ‘gogy’ or ‘ism’. Thus,
Henschke (1998a) asserted that long before the term andragogy appeared in published form in 1833, ancient
Greek and Hebrew educators if not others used words that, although they were antecedents to andragogy,
included elements of the concept that has come to be understood as some of the various meanings and definitions
of andragogy. As an illustration of using words that may be unclear or do not have one precise definition,
Webster (1996) included 179 definitions of the word ‘run’. However, we have not given up use of that term
because of the multiplicity of definitions.
     Reischmann (2005) made a clear distinction in his definition between andragogy and adult education. He
defined andragogy as the science of the lifelong and lifewide education/learning of adults. Adult education is
focused on the practice of the education/learning of adults. Another definition is that of Zmeyov (1998) who
aptly defined andragogy differently from others. He said that andragogy is “the theory of adult learning that sets
out the fundamentals of the activities of learners and teachers in planning, realizing, evaluating and correcting
adult learning” (p. 106).
     Draper (1998) in providing an extensive, world-wide background on andragogy, reflected on and presented
an overview of the historical forces influencing the origin and use of the term andragogy. He concluded,
“Tracing the metamorphoses of andragogy/adult education is important to the field’s search for identity. The
search for meaning has also been an attempt to humanize and understand the educational process” (p. 24).

Historical Antecedents Shaping the Concept of Andragogy
      Wilson’s (2003) researched into the historical emergence and increasing value of andragogy in Germany and
the USA and discovered, among other things, a connection between a foundational element in adults’ brain
capacity to continue learning even into their later years – a concept labeled as ‘fluid intelligence’ – and their brain
capacity for learning being enhanced through andragogical interventions in self-directed learning. However,
Allman (1983) predated Wilson regarding this same connection between plasticity in adult development. She
asserted that this concept and research coupled with Mezirow’s (1981) and Knowles’ (1970, 1980) understanding
of andragogy could be linked with her ideas on group learning and then merged into a more comprehensive
theory of andragogy.
      Heimstra and Sisco (1990) suggested a situation that gave rise to the emergence of andragogy as an
alternative model of instruction to improve the teaching of adults. They asserted that mature adults become
increasingly independent and responsible for their own actions. Thus, those adults are often motiviated to learn
by a sincere desire to solve immediate problems in their lives, have an increasing need to be self-directing, and in
mnay ways the pedagogical model does not account for such developmental changes on the part of adults, and
thus produces tension, resentment, and resistance. Consequently, the growth and development of andragogy is a
way to remedy this situation and help adults to learn. Their article also presented an extensive list of 97
annotated bibliographical references related to andragogy.
     Savicevic (1999) suggested that Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Sophists, Ancient Rome, the epochs of
humanism and the renaissance, all reflect thoughts and views about the need of learning throughout life, about the
particularities and manners of acquiring knowledge in different phases of life, and about the moral and aesthetic
impact. Henschke (1998) went back earlier in history and claimed that the language of the Hebrew prophets,
before and concurrent with the time of Jesus Christ, along with the meaning of various Hebrew words and their
Greek counterparts -- learn, teach, instruct, guide, lead, and example/way/model -- provide an especially rich and
fertile resource to interpret andragogy. Savicevic (2000) also provided a new look at some of the background and
antecedents to andragogy on a much broader scale.
Comparison of the American and European Understandings of Andragogy
      Savicevic (1999) provided a critical consideration of andragogical concepts in ten European Countries – five
western (German, French, Dutch, British, Finnish), and five eastern (Soviet, Czech-Slovak, Polish, Hungarian,
Yugoslav). This comparison showed common roots but results in five varying schools of thought: [1] Whether
andragogy is parallel to or subsumed under pedagogy in the general science of education; [2] whether agology
(instead of andragogy) is understood as a sort of integrative science which not only studied the process of
education and learning but also other forms of guidance and orientation; [3] whether andragogy prescribes how
teachers and students should behave in educational and learning situations; [4] the possibility of founding
andragogy as a science is refuted; and, [5]that endeavors have been made to found andragogy as a fairly
independent scientific discipline.
Savicevic (1999) clearly aligned himself with the fifth school of thought in that this research aims toward
establishing the origin and development of andragogy as a discipline, the subject of which is the study of
education and learning of adult in all its forms of expression.
      Knowles (1995) provided the most articulate expression and understanding of andragogy from the American
perspective. The structure of the theory is comprised of two conceptual foundations: The learning theory and the
design theory. The learning theory is based upon the adult and her/his desire to become and/or to express
themselves as a capable human being, and it has six components. [1] Adults need to know a reason that makes
sense to them, for whatever they need to learn. [2] They have a deep need to be self-directing and take
responsibility for themselves. [3] Adults enter a learning activity with a quality and volume of experience that is

a resource for their own and others’ learning. [4] They are ready to learn when they experience a need to know,
or be able to do, something to perform more effectively in some aspect of their life. [5] Adults’ orientation to
learning is around life situations that are task, issue- or problem-centered, for which they seek solutions. [6]
Adults are motivated much more internally that externally.
     Knowles’ (1995) conceptual foundation of the design theory is based in a process, and is not dependent upon
a body of content, but helps the learner acquire whatever content is needed. There are eight components of the
design process: [1] Preparing the learners for the program; [2] setting a climate that is conducive to learning
[physically comfortable and inviting; and psychologically – mutually respectful, collaborative, mutually trustful,
supportive, open and authentic, pleasurable and human]; [3] involving learners in mutual planning; [4] involving
learners in diagnosing their learning needs; [5] involving learners in forming their learning objectives; [6]
involving learners in designing learning plans; [7] helping learners carry out their learning plans; and, [8]
involving learners in evaluating their learning outcomes, or re-diagnosing their additional learning needs. Active
involvement seems to be the watchword of Knowles’ (thus American) version of andragogy, and each step of the
andragogical learning process.
     The European concept of andragogy is more comprehensive that the American conception. Europeans do
not use the terms andragogy and adult education synonymously, as do some Americans (Young, 1985). Dover
(2006) suggests that although Malcolm S. Knowles was not the first to use the term, his popularization of
andragogy explains why Knowles is one of the most frequently cited theorists in adult education, and is often
referred to as ‘the father of adult learning’.
Popularizing of the American Concept of Andragogy
     Lindeman (1926) was first to bring the concept to America. Although he clearly stated that andragogy was
the method for teaching adults, the term did not take hold in the new land until many years later. Knowles (1970,
1980) infused it with much of his own meaning garnered from his already extensive experience in adult
education. He then combined his expanding practice around the world with his university teaching of budding
adult educators.
         Dover (2006) ackowledges that Malcolm S. Knowles was not the first to use the term. However, she suggests that his
    popularization of andragogy explains why Knowles is one of the most frequently cited theorists in adult education, and is often referred
    to as ‘the father of adult learning’.

Practical Applications of Andragogy
      Practical applications of andragogy – the 66 applications of andragogy in 25 countries (Cooper and
Henschke, 2006) were in such varied contexts as business, web technology, government, continuing professional
education, colleges and universities, adult basic education, personal growth, nursing, foreign language, health
care, real estate, service industry, religious education, distance education, and rural community education, This
list defied identifying the most important one, since all of them seemed important on their own merits.
      Nevertheless, we will indicate a few applications. Billington (2000) contrasted growth and regression
elements in learning environments. Simonson, et al. (2003) identified that andragogical characteristics are needed
in distance education systems designed for adults that are derived from Knowles’ concept of andragogy.
Mezirow (1981) and
Suanmali (1981) found adult educators supporting self-directed learning as forming a charter for andragogy.
Theory, Research and Definition of Andragogy
      Rosenstock-Huessy (1925) advanced the idea that andragogy is a necessity in which the past, present and
future merges with theory becoming practical deeds; Simpson (1964) gave four strands for the training of adult
educators; Hadley (1975) developed a 60 item questionnaire assessing an adult educator’s andragogical and
pedagogical orientation; Henschke (1989) developed an Instructional Perspectives Inventory with seven factors
including teacher trust of learners; Stanton (2005) validated Henschke’s instrument in line with self-directed
learning readiness, resulting in an almost perfect bell-shaped curve; the Nottingham Andragogy Group (1983)
addressed their beliefs about adults and adults’ abilities to think creatively and critically in learning settings;
Poggeler (1994) listed the ten trends which he hopes will help future andragogical research; Schugurensky (2005)
did not understand the scope of andragogy in general and Knowles’ idea of andragogy in particular; Zemyov
(1994) saw Knowles’ view of andragogy as being the fundamental scientific foundation of the theory base of
adult education in Russia; Delahaye (1994) found an orthogonal relationship between adult students’
andragogical and pedagogical orientation; Christian (1982) developed a 50 item instrument to measure student’s
andragogical and pedagogical orientation; Connor (1997-2003) pressed us to become more self-reliant and giving
up our teacher-reliance; Hoods Woods (1998) perceived andragogy as being based on four environmental
influences active in every being; Boucouvalas (1999) posited the importance of the researcher in the research
process; Johnson (2000) saw andragogy as fulfilling all the criteria of a theory; Rachal (2000, 2002) provided
seven criteria for empirical research in andragogy; Ovesni (1999) supported the idea that andragogy is to generate
its own knowledge and is able to offer something to other sciences in scientific cooperation; Aspel (2003)
encouraged us to change from pedagogy to andragogy even though it may be a slow transition; Ross
(198?)connects some of andragogy’s value with its similarity to research in teacher effectiveness; Monts (2000)
articulated the need for basic instruction of both teachers and students in andragogy; Reischmann (2005)

represented a shift of understanding in the direction of andragogy; Henschke (1998a) called for andragogy to be a
scientific discipline of study; Furter (1971) proposed that andragogy be recognized in universities as a science for
the training of man throughout his life; Adande & Jegede (2004) hold that andragogy is one of the new sciences
of education that is now gaining ground in many areas; Merriam (2001) posited that scholarship on andragogy is
one of the two major pillars of adult learning research and theory; Reischmann (2005) offered some historical
perspective on the various periods that the term “andragogy” emerged and later receded; Pinheiro (2001) found
that international students in American universities prefer learning experiences with the andragogical themes of
engagement and connectedness; St. Clair (2002) allowed that andragogy is one theory for the 21st century that
will maintain its role as a necessary component of the field’s shared knowledge; Savicevic (1999b) added
another element to the scientific foundation and design of andragogy by searching its roots; Kajee (No Date)
reported that with ESL students, the major impact of andragogy and technology is on learner autonomy and self-
directedness; Wilson (2004) offered a new paradigm of the function of the brain and its anatomy being much
more closely allied with andragogy and learning than previously thought; Milligan (1999) summarized andragogy
as contributing vastly to the enhancement of human abilities of autonomy, self-direction, and critical thinking;
Mazhindu (1990) established a foundational link between andragogy and contract learning; Ovesni (2000)
proposed three concepts and models of andragogues professional preparation based upon scientific research in
andragogy; Krajinc (1989) provided a very succinct and pointed definition of andragogy; Heimstra and Sisco
(1990), and Heimstra (no date) contributes an annotation of 97 works related to andragogy; Savicevic’s work in
andragogy is the most comprehensive to date (1999); Savicevic (2000) also provided a new look at some of the
background and antecedents to andragogy on a much broader scale. Cooper and Henschke (2006) provided an
ongoing investigation into the comprehensive concept of andragogy.
Conclusions: Implications of Applying the Findings to Practice, Theory or Research
      Although it has not been possible to go into the depth needed for a full understanding of andragogy in this
paper due to space limitations, hopefully the six major themes that have emerged are enough to encourage the
adult, continuing, community, extension, and human resource development educator to continue her/his
exploration (theory, practice and/or research) of the concept of andragogy.
     One important implication is that much of the research on andragogy emerged out of practice, and thus there
is a strong connection for applying these findings to the improvement of practice and theory. A second important
and striking implication is that the strength of the andragogical theory, research, and definition foundation, may
advance the practice of helping adults learn in adult, continuing, community, extension, and human resource
development education. A third implication is the benefit to be derived by those adult, continuing, community,
extension, and human resource development educators, who are willing to intentionally use andragogy as a
means for finding out, learning, ascertaining new things for their growth; thus, it may help them understand fresh
ways to enhance the enlightenment and illumination of the adult constituents they serve on the journey to their
full degree of humaneness.


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 John A. Henschke, Associate Professor, Adult Education, University of MO-St. Louis, and Continuing
 Education Specialist with University Outreach & Extension, Henschkej@missouri.edu ; Dr. Mary K.
 Cooper, Assistant Professor, Adult Education, University of MO-St. Louis, Cooper@umsl.edu

     Who Has Access: The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and Incumbent Workers

 John L. Hopkins, M.Ed., Catherine H. Monaghan, MBA, Ph.D., Catherine A. Hansman, Ed.D.


        This qualitative case study investigated the impact of Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
funding on the providers and planners of programs for incumbent workers in one Midwest WIA
region. From a critical theory perspective, the study applied Matland’s ambiguity/conflict
framework to WIA implementation. Conflicts over participants’ roles in the WIA system and
over interpretation of the legislation and ambiguity about the process of implementation
emerged. Methods to better address the needs of incumbent worker development using the
functional context approach are discussed.

        Incumbent workers are employed members of the labor force who may need additional
skills or training to remain employed. Using critical theory as a lens, the researchers described
the effects of WIA, demonstrating how the application of critical theory to an education program
planning can illuminate the process of planning and help create more effective legislation on
workforce development and its implementation. The research question was: How did the WIA
funding system impact the providers and planners of programs for incumbent workers?
        WIA authorized funding and established a system for the implementation of local and
state workforce development systems. While the legislation specifically provided for the
inclusion of incumbent workers (Patel & Strong, 2003), few resources have been directed to
upgrading their skills, with the majority of documented efforts focusing on placement services
for unemployed or new workers (Workforce Investment Act, 1998, Atkinson, 1999). Incumbent
workers may be served by WIA funds in three ways: through the regular employment and
training services by the one-stop centers, through on-the-job training or special employer-based
curriculums provided by the local WIA system, and through state-reserve funding that allows the
states to provide innovative services directly (Workforce Investment Act, 1998). Several
critiques of WIA have been published, addressing services provided to the unemployed and to
those entering the workforce (Barnow & King, 2003, Patel & Strawn, 2003, Savner, 1999). This
research showed no indication that WIA implementation was addressing incumbent workers.
Cervero and Wilson (2006) explain that educational programming is a political process that
defines “who is at the planning table making evaluative judgments” as well the “political
dynamics that occur at the table” (p. 230). WIA’s effects on program planners for incumbent
workers can be better understood by asking what the decisions reveal about stakeholders’
objectives, how their spoken objectives conflict with their actions, and how both conflict with the
explicit program objectives.


        Six participants were purposively selected and interviewed to create a cross section of
those involved with the WIA implementation process in the region. The participants were Mary,

a current one-stop center director; John, a local business representative and former Workforce
Investment Board member; Jane the county’s manager of service and performance for workforce
development; and Dan, Ann and Dave, three upper-level managers at the state’s workforce
development office. Interview data was analyzed through the constant comparative method,
using Matland’s (1995) ambiguity/conflict framework. Matland’s framework divides policy
implementation conflict into jurisdiction conflict and interpretation conflict. Jurisdictional
conflict involves disagreements over the roles that participants play. Interpretation conflict is
conflict that arises from differences in the interpretation of a policy. Ambiguity is also divided
into two types: goal ambiguity and means ambiguity. Goal ambiguity refers to a lack of clarity
on a policy’s intended results—the goals of the policy. Means ambiguity refers to a lack of
clarity on the process by which a policy is to be carried out (Cohen, Timmons & Fesko, 2005,
Matland, 1995). Trustworthiness (validity) was ensured through multiple methods of data
collection, building an audit trail, working with a research team, and utilizing member checks.


        Study participants shared an understanding of WIA’s two-fold goal of creating a
seamless, locally tailored workforce development system and of helping develop the skills of the
incumbent workforce. Participants agreed that WIA strived to ensure that the system was
substantially influenced by the needs of local businesses, and that the means WIA required
planners and implementers to follow called for a system that emphasized job placement for the
unemployed. This emphasis was achieved by requiring everyone who sought WIA-funded career
training to undergo job placement and general-literacy and job-skill development before
accessing training. An incumbent worker could not access training unless the first two services
failed to provide an increased income. These requirements presented obstacles to incumbent
workers obtaining the skill development they needed to maintain their current employment or
improve their ability to contribute to the competitiveness of the local workforce. Analysis
utilizing Matland’s framework revealed four themes in the data. Change Agent Conflict relates to
conflicts about what the roles should be under the WIA system and who should foster
implementation of the new policy. Power Broker Conflict relates to who had the real power
irrespective of the assigned change agent roles. Policy Interpretation Conflict revolved around
the participants’ interpretation of the intention of the legislation toward incumbent workers.
Finally, Ambiguity of Means addresses the clarity (or lack thereof) of the process for carrying out
the programs to help incumbent workers.
        Change Agent Conflict. This conflict centered on who had the power for change: the
power structures that existed prior to WIA implementation continued after its implementation,
blocking substantial change and favoring the maintenance of the previous system. Both John and
Mary cited strong resistance to the role of a change agent by the long-term powers and supported
the point that the legislation was presented as a way for change to be driven from the local level,
making businesses and their current workers competitive, rather than just helping under-prepared
workers to enter the job market. However, as John stated, the reality was that “though we were
led to believe that there was going to be a change…there was a bureaucracy in place and it was
not going to change.” The state-level participants in this study suggested that WIA had been
successful in its redistribution of decision-making power because, at the local level, power had
been distributed more broadly and included much more influence from representatives of
business. Dan, the highest-level state administrator participating in this study, explained that

“there’s a much larger shared responsibility for the decision making, as opposed to the past,
where it was limited probably to high-ranking officials in the area.”
         Power Broker Conflict. This second jurisdictional conflict involved a disagreement in the
perception of who had the real power to be a change agent. Local-level study participants
perceived the state as maintaining control over the redesign of the workforce development
system while state level study participants said that the power to redesign the system had moved
from their hands to the local level. As a specific example, Jane described a situation where local
providers would agree on how to collaborate, and then when an agency reported back to their
state-level supervisors “the state agency said ‘we’re doing all of it’”. This prevented any
integration at the local level. This jurisdictional conflict involving the disagreement in the
perception of power between the local and state levels was demonstrated in the description of the
state “option” system for WIA. The option was implemented at the state level as a way for any
interested local WIA area to essentially merge with others into one large WIA region, in effect,
delocalizing the workforce development system. Participants from the local level viewed this
option as a state initiative to diminish local power. Jane further explained that this attempt to
unite local areas was challenged on the federal level. This conflict was also evident in the local
recommendations on how to improve WIA implementation, which centered on the need for the
state to involve the local areas in decision making
        Policy Interpretation Conflict. This conflict centered on how participants interpreted
WIA’s language regarding the incumbent workforce: some study participants interpreted the
legislation to focus on incumbent worker training, while others interpreted incumbent workers as
a minor concern of the legislation. However, Mary questioned whether this was an acceptable
interpretation of WIA: “There have been several communities that have found ways to use these
resources for incumbent workers but I would push that somebody might question whether that
was legitimate.” The state level participants’ interpretations were summed up by Dave who said
“I think that it was for incumbent worker training….What it did was it told the locals they could
use their money for incumbent worker training, but it didn’t give them any extra money for it.”
Mary pointed out that early in the WIA process, the legislation was interpreted as an initiative to
address incumbent worker skills: “the Workforce Investment Board at the State level was
adamant about [incumbent worker training] being a focus.” And there was a lot of talk and
discussion about employers getting involved because it was an opportunity for them to have
some influence over not only incumbent worker training, but other training as well. So, while all
interpreted the legislation to at least allow for incumbent worker training, there was conflict in 1)
the perception of the importance of the incumbent workforce in the achievement of the goals of
WIA, 2) the definition of incumbent worker, and 3) interpretations regarding the supply or lack
of resources to fund the incumbent worker portion of WIA.
        Ambiguity of Means. This theme revealed that planners and providers did not find clear
guidance on the process for providing incumbent worker development. Instead, they found
guidance only on developing a system for serving youth, the unemployed and very low-income
workers as individuals, independent of their workplace. Jane, the local legislative expert, made it
clear that WIA did not provide much guidance about incumbent worker training. She explained,
“if you look through [the guidelines] there’s really not a lot…in terms of providing services to
employers, although you are expected to…help employers [with] incumbent worker kind of
training.” The state level administrators agreed that trying to apply a fair standard in incumbent
worker training is a major challenge, raising the issue of how to decide whose employees
received such training. Ann also pointed out the WIA guidelines describe qualified participants

in terms of individuals and make no provisions for qualifying a group of workers in a specific
job classification. The means to meet adult, dislocated and youth goals were clear in the
legislation with funds allocated to them, creating an unambiguous set of funded means and
accountabilities that directed planners’ attention toward dislocated workers, unemployed adults
and youth. However, the legislation did not have any clear means, funding, accountabilities, or
even incentives, for addressing incumbent worker training needs.


         The two conclusions drawn from this research reveal that WIA had effects on planners
and providers of services for incumbent workers that are contrary to the stated goals of the
legislation. First, WIA created a systematic structure that inhibited providers and planners from
engaging in incumbent workforce development. Second, WIA implementation disempowered
and disengaged business representatives in supporting government-based workforce
development efforts.
         WIA Structure Prevented Incumbent Workforce Development. Several legislation
issues contributed to WIA creating a system that supported services to unemployed and new
workers only—effectively preventing providers from addressing incumbent workers. While WIA
included incumbent workers in its goals, it laid out specific tasks and requirements for serving
the unemployed without providing any such guidance on addressing the incumbent worker. This
centered implementers’ attention on serving unemployed and new workers. Evaluation criteria,
which focused on obtaining employment and increasing wages, reinforced the system’s focus on
the unemployed. Participants indicated that the resulting WIA system did not have the issue of
incumbent workforce development as a goal, and it did not offer the structure, services or
expertise necessary to address incumbent worker issues. This is evident in their descriptions of
how the system required a quick increase in individual income for incumbent workers as the
criteria for both eligibility in and for program success. Incumbent workers often need training
just to maintain their income. The goals of workplace education should include both maintaining
employment of the worker and keeping the business competitive.
         Disempowering and Disengaging Business Representatives. WIA’s language
emphasized incumbent worker development, local decision making, business influence on
implementation, and services to employers. This created an expectation that local business
representatives would be empowered to significantly change the county workforce development
system to help employers provide incumbent worker training. But WIA made no provisions for
that training. Many business people lost hope that the system was willing or able to collaborate
with businesses, and would actually address workforce development. Several forces contributed
to this. First, even though businesspeople were brought into the system for guidance on how to
address their workforce needs, the mandated one-stop structure did not provide a way to offer
employer-based workforce development. Second, participants described a system that resisted
change. Efforts to direct the system toward incumbent worker development were blocked by the
power structures that existed prior to WIA implementation. Those in power used WIA’s explicit
requirements to defend these decisions. Trust between business representatives and public sector
bureaucracies broke down. This was exacerbated by differences in the pace of change that
participants required: businesses must plan and respond to changes in the environment on a short
timeline. Failure to do so can result in devastating effects to the business economy. This
contributed to the breakdown in relationships between the public and private sector. These

conflicts disempowered and disengaged business leaders who had been highly motivated and
committed to contributing to the workforce development system.
        This study described a policy-mandated system that failed to meet one of its explicit
goals: employer-based workforce development. The system design did not consider the context
of incumbent workforce development from the employers’ perspective. In both practice and
theory, it might be useful to look at the role that workforce development plays in economic
development. Considering economic development puts a focus on local businesses—its
strengths, weakness, challenges and opportunities. It considers improved competitiveness of the
workforce as a whole as one basis for evaluation, in addition to the benefit provided to each
individual, making economic competitiveness a driving force behind decision making. While the
services to meet individual needs are still primary, local employers’ workforce needs play a
much greater role in determining what skills are addressed and how they are addressed.
        Adult Educators at the Planning Table. Adult education practitioners who specialize in
the functional context approach (FCA) must have significant power at the planning table to
ensure a well planned and conscious development of policy and programming that will meet
stakeholder objectives. FCA integrates the work context into the learners’ process to develop a
practically skilled workforce (Philippi, 1991). FCA practitioners bring a unique ability to build
links between the other stakeholders that guarantee the identification and programmatic
achievement of their objectives. They link the policy makers with the employers by providing
the methods to identify employers’ workforce development objectives—methods that can form
the foundation for policy objectives that truly address workforce development. They link policy
makers with local providers by helping develop policy objectives that can be effectively
implemented, ensuring a system that will support incumbent workforce development. They link
local providers with both workers and employers through a structured method of designing and
implementing workplace education programs that achieve both the policy objectives and the
employers’ objectives. And most significantly, FCA practitioners link employers with workers
by eliminating assumptions about skill needs, identifying the skill gaps between a particular
workforce and the job-skill demands of their workplace, and closing that gap in a way that
necessitates the transfer of learning to the workplace. Adult educators must see their input as
crucial from the very inception of policies such as WIA, and become willing and active
participants from the beginning. Adult educators can play a unique role for government and
business, negotiating the abstract needs and desires of both into practical policies and programs
that can address the concerns of both, and they must take the initiative to making sure they play
that role. Finally, if business is to rely on the government for support of workforce development,
trust must be rebuilt and the timeline conflict must be reconciled. The fact that business must
frequently plan on a short timeline cannot be changed. Planners, practitioners, employers and
government entities must resist the temptation to blame each others’ limitations, reinforcing
negative perceptions and giving up on collaboration, while the workers suffer from these
disputes in ways that none of the parties can afford.
        Further Research. Future research should investigate the development of systems for
workforce development funding including effective evaluation methods. Investigation into how
organized labor might be brought to the planning table to represent the objectives of the workers
could prove valuable, as would research into the positive and negative roles that organized labor
has played in the formation and implementation of similar policies. Since all study participants
who were directly involved in WIA implementation cited difficulties in ensuring fair selection of
employer participants in a way that is uncontrolled by political influences, research into fair and

effective means of establishing eligibility criteria is also recommended. Research on the
integration of the functional context approach into a workforce development system that relies
on government resources and is directed at the needs of business is important. Finally, scholars
may contribute significantly to workforce development that benefits workers by addressing ways
to reconcile the public and private sectors’ differences in timeframes they require for
implementing change.


Atkinson, R. D. (1999). Building skills for the new economy: A policymaker’s handbook.
        Washington, DC: Progressive Policy Institute.
Barnow, B. S., & King, C. T. (2003). The Workforce Investment Act in eight states: Overview of
        findings from a field network study--Interim report. Albany, NY: Nelson A. Rockefeller
        Institute of Government.
Cervero, R.M., & Wilson, A. L. (2006). Working the planning table: Negotiating democratically
        for adult, continuing and workplace education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Cohen, A., Timmons, J. C., & Fesko, S. L. (2005). The Workforce Investment Act: How policy
        conflict and policy ambiguity affect implementation. Journal of Disability Policy Studies,
        15, 221–230
Matland, R. (1995). Synthesizing the implementation literature: The ambiguity/conflict model of
        policy implementation [Electronic version]. Journal of Public Administration Research &
        Theory, 5, 145-175.
Patel, N., & Strawn J. (2003). WIA reauthorization recommendations. Washington, DC: Center
        for Law and Social Policy.
Philippi, J. (1991). Literacy at work: The workbook for program developers. New York: Simon
        & Schuster Workplace Resources.
Savner, S. (1999). Key implementation decisions affecting low-income adults under the
        Workforce Investment Act. Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy.
U. S. Department of Labor (1999). Legislative summary: Workforce Development Act of 1998.
        Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Labor.
Workforce Investment Act, 105 U.S.C. § 220 (1998).
John L. Hopkins, Workplace Education Consultant, Workplace Basics, 12 McClure Drive,
Lakewood, Ohio 44107. workplacebasics@cox.net

Catherine H. Monaghan, Assistant Professor, Graduate Programs in Adult Learning and
Development, Cleveland State University, Rhodes Tower 1415, 2121 Euclid Ave., Cleveland,
Ohio 44115-2214. c.monaghan@csuohio.edu

Catherine A. Hansman, Professor & Program Coordinator, Graduate Programs in Adult Learning
& Development, Cleveland State University, 2121 Euclid Ave., Rhodes Tower 1419, Cleveland,
Ohio 44115-2214. c.hansman@csuohio.edu

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

    Radiology Administrators’ Perceptions of the Hospital’s Organizational
                  Learning Environment: A Pilot Study

                                        Nina Kowalczyk


         A pilot survey was conducted to examine if geographic location of a hospital affects the
degree to which a medical institution is a learning organization and if the presence of a learning
organization affects the adoption of digital imaging and affiliation with an integrated healthcare
system. A questionnaire was adapted from the Dimensions of the Learning Organization
Questionnaire to assess radiology administrator’s perceptions of their hospital’s learning
organization characteristics. The questionnaire used in this survey was a reliable measure of
seven dimensions of a learning organization at three levels. Demographic information was
collected regarding the adoption and implementation of digital imaging technology and
affiliation with an integrated health system. Questionnaires were mailed to a random sample of
50 Appalachian county hospitals and to 50 hospitals identified by U.S. News and World Report
as a “most wired hospital” in 2005 with a response rate of 32.7%. Hypothesis testing for
differences between populations was conducted using a T-test for independent groups with a
.975t28 = 2.048. All statistical hypothesis were retained at alpha = .05 because the calculated t
values for the means of each dimension and the means of the total learning organization score
was less than the critical value.


        Over the past decade business academics, as well as business and industry leaders have
shown an interest in the concept of “learning organizations” as a mechanism to maintain a
sustainable competitive advantage. Senge (1990) was instrumental in identifying strategies for
companies to transform their companies into organizations in which continuous learning occurs
and in the identification of the leadership traits necessary for conversion to a learning
organization. Healthcare institutions today are changing at an exponential rate to keep abreast of
the technological advancements in medicine. Implementation of a national electronic medical
record is a technological advancement of critical importance. In the United States, vital medical
record information is fragmented and scattered in many locations because of antiquated paper
record keeping posing a threat to patient safety. Implementing an electronic medical record
requires the use of digital medical imaging technology. This technology has been widely
embraced by the medical community in large metropolitan areas, but a need still exists in rural
and underserved areas of this country. Additionally, research indicates that hospitals associated
with an integrated health system tend to have a competitive advantage resulting in a higher level
of financially stability allowing investments in digital imaging and electronic medical record
technology. Research in human resource development has shown that senior leaders must
cultivate strategic and informal learning to improve strategic goals and improve performance
(Marsick & Watkins, 2003), but some healthcare institutions continue to expect that learning and
knowledge creation will take place in individual staff members without the promotion of
learning throughout the organization which may inhibit the transition to a national electronic
medical record.

Learning Organizations
        Interest in the concept of learning organizations arose from theoretical work conducted
by Argyris and Schön in 1978 and Brown and Duguid in 1991 regarding the nature of learning at
the organizational level. Learning organizations possess both an adaptive capacity and the ability
to create alternative futures. Research indicates that learning organizations have five core
strategic elements. These include: 1) shared visions, 2) shared leadership, 3) a culture that
encourages experimentation, 4) the ability to transfer knowledge across organizational
boundaries, and 5) team learning (Senge 1990, Goh 1998, Marsick & Watkins 2003). Although
differing definitions of learning organizations have been formulated, all approaches define an
organization as an organic entity with the capacity to learn. Organizational researchers also agree
that an organization’s learning capability will be an important sustainable competitive advantage
in the future. Organizational learning is greater than just the sum of the learning of individuals
working in a particular organization. It must be captured and embedded in an organization’s
systems, practices, and structures. A theoretical framework of learning organizations developed
by Watkins and Marsick (2003) is basis for this study because it provides a clear definition of the
construct of “learning organization” from an organizational culture perspective. Additionally this
theory provides measurement domains for scale construction.

Digital Imaging
        In May 2004, David J. Brailer, MD, PhD was appointed to serve as the National Health
Information Technology Coordinator in an effort to coordinate the nation’s health information
technology efforts and to support governmental and private sector development of standards and
the infrastructure necessary for the development and use of information technology promoting
better quality patient care and a reduction in healthcare costs (U.S. Department of Health &
Human Services, 2004). In addition, the recent devastation of flooding in the Gulf States by
hurricane Katrina has demonstrated a real effect of the maintenance of medical records and
health information in a paper format and their subsequent destruction.
        A review of literature was conducted to identify barriers to the adoption of digital
imaging technology. Digital imaging is a necessity in today’s healthcare environment to
maximize efficiency, improve workflow processes, and to provide quality patient care. This is
one of the fastest growing technological advancements in medicine and many hospitals located
in rural counties have been forced into the electronic age to maintain patient services. Literature
suggests that many rural hospitals join larger hospital systems to achieve economies of scale to
shield against economic uncertainty inhibiting the implementation of computerized medical
record systems (Health Information and Management Systems Society, 2002). A study of rural
hospitals in the state of Florida indicated that approximately 40% of the rural hospitals surveyed
were using teleradiology systems and 47% had implemented PACS systems (Menachemi, Burke,
Clawson, & Brooks, 2005), however, all of the hospitals who had implemented digital image
management were affiliated with a larger healthcare system.
        The use of digital imaging, teleradiology, and PACS has been shown to improve
radiologic services to rural sites and improve patient care in both Florida and New Mexico
(Telepak, Freede, Jaramillo, Alverson, 1998; Menachemi, Burke, Clawson, & Brooks, 2005).
Additionally, a study conducted linking rural sites in Pennsylvania with an academic medical
center also demonstrated an increase in the education of radiology staff working in the rural
areas (Van Slyke, Eggli, Prior, Salmon, Pappas, Vanatta, Goldfetter, & Hasham, 1996).

Purpose of the Study
        Many medical organizations seek to become “learning organizations” to improve
performance; however more research is needed to identify hospital characteristics which may
increase the organizational learning environment and to identify barriers to embracing the
concept of a learning organization. Do medical institutions with an environment more conducive
to learning implement technological advancements more frequently than medical institutions that
with an environment less conducive to learning? Do medical institutions affiliated with an
integrated system demonstrate an environment more conducive to learning more frequently than
medical institutions that are not affiliated with an integrated system?
        In an attempt to answer these questions, this study examines the relationship of radiology
administrators’ perceptions of the learning environment of their medical institution with: 1) the
adoption and implementation of digital imaging, 2) affiliation with an integrated healthcare

        According to research conducted by Marsick and Watkins (2003) a learning organization
can be measured by evaluating seven dimensions at three distinct levels, individual, team, and
organizational. This study evaluated the seven dimensions of learning organizations at all three
levels through assessing the radiology administrators’ perceptions of the following
organizational attributes:
        a. continuous learning opportunity (the summated average of responses to items 1
            through 8)
        b. inquiry (the summated average of responses to items 9 through 14)
        c. team learning (the summated average of responses to items 15 through 22)
        d. learning capture systems (the summated average of responses to items 23 through 29)
        e. shared vision (the summated average of responses to items 30 through 36)
        f. organizational connection (the summated average of responses to items 37 through
        g. strategic leadership for learning (the summated average of responses to items 43
            through 49 )

        The Dimensions of the Learning Organization Questionnaire (DLOQ) developed by
Marsick and Watkins (2003) was adapted to create a forty-nine (49) item summated rating scale
questionnaire to assess radiology administrator’s perceptions of the seven dimensions of a
learning organization. Nine (9) additional demographic questions were included. The DLOQ
(Marsick & Watkins, 2003) was designed to measure seven dimensions of a learning
organization at the individual, team, and organizational level in combination with organizational
financial and knowledge performance. Participants were asked to think about how their hospital
supports and uses learning and were requested to rate their hospital using a six point summated
rating scale (one equals “never” and six equals “always”) for each statement.
        The content validity of the original DLOQ was determined through three stages of field
testing by managers and human resource developers and item analyses were conducted on the
responses from the three field tests. Construct validity of the DLOQ was determined by

confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling was used to assess the relations
between the dimensions identified on the DLOQ.
       In terms of reliability, the original DLOQ has been used in over 200 companies and the
scales have proved consistently reliable with alpha levels above 0.70. An analysis of internal
consistency using Cronbach’s alpha was performed for each construct on this specific survey
with the following results: perceptions of continuous learning α = 0.818; perceptions of inquiry α
= 0.714; perceptions of team learning α = 0.883; perceptions of learning capture systems α =
0.725; perceptions of shared vision α = 0.730; perceptions of organizational connection α =
0.740; and perceptions of strategic leadership α = 0.703.

Data Collection
        The target population of this study is radiology administrators in Appalachian county
hospitals and radiology administrators in U.S. hospitals identified as “most wired” in 2005 by
U.S. News and World Report. A questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of fifty (50)
hospitals located within an Appalachian county and to fifty (50) hospitals identified by U.S.
News and World Report as a “most wired hospital” in 2005. Hospitals were randomly selected
utilizing a random numbers chart. In order for a questionnaire to be considered usable, a total of
fifteen (15) or more items must have been completed. Of the one hundred surveys mailed, two
were returned as undeliverable. Thirty completed surveys were returned, resulting in a response
rate of 32.7%.


         Using SPSS 14.0, frequency statistics were performed to evaluate the mean, standard
deviation, skewness, and kurtosis for each question relating to a learning organization construct
(see operational definitions above) prior to further statistical analysis. Results demonstrated
normal distribution of all responses. Following this analysis, means were calculated for each
variable construct as well as the overall learning organization scores and an independent sample
T-test was conducted to in reference to the following statistical hypotheses:
     1.     There is no difference in the strength of the presence of a strong learning organization
            between medical institutions in different geographic locations. (Ho = µ1 – µ2 = 0)
     2.     There is no difference in the strength of the presence of a strong learning organization
            between medical institutions part of an integrated system and independent medical
            institutions. (Ho = µ1 – µ2 = 0)
     3.     There is no difference in the strength of the presence of a strong learning organization
            between medical institutions utilizing digital imaging technology and medical
            institutions not utilizing digital imaging technology. (Ho = µ1 – µ2 = 0)
         The demographic characteristics indicated that 60% of the respondents were from
“wired” institutions and 40% were from institutions located within an Appalachian county. Most
respondents (80%) were employed in a digital imaging department and 66% of the respondents
were employed in a medical institution which was a member of an integrated health care system.
         Hypothesis testing for differences between populations was conducted using a T-test for
independent groups with a .975t28 = 2.048. The statistical hypothesis of no difference in the
strength of the presence of a strong learning organization between medical institutions in
different geographic locations was retained at alpha = .05 because the calculated value of 1.180
is less than the critical value. The statistical hypothesis of no difference in the strength of the

presence of a strong learning organization between medical institutions part of an integrated
system and independent medical institutions was retained at alpha = .05 because the calculated
value of 0.917 is less than the critical value. The statistical hypothesis of no difference in the
strength of the presence of a strong learning organization between medical institutions utilizing
digital imaging technology and medical institutions not utilizing digital imaging technology was
retained at alpha = .05 because the calculated value of 1.305 is less than the critical value.

        The T-test for independent groups indicated no differences could be found among any of
the variables tested. However, since this was a pilot study of a small population, it is difficult to
generalize these findings to a larger population. The small sample increases the sampling error,
so a larger sample size would yield more precise results due to a decrease in the measure of
variability. However, this pilot study was of value in assessing the internal consistency of the
questionnaire. Based on the analysis, each construct resulted in a Cronbach’s alpha of greater
than 0.7 so this instrument could be used to conduct a similar study on a larger population.


Goh, S.C. (1998). Toward a learning organization: The strategic building blocks. S.A.M.
Advanced Management Journal, 63I(2), 15-20.

Health Information and Management Systems Society (2002). 14th Annual Leadership Survey
Sponsored by Superior Consultant Company, Chicago, IL

Marsick, V.J., Watkins K.E. (2003). Demonstrating the value of an organization’s
learning culture: The dimensions of the learning organization questionnaire. Advances in
Developing Human Resources 5(2), 132-151.

Menachemi, N., Burke D., Clawson A., Brooks, R.G. (2005). Information
technologies in Florida’s rural hospitals: Does system affiliation matter? Journal of Rural
Health 12(3), 263-268.

Senge, P.M. (1990). The leader’s new work: Building learning organizations. Sloan
Management Review 23(1), 7-23.

Telepak, R.J, Freede, E., Jaramillo, R.E., Alverson, D.C. (1998). Five years’ experience
in a (really) rural teleradiology practice. Was it worth it? The successes and failures.
Medical Imaging 3339, 192-199.

Van Slyke, M.A., Eggli, D.F., Prior, F. W., Salmon, W., Pappas, G., Vanatta, F.,
Goldfetter, W., Hashem, s. (1996). Model for collaboration: a rural medicine and
academic health center teleradiology project. Medical Imaging 2711, 345-353.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2004). Secretary Thompson seeking
fastest possible results, names first health information technology coordinator. Accessed
9/22/05 at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2004pres/20040427a.html

Nina Kowalczyk, M.S. , Clinical Instructor, School of Allied Medical Professions, College of
Medicine, The Ohio State University, 340B Atwell Hall, 453 West 10th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio
43210, kowalczyk.1@osu.edu

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, University of Missouri – St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

                     Once Upon a Time: The Power of Story in Research

             Randee Lipson Lawrence, Veronica Savarese Buckley, Melany Cueva,
                      Tania Giordani, Dianne Ramdeholl, Soni Simpson

Abstract: This paper explores the role of stories in research in a variety of methodological,
cultural and geographical contexts. Stories are rich in texture, real in their descriptions of events
and experiences and are often more accessible than traditional academic approaches to
knowledge. Research that is understandable and relevant to our lives can be readily interpreted.
Thus, it can provide an effective educational tool for creating and disseminating knowledge and
translating knowledge into practice. Through the collecting and sharing of the stories of our
various research participants we have gained deeper insights into their lived experience than we
may have with other data collection technologies.


         Stories have been a way of transmitting knowledge in most cultures since the beginning
of time. Many of our earliest childhood memories include sitting on the lap of a parent or
grandparent and listening to their stories. According to Cajete (1994) “The telling of story is such
a universal part of human communication and learning that it may be that story is one of the most
basic ways the human brain structures and relates experience” (p. 137). Through stories we
share our feelings, heal wounds, discover hope, increase understanding, and strengthen
community. Indigenous people around the world still tell ancestral stories to invoke healing
spirits and inspire change (Sunwolf, 2003). Utilizing storytelling to transmit educational
messages is a traditional and culturally respectful pedagogical method practiced by American
Indian people (Hodge et al, 2002). In western culture, storytelling is an important but often
under-valued way of conducting qualitative research. And yet, human beings respond to stories
– for each of our lives is comprised of stories.
         Storytelling as a way of collecting and presenting research findings cuts across many
research paradigms. While it is most noted in narrative inquiry, biography, autoethnography and
feminist research; stories often emerge through phenomenology, case study and collaborative
inquiry as well. The narrative power of story can be very compelling, more moving, more
physically and emotionally stirring than life itself. According to Van Manen (1990), “Textual
emotion, textual understanding can bring an otherwise sober-minded person (the reader but also
the author) to tears and to a more deeply understood worldly engagement” (p. 129). It is in the
sharing of stories that we begin to learn in community with others. Possibilities become
illuminated, lighting the way for personal transformation, the subtle shifts in who we are and
how we are in the world. Stories encompass multiple functions including: relational (ways of
connecting people), explanatory (ways of knowing), creative (ways of creating reality), historical
(ways of remembering) and forecasting (ways of visioning the future) (Sunwolf & Frey 2001).
         This paper draws on theories of indigenous learning (Cajete, 1994; Sunwolf & Frey,
2001; Hodge et al, 2002), feminist research (Ribbens & Edwards, 1998), oral history (Thompson,
2000), life stories (Van Manen, 1990) and narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). The
process of apprehending experiential knowledge through stories as well as the content of the
stories themselves informs our practice as adult educators.

            Veronica’s Research: Past and Path – In the Game at 70 and Beyond
                            Women Recall Their Life Journeys

       With increased longevity, the life stories of individuals who age successfully (i.e., maintain
their independence and zest for life well into their seventh and eighth decades and beyond) may
provide insight as to the experiences that contribute to rewarding, fulfilling and independent later
lives. Women currently outlive men by seven years; yet, the bulk of aging research has not been
gender specific. This propelled me to conduct a study of a diverse group of five older women,
self-identified as aging successfully, who were willing to re-tell the stories and experiences that
they believe have placed them on the path of a successful old age.
       Two or three interviews of ninety or more minutes were conducted with each participant in
a relaxed, conversational, open-ended manner. All of the women were enthusiastic about the
process and willing to recount extremely personal tales of triumphs and tragedies. Each interview
was poignantly peppered with understanding, laughter and sometimes tears. It has been said
that “eagerness to tell one’s story signals a desire to live” (Bruner, 1999, p. 9). As each
participant drilled down further and further into her life history, her zest for life, past, present and
future, became increasingly apparent. According to Cruikshank (2003), “the emphasis in
storytelling and life review should be as much on the pleasure and satisfaction of the elder as on
the enlightenment of her audience” (p. 48). It was evident that the interviews were enjoyed by
each of the narrators and certainly by me as researcher and provoked critical reflection among all
the participants, me included. This critical reflection contributed to deeper and more meaningful
probing and informative discussions as our conversations continued.
       Cohen (2001) states that “Life story can be… a highly personal journey inward that can
lead to new self-discovery and potential in the days to follow. The external process of sharing
our experiences and telling what we know enables us to combine qualities of creativity and aging
to become keepers of the culture, the long recognized role of elders passing on values, wisdom,
and a way of life, whether in the culture of a family, a geographic community, or a people bound
by ideology” (pp. 233-234). In the study conducted, the storytelling process resulted in the
weaving of an intricate and vivid tapestry of each individual. Every one told a unique survival
tale complete with lessons for those younger and, I believe, each far more rich and colorful than
what might have resulted from a more structured, formal interview process.

                    Soni’s Research: Discover Your SELF in the Arts –
              The Role of Imagination & Creativity in Transformative Learning
        An estimated 40% of people in the US will develop cancer in our lifetimes (Healy, 2004),
approximately one in two marriages will end in divorce, a large percentage of individuals have
lost their jobs in the recent past, and nearly all of us will experience significant grief over loss of
a loved one. Clearly, the majority of adults in our culture will experience major transitions that
may cause them to experience the world and their environment in totally new ways. This
environment in which we live is, “in its most fundamental state, a qualitative one made up of
sights and sounds, tastes and smells that can be experienced through our sensory system”
(Eisner, 2002, p.1). Creative expression can link our senses to making meaning of events and our
environment, whether it is through sound (music and poetry for example), taste (gourmet
cooking), kinetic touch (dance, gardening and sculpture) or is visual (decorating, photography,
etc). The types of expression are endless. According to Eisner (2002) “work in the arts…is a way

of creating our lives by expanding our consciousness, shaping our dispositions, satisfying our
quest for meaning, establishing contact with others, and sharing a culture.” This phenomenon is
available to all people, not just those that deem themselves “artists” (p.3).
         This research documents and tells the stories of adults that experience a disorienting
dilemma as described by Mezirow (2000) and how they then find meaning through creative
expression. Creative expression informs transformation. It complements the cognitive process by
enhancing interpretation of the unconscious and increasing imagination of alternatives when one
discovers old habitual modes of interpretation are no longer effective (Cranton, 2000; O'Sullivan,
2002). Thus, Narrative Inquiry lends itself well to this study as narrative “stories” can expose
the meanings of lived experience.
         Informal, unstructured interviews were digitally recorded as respondents told their deeply
personal stories of transformation and their creative expression experience. They spoke with
passion, demonstrated their “art”, and created a new collage expression with accompanying
artist’s statement describing their feelings regarding their “art.” It was and continues to be a
particularly moving experience for both the researcher and participants. This process fits within
the “Peeling the Onion” Paradigm, as described by Clandinin & Connelly (2000). Based in
Dewey’s foundational thinking that experience is our imaginative touchstone, they place their
thinking of narrative inquiry in the following three dimensional spaces: 1- Interaction (personal
to social), 2-Continuity (past, present, and future), 3-Notion of Place (Situation). Thus, within
narrative inquiry, we move back and forth freely between these dimensions in order to develop
the true story to be told. It is through this layered approach that respondents and researcher co-
create meaning, supporting the narrative theory that we create meaning through recounting our
life events in a narrative form.
         Themes from this study have emerged in relation to non-artists discovering meaning
through creative expression and adult education’s role for the participant group. It is proposed
that the arts are not only a legitimate way of knowing - but a crucial and different way of
accessing meaning than our current western linear rationality. Thus, the stories illuminated in
this research will inform program and curriculum developers as well as grant foundations about
the potential for artistic expression in adult education programs for individual and societal
                Tania’s Research: Stories of Parents Who Become Advocates

        For too many individuals in society, feelings of powerlessness and domination are almost
inescapable (Greene, 1978 as cited in Moss, 2001, p. 43). Advocating is an essential role for
parents because it is one way to address the imbalance of power and control in the public school
system. Unfortunately in numerous school systems across the country, many parents’ voices are
suppressed and silenced, often leaving these parents feeling marginalized and oppressed. Using
narrative inquiry as my methodology allowed me the privilege of listening to parents and their
untold stories with the goal of seeking rich thick descriptive information through what Clandinin
and Connelly (2000) call the four directions of inquiry:
        1st direction: inward: feeling, hopes, aesthetic, moral reaction
        2nd direction: outward: existential conditions, environment
        3rd and 4th direction: backward/ forward: past, present, and future
        The purpose of my study was to explore the common characteristics, motivation and
experiences of strong parent advocates. My study consisted of eight women, who are all parents
of children attending public schools. These phenomenal women’s lived experiences offer us all

lessons and stories of inspiration. Narrative inquiry is not only concerned with these stories but
also how these stories are told, keeping in mind at all times that these stories are “personal
interpretations of past times [that] are often in deep and ambivalent conflict with the official
interpretive devices of a culture” (Kay, 1986 as cited in Hurtig, 2005).
    Parent advocacy is a topic that is very close to my heart. As a parent who advocates and as a
    researcher, it was important to me to choose a methodology that allowed me an active role.
    Narrative inquiry is a collaborative process that allows both, the researcher’s and
    participant’s voice to be heard. In narrative research “it is not only the participants’ stories
    that are retold by the narrative inquirer, it is also the inquirers’ stories that are open for
    inquiry and retelling” (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p.60). This reciprocal style of research
    forces me to reflect and confront my own untold narratives.

          Melany’s Research: Readers’ Theatre: A Catalyst for Cancer Education,
                           Conversation, and Action in Alaska

        I struggle with the lack of words, suffering from the shortcomings and limitations of the
language I own. Often, I do not have confident language to break the silence or enter the chaos
for difficult conversations. My mother often quoted Thumper, “If you can’t say anything nice,
don’t say anything at all.” Fear paralyzed my vocal chords, often keeping a shroud of silence
intact. Could Readers’ Theatre give words to bridge difficult conversations? There is a hunger
to speak out if all the health disparities and ‘isms’ are to become extinct racism… sexism…
ageism…If we are to become whole as people.
        Understanding, a 45-minute cancer education script developed in Alaska, shares people’s
experiences, questions, and concerns related to cancer and served as the catalyst for two Readers’
Theatre workshops and 23 follow-up interviews. Situated in Alaska, this organic inquiry began
with respect for the knowledge of living experience and from that place of strength engaged in
the hopeful discovery of possibilities. Readers and listeners actively conversed about the script
sharing their unique cultural experiences, navigating beyond the limits of existing perceptions.
Boal (1979) argues that it is not the place of the theatre to show the correct path, but only to offer
the means by which possible paths may emerge and be examined.
        The Readers’ Theatre experience held a place for people to learn new information, gain
new understandings, hear different perspectives, and feel and express in a variety of ways. There
was also a sense of affirmation, the feeling that “I know this inside from my experience”.
Sometimes there was a listening for what was not there and the conversation shifted to explore
relevant areas. People brought their own story to the discussion, which illuminated new
pathways for meaning and action.
        During a follow-up interview, Reggie, a Readers’ Theatre workshop participant, shared,
“There are many ways that Readers’ Theatre seems to tap into our level of knowing that we
don’t often talk about. Touches some sort of tap root inside us. You can see that when it touches
that place, it nourishes something inside us because you will see people flower right away in the
post reading discussion. They blossom right in front of your eyes, like places that haven’t
received water in awhile.” The strength of Readers’ Theatre lies in the transformational journey
of each participant, as she or he engages in conversation, reflection, and action in community
with others.

                Dianne’s Research: It Must Be Told: Stories of Hope, Dreams,

                              and Possibility from The Open Book

         The purpose of this study was to chronicle the history through participants’ voices of The
Open Book, an adult literacy program in NYC, which was deeply inspired by Paulo Friere. Oral
history honors ordinary people by bringing history in and out of the community and explicitly
supports the idea that the community should be writing their own history. This story isn’t about
packaging the greatness of The Open Book and exporting it to the rest of the literacy field.
Instead, it is an invitation for other community based organizations in the NYC literacy
community to engage in a dialogue about the spaces that exist for democratic possibilities within
their own programs.
         This project is composed of thick, rich stories and how meaning was constructed from the
experience that when woven together is a vibrant co-story filled with a multitude of colors and
textures. Approximately a year and a half ago, a group of ten of us from The Open Book
convened to decide whether we felt telling this story would be of value. At that meeting, there
was an impressive amount of passion as people resoundingly decided this story must be told.
Since then, sixteen people from the program came together in ten group interviews ranging from
3-8 participants in each group. In each conversation, I felt that sense of magic and possibilities
envelop me as we co-created new knowledge about our experience. Each time we met I felt we
had entered a portal where collectively we were being transported back in time; yet, it wasn’t
really “back” because our stories about The Open Book had been shaped and flavored by our
current lived realities and present experiences.
         Coles (1989) says that people come to us with stories that represent their lives. They hope
they tell these stories well enough so we can understand certain truths about their lives, and they
hope we know how to interpret those stories correctly. In literacy education in NYC, all too
often we engage in an expert problem-solving approach to viewing students and “othered”
segments of our society with preconceived notions of what matters and what doesn’t matter.
Instead of listening to students’ stories unfold we’re likely to rush in with labels. We scarcely
pause at the messages omitted, yarns gone untold; details brushed aside together, so rushed are
we to get to the conclusion. Their story, yours, mine - it’s what we all carry with us on this
journey we take and we owe it to each other to respect and honor those stories and learn from
them. (Coles, 1989). As Blaise (1993) suggests, people’s stories make us into world travelers.
We learn, if only temporarily, to live in each others’ countries, speak their language, negotiate
their streets on their buses and turn our keys in their locks.


       The research studies described above vary in location, focus and methodology. The
common thread that weaves them together is stories. Research is fundamentally about creating
new knowledge and sharing that knowledge within communities. Stories provide us with an
authentic means for honoring the voices of our research participants and presenting these voices
in a way that connects with our audience, inviting further dialogue and exploration.


Blaise, C. (1993). I had a father: A post-modern autobiography. Harper-Collins: New York.
Boal, A. (1979). Theatre of the oppressed. New York: Theatre Communications Group.

Bruner, J. (1999). Narratives of aging. Journal of Aging Studies, 13(1), 7-9.
Cajete, G. (1994). Look to the mountain. Skyland, NC: Kivaki Press.
Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Cohen, G. D. (2001). The creative age: awakening human potential in the second half of life.
        New York: Quill.
Coles, R. (1989). The call of stories: Teaching and the moral imaginations. Boston: Houghton
Cranton, P. (2000). Individual differences and transformative learning. In Mezirow, J. and
   Associates (Ed.), Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in
   progress (pp. 190-191). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Cruikshank, M. (2003). Learning to be old. Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers Inc.
Eisner, E. W. (2002). The arts and the creation of mind. London: Yale University Press.
Healy, B., M.D. (2004). Yes I am still here. US News and World Report, 68.
Hodge, F. S., Pasqua, A., Marquez, C. A., & Geishirt-Cantrell, B. (2002). Utilizing traditional
   storytelling to promote wellness in American Indian communities. Journal of Transcultural
   Nursing, 13(1), 6-11.
Hurtig, J. (2005). Resisting assimilation: Mexican immigrant mothers writing together. In M.
   Farr (Ed.), Latino language and literacy in ethnolinguistic Chicago. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence
   Erlbaum Press.
Mezirow, J. & Associates. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a
   theory in progress. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Moss, J. (2001). Parent advocacy: A private role in a public institution. Unpublished doctoral
   dissertation, University of British Columbia.
O'Sullivan, E. (2002). The project and vision of transformative education: Integral
   transformative learning. In E. O'Sullivan, A. Morrell & M. A. O'Conner (Eds.), Expanding
   the boundaries of transformative learning (pp. 1-12). New York: Palgrave.
Ribbens, J., & Edwards, R. (Eds.). (1998). Feminist dilemmas in qualitative research. Thousand
   Oakes, Ca: Sage Publications, Inc.
Sunwolf. (2003). Grief tales: The therapeutic power of folktales to heal bereavement and loss
   Diving in the Moon, 4, 36-42.
Sunwolf, & Frey, L. (2001). Storytelling: The power of narrative communication and
   interpretation. In W. P. Robinson, & H. Giles (Eds.), The new handbook of language and
   social psychology (pp. 119-135). San Francisco: Wiley.
Thompson, P. (2000). The voice from the past. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience. New York: SUNY Press.

Randee Lipson Lawrence rlawrence@nl.edu, Veronica Savarese Buckley
buckley990@yahoo.com, Melany Cueva mcueva@acsalaska.net, Tania Giordani
tgiordani@colum.edu, Dianne Ramdeholl DRamdelholl@dycd.nyc.gov, Soni Simpson
sonisimpson@sbcglobal.net; National Louis University
Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and Community
Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, MO, October 4-6 2006.

                          Late Transition to Technical College:
                  Perspectives from Males Approaching Adulthood

                                      Gary C. Lindeman, Ph.D.


This study focused upon the personal experiences of working class adult males who enrolled in a
large Midwestern technical college. The participants all left home and high school several years
ago, with no apparent goals toward continuing their education. The rationale for including only
males was based upon current reports that fewer males are enrolling in post secondary
The purpose of the study was to better understand how or why working class males found
themselves able to reengage their education; despite being disconnected from formal schooling
for several years. The study specifically addressed the internal and external factors that
facilitated the transition of males situated in the early adulthood stage; from work to school or
concurrent engagement in school and work. Life stage development provided a conceptual
framework related to the transition process and phases of exploration and stabilization that
characterize movement towards our conception of what it means to be an adult.
Qualitative research methods were consistent with seeking to interpret the meaning of human
experience from the subjective view of participants. Following a set of semi structured questions;
the participants were asked to reflect upon experiences after they left high school and up to the
present time. The interview questions were designed to elicit an open dialogue about factors
perceived to facilitate or hinder college transition. Several themes emerged from the thick
descriptions included in the individual written profiles, and a cross case analysis was chosen to
highlight the key themes.


       For many young adults, high school was their last experience with any type of formal
education program. An increasing number of students are leaving high school without the
necessary occupational, academic, or social skills needed to succeed in the workplace, or in
educational settings (Rosenbaum, 2001). It is widely accepted that some preparatory training
beyond high school is needed to obtain jobs that pay enough to adequately sustain oneself.
Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to the so called “forgotten half, “despite the
advanced warnings that came from such organizations as the William Grant Foundation (1988)
who published, The forgotten half: Pathways to success for America's youth and young families.
The demand for education and training has increased dramatically over the past decades.
According to researchers with the MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood
and Public Policy, fewer young adults are entering full time work before their early twenties, and
a growing number are entering work toward the end of their twenties (Settersten, Furstenberg, &
Rumbaut, 2005). Recent economic and social changes have resulted in the delay of work and the

extension of schooling, and family transitions are occurring a decade or so later than in the past.
As adolescence emerged as a distinct life stage a century ago, early adulthood is now emerging
as a unique period characterized with new psychological identities and social affiliations (Arnett,
This study focused upon working class adult males who left home and high school several years
ago, with little or no educational or occupational goals. The rationale for including only males
was based upon recent reports that fewer males are enrolling or succeeding in post-secondary
institutions (Marklein, 2005; NCES, 2004; Tyre, 2006).
Life stage development provided a conceptual framework related to the transition process and
phases of exploration and stabilization that characterized movement towards our conception of
adulthood (Levinson, l978). As much as adolescence emerged as a distinct life stage a century
ago, early adulthood is now emerging as a unique period characterized by new psychological
identities and social affiliations (Arnett, 2004; Settersten, 2005). Other pertinent literature
centering on adult and career development was examined in order to learn more about
psychosocial factors that facilitate or hinder growth and development such as: Lewin, 1953;
Erikson, 1968; Rogers, 1977; Marsick & Watkins, 1990; Bandura, 1986; and Super, 1990.


Qualitative research methods were consistent with seeking to interpret and understand the unique
meaning of lived experience from a unique group of participants who were situated on the
threshold of adulthood. Borg & Gall (2003) stated that reality is constructed from the
perspectives of participants who are best suited to describe their own perceptions of reality. The
emphasis is on the social processes and the meanings that participants attributed to social
situations (p.p. 386-387). Following a set of semi-structured questions; participants were asked
to reflect upon experiences after they left high school and up to the present time. The interview
questions were designed to elicit an open dialogue about factors perceived to facilitate or hinder
transition (Glesne, 1999). The 90-minute interviews were audio taped, transcribed, and initial
coding was accomplished with the assistance of a qualitative analysis computer software
program. Several themes emerged from the thick descriptions included in the individual written
profiles, and a cross case analysis was chosen to highlight key themes.

                                             Findings and Discussion

Emerging themes were organized under two broad areas, exploration and stabilization, that categorized experiences
in early adulthood (Levinson, 1978). A third area named “intermediary bridging” helped describe the connection
between exploration and stabilization. The exploration period contained the following phases or experiences of the
participants in this study: separation from family and independence, work experiences, peer relationships, schooling
attempts, and at risk behaviors including substance abuse. The stabilization phase included the following: sustained
college enrollment, family reconnections, enhanced peer relationships, and goal clarification. Intermediary bridging
was the link between exploration and stabilization, caused by personal reflection upon significant events and a
heightened vision of future life.
    Findings suggest that we take a closer look at developmental factors within three broad areas
    that influence the transition process of males approaching adulthood. All participants left

    home and school, and entered into early adulthood with varying degrees of discontinuity that
    affected their decision-making, goal orientation, and rate of growth and development. One
    participant summed up this unique and lasting transition period as follows: “We should
    realize we’re in a situation almost like a river, it’s carrying you and you have to decide
    whether you want to swim over to the bank and pull yourself out or keep on going.”
     Personal change that affected adult and career development relative to certain psychosocial
    factors was found within three areas of focus: (1) Family (2) Workplace and (3) Lifestyle.
    The degree of internalization and reflection upon experiences within the three areas
    influenced movement toward a perspective transformation (Mezirow, 1991). Low quality
    workplace experiences had a negative effect upon the participants. Individual lifestyle was
    closely associated with peer relationships and at risk behaviors (especially substance abuse).
    Sustained enrollment in technical college was seen as a stabilizing factor resulting in some
    degree from personal reflection and perspective transformation.


The information gained from this study may better inform policy makers and educators seeking to help this
population move toward occupational and educational attainment. The study also brought to the forefront, recent
data indicating that fewer males than females are enrolling or completing post secondary educational programs.
A better understanding of the transition process and life stage development may enable families and others to
function in a supportive and helping role. Discussion of new program initiatives within the workplace and other
social settings may also help find ways to reach out to this neglected and growing segment of our population.
A major gap in the research was the predominant focus upon adolescents and younger adults in “school to work
transition.” This study focused upon “work to school” transition as a specific area within the larger context of life
transitions occurring at a specific age and time. A smaller body of research explored how emerging adults entering
or going through the transition period view themselves and affect perspective transformation.
 The study also brought to the forefront, the importance of recent data indicating that fewer males than females are
enrolling or completing post secondary educational programs. Perhaps most important was being able to bring life to
the voices of those less likely to succeed “emerging adults” who gave their voice to this study. Accordingly, our
hope is for a lasting transformation and better life for all of the study participants and the countless others like them.


Arnett, J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: the winding road from the late
teens through the
         twenties. New York: Oxford University Press.
Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: a social cognitive theory.
Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Borg, W. & Gall, M.D. (2003). Applying Educational research: A practical guide. New
York: Longman.

Erikson, E. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: Norton & Company.
Glesne, C. (1999). Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction. White Plains,
       New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
Levinson, D. (1978). Seasons of a mans life. New York: Random House.
Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science. New York: Harper & Row.
Marklein, M.B. (2005, October 20). USA Today, p. 01.
Rogers, C. (1977). Carl Rogers on personal power. New York: Delacorte Press.
Marsick, V. & Watkins, K. (1990). Informal and incidental learning in the workplace.
New York: Routledge
Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey
National Center for Education Statistics (2004). Trends in educational equity of girls and
       women. (NCES Publication ERN3781P). Washington DC: US Government Printing
Rosenbaum, J. (2001). Beyond college for all: Career paths for the forgotten half. New York:
       Russell Sage Foundation.
Settersten, R., Furstenberg, F., & Rumbaut, R. (Eds.). (2005). On the frontier of
        adulthood: theory, adulthood, and public policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Super, D. (1990). Life span, life-space approach to career development. In D. B. L.
        Brooks (Ed.), Career choice and life development: Applying contemporary theories to
        practice (pp. 197-261). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Tyre, P. (2006, January). The trouble with boys, they’re kinetic, maddening, and failing
        at school: How educators are trying to find new ways to help them succeed. Newsweek,
        147, 44-52.
William Grant Foundation (1988). The forgotten half: Pathways to success for America's youth
       and young families. Washington, DC: The William T. Grant Foundation Commission
       on Work, Family and Citizenship.

Gary C. Lindeman, Ph.D., Researcher, Office of Continuing & Professional Development,
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, 4270 Health Sciences Learning
Center, 750 Highland Ave, Madison, WI 53705, gclindeman@wisc.edu.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

       Disciplined Interactive Literacy: Developing a Holistic Framework
                                           Ramo J. Lord


    This study challenges the current practice of the process of assessing and delivering family
literacy programs and proposes a more holistic method. Responding to the National Research
Council’s Recommendation 17 in “providing more helpful structures…” this paper demonstrates
a more holistic method. Drawing upon the research of Peter Senge, this paper argues that his
disciplines of personal mastery and mental models can be used as the basis for developing a
conceptual framework resulting in a rubric that would allow for literacy provider centers the
ability to holistically understand and address the adult’s current reality and where they want to be
thus developing potentially more successful results regarding the transference of Interactive
Literacy to the home.


    In response to Recommendation 17 (Research on Programs, Curricula, and Assessment) from
the National Research Council’s Committee on Early Childhood Pedagogy, Commission on
Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education in Washington, DC, that states the need for
programs to “provide more helpful structures, curricula, and methods for children at high risk of
educational difficulties, including children from low-income homes and communities . . .
(Bowman, Donovan, & Burns, 2000)” and the statement by US Representative William
Goodling that “parents are…the first and most important teachers of their children (The
Importance of Literacy, 2000),” this paper will propose a framework to describe, evaluate, and
guide the transference of interactive literacy from the provider agency to the home. It will be
stated up front, though, that this research is the initial investigation with the anticipation of this
being a springboard for further research.
    In an age where quantitative means seem to be the gospel by which funding and performances
are measured and determined, this paper will argue that is completely insufficient, and
unacceptable, when developing and delivering adult education programs.
    The family literacy components of Early Childhood Education, Adult Education, Parent
Education, and Interactive Literacy (IL) would seem to have the ultimate goal of transferring the
ideas to the home. However, this would seem to make the assumption that the parents see
themselves as a teacher, and an instructional designer, and have the ability to perform this role
for their child(ren). How can this assumption be made if the literacy providers have little to no
understanding regarding the efficacy and ability of the parent to perform this role. Such an
understanding could only be realized through a discussion with the parent which the current
methods of standards and testing do not address.
    This paper will attempt to demonstrate that current structure of the adult basic education
system is flawed in its initial approach of the adults and literacy provider agencies need to take
the lead in determining what is best and most effective and successful for their adult learners
(used in place of clients) as opposed to outside agencies (i.e. government and other sources of
funding). Cunningham stated “Suppose we stop blaming students if they drop out and instead

begin to focus on ourselves and our structures as the problem. … What would such a structure
look like (Cunningham, 1993)? The current structural reality is the literacy provider centers
compete for a limited amount of funding. The money distributed by these funding entities (who
may not completely understand the adult learner) is done based on each centers past performance
as exhibited and proven by successfully meeting a checklist of expected standards. It could
almost be argued that the adult learners are of secondary importance. The literacy provider
centers are also searching for methods of successful recruitment and retention of the adult
learners but their motive seems to be misdirected in that they focus on meeting expected
performance parameters in stead of focusing on what the adult learner needs.

                                     Framework Development

   Although The Fifth Discipline (Senge, 1994) was written for organizational development, the
ideas have transference to the education domain usable for literacy center staff. The book is
based on systems thinking beginning with a bottom-up development method designed for
employee growth. As the employees began to develop internally, they were able to more
competently and confidently participate in workplace discussions revolving around the
company’s, and the employee’s, success.
   For the purposes of this paper, the first two disciplines, personal mastery and mental models
will be considered. These two disciplines assist an individual to address and help develop their
inner self through having the person to identify their current “position,” where they wish to be
(their goals), and using this gap as a means for motivation. A result of this framework is the
development of a rubric by which the family literacy providers can use to describe, guide, and
evaluate the parents regarding the transference of the interactive literacy exercises to their home.

Personal Mastery
    Senge argued that this discipline accounts for an individual to clarify what they deem as
important and to continually clearly distinguish their current reality which will determine the gap
between the two. Senge refers to this gap as “creative tension” (p. 141-142) and it should be
welcomed, generated, and sustained (Senge, 1994). When the parent is supported and urged in
this practice, they will begin to have a change of behavior that will lead to personal growth and
eventual evolution into a lifelong learner. A word of caution here however is this cannot be
expected to happen in fifty hours (the normal standard of time for a post test). The individual has
been in their current reality for a considerable length of time and did not happen over night.
Therefore, results should not be constrained within such a small time frame, either.
    Mastery in this sense is not to be viewed and understood as one’s dominance over life’s
aspects but to demonstrate a level of proficiency in life’s aspects (Senge, 1994, p. 142). It might
be helpful for the literacy provider staff to think of this in terms of the journey and not the
destination. Therefore, the literacy provider center may subject the adult learner to some sense of
urgency for a goal attainment to which they may not have a favorable impression. A concrete
example of this is pushing the adult learner to increase a test score (pretest/post test) within a
fifty hour period when they may not have had testing success while in their K-12 experience.
Too many times the adult learner is pushed to achieve the goal (i.e. GED) that the reason for why
the path was chosen is forgotten (Senge, 1994). He argues that “…personal mastery must be a
discipline. It is a process of continually focusing and refocusing on what one truly wants… (p.
149). A solid re-construction of the parent’s personal mastery can be very effective for breaking

the poverty cycle since the parent can increase their educational attainment level through self-
efficacy and becoming a better and positive influence on their child (Morrow & Temlock-Fields,
2004; Powell, 2004).
    Horton argued that “it’s essential that you start where the people are” (Horton & Freire, 1990,
p. 99) and educational programs developed in area may not be successful in another with area (p.
93-94) with area being defined as a geographical location as well as their state of self-efficacy
(Horton & Freire, 1990). To which Freire added, “…I said start and not stay (italics are original
authors) – from the levels in which people perceive themselves…” (p. 66). What this means is
the initial content interactions with the adult need to be rooted in the context with which the adult
is familiar with painstaking minimization of commercial instructional material. Once the adult
becomes comfortable in the educational setting and gains self-confidence, then the gradual
integration of commercially developed material may begin.
    This paper is not proposing that the literacy provider center have numerous lesson plans (one
for each parent/child dyad) but to have multiple-level educational activities rooted in a common
theme and grounded in the staff’s understanding of the parent’s gap between their current reality
and their wants so each parent’s learning is meaningful thus more readily used and reinforced as
usable knowledge (Dodge & Heroman, 1999; Hohmann & Weikart, 1995; Jacobs, 2004; Morrow
& Temlock-Fields, 2004; Parker, 1999; Senge, 1994).

Mental Models
    Since the many and varied life experiences of an adult has crafted and shaped the lens through
which the adult will view and interpret the world, the literacy provider center should give this
significant consideration. Senge (1994) argues that “new insights fail to get put into practice
because they conflict with deeply held internal images of how the world works, images that limit
us to familiar ways of thinking and acting (p. 174). Their past experiences have been the lens
through which their role in the community has been developed, redeveloped, and will continue to
develop throughout their life. Hence, it would seem that the experiences through which an adult
makes meaning to new information are the lens, and potential barrier, to an educational program.
    But as Newman (1999) argues, as an adult learns through experiences, the adult may also give
new meaning to what they have already learned through a re-learning process (Newman, 1999).
In other words, as the adult experiences daily living and situations, their lens through which they
interpret life and situations will also change and thus reshape the way the adult interprets and
shapes old information, as well as new, and the world. This also means that the adult’s
recollections of their past experiences and situations will also change as the new material is
digested thus permitting the adult to learn and accept a new role through improved self efficacy
brought about by examining and developing their personal mastery and mental models.
    Since this is a continual cycle that evolved over many years, how can the expectation be
placed upon the adult to have a change of habits and perceptions in the family literacy program
that is a miniscule fraction of the time and does not holistically address changes within the adult?
So in this light, an understanding of the adult learner’s mental models will help the literacy
center to develop an educational program that will be more beneficial to the adult instead of the
current structure of checking off standards in being complicit with authorities and funding
agencies. As a possible result if the adult feels safe and is inspired to learn in the education
setting, they may want to continue their educational pursuit through actually seeing themselves
as a student and teacher of their child thereby benefiting both the adult learner and the literacy
provider center.


    This paper argues that a significant purpose of the parent education, adult education, early
childhood education, and the interactive literacy components delivered in the family literacy
provider centers is for providing the parent with the ability, tools, and resources (Jacobs, 2004;
Powell, 2004) needed to develop, incorporate, and sustain the “intergenerational transfer between
the parent and the child” the fundamental skills for their child’s development (Jacobs, 2004;
Morrow & Temlock-Fields, 2004). However, this would make the assumption that the parent is
“ready” to be and see themselves as a teacher and an instructional designer in a sense. Senge’s
(1994) argument regarding “managing mental models – surfacing, testing, and improving our
internal pictures of how the world works – promises to be a major breakthrough…” (p. 174) has
a significant potential allowing literacy provider centers the opportunity for increased success
and greater retention rates. This is where standardized testing fails since there is no means to
account for how the adult feels regarding this role and their readiness for their own educational
efforts. Literacy provider centers would need to do a thorough and holistic qualitative assessment
of the parent to ascertain the parent’s current “learning/teaching” capabilities and their home
situation thus rooting the initial educational activities in the parent’s reality allowing a greater
chance of success in retaining the adult learner and transferring the IL activity to the home
(Bernheimer & Keogh, 1995; Gomby, Culross, & Behrman, 1999; Jacobs, 2004; Morrow &
Temlock-Fields, 2004; Morrow & Young, 1997; Roggman, Boyce, Cook, & Jump, 2001; St.
Pierre & Layzer, 1999; Wood, 2002). The literacy provider center would need to determine the
factors that shaped the adult’s view of themselves and of the world thus surfacing their mental
models allowing the center to begin to manage the adult learners’ mental models allowing the
center to holistically develop and deliver the education program. Even the best family literacy
programs will not have the best IL transference results if the parents’ mental model of
themselves prohibits such a role.
    Therefore, a tool (see Figure 1) is needed that will assist the literacy provider center the
ability to more holistically assess the adult’s current reality regarding their ability to be the
teacher of their child(ren) as well as be successful in their own educational efforts. According to
the core elements of the original PACTTM (Jacobs, 2004), the foundational goals of it include
helping the parents to feel comfortable when manifesting their day’s instruction to an IL activity
for the child’s development ultimately transferring it into the home (Jacobs, 2004; Powell, 2004).

  Figure 1: Proposed Tool (Initial Rough Draft)
  Capacity                                 Dimension of the Capacity
               Health, autonomy, freedom, efficacy, academic ability, substance abuse,
  Personal     emotional , behavior, demeanor, withdrawn or outward, cheerful or melancholy,
               exuberant or depressed, significant other situation, family situation
               Approaches others, meaningfully communicates with others, is open to
   Social      suggestion, significant other situation , helps others, assists staff, contributes to
               the learning environment
  Physical     Shelter, food, monetary sufficiency, utilities

    The capacities, and the subsequent dimensions, were uncovered and synthesized from the
literature and compressed thus resulting in the development of the rubric shown in Figure 1

(Bernheimer & Keogh, 1995; Bowman et al., 2000; Caulfield, 2002; Elksnin & Elksnin, 2000;
Freire, 2000; Gomby et al., 1999; Grossman, 1999; Heinicke et al., 1999; Horton & Freire, 1990;
Kaiser & Hancock, 2003; Morelli, Rogoff, & Angelillo, 2003; Morrow & Young, 1997; Parker,
1999; Powell, 2004; Renk et al., 2003; Roggman et al., 2001; Senechal & LeFevre, 2002; Senge,
1994; St. Pierre & Layzer, 1999; Wagner & Clayton, 1999).


    This is the initial rough draft of this tool and field-testing and validation are needed to
evaluate its accuracy and comprehensiveness as well as integrate necessary revisions. Further
research will shed light on and tease out additional information resulting in a more fully
developed conceptual tool for literacy provider center use. The tool can be used by the literacy
provider centers to assist in a more holistic understanding of the adult’s current reality as well as
describe, evaluate, and guide the center as they provide education in preparing the adult for the
role of “teacher of their child.” In addition to their child(ren)’s first teacher, this qualitative
approach permits a deeper understanding of “where the adult learner is” regarding their own
education experience that a standardized test does not give.
    Further research also need performed in regards to integrating Senge’s other three disciplines
thus getting a deeper insight into a family’s participation in literacy programs which will help the
literacy provider center in meeting other standards such as retention as well as educational gain.


Bernheimer, L. P., & Keogh, B. K. (1995). Weaving interventions into the fabric of everyday
        life: An approach to family assessment. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education,
Bowman, B., Donovan, M. S., & Burns, M. S. (2000). Eager to learn: Educating our
        preschooloers. Washington, DC: Committee on Early Childhood Pedagogy, Commission
        on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council.
Caulfield, R. (2002). Babytalk: Developmental precursors to speech. Early Childhood Education
        Journal, 30(1), 59-62.
Cunningham, P. (1993). Let's get real: A critical look at the practice of adult education. Journal
        of Adult Education, 22(1), 3-15.
Dodge, D. T., & Heroman, C. (1999). Building your baby's brain: A parent's guide to the first
        five years. Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies, Inc.
Elksnin, L. K., & Elksnin, N. (2000). Teaching Parents To Teach Their Children To Be
        Prosocial. Intervention in School and Clinic, 36(1), 27-35.
Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed (M. B. Ramos, Trans. 30th Anniversary ed.). NY:
        The Continuum International Publishing Group.
Gomby, D. S., Culross, P. L., & Behrman, R. E. (1999). Home visiting: Recent program
        evaluations - analysis and recommendations. The Future of Children, 9, 4-26.
Grossman, S. (1999). Examining the Origins of Our Beliefs about Parents. Childhood Education,
        76(1), 24-27.
Heinicke, C. M., Fineman, N. R., Ruth, G., Recchia, S. L., Guthrie, D., & Rodning, C. (1999).
        Relationship-based intervention with at-risk mothers: Outcomes in the first year of life.
        Infant Mental Health Journal, 20(4), 349-374.

Hohmann, M., & Weikart, D. P. (1995). Educating young children: active learning practices for
        preschool and child care programs. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.
Horton, M., & Freire, P. (1990). We make the road by walking: Conversations on education and
        social change. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
The Importance of Literacy, 106th Congress House of Representatives, Second Sess. 127 (2000).
Jacobs, K. (2004). Parent and child together time. In B. H. Wasik (Ed.), Handbook of Family
Kaiser, A. P., & Hancock, T. B. (2003). Teaching Parents New Skills To Support Their Young
        Children's Development. Infants and Young Children, 16(1), 9-21.
Morelli, G. A., Rogoff, B., & Angelillo, C. (2003). Cultural variation in young children's access
        to work or involvement in specialised child-focused activities. International Journal of
        Behavioral Development, 27(3), 264-274.
Morrow, L. M., & Temlock-Fields, J. (2004). Use of literature in the home and at school. In B.
        H. Wasik (Ed.), Handbook of Family Literacy.
Morrow, L. M., & Young, J. (1997). A family literacy program connecting school and home:
        Effects on attitude, motivation, and literacy achievement. Journal of Educational
        Psychology, 89(4), 736-742.
Newman, M. (1999). Maeler's regard: Images of adult learning. Sydney, Australia: Stewart
        Victor Publishing.
Parker, R. J. (1999). The Art of Blessing: Teaching Parents To Create Rituals. Professional
        School Counseling, 2(3), 218-225.
Powell, D. R. (2004). Parenting education in family literacy programs. In B. H. Wasik (Ed.),
        Handbook of Family Literacy.
Renk, K., Roberts, R., Roddenberry, A., Luick, M., Hillhouse, S., Meehan, C., et al. (2003).
        Mothers, fathers, gender role, and time parents spend with their children. Sex Roles,
        48(7/8), 305-315.
Roggman, L. A., Boyce, L. K., Cook, G. A., & Jump, V. K. (2001). Inside home visits: a
        collaborative look at process and quality. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 16, 53-
Senechal, M., & LeFevre, J.-A. (2002). Parental Involvement in the Development of Children's
        Reading Skill: A Five-Year Longitudinal Study. Child Development, 73(2), 445-460.
Senge, P. (1994). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization (1st
        Paper Back ed.). NY: Currency Doubleday.
St. Pierre, R. G., & Layzer, J. I. (1999). Using home visits for multiple purposes: The
        Comprehensive Child Development Program. The Future of Children, 9(4-26).
Wagner, M. M., & Clayton, S. L. (1999). The Parents as Teachers program: Results from two
        demonstrations. The Future of Children, 9, 91-115.
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        Journal of Research in Reading, 25(3), 241-258.

Ramo J. Lord, Doctoral Candidate, 315 Keller Building, Penn State University, University Park,
PA 16802. rjl145@psu.edu.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

           Program Evaluation Projects Promoting Authentic Learning
                                     Henry S. Merrill, Ed. D.
                                      Tyrone M. Freeman

        Evaluation is a complex sub-process in an interactive program planning systems model,
such as the one described by Caffarella (2002). Developing a useful evaluation for a program is
arguably the most complex challenge for an adult education student because it demonstrates a
thorough understanding of all the sub-processes. This paper is divided in two parts. The first part
describes the use of a faculty- designed reusable learning object (RLO) for developing program
evaluation in an online course focused on program planning. The faculty perspective focuses on
the development and use of the RLO as demonstration of the scholarship of teaching and
learning. The second part presents examples of useful evaluations as authentic projects
developed in an online course. Tyrone Freeman describes his project, titled “Measuring
Participant Satisfaction and Transfer of Learning: A Utilization-focused evaluation of the
Indiana Chapter of Fundraising Professionals’ Half Day Spring Workshop.” Examples of other
student projects using the RLO are also described briefly.

       I. A Faculty Perspective on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL)
        Merrill: The scholarship of teaching and learning describes an approach well known to
adult educators: reflective practice. It is a process that engages the instructor in exploring,
contemplating and analyzing what happens in the teaching-learning transaction. The strategies
employed by faculty investigating the SOTL are often called powerful pedagogies or pedagogies
of engagement. These include inquiry-based, learner-centered strategies that are fundamental to
the teaching-learning transactions of adult educators in both the classroom and online delivery

        The SOTL encourages course-focused research projects defined and implemented by the
instructor as part of a larger interdisciplinary community of learning and engagement. This
community supports and enhances both the inquiry of individual faculty and contributes to the
research documenting effective teaching. Rather than focusing on discipline specific issues or
learning methods, the SOTL approach encourages exploration of many approaches and reflection
on questions about student learning derived from the teaching-learning transaction in all delivery
modes. Hutchings (2000) describes one approach as a developing taxonomy of questions about
the teaching-learning transaction. The questions include: “What works?,” “What is happening?,”
“What is possible?,” and “Does this lead me to a new model or conceptual framework to
describe teaching and learning?”

        One of my primary objectives as the facilitator of an online graduate course is to design
learning events, based on a constructivist framework, to engage graduate students in more
authentic learning by using real-world cases and problems. Some of the challenges of online
courses, especially at the graduate level, which I find particularly stimulating and fun as an
instructional designer are:
    1) To engage the students with the course content via active learning strategies, especially
        since online courses tend to be heavily text-based;

   2) To engage the students as active partners with shared responsibility for developing a
      collaborative learning experience;
   3) To create the space for the “instructor of record” to be a facilitator and guide, in a
      constructivist learning experience, rather than purveyor of information (“talking/writing

Description of the RLO
         The RLO is an inquiry-based, interactive module created with Flash programming. The
graphical structure and questions that focus this inquiry enable visual exploration of the
utilization-focused evaluation process. The overall structure of the graduate course in which the
evaluation RLO is incorporated is discussion-driven and delivered via Indiana University’s
Oncourse course management system. Participants interact with the course facilitator through
threaded bulletin boards, synchronous chat, and e-mail within Oncourse. The RLO structure
leads the learner through the development of an evaluation plan with a specific utilization-focus
as a demonstration of authentic learning. The RLO includes a set of questions on developing the
evaluation process and an organized set of resources accessible from within the course that cover
the knowledge and skills related to the module.

              II. Student Perspective: Developing a Program Evaluation Process
        Our purpose in this second section is to provide some examples of application of the
RLO, in the spirit of Hutchings’ (2000) question: “What is happening?” Tyrone Freeman used
the RLO to develop and evaluation project in a course focused on planning programs for adult
learners. His project presents an overall description of one project. Following the description of
Freeman’s project, there will be brief summaries of the ways two other students used the RLO to
focus an evaluation process. The title of Freeman’s project described here is: “Measuring
Participant Satisfaction and Transfer of Learning: A Utilization-focused evaluation of the
Indiana Chapter of Fundraising Professionals’ Half Day Spring Workshop”

Purpose of the Evaluation
         The purpose of this evaluation study was to assess the educational impact of the Indiana
Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professional’s Half Day Spring Workshop event. At
the time of the study, the event was three years old and utilized a model that brought nationally-
known fundraising speakers to Indianapolis to present practical content in an engaging and
interactive style during a 3 hour session. A complimentary copy of the speaker’s book was
always included for each participant. The program had experienced annual growth in attendance
and net revenues, and was considered to be successful. Simultaneously, the chapter’s full day
fall conference, which had been offered for more than a decade, was experiencing declining
attendance and was losing money. So, there was a desire to assess the half-day program not only
for its educational impact, but also for the purposes of learning how to improve the fall

       Although a “smile sheet” or participant satisfaction evaluation survey had been
conducted each year, there was a lack of knowledge as to how useful and practical the workshop
content had been for participants and whether or not they had transferred learning into their own
professional practice. By using Patton’s Utilization-focused Evaluation (UFE) and Kirkpatrick’s
Four Levels of Evaluation, the goal of this study was to develop and implement protocols to

better evaluate participant satisfaction and to begin evaluating transfer of learning. The study
began in April 2005 and concluded in July 2005.

Importance to Practice of Adult Education
         This evaluation study is extremely important to the practice of adult education,
particularly within the continuing education and professional development contexts. Questions
about the value and effectiveness of particular forms of training and the transfer of learning into
practice continue to be of major concern to the field as a whole. Additionally, as the
philanthropic sector expands and becomes more professionalized, it also wrestles with questions,
such as: what type of training best prepares nonprofit professionals to effectively raise money; is
there an optimal instructional design for facilitating transfer into fundraising practice? This is
critical for both consumers and providers. Nonprofit organizations generally have limited
resources to spend on professional development, so it is imperative that dollars and time be spent

        Patton described UFE as a collaborative approach for stakeholders to specifically define
the uses, users, audiences, content, model, methods, etc. that will best capture the data and
information desired. As a result, it does not advocate specific methods of data collecting. Rather,
through a series of questions, it enables stakeholders to select the most appropriate form and
method of evaluation after thoroughly understanding their intended use (1997). Kirkpatrick
defined four types or levels of program evaluation: 1) reaction (customer/participant
satisfaction); 2) learning; 3) behavior; and 4) results (1994). For the purposes of this evaluation
study, levels one and three were most relevant.

       This study merged the methods of UFE and Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels to engage the
workshop’s planning committee in a process to assess participant satisfaction and transfer of
learning. Specifically, the committee wanted to accomplish two things: 1) redesign and
administer the “smile sheet” evaluation survey to assess participant satisfaction for the 2005
event (Kirkpatrick’s level one reaction); and 2) survey a sample of 2004 participants by phone to
measure transfer of learning ( Kirkpatrick’s level three learning).

       The Indiana University Adult Education program’s Reusable Learning Object on UFE
was used to guide the workshop’s planning committee through a process to determine the scope
and type of evaluation that would be conducted. The committee’s responses to the questions
posed in the RLO were compiled and used to revise the participant survey and create the
telephone survey. The committee reviewed and approved the instruments prior to administration.

        The level one reaction survey was administered to all 110 participants at the close of the
workshop in April 2005. This survey contained 16 questions that covered areas such as the
content, speaker, facilities, potential speakers/topics for future workshops, participant
demographics, and the overall value of the workshop. A total of 89 surveys were returned (81%
response rate). The level three learning telephone survey was administered during July 2005
using an alphabetized list of 139 participants. It contained 12 questions covering four primary
areas: the value of the book included with registration; the application of 3 recommendations
made by the speaker; impact on dollars raised; and the overall value of the half day conference.

A total of 25 participants were successfully reached by phone and completed the survey (18%
response rate).

Implications for practice
        This study successfully used the methods of Patton and Kirkpatrick in a cost effective
way to measure participant satisfaction and transfer of learning. The result was answers to the
chapter’s questions about the value, relevance, applicability of workshop content; the
effectiveness of instruction; and the assessment of needs for future workshops. This study also
identified barriers to the transfer of learning into practice. Consequently, a series of
recommendations were developed which focused on strengthening the overall instructional
design of the workshop to ensure practical content, participant engagement, and an interactive
instructional style. A strong instructional design can facilitate transfer of learning by arranging
and presenting content in an accessible way. It can also impact marketing of the event—when
used to properly develop the messages to promote the workshop—that helps to shape participant
expectations and ultimately impacts satisfaction. The chapter used the results of this study to
affirm the half-day workshop program, and to redesign its fall full day conference based upon the
successful half-day model.

Merrill: Descriptions of Other Student Evaluation Projects
        In this brief paper there is not space to provide full descriptions of additional projects. In
his project, Freeman described the centrality of the utilization-focused evaluation (UFE) process
in the RLO. The following summaries of the focus sections from other students’ projects provide
a contrast to Freeman’s focus and illustrate different outcomes of the UFE to guide an evaluation

        For Freeman, the purpose of the evaluation study was to assess the educational impact of
the Indiana Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professional’s Half Day Spring Workshop
event. . . . [and] there was a desire to assess the half-day program not only for its educational
impact, but also for the purposes of learning how to improve the fall conference. He further
stated: “the goal of this study was to develop and implement protocols to better evaluate
participant satisfaction and to begin evaluating transfer of learning.”

         In a project evaluating a leadership development workshop for women, L. B. (2006)
defined her focus this way to one of the key questions embedded in the RLO:
What are the intended uses of your evaluation?
“It is a summative evaluation because the program is already operating and has been for five
years. The intended uses are to examine program failures as well as program successes and
recommendations for current and future programs. The key uses of this evaluation are as follows:
• To build support and utilize key people in the evaluation and remodel process as needed.
• To pretrain staff towards changes and revisions by involving them in the process. This will
also help to keep staff focused on the goals and objectives of the ALC program.
• To explore ways to increase application of the learning by participants.
• To identify needed improvements in the design and delivery of the sessions.
• To increase program accountability.”

        Another example of defining the uses comes from a project by R. P. 92006). Her project
was developing and evaluation process for the Customer Master Detail course that teaches the
participant about the business process of creating customer records and the transactional input of
data relevant to this activity.
What are the intended uses of your evaluation?
“Purpose of the evaluation is to determine the utility of the course as well as identify areas for
improvement. This includes the response of the participants to the course as well as the ability of
the participants to utilize the information from the course. This may mean implementation of
quality controls to measure effectiveness.”

        Each of these examples has evaluating some kind of a learning event as a very similar
basic purpose. However, each one also elaborates different goals or uses for the evaluation. The
scope of the process is greater in L. B.’s and in Freeman’s projects, when compared to the goal
described by R. P. The utilization-focused evaluation process enables those responsible for
planning and evaluation to effectively capture subtle variations of purpose and use. The RLO has
embedded a specific set of questions that helps students work through the process to develop
useful products as demonstrations of authentic learning.

       Merrill: The purpose of this paper has been two-fold. The first was to describe the
scholarship of teaching and learning as a useful framework for examining and reflecting on the
teaching-learning transaction as adult educators. The SOTL perspective is one that is very much
congruent with our practice. The development of the Evaluation RLO and its use in the online
graduate course focused on adult education planning has been a stimulating process for me
during the last three years. This paper presented an opportunity to take a step back from the
process and ask the question, from a SOTL perspective: What’s working here?

         The second purpose of this paper focused on the “What’s working here?” question.
Tyrone Freeman agreed to share a description of his experience in using the RLO to develop a
successful evaluation process for a learning community that provides professional development
for fund raising. This example has been supplemented by two other brief examples of developing
a utilization-focused evaluation using the inquiry-based RLO. My tentative conclusion after
using this RLO in two courses, is that the set of questions embedded in the RLO that guide the
students’ inquiry to develop an evaluation process does seem to produce a useful product. An
important next piece of action research would be to follow the processes developed in 2006 by
R. P. and L. B. to learn if their outcomes were as useful as Freeman’s were in 2005.

        It also important to think about the use of the graphical structure provided by Flash-based
technology to determine if it is effective as a guide to inquiry and not just a novelty. Ross and
Lukow (2004) provide this encouragement: “New technological innovations will provide
instructors and students alike with tremendous opportunities to enhance student learning.
Instructors must make these technologies available to all students by providing a number of
different learning options that take into account a variety of learning styles.” This is a
justification of using tools like the Evaluation RLO in the teaching-learning transaction.
However, in the next sentence they remind us: “If instructors simply use these technologies

because they are unique and exciting, sound and effective pedagogical principles that should
provide the basis of all instruction are completely ignored” (p. 51).

        Here is one final reminder of how complex and difficult the evaluation process can be in
this observation by R. P. about how important it is to keep the focus connected with the
stakeholders, the people for whom it should have the most meaning and use: “The outcome of
this project, beyond the beginnings of actual development of a reaction and learning evaluation
and the beginning of program design, was the realization that the evaluation process must be the
result of the input of many stakeholders. The stakeholder involvement was the most tiresome,
yet rewarding experience associated with this project. “

Caffarella, R. C. (2002) Planning programs for adult learners. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Craig, M. R. and Likow, J. E. (2004). Are learning styles a good predictor for integrating
       instructional technology into a curriculum? Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and
       Learning (4, 1), pp. 42-53.

Hutchings, P. (Ed). (2000) Opening Lines: Approaches to the Scholarship of Teaching and
       Learning. Menlo Park, CA: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Kirkpatrick, D. L. (1994). Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels. San Francisco:
       Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Patton, M. Q. (1997). Utilization-Focused Evaluation. 3rd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Student final course projects cited:
L. B., (2006). “Evaluating HWay Seminars’ Authentic Leadership Program using the RLO.”
        Final course project, ACE D506, Adult Education Planning and Development.

R. P., (2006) “Program Evaluation.” Final course project, ACE D506, Adult Education
        Planning and Development; Spring Semester.
Henry S. Merrill, Associate Professor and Chair   Email address: hmerrill@iupui.edu
Department of Adult Education, Room 129, 620 Union Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Tyrone M. Freeman, Development Officer            Email address: tyfreema@iupui.edu
IU School of Education, ES 3138A, 902 West New York St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and Community
Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, MO., October 4 – 6, 2006

      Research Challenge: Developing a Comprehensive Approach to Evaluating a
Practice-Generated Extension Life Skills Curriculum for Hard-to-Reach Adults and Teens

                                        Roxanne T. Miller


A field-based extension educator headquartered in a county office wrote an original life skills
curriculum in 1998 that served as the core component of a new St. Louis area welfare-to-work pilot
program called WorkWays™. The concept for the program was developed by a cross-disciplinary
team of campus and field faculty and community partners, based on an ecological model of family
resiliency. Administrative changes in the funding agency resulted in a drop in referrals to the
program in its second year, leading the program director to shut down the program in June 2000.
Both quantitative and qualitative evaluations were completed on WorkWays before it ended. The
curriculum was published in June 2000 under the title, Tackling the Tough Skills™: A Curriculum
Building Skills for Work and Life. Internet and word-of-mouth marketing resulted in distribution
exceeding expectations. Ongoing requests are received for evaluation data. This paper seeks to begin
developing a comprehensive approach to evaluate the curriculum from what is known in the social
work profession as “the strengths perspective,” using Norman’s 11 Resiliency Factors as a means to
more clearly identify and understand what Tackling the Tough Skills teaches and what participants
learn. Other possible evaluation measures are also discussed.

                                     Description of the Issue

         Sweeping changes in the Federal welfare law in August 1996 resulted in a total overhaul
of the nation’s welfare system. The new welfare law “signaled major changes for the field of
adult education,” shifting U.S. welfare policy away from previous governmental support of adult
basic and literacy education programs and toward a “work-first” approach to move welfare
recipients into jobs quickly (Miller, 1999, p. 203).
         In St. Louis, the director of welfare reform projected some 6,000 to 7,000 welfare
recipients would begin the transition process by May 1997 (University of Missouri Outreach and
Extension, 1997). Extension responded to a request from the state to develop a welfare-to-work
program by forming a 22-member team of campus- and field-based faculty and administrators,
and community partners. Over a period of eight months, this cross-disciplinary team conducted
focus groups, searched the literature and discussed approaches.
         The team decided the curriculum should be holistic, building individual strengths in
context of family, work, and community. An ecological model of family resiliency was chosen as
the conceptual base. The group submitted a proposal in March 1997 to establish the St. Louis
WorkSmarts Program. It was funded in 1998 by a $329,000 grant from the Missouri Department
of Social Services, through its Division of Family Services (DFS). The program name was
changed to WorkWays™ when it was funded.
         WorkWays included three components: an educational program, community mentoring,
and workplace liaison assistance. The curriculum was to serve as the cornerstone of the program,
but a literature search turned up no educational resources deemed appropriate. The developing

team determined the key components of the curriculum to be attitude, responsibility,
communication, decision making/problem solving, and preparing for the workplace.
        Consequently, an original life skills curriculum was written in 1998 by Rosilee Trotta,
urban youth and family specialist with University of Missouri Extension, a field-based extension
educator headquartered in St. Louis County. Rosilee was a seasoned practitioner with more than
30 years of experience working with and teaching low-income, under-educated adults and teens.
She was also a licensed clinical social worker and a registered nurse. The curriculum was piloted
in WorkWays from November 1998 through June 2000. Rosilee served as program director.
        Administrative changes in DFS in the St. Louis area in the fall of 1999 resulted in a
drastic drop in referrals to WorkWays, leading the program director to end the program June 30,
2000. By the time it closed, WorkWays had impacted the lives of 193 people, with 145
completing the three-week educational program for a 75 percent completion rate.
        Despite the program’s end, the curriculum lived on. In June 2000 it was published by
University of Missouri Extension under a new name, Tackling the Tough Skills™: A Curriculum
Building Skills for Work and Life. A Web site created in July 2000 markets the curriculum to
educators and other professionals working with hard-to-reach adults and teens.
        Internet and word-of-mouth marketing resulted in interest exceeding expectations, with
more than 1,200 books distributed in 49 states and 11 countries by July 2006. Its popularity with
educators and program directors in teaching “soft skills” is evident. We have heard numerous
comments from educators referred to Tough Skills by colleagues who were using it with hard-to-
reach audiences. Now that the curriculum is no longer connected to an ongoing Extension
program, evaluation is a greater challenge.

Context of my involvement
        I have been involved with Tackling the Tough Skills in both practice and research roles.
As a practitioner: I have been a field-based faculty in marketing/communications with University
of Missouri Extension since 1994; served as a member of the WorkWays planning team from its
roots in 1996; edited and designed the Tackling the Tough Skills curriculum; and developed and
maintain the curriculum’s Web site. As a researcher: I have conducted research projects on
Tough Skills as an adult education doctoral student at University of Missouri-St. Louis. I plan to
pursue my doctoral research related to developing an approach to evaluate the curriculum.

Curriculum description
         Tackling the Tough Skills is a fun, highly interactive life skills curriculum that helps hard-
to-reach adults and teens prepare for success in work and life. The curriculum is designed to
build from beginning to end, but educators are free to use sections they want in whatever order.
The book contains hands-on activities that teach critical thinking skills through individual
reflection, classroom discussions, small group work, and role plays. Humorous text and
illustrations make Tackling the Tough Skills enjoyable to use for both educators and participants.

Evaluations to date
        I identified at least nine evaluations and summary reports concerning either WorkWays
or the Tackling the Tough Skills curriculum since 1999. Space does not permit listing them in
this paper, but I plan to post them on the Web site in the future to make past evaluation
information easily accessible for interested educators and administrators.

Possible Tough Skills activities to incorporate into evaluation
        Nancy Ellen Kiernan of Penn State Cooperative Extension maintains a program
evaluation Web site targeted to Extension educators. One of her experiential evaluation
strategies was used in a program dealing with sensitive information relating to young women
convicted of a crime (Kiernan, n.d.). The evaluation was designed as an unobtrusive, hands-on
activity that was incorporated into the program that caused participants to think reflectively and
apply principles they learned. The educator was able to obtain before-after data from participants
to understand if and how their thinking had changed over the course of the program.
        Reflecting more on Kiernan’s approach, I think this approach has a possible application
to evaluating what participants learn from Tough Skills. I identified 29 activities in the Tough
Skills curriculum that could possibly be used by educators as indicators of either participants’
before-after thinking or evidence through role playing or other means that desired principles are
being learned. Because Tough Skills contains so many activities that are built into the curriculum,
it would seem to be one place to start in creating new ways to evaluate the curriculum.

                         Importance of the Issue to Research and Practice

        Development of Tackling the Tough Skills poses an interesting case study of the evolving
nature of research to practice and practice to research. The usual perspective is that the natural
progression is from research (theoretical) to practice (practical), as the name of the Midwest
Research-to-Practice Conference implies. A different view of the concepts offered by Isenberg
and Titus (1999) positions “practice” initially left of “research,” demonstrating that “practice is
ahead of research.” Their model depicts a perpetual “back-and-forth relationship between
research and practice” in a series of overlapping circles behind the first two (p. 146).
        When I wrote the title of this paper in my proposal a few months ago, I referred to Tough
Skills as a “practice-generated” life skills curriculum because I viewed it as emerging primarily
from Rosilee’s experience as a practitioner. I still think that is the best description of the
curriculum. However, I forgot that development of the curriculum began conceptually on the
“research” side, then proceeded to the “practice” side as Rosilee wrote the curriculum.
        With Tough Skills, we have now moved back to the “research” side of Isenberg and
Titus’ (1999) model. Lack of evaluation findings may limit use and potential of the curriculum
with educators needing to meet stricter requirements of potential funders. A recent national trend
toward requiring “evidence-based research” (demonstrated in scientifically-valid studies) poses a
“significant threat” (Martin & Rocco, 2005, p. 184) to continued funding of nationally legislated
adult education programs.

                             Explanation of Models and New Insights

        Resiliency is “the ability to bounce back from stress and crisis” and is “displayed in
individuals as optimism, resourcefulness, and determination” (Silliman, 1995, p. 3).
        The conceptual base for the Tackling the Tough Skills curriculum was an ecological
model of family resiliency adapted by Silliman (1995), based on work by Bronfenbrenner and
Dunst (as cited in Silliman, 1995). The Individual is at the center, encircled first by Family, then
by Community (see Figure 1). Together they form a “dynamic support system against the
inevitable stresses of life” (Silliman, 1995, p. 3).

        A book of resiliency research (Norman, 2000) targeted to      Figure 1. Individuals, families
social workers offers a helpful view of resiliency from “the          and communities form a dynamic
strengths perspective” (Saleebey, 1996, as cited in Norman, 2000,     support system.
p. 1). The new approach focuses social work practice on “coping
rather than on risk, on opportunity rather than on fatalism, on
wellness and self-repair rather than on illness and disability”
(Norman, 2000, p. 1).
        Exploring the concept of resiliency in more detail,
Norman (2000) identifies and describes 11 “resiliency factors”
found in research literature in the past few decades. She groups
these factors into two groups, “personality related” and
“interpersonally related” (p. 4). She said research efforts have
shown the personality-related factors to help a person be
adaptive, and the interpersonally-related factors to be protective.
                                                                      Adapted from Silliman (1995)
        Resiliency factors: Personality related.
        Self-efficacy is the “single most important personality characteristic found to be
associated with resilient outcome,” involving a feeling of “self-worth, a positive perception of
one’s ability to perform required life tasks, and confidence that one can deal with whatever
comes one’s way” (Norman, 2000, p. 5).
        Realistic appraisal of the environment involves being able to differentiate between
what is possible and impossible, and to realistically appraise consequences of actions.
        Social problem-solving skills “reinforce one’s sense of self-esteem, sense of
competency, and sense of mastery” (Norman, 2000, p. 6).
        Sense of direction or mission concerns being given responsibility toward others, or
having a special talent, passion, or strong interest that sparks a sense of meaning or purpose.
        Empathy is “the capacity to understand and respond to another’s feelings.” Empathy is
often considered a “traditional feminine characteristic,” but resilient people of both sexes were
“more appreciative, gentle, nurturing and socially perceptive” (Norman, 2000, p. 7).
        Humor, or quality of being funny or comical, has been found to augment resiliency by
helping people maintain social relationships, reduce tension, and restore perspective.
        Adaptive distancing is the “ability to psychologically step back from a dysfunctional
environment and to maintain a healthy separateness from the maladaptive patterns of significant
others” (Norman, 2000, p. 7).
        Androgynous sex role behavior was related to resiliency in a 30-year longitudinal study
that found male and female resilient youngsters “demonstrated both traditionally masculine and
feminine characteristics and acted in a flexible non-sex-typed manner,” with resilient girls more
“independent and autonomous,” and resilient boys “more emotionally expressive, nurturant, and
socially perceptive than their non-resilient counterparts” (Norman, 2000, p. 8).

        Resiliency factors: Interpersonally related.
        Positive, caring relationships is “the single most important factor promoting resiliency,
not only in children and adolescents, but also in adults of all ages.” In the absence of caring
family members, “resilient individuals seem to find replacements, or surrogates, to take their
place,” such as other relatives, teachers, coaches, or other adults (Norman, 2000, p. 9).

          Positive family or other intimate environment involves having a supportive natural or
surrogate family, or other environment “in which talents, competencies, and life choices are
praised while mistakes, setbacks, and errors are constructively utilized for growth” (Norman,
2000, p. 9).
          “High-enough” expectations are reachable, yet motivate performance and encourage
excellence. “The person who hears the realistic message ‘You can do it!’ from significant others
. . . internalizes a self-perception of adequacy and is motivated to reach and stretch to their full
capacity” (Norman, 2000, p. 10).

Resiliency factors and the curriculum
        This list of resiliency factors enabled me to look at Tough Skills from a new perspective. I
could see that most, if not all, of these factors seemed to be addressed in the curriculum. But how
could I best analyze that and show the results? My husband, an engineer, saw my initial attempts
at drawing relationships between resiliency factors and chapter contents and suggested I use a
Quality Function Deployment, or QFD matrix. QFD is a tool used in industry and government as
part of early design practices to organize, design and evaluate systems. The application is an
“art” but typically involves mapping a vertical list of “whats,” or customer requirements, to a
horizontal list of “hows,” or product performance measures (Squires, n.d., p. 1). I did not
perform a complete QFD analysis, but I examined each Tough Skills chapter to determine
presence or absence of each resiliency factor. Table 1 shows the results.

Table 1. Evidence of Norman's Resiliency Factors in Tackling the Tough Skills

Norman's Resiliency Factors                                    Tackling the Tough Skills Chapters
                                  I. Attitude   II. Responsibility   III. Communication   IV. Decision Making/   V. Preparing for
                                                                                            Problem Solving       the Workplace
Personality Factors
Realistic environment appraisal
Social problem-solving skills
Sense of direction or mission
Adaptive distancing
Androgynous sex role behavior

Interpersonal Factors
Positive, caring relationships
Positive family/environment
"High enough" expectations

        I found all 11 resiliency factors to be evident in Tackling the Tough Skills. Note that
chapters I and III include evidence of all 11 factors; Chapter II lacks Humor content only. The
fact that Chapter I in particular contains elements of all 11 factors supports Tough Skills author
Rosilee Trotta’s suggestion to educators that the chapters follow a natural order.

                                     Implications for Research and Practice

       This paper has identified a number of possible approaches to developing a comprehensive
evaluation of Tackling the Tough Skills. Posting past evaluations on our Web site can be done,
which would make our past evaluation data more easily accessible to those interested. The list of

11 resiliency factors can be summarized and posted on the Web, along with the description of
findings in Table 1. This information would help practitioners better understand the concepts
being taught in the curriculum, enabling them to be more intentional in their lesson planning and
classroom teaching. A list of Tough Skills activities that might be incorporated in evaluation
could also be posted on the Web and made available to users of the curriculum.
        Two versions of a logic model could be developed to show the short- and long-term
impact of the curriculum on both participants and educators. The 11 resiliency factors provide
new insights into the concepts participants may be learning through Tough Skills. Feedback we
have received from some educators using the curriculum indicates Tough Skills may be serving
as a professional development tool that helps less experienced practitioners become more
effective at teaching critical thinking skills.
        Any doctoral research I do in the future will hopefully contribute to the evaluation
conducted on the program. More ambitious evaluation strategies would require a funding source.


Isenberg, S., & Titus, T. (1999, September 22-24). The impact of the Internet on research-to-practice in
        adult, continuing, extension, and community education. In A. Austin, G. E. Hynes, and R. T.
        Miller (Eds.), Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in
        Adult, Continuing and Community Education (pp. 141-148). University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Kiernan, N. E. (n.d.). A graphics experience: Evaluating human relationships that harm. Pennsylvania
        Example #2 Experimental Evaluation. University Park, PA: Penn State Cooperative Extension.
        Available at: http://www.extension.psu.edu/evaluation/pdf-ex/PAEX2.pdf
Martin, L. G., & Rocco, T. S. (2005). National adult education policy: The role of adult education
        research. In S. Conceicao & L. Ugrina (Eds.), Proceedings of the 24th Annual Midwest Research-
        to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education (pp. 184-189).
        University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Miller, R. T. (1999). The adult education implications of ‘work-first’ welfare reform policy on welfare
        recipients: A theoretical approach. In A. Austin, G. E. Hynes, and R. T. Miller (Eds.),
        Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult,
        Continuing and Community Education (pp. 203-212). University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Norman, E. (2000). Introduction: The strengths perspective and resiliency enhancement—A natural
        partnership. In E. Norman (Ed.), Resiliency enhancement: Putting the strengths perspective into
        social work practice (pp. 1-16). New York: Columbia University Press.
Silliman, B. (1995, July). Understanding resiliency. In Family resiliency: Building strengths to meet life’s
        challenges (CSREES-USDA, National Network for Family Resiliency, Children, Youth and
        Families Network, EDC-53, p. 3). Ames, IA: Iowa State University Extension. Available at the
        CYFERNET Web site: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/EDC53.pdf
Squires, T. (n.d.). Description of the QFD process. Retrieved February 27, 2006, from Maset LLC
        Products and Services Web site: http://www.masetllc.com/products/418.shtml
University of Missouri Outreach and Extension. (1997, March 1). St. Louis WorkSmarts* Proposal.
        Columbia, MO: St. Louis WorkSmarts* Planning Team. (*Working title of “WorkSmarts” was
        later changed to “WorkWays”).

Roxanne T. Miller, East Central Region Civic Communications Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 121 S.
Meramec, Suite 501, St. Louis, MO 63105. E-mail: MillerRT@missouri.edu; Web:
Presented at the 2006 Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Extension, and Community
Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, October 4-6, 2006.

                      Working Class Learning One Hundred Years Ago:
                        Workingmen’s Institutes in Inner City Sydney

                                          Roger K Morris

Abstract: In the inner city neighborhoods of Sydney, some one hundred years ago, five
workingmen’s institutes were established. From the records that have survived, it appears that
these institutes operated successfully for a number of years, had large and active memberships,
and played a significant role in the social and educational lives of their working class
communities. However, on a deeper level, there are a number of questions that remain largely
unanswered. What motivated their foundation? Who were their members? What was their
relationship to the broader working class and labor movement? This paper argues that the
members of the Workingmen’s Institutes were from a particular segment of the working class.
Overwhelmingly, they appear to have been members of the protestant working class, which had a
strong tradition of self-education and mutual self-improvement through an involvement with
cooperative and fraternal organizations.


       Some of us are familiar with the term mechanics’ institute; a few of us know an
   alternative term, school of arts. However, across Australia, a long list of other names was
   also used to describe these institutions – including: miners’ institute, railway institute, postal
   institute, athenaeum, lyceum, temperance hall, free library, memorial hall, public hall,
   soldiers’ hall, people’s institute, and workingmen’s institute. It is with the last of these, that
   this paper is primarily concerned. In some of the more overtly working class inner city
   neighborhoods of Sydney, their institutes or schools were generally styled as workingmen’s
   institutes. It is the story of these workingmen’s institutes that the first part of this paper sets
   out to tell.
       But on a deeper level what was the real significance of the use of this name rather than
   the more usual school of arts or mechanics’ institute. Today, workers’ education (by which
   most observers really mean union or labor education) is regarded as a sub field of adult
   education. It is generally described as that part of adult education, which caters for adults in
   their capacity of workers and especially in their role as members of workers’ organizations
   (Hopkins, 1985, 2). However, in the period under consideration in this paper, these
   distinctions were nowhere as clear-cut and many activists used the terms adult education and
   workers’ education interchangeably. This is not surprising given that, for many of its
   protagonists, the fundamental purpose of adult education was to reach those working class
   adults who had been ruthlessly sifted out by the formal education system (Stubblefield, 1988,
   173-179). But just where these workingmen’s institutes fitted into the broader story of
   Australian working class life is another question, which the second part of this paper attempts
   to address; albeit in an initial and a partial manner.

                                          The Institutes

     These institutes, in the neighborhoods of Balmain, Glebe, Leichhardt, Newtown, and Rozelle
as the following brief account shows, were for a number of years very successful, had large
active memberships, played a significant role in the life of their locality, and provided much for
their members and their communities. But as time passed and the nature of their communities
and the wider Australian society changed, they become less relevant and they declined.
     The Balmain Workingmen’s Institute – for the moral, social, and intellectual improvement of
its members – was founded in 1865. For a number of years it operated from the Odd fellows’
Hall. Because of its early success it soon became apparent that a more permanent and much
larger home was required. However, it took more than 20 years for the Institute to obtain a site
and to accumulate the necessary funds to be in a position to construct a purpose built building.
This new building, originally erected in 1887, was added to on three occasions, and, by the end
of the nineteenth century, consisted of: a 400seat lecture theatre/auditorium; a reading room and
large lending library; a six table billiard room; and numerous smoking, card, meeting and class
rooms. At that time the institute had 600 members and had cost more than £6000 to build
(Souvenir, 1910, 47). The Glebe Workingmen’s Institute was founded, with similar aims to that
of its Balmain neighbour. For a great many years it operated using the premises of the Glebe
Congregationalist Church. Finally, in the early 1900s, it moved into its own premises where it
operated until the early 1950s. Here it offered its members: a lending library; a reading room; a
lecture hall; a couple of class/meeting rooms; and a six-table billiard room. (Solling & Reynolds,
1997, 40).
     The Newtown Workingmen’s Institute was formed in 1899, by a group of prominent local
residents who were desirous of seeing better relations between “men and their masters”. The
newly elected committee rented rooms in St George’s Hall and supporters donated all sorts of
educational and recreational equipment, including a billiard table. The institute was an
immediate success and soon moved to rented premises. Later these premises were purchased and
extensively re-built. The newly renovated building featured the following purpose built facilities:
a large library with its own street entrance; a substantial lecture hall; a six-table billiard room;
and various smaller reading, retiring, smoking, games, meeting and classrooms (Norman, 1963,
71). The Leichhardt Workingmen’s Institute was formed in 1904. The local member of the state
Parliament had obtained the land and a government grant to assist with the building costs. The
membership grew steadily and the members were soon very proud of their institute, which they
described as boasting “… a good library, a fine reading room and card room, together with a
billiard room containing six first class tables” (Jubilee, 1921, 74). In 1907, the Balmain
Municipality gained a second workingmen’s institute, when the Rozelle Workingmen’s Institute
was built. The building cost about £1500 and contained a substantial lecture hall, a library, a
reading room, a games room, meeting and classrooms, and a very large billiard room (Souvenir,
1910, 75).
         Take but one snapshot of the histories of these Institutes and a series of very interesting
     facts are revealed. In 1912 –
       Balmain Workingmen’s Institute had 696 members and a library of 6540 books.
       Glebe Workingman’s Institute had 320 members and a library of 2543 books.
       Leichhardt Workingman’s Institute had 215 members and a library of 2300 books.
       Newtown Workingmen’s Institute had 250 members and a library of 2200 books.
       Rozelle Workingmen’s Institute had 309 members and a library of 2451 books.

     That year, Rozelle’s income from its billiard tables was £1908: more than enough to run a
first class community resource in those days. At that time the Glebe, the Leichhardt and the
Newtown Municipalities did not operate public libraries. In the library collections of the two
local municipalities that did, Annandale and Balmain, there were only 628 and 800 books
respectively (Solling & Reynolds, 1997, 63-4).
         From about 1950, following the consolidation of the small local municipalities, the
     establishment and expansion of local municipal public libraries, and the growth of a whole
     range of other more specialist providers of community services and facilities, the
     workingmen’s institutes, like their more conventionally named cousins, began to decline
     rapidly. Some went out of existence; their premises converted to another public use or fell
     into private ownership, others, survived, and continue to serve their communities until this
     day. The Balmain Workingmen’s Institute, still a most impressive feature of the Balmain
     streetscape, passed into private ownership and operates today as an arcade of shops and
     offices. The premises of the Glebe Workingmen’s Institute were handed over to the City of
     Sydney Municipal Council in the early 1950s and for a number of years housed the local
     branch of the Public Library. Eventually, when a new library was built, the building was sold
     and redeveloped as an apartment building. The Leichhardt Institute survives and still
     operates, though the bulk of its building is leased on a long-term basis to an Italo-Australian
     social club. The Newtown Institute is still there and is still operating but with a much reduced
     and very elderly membership. The quite substantial building of the Rozelle Institute has also
     survived but also has passed into private ownership and today houses a group of related
     Tibetan Buddhist organizations.
       Notwithstanding their eventual decline, for a great many years these workingmen’s
   institutes were very important intellectual, social, civic, as well as recreational centres for
   their working class communities. Their libraries were always prominent. Diverse local
   groups (lodges, Churches, political parties, trade unions, and sporting bodies) hired their halls
   and meeting rooms for a range of purposes. Regular dances and a variety of private functions
   were held. The main hall was frequently used for lectures, public meetings and civic
   occasions, or to immunise the neighborhood’s children. And, of course billiards, cards, and
   other activities provided opportunities for relaxation and fellowship in an alcohol free

                                          A Deeper Look

       While it would be patently untrue to claim that these Institutes arose as a direct product of
   militant proletarian consciousness, it also would not be true to claim that they were merely
   the creation of middle class paternalism (Drodge, 1988, 51). The situation, both in political
   and educational terms, was much more complex, as were the backgrounds and motivations of
   those actually involved, and, of course, the specific circumstances that surrounded the
   formation and continued operation of each of these Institutes varied somewhat.
       As the nineteenth century ended, Australian nationalism bloomed. An important part of
   that nationalism was the growing confidence and power of the labour movement both in
   terms of its trade union and the parliamentary wings. Moreover, the whole political culture of
   the soon to be created new nation was very liberal and humane with a strong commitment to
   the future and a firm belief in modernism. The new century was to be the century of the

common man. Australia was to be a paradise for the workingman and his family. Indeed,
many of new housing developments that were then spreading along the new suburban
railways and tramlines were marketed as being the “workingman’s paradise”.
    The early years of the twentieth century was also a period of some optimism among
educationalists concerning the potentialities of the ordinary man and woman in terms of their
intellectual capabilities and educability (Simon, 1982, 88). This was the period of the first
great round of educational reforms in New South Wales that heralded the beginning of the
era of mass education. Primary education was restructured. Public secondary education was
begun with the establishment of academic high schools for the gifted and of the so-called
continuation schools and classes for the great mass of pupils. Public examinations were
established for the new school awards: the Qualifying, Intermediate and Leaving Certificates.
Teacher education was regularised and the state teachers’ college established. Technical
education was formalised and became part of the publicly controlled and funded system. The
state’s sole university was, at last, partially opened to talented working class scholars on the
basis of merit.
    The accepted academic wisdom sees the covert role of the workingmen’s institutes as
being to maintain the social status quo and to serve the economic needs of the employing
class by diverting working class unrest onto the respectable path to moral rectitude, self-
improvement, and useful knowledge (Whitelock, 1974, 10). If it was the intention of the
employing class to use the institutes to save/reform/redirect the working class: then the
institutes were indeed failures. However, it appears, from the reports of their working class
members, that the Institutes did meet, at least to some extent, their needs for recreation,
companionship, and intellectual stimulation. Thus, it can be argued that the institutes were, at
the very least, modest successes (Morris, 2003, 162). The institutes did provide significant
local venues for many of the activities of organised working class life. Laurent (1989, 37)
reports that Labour Electoral Leagues and Women’s Suffrage groups used the facilities of the
Institutes, as did the unions, the benefit societies and the fraternal lodges. Further, their
libraries, as well as stocking popular fiction, offered the standard works of contemporary
Socialist thought while their Debating Clubs explored leftwing topics (for example Land
Nationalisation, Socialism, and the Advantages of Cooperation). Finally, their lecture
programs: featured speakers like the great socialist orator, Tom Mann; helped to popularise
the ideas of Darwin and Huxley; and promoted a belief in the inevitability of progress and the
eventual triumph of modernism.
    However, it does appear that the members of the Institutes were from a particular
segment of the working class: they largely seemed to have belonged to the protestant
working class. The role of the protestant working class in the story of Australia has been little
studied and much of the study, which has been done, has focussed on the most negative
aspect of that role: that is anti Catholic sectarianism. Protestant workers carried with them to
Australia a mixed bag of cultural practices, political ideas, and religious beliefs. They came
from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, and Germany as well as England. They were
Primitive Methodists, Presbyterians Congregationalists, and Baptists, as well as evangelical
Anglicans and Lutherans. They brought with them, especially the miners, a range of militant
political ideas, social and religious beliefs, and trade union practices. They had a strong
tradition of self-education and mutual self-improvement through involvement in cooperative
and fraternal organizations. They belonged to a range of associations: trade unions, fraternal

   lodges, friendly and benefit societies. Many protestant working people, as well as being
   militant union members and loyal labor voters, were also orderly, respectable, home owning
   and chapel going. Some were, in addition, anti gambling and strong supporters of the
   temperance movement. While a few, it must be conceded, were actively sectarian and
   members of the ardently anti Catholic Lodges of the Loyal Orange Institution.
       A good example of the sort of protestant worker referred to above is Josiah Cocking, The
   son of an immigrant Cornish copper miner, a confirmed autodidact and a lifelong publicist in
   the cause of working people, he was strongly influenced by the Social Gospel movement. A
   convinced and militant Christian, he strongly agreed with the Salvation Army point of view
   on alcohol, tobacco, and gambling. But he was also an early and keen member of the
   Australian Socialist League and a very active unionist (Laffan in Cocking, 2003, 1).
   A walk around these suburbs to day, though they are much changed in their socio economic
   status and ethnic mix, reveal many physical reminders of their working class (and Protestant
   past). There are: Methodist chapels, missions, and halls of almost cathedral like proportions;
   the soaring but crumbling spires of Presbyterian churches; Salvation Army Citadels and a full
   spectrum of other non-conformist churches; and a wide range of lodge, temperance and union
   halls. There are friendly society dispensaries and at least one large cooperative society store.
   These are only those buildings that have survived. Moreover, there are, in the sparse records
   that have been retained of the activities of these Institutes, countless references to the
   following, as groups which made use of the Institutes’ facilities: Freemasons, Odd fellows,
   the Protestant Alliance, Order of Recabites, Good Templars, Orange Lodges, Australian
   Protestant Defence Association, Sons and Daughters of Temperance, the Band of Hope,
   Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and the NSW Temperance Alliance.


        This more impressionistic evidence is well borne out by an analysis of contemporary
   population statistics. All of the neighborhoods under study fall within the above average
   protestant population localities of the Sydney metropolitan area. Not only were these
   neighborhoods above average protestant; they were also heavily non-conformist protestant –
   Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalist, and Salvationist (Broom, 1980, 167). However, while
   it is comparatively easy to draw these simple connections between these institutes and the
   protestant working class, it is much more difficult to explicate the multi faceted nature of this
   relationship particularly in regard to the organised labour movement. This is an issue that
   will be addressed more completely in ongoing research.


Broome, R. (1980) Treasure in Earthen Vessels: Protestant Christianity in NSW Society 1900-
   1914. St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press.
Cocking, Josiah (2003) Hard Manual Labour: Its Cause and Cure. Singleton: Toiler Editions.
Drodge, S. (1988) “Cooperative Society Libraries and Education in the Nineteenth Century: A
   Preliminary Assessment”, Studies in the Education of Adults. Vol. 20, No. 1, April, 29-48.
Hopkins, P.G.H. (1985) Workers’ Education: An International Perspective. Milton Keynes:
   Open University Press

Jubilee History of Leichhardt Municipality 1871-1921. (1921) Compiled by A. Viaboux & C. M.
    Reeves. Sydney: Local Government Publishing Company. (Facsimile Edition produced by
    Fast Books in 1992).
Laurent, J. (1989) “Bourgeois Expectations and Working Class Realities: Science and Politics in
    Sydney’s Schools Of Arts”. Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society. Vol. 75, Part
    1, June, 33-50.
Morris. R K (2003) “Mechanics’ Institutes: Glorious Failures or Modest Successes”. Paper
    presented at the 22nd Annual Midwest Research to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing,
    and Community Education. The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Pp 161-168.
Norman, L G. (1963) Historical Notes on Newtown. Sydney: Council of the City of Sydney.
Simon, B. (1982) “Education in Theory: Schooling in Practice”. In Stephen Murray-Smith (Ed)
    Melbourne Studies in Education. 1982. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
Solling, M. and Reynolds, P. (1997) Leichhardt: On the Margins of the City. St. Leonards: Allen
    and Unwin.
Souvenir to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Incorporation of the Municipality of
    Balmain 1860-1910. (1910) Balmain: The Municipal Council.
Stubblefield. H. (1988) Towards a History of Adult Education in America. London: Croom
Whitelock, D. (1974) The Great Tradition: A History of Adult Education In Australia. St. Lucia:
    University of Queensland Press.

Roger K Morris Ph D, Honorary Associate, Adult Education Program, Faculty of Education,
University of Technology, Sydney, P.O. Box 123, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis MO, October 4-6, 2006.

      Hope—Heartbeat of Adult Education: A Phenomenological Inquiry
                                       Phillip L. Moulden

    This phenomenological study of the phenomenon—hope , completed in 2005, identified two
essential meaning structures (“change” and “human agency”) in the experiences communicated
by the adult educators interviewed. It was also discovered that hope is an energy that interacts
with Affective, Relative (Re-lay-tive), and Cognitive energies in the lives of the research
participants. Understanding how “change” and “human agency” can be aligned with these
A.R.C. energies holds implications for further research and the practice of adult education.
                                       Purpose of the Study
The purpose of my research, while participating in the Adult and Continuing Education Doctoral
Program at National-Louis University, was to develop a rich and thick description of how hope
manifested itself in the lives of masters and doctoral students before, during, and after their
formal degree programs in adult and continuing education. In addition, this study intended to
identify meaning structures for the phenomenon—hope, in and of itself, as revealed by the adult
students interviewed.
    The methodology used in this study was phenomenology informed by hermeneutics. This
offered the best approach to investigate and describe the phenomenon—hope. I drew from the
writings of Husserl (1981, 1998), Spiegelberg (1975), Stanage (1987), and Van Manen (1990).
    The questions that first emerged for me in this research related to hope were:
        • Is hope that underlying feeling that enables a person to reach out to the world
           around them?
        • What, if any, is the connection between fear and hope in adult education?
        • Is hope the connection between the cognitive and affective dimensions of
           transformative learning?
        • Is hope identified as linked to individual and group activity in adult education?
        • Does hope require critical thinking to be effective in adult education?
Before I could seek responses to these questions with my research participants I first had to fully
explore my own experience and understanding of the phenomenon—hope. This would enable
me to “bracket” my cultural understanding as described by Husserl (1981, 1998). Secondly, I
had to identify and claim my philosophical assumptions related to adult education. Reporting this
would allow my readers to check for bias in my interpretation of data. Thirdly, I had to find out
what research had been done related to the phenomenon—hope. This would create a foundation
for analysis and provide a check on the use of my personal perspective when interpreting the
    In examining my own experience of the phenomenon—hope, I described it as a force of
human nature underlying all activity. I described it as an energy that sustained and opened up
new possibilities. I suggested that it had dimensions that connected it to emotions and cognition.
Further, I described it as the tissue that connected individual learning to group learning. Hope
was for me the sustaining drive that enabled adults to complete goals. The imagination that
created our dreams was also part of my initial understanding of hope. The “status quo” is always
called into question by hope as it visualized the “not yet.” Hope has kept people from settling

for what is, because it called people to look for what might be. I thought it also focused on
qualitative changes rather than quantitative changes in human life. Because of this description of
hope, I found it a worthy topic of study.
    Finally, I adopted the metaphor of the human heartbeat to summarize all that I had said about
hope. Just as the heartbeat pumps life-giving blood throughout the body, hope pumps motivating
energy that enables learning and action which is the realm of adult education. In my analysis,
the same way that all activities of the body depend on the heartbeat, all that makes life human
depends on hope.
    The philosophical assumptions which guided my understanding of adult education and
research were: (1) People have intrinsic worth. (2) People are meant to flourish. The definition
of flourish is ultimately determined by the individual. (3) People are not meant to be exploited.
People are to be seen as ends in and of themselves rather than means to other ends. These
assumptions are very close to the philosophy of Humanism as described by Corliss Lamont
    The philosophy of Humanism, when applied to adult education, best embodies my
assumptions and fits with my definition of adult education. Humanism emphasizes both the
cognitive and affective dimensions of the person. It combines an emphasis on scientific method
with a deep appreciation of aesthetics. These unique combinations in Humanism are very
harmonious with my definition of adult education: the intentional activity of a mature person to
learn about subject matter and self through critical reflection in collaboration with others.
    Hope has been studied more in the fields of psychology, philosophy, and theology than in the
field of adult education. Paulo Freire (1989, 1996, 2002), Henry Giroux (1997), bell hooks
(2003), and Sherman Stanage (1987) are adult educators who have written specifically about
hope, yet none of them actually studied the phenomenon in and of itself. I adopted some of the
language from each of them to interpret the data from the research participants.
    Following the examination of my own experience and understanding of hope, my
philosophical assumptions, and what research had been done, I was ready to conduct interviews,
some by telephone and the rest face-to-face, with my research participants. I interviewed nine
graduates of the masters and doctoral programs in Adult Education at National-Louis University.
I made summaries of the interviews and sent copies of my summaries for review by each
research participant (member checks). I used phenomenology and hermeneutics to analyze the
data in the interview summaries as verified based on the feedback from the research participants.
I reflected on what arose in my consciousness in response to the research participants during the
interviews, while writing the summaries, and following their feedback. In addition, I used
dialogues with my cohort group and advisors concerning this research project to develop insights
and terminology to accurately express the meaning of the data.
                                   Findings and Interpretations
    I discovered that my original questions guiding this research project were too binary and
therefore unhelpful in interpreting the data from the interviews. I also realized that I was almost
unconsciously using a quantitative approach to the data rather than the qualitative approach that I
claimed to be using. I was initially analyzing parts of the phenomenon rather than looking at it
as a whole. I was looking for cause/effect relationships rather than for descriptions of the
experience and how it presented itself to the minds of the research participants.
    I determined, that for this group of research participants, there were two essential meaning
structures for the phenomenon—hope. Those meaning structures are: change and human agency.

These concepts were revealed by looking at common language and meanings from the
    First, hope could not be conceived of apart from desiring a change in a positive direction
from the current status quo. This can be seen in the language used by the research participants.
They used the following terms; growth, knowledge creation, goal, experiment, accomplishment,
and pioneering. This language meant to me that each one had a vision of how life could be better
than what was currently being experienced.
    Second, these research participants made the inseparable connection between hope and
human agency. They used the following terms; choice, decide, commitment, fearlessness, and
self possession. This language meant to me that one was not dealing with hope unless viable
human actions were identified and taken in order to make the desired change possible and more
likely to occur.
    Third, I learned that the data supported an interpretation of the phenomenon—hope as an
energy that interacts with three other energies: Affective, Relative (re-lay-tive), and Cognitive.
I called these the A.R.C. energies. Once again the words used by the research participants guided
this interpretation. For Affective energy they associated the words joy, liberated, elation,
confidence, optimism, destiny, fearlessness, vulnerable, peace, and feel good with their various
experiences of hope. For Relative energy they associated the words collaborating, friends,
support, dialogue, engaged, commitments, acceptance, and approval. For Cognitive energy they
associated these words with their experiences of hope; choice, decide, realism, opportunities, self
possession, and pioneering. From the stories they told it became clear that these interactions of
energies can inhibit, support, or misdirect the energy of hope. (Please see below.)
                                      Hope and A.R.C Energies

              COGNITIVE                                       SELF-DOUBTING

                           FEARING                       ENJOYING





      Finally, I learned that it was possible that my Humanistic philosophy affected my
interpretation of the data supplied by the research participants about spirituality and its
connection to hope. I had intentionally avoided asking about spirituality in relation to hope
because I thought that the language of spirituality would hinder investigating the phenomenon—
hope in and of itself. In spite of this intention, all but one of the research participants volunteered
information about their spirituality and its relationship to hope.
      During the process of this research, I recognized that I had experienced a perspective
transformation moving from a Christian theology to a Humanistic philosophy. Because of the
significance of this perspective transformation, my analysis of the data from the research
participants might have been affected and had to be reviewed critically to determine if I had
distorted the data. I provided the research participants with a copy of the “Findings and
Interpretations” chapter of my thesis and requested their clarifying and correcting feedback. Thus
I attempted to mitigate being overly influenced by this perspective transformation when
interpreting the data.
     More research on the phenomenon—hope is needed to determine if the essential meaning
structures for this group of research participants (change and human agency) are present in any
other groups. It is important to be clear that these implications are my speculation based on the
research. My research is only definitive for the group of individuals who participated in it. Thus
I am really suggesting areas for further research to determine if the understanding of hope
developed here can be confirmed or disproved.
     It seems to me that the impact of hope interacting with the A.R.C. energies is what could
keep people progressing through their educational experiences. This might, in part, explain how
people can return to school after having found it a difficult experience earlier in their lives. They
now have Affective, Relative, and Cognitive energies that can create a new equilibrium with
those past educational experiences and enable them to move forward with their learning. This
could only be confirmed if further research were done.
     People might drop out of formal adult education experiences because those settings reinforce
previous inhibiting Affective, Relative, and Cognitive energies which reduce their hope.
Obviously, much research would be needed to confirm or deny such a possibility. This could be
done through action research in multiple settings. Learning to create supportive A.R.C. energies
that enhance people’s hope may be necessary to enable more successful adult education.
Awareness and appreciation for the unique learning styles, issues, and patterns would seem to be
necessary to support hope in these individuals. Critical reflection is needed on how to provide
sincere encouragement (relative energy), how to request information about their needs (affective
energy), and how to engage the subject matter with them (cognitive energy).
     I think some tools exist which can assist adult educators in looking at the interaction of the
A.R.C. energies and hope. Brookfield’s Critical Incident Questionnaire (Brookfield, 1995, p.
115) and the cohort model for adult education may be some of those tools. By using
Brookfield’s questionnaire one is more likely to identify the issues and activities that generate
supportive A.R.C. energies or non-supportive A.R.C. energies. By responding to the feedback
one can conduct a form of action research to see which adjustments generate more supportive
energies for learning in that course. The use of a cohort creates the possibility of the students
becoming connected on an affective level as well as a cognitive one. If this is accomplished, the
Relative energy in the cohort can be quite positive and supportive. This conclusion reflects my

experience of participating in a cohort approach to adult education; however that is too small a
sample to support such a conclusion.
     This research about hope, if confirmed by further research, has something to contribute to the
theory of transformative learning. The two meaning structures of hope that I identified (change
and human agency) are also evident in the phases of perspective transformation described by
Mezirow (2000, p. 22). Change is evident in many of the phases. It may even be a part of the
identification of a “disorienting dilemma.”
     Human agency is easily seen in several of the phases which require actions of selecting new
behaviors, planning a course of action, practicing new behaviors, and reintegrating of these new
behaviors into one’s lifeworld. (Mezirow, 2000, p. 22)
     Since both change and human agency are quite evident in transformation, it seems reasonable
to conclude that where the meaning structures of change and human agency appear, hope is also
present. Research to confirm this conclusion and integrate hope with transformative learning is
still needed.
     Why did the research participants so frequently tell me about their association of spirituality
with hope? My reflection on this question leads me to the idea that hope has most often and most
clearly been discussed in a religious or spiritual setting. It is my analysis that the association of
spirituality and hope is a culturally conditioned overlay on the phenomenon—hope. Some of the
research by Elizabeth Tisdell (1999) on the cultural development of images and symbols related
to spirituality provides some support for my analysis. She states, “Spirituality is about
constructing knowledge through image and symbol. But it is also about attempting to live or act
in the world in accordance with one’s spiritual path, which for many has an orientation to
community.” (Tisdell, 1999, p. 91) I think it is not reaching too far to identify in her statement
the two essential meaning structures identified for the phenomenon—hope in my research;
human agency and change. Living out a spiritual path which impacts a community would
require wanting change and the human agency to take action toward that change, and thus hope
is present. Tisdell also seems to imply the A.R.C. energies identified earlier in this paper. A
symbol like the flag of the United States is certainly connected to Affective energy because of
the feelings it generates in the people of this country. Symbols also require a community
connection thus the Relative energy is implied. Finally the construction of image and symbol
also require some Cognitive energy in terms of design and intended meaning. When images and
symbols are constructed within a community they are, in my opinion, built on and interacting
with the underlying phenomenon—hope.
     Studs Terkel (2003) entitled one of his books “Hope Dies Last.” While I agree with him on
this assessment, I don’t think he goes far enough. I have concluded that hope is that underlying
feeling beneath all human activity that is aimed at flourishing. Because of this I assert that
“Hope lives first.” As an adult educator, I want to build on the existing hope that every adult
learner has and support its development and direction toward that goal of flourishing as defined
by each individual. By doing that I will pass on what was given to me by my best teachers.
Being part of that process which enables persons to use the A.R.C. energies in support of hope to
reach their visions of flourishing does create meaning in this life I live.

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Van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive
     pedagogy. Ontario, Canada: The State University of New York.

Phillip L. Moulden, Ed. D. 1935 Tanglewood Drive Unit B, Glenview, IL 60025.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education,
University of Missouri-St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

                       The Lived Experiences of University Faculty:
                  Reflections on the Use of the Hybrid Instructional Model

                                         Udeme T. Ndon
                                         Larry G. Martin

                This study employed a phenomenological research approach to
       investigate and provide reflective insight into the essence of faculty members’
       experiences in the use of the hybrid instructional model in postsecondary
       education. The research addressed several questions: How do faculty members
       experience hybrid instruction in postsecondary education? What meanings do
       they ascribe to the experience(s)? The themes that emerged are: the effectiveness
       of the hybrid model, significant time commitment, computer problems, issues
       encountered, and learner’s characteristics.

                          The Problem, Research Purpose, and Question
         For the past two and half decades, the postsecondary education community has witnessed
a rapid transformation in how classes are delivered to students (i.e., from face-to-face to
technology assisted on-line “virtual” classes) and thereby how classes are taught and managed by
instructors. Because they tended to use different instructional media and methods to address the
needs of different learners, face-to-face and online learning environments were typically taught
independently of each other. For example, face-to-face instruction usually takes place in
location-specific and teacher-controlled environments while the online environment is associated
with the use of cyberspace, learner-centered instructional approaches, and self-paced learning
efforts. Both approaches to instruction offer unique strengths and weaknesses. Since the
late1990s, many postsecondary institutions have thereby attempted to combine the best attributes
of these learning environments into one model: the hybrid (blended) approach (Garnham &
Kaleta, 2002). Hybrid, also referred to as blended learning (Bonk & Graham, 2004), is defined
as a course where an instructor reduces face-to-face classroom meetings during the semester and
replaces that instructional time with online learning activities typically through a course
management tool (Garnham & Kaleta, 2002). Many hybrid courses have anywhere from 30 to
75% of the course online with the remainder offered face-to-face (Swenson & Evans, 2003).
There are many variations of hybrid courses to accommodate the teacher’s instructional style,
course content, course size, and course goals (Skibba & Ndon, 2006).
        Although the hybrid approach represents a significant trend in postsecondary instruction
(Young, 2002, p. 33), we know little about how instructors make the transition from face-to-face
instruction to utilizing this blended approach. We do not know what criteria are employed to
determine when and how to offer such efforts, how they determine what content should be taught
in the face-to-face portion of the class vs. the portion that should be taught on-line. Nor do we
know how instructors take into account the objectives of the course, the effect on their personal
theory of learning, and the potential impact of increased access to a rich variety of instructional
tools and technologies on student learning outcomes. The purpose of this study was to
investigate and provide reflective insight into the essence of faculty members’ experiences in the
use of the hybrid instructional model in postsecondary education. The research addressed
several questions: How do faculty members experience hybrid instruction in postsecondary

education? What meanings do they ascribe to the experience(s)? What critical incident
experiences provide defining moments for them as instructors utilizing the hybrid model?

                                         Research Method
        This study employed a phenomenological human science approach, which is a
description of the experiential meaning of the hybrid model as lived by the participants of this
study. According to van Manen (1997), this approach attempts to describe and interpret these
meanings to a certain degree of depth and richness” (p. 11). This study was guided by the
empirical approach (heuristic) as ascribed by Moustakas (1994). This approach seeks to obtain
comprehensive descriptions of an experience through open-ended questions and conversations.
Using this approach, personal stories and other personal information were obtained that pertain
to the study. This led to discovering and capturing experiences which helped in describing and
providing narrative descriptions that portray personal stories as told by the individuals. With this
approach the participants remained visible during the examination of the data (Moustakas 1994).
        Telephone and in-person interviews were used to collect the data from a purposive
sample of 13 faculty members who offered undergraduate and graduate hybrid courses within
two and four-year colleges and universities. All participants had hybrid teaching experiences that
included formal face-to-face interactions as well as actively delivering instruction in a computer-
mediated environment for a particular course for at least three or more semesters (or four
quarters). The particpants were selected through a pre-interview letter. The selected participants
were interviewed once for information gathering mostly via telephone interviews. The interviews
lasted between 35 and 75 minutes. These interviews employed open-ended (Moustaks, 1994)
questions to gather information about the following: their lived experiences with the hybrid
instructional model; educational and professional background; why they became involved in
teaching hybrid course(s); what it means for them to teach hybrid course(s); and critical
reflections on their hybrid instructional teaching experiences. Member checks (Lincoln & Guba,
1985) were done via email to clarify any missing or misunderstood information. An audit trail
and peer debriefing (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) were used for quality control.

                              Findings: Hybrid Course Experience
         The general meaning the participants ascribed to their experiences of the hybrid model is
that it combines the strengths from both face-to-face and online teaching and learning to promote
students’ engagement and learning; while planning and managing the two environments as well
as the students require substantive amounts of time and effort on the part of the participants. The
themes that emerged are: the effectiveness of the hybrid model; time commitment; computer
problems, issues encountered; and learner’s characteristics.

Theme 1: Effectiveness of the Hybrid model
        Participants indicated that the effectiveness of the hybrid model depends upon several
interacting variables: students’ engagement and learning, linking face-to-face activities with
online activities, and improvement of instruction.

        Students’ Engagement and Learning
        The study participants indicated that the use of the hybrid instructional model has helped
students to stay engaged. Engagement comes as a result of using the course management system
that allows online discussion and e-mail communication. Staying engaged means constant

communication with the students and a high level of interaction and feedback between the
teachers and the students; among the students; and between the teachers, students, and the
content of the course, which eventually, leads to students learning and succeeding in their
courses. One method of presenting the learning materials/information is what Barb termed the
“flooding method.” With this method she combined case studies and problem-based learning
activities to allow for many case studies within classes. The students were expected to work on
different case studies each week and she generated quizzes from them. During instruction,
students were also engaged through meaningful assignments, readings and essay writing that
were placed online. The essay writing allowed the students to talk back and forth on the
discussion board

        Linking Face-to-Face Activities with Online Activities
        Actually connecting the online activities to foster students’ engagement and learning took
a number of different turns and employed logical analysis. Some of the steps these participants
took were: building into every hybrid course a large number of assignments that were face-to-
face that led to entrance and exit assignments; making sure that what the students brought back
from the online mode fed into the class activity afterwards; using excerpts from the online
environment to continue the class lecture or discussion; continuing uncompleted “good
discussions” from the classroom to the online environment; following up a short lecture with
activities students could do outside of the classroom; providing classroom practical or written
exams based on the online discussion; stimulating classroom questionings that lead the students
back to the online discussion questions; adding a greater number of learning activities like
reading activities, quizzes, and lab exercises that focus on the same topic for both the online and
classroom simultaneously; and front-loading the lecture with what students did not do well in
classroom or online discussion.

       Improvement of Instruction
        The study participants mentioned having seen a huge difference in the students’
performance and attitudes when they compared their present experiences to their prior hybrid
experiences. They indicated that prior to their hybrid experiences, students in most instances
would go to class unprepared; partly due to their busy schedules. They also noticed that students’
grades tended to improve from semester-to-semester. The participants affirmed that the students
learned more because they were more engaged and this, they believe was due to the fact that
students have more opportunities within the hybrid model to develop their own approach to the
development of logical ideas and they [students] are thereby more likely than before to
contribute to class work as a whole. When these participants compared the kinds of activities
students did in the hybrid environment with the face-to-face environment, they noted that
students engaging in active activities be it individually or in a group, did better than students
sitting passively for long periods of time listening to a one-way lecture. The hybrid environment
helps students who would otherwise not speak up in the classroom environment to make their
contribution to the class. Another thing that was so welcomed by the participants is the critical
thinking skills that they noticed while using the model.
        Active learning was employed through out in both face-to-face and online because
students were expected to turn in something day-after-day. Using the on-line piece, the study
participants were able to lay the responsibility on the students to present what they were doing to
the class. For example, one participant used individual homework and weekly “grade yourself

experience” approaches. This required learners to be on the computer every week in order to
complete work on an individual basis and to “grade their ability to be “responsible every Friday
by midnight.”
         Critical Thinking. One participant noted that the hybrid environment is more effective
particularly in teaching students to be meta critical, to do meta cognition, and to think about their
thinking. This is achieved by building into the course several assignments where they are
required to evaluate the performance, to write about what they have learned so far, and to write
about what surprised them or what they already knew.
         Students’ Preparation. The hybrid/blended model requires the teacher to make sure that
students are prepared for classes by providing adequate and meaningful readings along with
detailed instructions to the students. This starts with using the course management system for
information storage, i.e., for the course syllabus, handouts, notes, grades, and to document
students’ activities. On-line assignments require planning ahead. For example, detailed
instructions and directions are provided ahead of time to properly guide students as to the
expectations of the course. These instructions usually set the tone for the course as well as guide
the students on what to expect and what is expected of them; what to do when in need; the time
lines; and specific requirements for assignments.
         Unlimited Access to Instructional Materials. The instructional materials and information
stored on the web are always available at all times for students’ access. Participants were able to
put reading materials on the web and make assignments available for download, rather than
handing them out on a piece of paper in the classroom.
         Teachers’ Learning. The study participants indicated that keeping abreast with the
changing trends in educational technologies and instructional strategies means that they are also
learning. They are thereby able to keep up with the changing generations of students. They
indicated that the environment sharpened their understanding of what students know and where
they are likely to fail to understand.
         Time Flexibility. Hybrid, according to these participants, affords the students the
flexibility in time and space of their learning. Students can really pace their own learning. The
flexibility works well for students with tight working schedules, families, and other challenges
that would impede their ability to follow the rigid schedule of the traditional face-to-face setting.
Decatur expressed that the hybrid course “makes the best use of the student’s time. Time
flexibility is also beneficial to the faculty members in that they do not have to go to the campus
for all the class meetings unless it is necessary; they can use the convenience of free time to
reflect on other courses or activities.

Theme 2: Time Commitment
       Time commitment for this study was the amount of time spent on course development
and delivery. In general terms, the participants believed that there was substantially more time
spent on hybrid instruction, especially long hours on the computer.

       Course Development

       Time commitment was substantial especially during the course development phase
because in addition to planning the course, identifying goals and objectives, dealing with
textbooks issues, creating and examining the activities on a recursive weekly basis in advance;
they had to also carefully develop the online portion of the course. Time was needed to

successfully implement a hybrid course regarding the following: the ability to use this model to
facilitate learning; the ability to identify educational activities that work best in the face-to-face
or online environments; and the ability to connect face-to-face activities with online activities.

        Delivering a Hybrid Course
        Delivery of instruction is particularly time consuming because it requires time to: monitor
emails in case students have questions about assignments or have problems with exams; monitor
the Discussion Board for questions and student participation; stay in constant communication
with the students in this highly text-based, intellectually challenging environment; and assist
students to resolve problems.

       Learning Technology

        Mastering the skills required to offer hybrid courses created a learning curve for the
participant. It required them to spend additional time on their hybrid courses.

       Multiple Teacher’s Role

         To help the students stay engaged, the participants of this study had to create room for
their role to mutate to accommodate the demands of the course and the students’ needs. The
roles the participants played during instruction varied and were particular to their individual
instructional styles. While they still conducted their classes in teacher-led fashion in most cases,
they had to assume different or additional roles in order to encourage students to stay engaged.
The participants generally described the environments as: learner-centered, heavy on discussion
participation, and intensive method of teaching. They generally described themselves as
facilitator; guide on the side; and trouble shooter/problem solver. Given this description, the
participants had to compromise their traditional teacher-controlled approach to accommodate
the varying positions the hybrid model calls for.

Theme 3: Computer Problems and Issues Encountered
   Many of the problems and issues the participants shared occurred during the delivery of
   instruction. These problems centered on technology, access, and literacy issues. This
   apparent lack of access started as simple as students not having computers at home. For those
   who had computers, the concerns became software and hardware disparity both on the
   teachers’ and students’ side. The participants expressed concerns that show that in most
   cases, the hardware provided to them and/or owned by the students needed to be able to
   handle the volume of information and in the case of the school, the traffic during the peak
   periods when students accessed the system the most. The participants experienced situations
   where the students had computers at home and these computers were not compatible with the
   school’s computer and/or had no Internet access. Some of these participants indicated they
   were also limited in some cases because they were unable to access office computers
   remotely from their home.
Theme 4: Learner’s Characteristics
       The study participants described their learners as students with schedule constraints,
evening people who tend to be a little older students (in their thirties), working adults, mothers
with children, and teachers. To succeed in the hybrid environment, they generally expected these

students to be independent learners, self-motivated individuals who have the ability/desire to
work independently, have the ability to learn from reading, be self-disciplined, dedicated, and
students who can adapt well to on-line.

        This study provides insight into the question of how different postsecondary faculty
members describe various aspects of teaching and learning that assisted them to improve their
instruction within the hybrid (blended) instructional model. Various university administrators,
course designers, students, and veteran as well as novice teachers of this model will benefit from
the shared experiences of the above postsecondary faculty members.


Bonk, C. J. & Graham, C. R. (2004). The handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives
    local designs. Pfeiffer, San Francisco, CA.
Garnham, C., & Kaleta, R. (2002, March). Introduction to hybrid courses. Teaching with
    Technology Today, 8(10). Retrieved May 9, 2005 from http://www.uwsa.edu/ttt/
Kaleta, R., Garnham, C., & Aycock, A. (2003). Obstacles and solutions for faculty and students.
    Proceedings, 20th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning. The Board of
    Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, Madison WI.
Moustakas, C (1994). Phenomenological Research Methods. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks,
Skibba, K., & Ndon, U. T. (2006). Using a Hybrid Instructional Model in Teaching and
    Learning. Proceedings of the 47the Annual Adult Education Research Conference,
    University Minnesota, MN.
Swenson, P. W., & Evans, M. (2003). Hybrid courses as learning communities. In S. Reisman, J.
    G. Flores, & D. Edge (Eds.), Electronic learning communities: Issues and practices (pp. 27-
    71). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.
Van Manen, M. (1997). Researching Lived Experience: Human science for an action sensitive
    pedagogy, 2nd edition. The Althouse Press, Canada
Young, J. R. (2002, March 22). Hybrid teaching seeks to end the divide between traditional and
    online instruction. The Chronicle of Higher Education, p. A33.
Udeme T. Ndon, Ph.D Candidate, Department of Administrative Leadership, University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201. E-Mail: utndon@uwm.edu

Larry G. Martin, Ph.D., Department of Administrative Leadership, University of Wisconsin-
Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201. E-Mail: lmartin@uwm.edu

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

          How to Leverage International and Intercultural Perspectives
                       in Higher Education Classrooms
                               Yumiko Otsuki and Miki Yamashita


       This paper reviews relevant literature and explores theoretical frameworks that can help
college-level educators maximize appreciation of diversity in teaching and learning, so that they
can take full advantage of the contribution of international diversity in the classroom. By
leveraging international and intercultural perspectives, they will give all students opportunities to
broaden perspectives and gain new frames of reference.


        International students attend more than 2,500 U.S. colleges and universities, and the U.S.
has the highest annual enrollment of international university students among all countries in the
world (Kilinc & Granello, 2003). In spite of this fact, and even though there are intercultural
programs at most universities, literature indicates a lack of attention to international students in
the mainstream college classroom (Tompson & Tompson, 1996). Very often teachers and U. S.
students do not appreciate, understand, or respect international students. This results in bad
educational experiences for these students, and, in turn, in U. S. students’ missing opportunities
to learn international and intercultural perspectives.
        This problem may arise because teachers are not fully aware that international students
have different perspectives and learning styles. As a result, teachers may not be adequately
attending to these differences, and may not be aware that it is critical to appreciate and learn
diverse perspectives if they are to make the most of their diverse classrooms.
        The purpose of this paper is to review relevant literature and explore theoretical
frameworks that can help college-level educators understand and maximize appreciation of
diversity in teaching and learning. We will first look, drawing on social constructivist theories, at
the way learning is constructed socially and culturally, which suggests ways that international
students learn by capitalizing on their prior experience and their own cultural orientation. We
will discuss the need for teachers to recognize and “activate” such resources.
        Next we consider three interrelated models from the literature, examples of fundamental
understandings that all college teachers should, and too often do not, bring to their classrooms.
Kolb’s (1981) experiential model describes four types of learning ability, applied by Rowland
and Reza (2005) to different cultural groups. Two sets of concepts developed by Yamazaki
(2005) and Hofstede (1997) consider how cultures are manifested in individuals’ learning styles.
        Finally, we will explore practical ideas that teachers can use to facilitate the diverse
classroom in such a way that international as well as domestic students receive a quality
education, enhanced by their diverse perspectives.

                                The Social Constructivist Theory

       One purpose of education is to transmit cultural knowledge, values, and practices
(Hollins, 1996; Strouse, 2001). In the United States, “schools … [serve] the purpose of

maintaining … Euro-American culture” (Hollins, 1996, p.12) and “cultural norms are reflected
in overall operations of school including interactions … between students and teachers” (p.33).
International college-level students, however, bring different understandings and knowledge that
reflect their prior experience and their own cultural orientation. They do not share a mainstream
American cultural frame of reference, and it is therefore critical for teachers to understand how
construction of the knowledge they bring has been a culturally and historically mediated process.
         The traditional “banking” (Freire, 1999) concept of education, whereby the teacher
transmits knowledge to students to guide them toward an instructional goal, does not promote
connections to international students’ prior knowledge and experience with the topic.
         By contrast, the social constructivist theory views learning to be socially, historically, and
culturally constructed. Vygotsky (1978), whose work is considered to have laid the foundation of
this school of thought (Moran & Hakuta, 1995; Bruner, 1997), “persuaded us that learning could
not be viewed without context, as if independent of cultural or historical influences of
significance. Learning is a cumulative experience derived [from] and informed by an
individual’s and group’s cultural and historical experience” (Lambert, Walker, Zimmerman,
Cooper, Lambert, Gardner, & Szabo, 2002, p. 30).
         Vygotsky’s theories have since been supported and applied by other scholars, notably in
the realm of education. Minami and Ovando (2004) state that “[t]hrough different processes,
from a very early age children are socialized into culturally specific modes of organizing
knowledge, thought and communicative style.” (p. 573). A key significance of this is that “[o]ur
prior experience provides the foundation for interpreting new information” (Cummins, 2001, p.
126). Social constructivism argues for the deeply interrelated nature of social interaction and
learning, upon which humans’ higher mental function develops.
         It is broadly accepted that international students from diverse cultural backgrounds have
different ways of thinking, knowing, and communicating. Even at the college level, their
knowledge is constructed and new understanding emerges when new input is put together with
existing cognitive structures. So, if the role of culture is viewed as critical in students’ learning
process, and U. S. colleges and universities “allow [international students] to use all the
knowledge (from all cultures) they have experienced and when standards are not so narrow as to
exclude the value of that knowledge and experience” (Oakes & Lipton, 2003. p. 84), these
students will have more opportunities to access quality learning.
         Teachers must develop ways to recognize the experience and knowledge that students
bring to the classroom, allowing them to build their learning upon these resources through their
own cultural orientation -- to teach “to and through the strength of these students” (emphasis in
original, Gay, 2000, p. 29). Teachers can thus validate international students’ learning styles,
worldviews, and cultural identities, making teaching and learning more relevant.
         It is also necessary for teachers to recognize that students vary widely in their prior
knowledge, and that some may not realize they have relevant prior knowledge in their native
language, likely failing to acknowledge connections between their knowledge and what they are
learning in the English learning environment (Cummins, 2001). A key aspect of the teaching and
learning process is to construct knowledge with students, according to and building upon their
prior knowledge -- “activat[ing] students’ prior knowledge” (emphasis in original, p. 127).
         Minami and Ovando (2004) argue that all interaction between the teacher and students
should be conceptualized and put into practice under the framework of Vygotsky’s (1978)
theory. In the social constructivist classroom, the teacher’s role is not merely to transmit
knowledge to students. Here, the teacher must be an active agent who encourages students to

share their experiences and learning, creating a collaborative environment in order to construct
“meaning as central to students’ academic growth …. The classroom [must be] a community of
learning where knowledge is generated by teachers and students together” (Cummins, 2001, p.

                              Models of Intercultural Difference

        In the years since intercultural perspectives have appeared in education theory, useful
distinctions have been identified, as we will see in the following sections, among learning
resources brought to the classroom by students from different cultural groups. Such differences
certainly exist within cultural groups, but more significantly, they provide valuable perspective
on the cultural orientations that Vygotsky emphasized.
        As Bennett (1998) articulated, it is essential when employing cultural generalizations to
avoid stereotypes, and to apply such generalizations tentatively as working hypotheses in order
to recognize cultural patterns. But with this in mind, an understanding of the cultural “types”
described below -- and other generally accepted models in the literature -- should be a basic
essential for teachers as they strive for social constructivist dynamics in diverse classrooms.

                                    Kolb’s Learning Model

        Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning model holds that learning involves the totality of
human activities: feeling, reflecting, thinking, and doing. Kolb (1981) considered that “most of
us develop learning styles that emphasize some learning abilities over others” (p. 237). In his
model, he describes four distinct learning abilities: relying on concrete experience (CE),
reflective observation (RO), abstract conceptualization (AC), active experimentation (AE).
        Concrete experimenters (CE) prefer to be involved in specific experiences and to relate to
people. They learn by feeling, intuitively understanding their present reality. They think it
important to be sensitive toward other people’s emotions and values. In contrast, abstract
conceptualizers (AC) prefer logic, ideas, and concepts, learn by thinking and analyzing, and are
good at creating systematic plans and building general theories. Reflective observers (RO) prefer
to understand meaning by carefully watching and listening, reflectively understanding how and
why things happen. They tend to observe carefully before making a judgment, appreciate
different opinions, and value patience and impartiality. In contrast, active experimenters (AE)
prefer to be involved in actively influencing people and changing situations. They learn by
doing, focus on practical applications, and are willing to take risks and responsibility.
        Learning abilities that Kolb identifies have been related to different cultural
characteristics. Rowland and Reza (2005) discuss ways that students from different cultures tend
to bring particular learning abilities, as described by Kolb, to the classroom, with some Asian
cultures favoring concrete experience (CE), some Northern European cultures favoring abstract
conceptualization (AC), some North American cultures preferring active experience (AE), and
some Latin American cultures tending to reflective observation (RO).

                           Cultural Tendencies and Learning Styles

      Yamazaki (2005) presents hypotheses that to some degree match observations by
Rowland and Reza. Yamazaki conducted a theoretical comparison using the concepts of high-

context and low-context, terms coined by Hall (1976) referring primarily to communication in
collectivistic and individualistic cultures (Ting-Toomey, 1999). Yamazaki (2005) hypothesized
that “[t]hose with high-context culture tend to learn through the abilities of concrete experience,
whereas those with low-context culture tend to learn through ... abstract conceptualization” (p.
         Yamazaki (2005) observes that members of high-context cultures (Japanese, Chinese,
French, Arabic etc.) may be required to become sensitive to immediate environments, to non-
verbal behaviors and meanings of messages conveyed in non-verbal communication, because
they live in specific surroundings. This ability relies on the concrete experience abilities. By
contrast, in low-context cultures (Switzerland, Germany, the United States, etc.), explicit verbal
messages are more important than non-verbal messages in interpreting meanings, and members
must think logically and develop abstract conceptualization abilities in order to deal with the
concepts that serve as key communicative knowledge (Yamazaki).
         Another concept that Yamazaki (2005) develops is uncertainty avoidance. Hofstede
(1997) defines uncertainty avoidance as “the extent to which the members of a culture feel
threatened by uncertain or unknown situations” (p. 113). He notes that members of strong
uncertainty avoidance cultures (Japanese, Spain, France, Mexico, etc.) may feel anxiety or fear
when encountering unfamiliar risks, deviant ideas, or conflicts. By contrast, members in weak
uncertainty avoidance cultures (the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Denmark,
Sweden, Norway, etc.) (Hofstede, 1997) tend to feel less uncomfortable in unclear circumstances
and are more likely to take risks in unfamiliar situations when encountering deviant and
innovative ideas and few rules.
         Yamazaki (2005) articulates the conceptual similarity between weak uncertainty
avoidance and the AE learning ability. He notes that “[t]hose with strong uncertainty avoidance
culture tend to learn through the abilities of reflective observation, whereas those with weak
uncertainty avoidance culture tend to learn through those of active experimentation” (p. 528).
         Even though the hypotheses of Rowland and Reza (2005) and Yamazaki (2005) do not
match up exactly, their ideas show us cultural patterns. Cultural tendencies in learning styles
support social constructivist theories and lend credence to Hofstede’s (1997) argument that
peoples’ preferred modes of learning are shaped by their country’s culture through socialization.

                         Learning Activities in the Diverse Classroom

        In order to facilitate international students’ successful learning in the U. S. higher
education classroom, teachers need to explore new pedagogical approaches that encourage
students to build their learning upon their previous knowledge and experiences. Appreciation of
theories from sociolinguistics, anthropology, and cross-cultural psychology can “lead teachers to
structure classroom lessons that are active and social” (Oakes & Lipton, 2003, p. 229).
        In order to activate students’ prior knowledge for constructing new understandings, and
to increase cultural sensitivity in the classroom, teacher and students engage in inquiry-based
activities, exploring and learning together collaboratively (Wink & Putney, 2002). Activities of
benefit to students in the diverse classroom include “simulations, games, and role plays from
which learning will flow as a result of the active participation of the learners” (Tennant &
Pogson, 1995, p. 151), together with individualized instruction, problem-solving, self-directed
learning, small group work, and class discussion (Kelly, n.d.).

        In the classroom, for concrete experimenters from high-context cultures, it may be
effective for the teacher to create supportive, connective, and collaborative learning
environments by building and maintaining good relationships. For abstract conceptualizers from
low-context cultures, it might be more effective to encourage creation of theories or models from
available information, and to spend time building frameworks for future action. Or, for reflective
observers from strong uncertainty avoidance cultures, it may be helpful to provide outlines of
discussion topics beforehand and give students time to prepare for discussion. For active
experimenters from weak uncertainty avoidance colures, it may be most effective to present a
challenging situation that requires students to take action and carry out a purpose.
        In order to successfully tailor lesson plans for learners with different learning styles,
Kolb’s own (1984) suggestions for preferable learning activities should be taken into
consideration: for those who learn best through concrete experience (CE), Kolb suggests field
work, simulations/games, team projects, peer feedback, and homework; for those who prefer
reflective observation (RO), learning from journals, films/movies, discussion, and brainstorming;
for those favoring active conceptualization (AC), model building, thinking alone, writing papers,
reading, and lectures; and for those who like active experience (AE), real-life projects, labs,
small group discussion, problem solving, and case studies.
        These strategies will allow international students to bridge their prior experience and
current learning. Employing these, teachers can help students build rapport with one another,
provide international students with emotional and practical support, and encourage clarifying in-
class discussion of instructions or assignments among peers, who will serve as mentors.


        International students have been an important part of the U. S. higher education
community but have received inadequate attention in the classroom, while teaching and learning
have not taken full advantage of international diversity. By raising awareness and appreciation of
cultural differences, and using instructional methods responsive to diverse learning styles,
teachers and students alike can broaden their perspectives.
        Incorporating theories and models such as those mentioned in this paper has not been a
big part of college instruction practice. It may be that college instructors are only required to be
versed in their own discipline, and not necessarily familiar with pedagogy, much less
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Yumiko Otsuki, Doctoral Student, Portland State University, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207,
yotsuki3@comcast.net; Miki Yamashita, Doctoral Student, Portland State University,
Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

                       Autobiographical Exploration of Selves as
                         Adult Learners and Adult Educators
                  Maria S. Plakhotnik, Antonio Delgado, and Rehana Seepersad

Abstract: Four doctoral students from racial and cultural minority immigrant groups explored
how their experiences shaped their identities as adult learners and adult educators. Using
autoethnography and engaging in interactive interviews via an electronic bulletin board,
researchers examined three research questions. The question on what it means to be an adult
learner revealed themes of crossing boundaries and transformation. The question on what it
means to be an adult educator revealed themes of transformation and value driven practice. The
question on the dynamics between being an adult learner and an adult educator revealed themes
of reciprocal learning and making new meanings.

         Autobiographical reflection can serve as a lens for educators to learn about themselves,
explore their assumptions, and engage in the process of critical reflection (Brookfield, 1995).
Understanding the self involves examining a web of experiences that influence our living,
teaching, and learning. “How we understand the self shapes how we conceptualize learning, and
that, of course, sets the parameters that define adult education as a field” (Clark & Dirkx, 2000,
p. 103).
         Clark and Dirkx (2000) criticize the “traditional idea of the unitary self –that is, an
integrated, rational, authentic, self-conceiving self” (p. 101) which came from humanistic
psychology. They suggest the self should be understood as a process of “ongoing construction
that is both social and personal” and results from our interaction with various contexts (Clark &
Dirkx, p. 109). This “multiplicity” of relationships with the world leads to adults’ multiple
understandings of self (Clark & Dirkx, p. 111).
         As graduate students in adult education, our lives consist of two selves – an adult learner
and adult educator. These selves evolve within the parameters of our racial and cultural minority
status in the U.S. How we define these two selves and the way they relate to each other helps
understanding how our past experiences have shaped us as learners and educators, influence our
interactions with colleagues and students today, and will shape our future selves in the field of
adult education. The purpose of this autoethnographic study was to explore the unique dynamics
between self as an adult learner and self as an adult educator to understand how our experiences
as adult learners impact our practice as adult educators and vice versa. The following three
research questions guided the study: 1) What does it mean to be an adult learner? 2) What does it
mean to be an adult educator? 3) What are the dynamics between being an adult learner and an
adult educator?

                                         Research Design

       “Autoethnography is an autobiographical genre of writing and research that displays
multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural” (Ellis & Bochner,
2000, p. 739). Ethnographers examine their values, assumptions, social identities, and roles in
diverse contexts. Ethnographers also provoke readers’ emotions and thoughts, inviting them to

examine their own assumptions and to discuss their perspectives on the social and political issues
around the researchers’ experiences.
        In autoethnography, researchers become the primary source of data (Patton, 2002). . “The
understandings that emerge among all parties during interaction – what they learn together - are
as compelling as the stories each brings to the session” (Ellis & Berger, 2003, p. 165). Four adult
educators (ages 31 to 47) enrolled in a graduate adult education program at a historically
Hispanic-serving institution in South Florida participated in the study. Maria S. Plakhotnik
(Masha) is a Russian international student who holds a graduate assistantship at the university
working as a managing editor of an academic on-line journal. Antonio Delgado (Tony) is a first
generation Cuban-American U.S. citizen who works as an adjunct professor and director of a
student services unit at a community college. Rehana Seepersad (Rehana) was born and raised in
Trinidad and is working as an administrator at a private, not-for-profit university. Othniel S.
Scott (Neil) is a black Jamaican currently serving as an adjunct professor and student advisor at a
community college. Rehana and Neil are legal immigrants.
        Each participant reflected for one week on each research question and recorded these
reflections in a journal. Each researcher then composed an essay which incorporated personal
reflections and relevant literature e-mailed it to the group. Then, we engaged in asynchronous
non-standardized interactive interviews by posting reflections and questions to each other’s
essays on a Google group electronic bulletin board (Ellis & Berger, 2003; Mann & Stewart,
2003). After a week, the same process was followed to answer the next research question.
        The autoethnographic essays and bulletin board discussions for each of the three research
questions were separately analyzed for emerging patterns and themes (Patton, 2002).
Researchers individually searched the data for core consistencies and meanings which were later
discussed at a group meeting to identify common themes. The discussions were recorded through
written notes and tape-recordings. The themes of crossing boundaries and transformation,
transformation and value driven practice, and reciprocal learning and making new meanings
emerged from the three research questions respectively.

                         What Does It Mean to Be an Adult Learner?

        Our understanding of the meaning of our identities as adult learners revealed two themes:
crossing boundaries and transformation. Each researcher’s identity was shaped by crossing
physical (e.g., migration and immigration), emotional (e.g., conflict and alienation), and/or
ideological (e.g., political or family tradition) boundaries. For example, Masha, Rehana, and Neil
experienced physical separation from their native countries, which involved overcoming
conflicts resulting from feelings of being outsiders. Masha’s pursuit of two masters and a
doctoral degree in the U.S. as a full time international student has prevented her, due to a lack of
time and money, to visit her parents in Russia. The pursuit of education, at the same time, has
been an exciting and rewarding experience, the one that her parents have always wished her to
have. For Tony, crossing boundaries has been primarily ideological. Being an adult learner
means breaking away from the bonds and the conservative upbringing of a Cuban family:
        As I grew up, I realized their adult lives were not any easier here in the U.S. working in
        textile sweatshops in Miami, barely making a living, and trying to raise a family. My
        need to separate myself from a fate similar to theirs has been the force that has kept me
        going. Every book, passage, and word I have absorbed has developed me as a person and

         learner, yet simultaneously alienated me from my own parents who have no concept of
         formal education.
He views his formal learning as the ideological wedge that separates him from his family.
         Further understanding of the meaning of our identities as adult learners revealed
transformation of the self (e.g., understanding oneself and pursuing career goals) and society
(e.g., providing service to community and opening doors to a better future for self and others).
Rehana decided to further her education to provide for her son and to work in the future with
young immigrant adults to help them realize their potential through education. Neil viewed adult
learning as a means of enhancing his personal growth so that he “can be of service to family,
friends, and the less fortunate in society.”

                         What Does It Mean to Be an Adult Educator?

         Our understanding of the meaning of our identities as adult educators revealed two
themes: transformation and value-driven practice. Transformation involves examining past
experiences, finding new meanings, and developing new perspectives on practice. Having
experienced the banking system of education (Freire, 1973) as learners, we have departed from
its methods of thinking, learning, and teaching as adult educators. We perceived a disconnect
between instructors and students that served to reinforce instructors’ position of authority and
power in the classroom, negating learners’ abilities, talents, and goals and taking away their
independence (Sissel & Sheared, 2001). We strive to encourage students’ self-reflection and
critical thinking to empower them and share power in the learning process. This practice in turn
transforms our students by legitimizing their past experiences and learning as sources of
knowledge. For example, Tony wrote: “By encouraging self-reflection, I help
students hold up the metaphorical mirror so they learn about themselves and
their role in society.”
       Despite our different cultural backgrounds, we share a common set of values that drive
our work as adult educators. Our values include a high regard for students, respect for the
teacher-student relationship, and the duty of adult educators to empower students to take
responsibility for their own learning. For example, Rehana wrote:
       Too many have also become complacent in their voicelessness. By voicelessness, I refer
       to the sense that our opinions, thoughts, and feelings are inconsequential and that
       bringing home a paycheck is the only value in our lives. Understanding that their voice
       matters and that they are valued for more than a paycheck should motivate learners to
       extend the ways that they think and ultimately grow (Brookfield, 1995).
As adult educators, we must teach with a sense of purpose and make a difference in our students’

     What are the Dynamics Between being an Adult Learner and an Adult Educator?

       Our understanding of the dynamics between the two selves revealed two themes:
reciprocal learning and making new meanings. The reciprocal relationship between the selves
was described as symbiosis, synergy, self-propagation, and nurturing. This relationship results in
the two selves thriving off each other through an interrelated learning process. Tony described
these dynamics as follows:
       I have come to realize that each self is generative of the other. The adult learner and adult
       educator are symbiotic, each contributing to and feeding the other for mutual

       development. To borrow from the field of quantum physics, a photon, or packet of light,
       possesses both momentum and energy and is described as having wave-particle duality
       (Veltman, 2003). In other words, it exhibits properties of both particle and wave at the
       same time, but to focus on one characteristic or the other limits understanding of what is
       really occurring. The same can be said about the dynamics about being an adult learner
       and an adult educator. My adult learning feeds my role as an adult educator, which in turn
       leads to more learning.

        Our selves as adult learners and adult educators and the relationship between them were
not shaped through a linear, coherent, and harmonic process. Masha described how her two
selves ‘met’ as follows:
        My two identities ‘met’ each other when I started teaching English as a second language:
        Not only I became an instructor in the program that I had completed, but I also knew
        many of my students socially. I felt frustrated and even vulnerable. Teaching stopped
        being an impersonal routine. I realized that students were “whole human beings with
        complex lives and experiences rather than …seekers after compartmentalized bits of
        knowledge” (hooks, 1994, p. 15). Treating my students as peers and as adults became a

        Crossing physical, emotional, and political boundaries as a result of immigrant status
complicated learning, both formal and informal, and practice and involved the making of new
meanings, re-learning, and critical reflection and analysis of deeply personal and professional
experiences. As immigrants, we have experienced two different approaches to learning and
teaching which urges us to question and not take for granted what has been said, written, or
taught in education and other social spaces and has transcended into how we conceptualize our
identities as adult learners and educators.

                                    Implications for Practice

        Adult education practice should become a space where both adult educators and learners
interrogate ‘the comfortable’, examine ‘the contested’, and invite ‘the alternative’.
Most adult educators come from classrooms that “reflected the notion of a single norm of
thought and experiences” (hooks, 1994, p. 35). Therefore, engaging in self reflection should
become a part of adult education practice: sharing stories with each other and with students to
examine the multiplicity of self and position in different contexts (Tisdell, 2001) and change our
perspectives on ‘the other’ to build trust (Bounous, 2001). With trust and respect for each other,
such collaboration becomes joyful as adult educators and learners have a rare chance to explore
themselves, to listen, and to be heard.
        The unique perspectives contributed by individual participants and as a group enriches
adult educators’ understanding of the diversity of perspectives on learning and teaching
(Tennant, 2000). Learning about diverse perspectives can help adult educators make their
practice more inclusive and develop new concepts and theories “that take us away from
perpetuating universal myths” (Hemphill, 2001, p. 16). Such practice can serve as an avenue to
change power relationships in adult education and throughout society.
        As minorities from immigrant groups, we represent a fairly small group of adult
educators who face challenges working with learners who belong to the dominant white culture.

Classroom dynamics and knowledge construction is impacted by our position in relation to
students. Tisdell (2001) defines positionality as “how aspects of one’s identity such as race,
gender, class, sexual orientation, or ableness significantly affect how one is ‘positioned’ relative
to the dominant culture” (p. 148). One of the challenges comes from reverse power dynamics: a
person from the margins has control over the group that traditionally has been holding power in
the U.S. The reverse power dynamics can result in students’ unwillingness to accept us as
knowledgeable and competent, to trust our sensibilities, and, hence, to open up, share their
experiences, and engage in discussions. Tisdell (2001) observed that regardless of her attempts to
restructure a class to give more power to her African American teaching partner, most students
perceived her, a white female, as the voice of authority in the classroom. Despite the degrees,
recognition, and other indicators of professional competence, educators from the margins have to
work harder to prove their “respectability” (Young, 1990, p. 57). Our positionality may also
affect how our colleagues perceive our teaching and research. Our position can be perceived as
“inherently biased because of our group membership, …dangerous to the health of our careers,
or simply ill-conceived” (Sissel & Sheared, 2001, p. 6).
         During our discussions, one of our more defining questions was whether we have a right
to facilitate other people’s transformation. Brooks (2000) answers this question directly by
stating it would be more moral for adult educators to facilitate their own transformation, rather
than assuming they have a right to transform others. If personal transformation is achieved
through critical inquiry and self-reflection, then adult educators may turn toward the adult learner
in the adult learner-educator duality, such as was present in our narratives, and engage in critical
inquiry and self-reflection in the classroom. This would then allow adult educators from a more
moral standpoint to “relentlessly inquire into the meanings that others, all others, make of their
lives,…listen to the narratives they create,” and then share their own narratives with their
students (Brooks, 2000, p. 169). Transformation of students in an adult education setting would
then result from the learner self of the adult educator engaging with other adult learners.


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        theory and practice in adult education (pp. 3-14). Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.
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Maria S. Plakhotnik, doctoral student, Florida International University, Educational Leadership
and Policy Studies, 11200 Tamiami Trail 360A ZEB, Miami, FL 33199;

Antonio Delgado, doctoral student, Florida International University, Educational Leadership and
Policy Studies, 11200 Tamiami Trail 360A ZEB, Miami, FL 33199; adelg009@fiu.edu

Rehana Seepersad, doctoral student, Florida International University, Educational Leadership
and Policy Studies, 11200 Tamiami Trail 360A ZEB, Miami, FL 33199; rseep001@fiu.edu

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

            A Theory for Recruiting—and Retaining—Adult Learners

                                          Brandt W. Pryor

This paper suggests the utility of a theory for understanding how adults form attitudes and make
decisions about their behavior, especially in research on participation in adult and continuing
education (ACE). The paper describes the theory and its application in ACE, and details how to
apply it in research. The paper ends with a description of how to use the results of such a study
for increasing and enhancing adult participation.


Need for Theory in Adult and Continuing Education?
     Does the field of adult and continuing education need more theory? Our field’s research has
been criticized by some of our leading scholars. Boshier (1980) has argued that the atheoretical
nature of continuing education research diminishes its long-term impact on the field; that the use
of well-tested theory can have a profound influence on research and ultimately on practice. In
Boshier's words: "a theoretically well-anchored discipline has more impact on a field of practice
than a congery of ad hoc and atheoretical research findings, speculations, or guesswork . . ."
(p.20). Boshier’s call for theory has been echoed recently by Chapman (2005).
     If more theory is required, what focus would be of greatest assistance to practice? Most
practitioners are concerned with recruiting—and often retaining—adult learners, and
participation research has an honored place in the literature. (For example, motivations to
participate, e.g., Isaac, Guy, & Valentine, 2001; Boshier, Huang, Song, & Song, L., 2006).
     Concerning research on participation in ACE, Cross (1981) has noted: "The construction
and testing of plausible theories . . . explaining participation is a powerful tool which has not yet
been adequately utilized . . . " (p. 108). Darkenwald and Merriam (1982) argued that the most
appropriate focus for ACE participation research "has not to do with reasons for taking a course
or generalized motivational orientations, but with the decision to participate . . . this last question
demands explanatory models or theories . . ." (p. 130).
     Explanatory models of participation have been proposed by Rubenson (1976), Cross (1981),
and Cookson (1986) among others. Each model integrates current knowledge of the variables
related to participation, including the more proximal and the more distal variables that appear
relevant to ACE participation. Although these inclusive models might eventually be most useful
in building a comprehensive understanding of ACE participation, their complexity seems likely
to inhibit the empirical testing required for their further development. A research focus on the
proximal variables constituting the theory of reasoned action, described below, presents at least
three possible advantages over the inclusive approach.
     First, the proximal variables of the theory mediate any influence of the distal variables, and
are therefore, likely to offer better prediction of participation, accounting for more variance. For
example, Anderson and Darkenwald's (1979) study found the demographic variables most
closely related to participation accounted for only 10% of the variance in participation.

However, the theory of reasoned action, described below, accounted for over 41% of the
variance in participatory intentions in a study of oral surgeons (Pryor, 1990).
     Second, the proximal variables of the theory provide a more useful explanation of
participation, especially for practice. Distal variables, such as IQ, locus of control, or
educational level, present few practical implications for increasing participation. However, the
proximal variables of the theory, such as beliefs about positively- and negatively-evaluated
outcomes of participating in a given program, present rich implications for program development
and promotion.
     Third, the inclusive models assume consistent relations between distal and proximal
variables. Empirical testing of the strength, direction, and consistency of such relations could
clarify what influence the distal variables have on participation. The proximal variables of the
theory of reasoned action provide a parsimonious and empirically-tested framework for
investigating distal-proximal relations.

The Theory of Reasoned Action
     The theory of reasoned action was developed by Fishbein (e.g., 1967) and Fishbein and
Ajzen (e.g., 1975) to improve prediction, explanation, and control of volitional behavioral
intentions. The theory is described fully in Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) and its application to
ACE research and practice is described in Pryor (1989). A recent book offers a step-by-step
guide to applying the theory in education (Pryor & Pryor, 2005).
     The theory holds that a given behavior is determined by an intention to perform that
behavior. Intention usually predicts behavior quite well when both variables are measured
appropriately and in temporal proximity.
     Intention is determined by an attitude toward the behavior and a subjective norm, a
perception of social pressure concerning the behavior. (This norm is subjective because it is
most often based on inferences about the behavioral expectations of important others.)
     The theory holds that all variables external to it are mediated by attitude and subjective
norm (and possibly by personal norm). Other variables can affect intention only by influencing
one of the predictor variables, or their relative weights in determining intention. Attitude is often
more important than subjective norm in the determination of intention, but this differs across
populations and behaviors. Empirical weights (standardized regression coefficients) for the
relative values of attitude and norm are obtained through multiple regression. The determination
of behavior (B) by intention (I), and of intention by attitude (A) and subjective norm (SN) is
                                      B ≈ I = (A)w1 + (SN)w2

      Attitude toward the behavior is determined by a set of beliefs about outcomes of performing
the behavior and by a corresponding evaluation of each outcome. The summated products of
outcome belief and evaluation scores constitute an estimated measure of attitude. Subjective
norm is determined by a set of beliefs that certain referents (important persons or groups) think
the person should, or should not, perform the behavior, and the person's motivation to comply
with each referent. The summated products of normative belief and motivation scores constitute
an estimated measure of subjective norm. The ability of the theory to predict intention in a given
behavioral domain is tested by multiple regression of the intention measure on direct measures of
attitude and subjective norm. The ability of the theory to explain behavioral intention is tested
by correlating direct measures with estimated measures of attitude and subjective norm.

The Theory in ACE Participation Research
     Grotelueschen and Caulley (1977), proposed the theory of reasoned action for research on
participation in continuing professional education. Ray (1981) tested three variables of the
theory (estimated attitude and subjective norm, and personal norm) as predictors of intention and
found them to account for only 10% of the variance in intention, no more than demographic
variables had previously accounted for (Anderson & Darkenwald, 1979). Although Ray called
for further testing of the theory's utility, his study's results might have caused other participation
researchers to doubt the theory's potential for investigating ACE participation.
     Pryor (1990) tested the entire theory in a study of oral surgeons' and found it to account for
just over 41% of the variance in their participatory intentions. Although those results provide
support for the theory's predictive and explanatory utility in the domain of ACE participation,
further research was needed, especially with other populations. A number of other studies
applying the theory followed: Yang, Blunt, and Butler, (1994), Becker, and Gibson, (1998), and
Livneh, and Livneh, (1999).

                                Applying the Theory in Research
Data Collection
     The theory can be applied to explaining intentions to perform specific behaviors, to perform
behavioral categories (domains), or to achieve behavioral outcomes. For brevity’s sake, only the
investigation of specific behaviors is discussed below.
     A study applying the theory is begun by defining the specific behavioral intention to be
investigated (e.g., “I will register for that training workshop coming up next month”), as opposed
to a more global behavioral domain (e.g., “I will become more involved in adult and continuing
education”). The statements of attitude toward this behavior, and subjective norm concerning
this behavior, are written at the exact same level of specificity.
     The beliefs that underlie attitude and norm are elicited by interview or open-ended response
items in a questionnaire. These ask “What are the advantages to your registering for that
training workshop?” What are the disadvantages to your registering for that training workshop?”
Normative beliefs are elicited by asking who would favor or oppose the participant performing
the behavior. These results are content analyzed into outcome and normative belief sets that are
intended to be modal and salient for the population. (The adequacy of these sets can be
empirically tested by correlating the summed belief-evaluation, and belief-motivation-to-comply
products, with direct measures of attitude and norm.)
     The study questionnaire employs two types of scales: bipolar (e.g., endpoints of extremely
good and extremely bad) and unipolar (e.g., not at all and very much). To write the
questionnaire, the outcome and normative beliefs are content analyzed to form two sets of modal,
salient beliefs. Each outcome (e.g., “My registering for that training workshop will help me
learn new skills for work”) and normative (e.g., “My spouse thinks I should register for that
training workshop”) belief statement is attached to a bipolar probability scale to measure the
direction and strength of belief. Outcome statements (e.g., “My learning new skills for work”)
are attached to bipolar evaluative scales to measure the direction and strength of evaluation of
each outcome. The generic name of each of the referents (e.g., “My spouse”) is attached to a
unipolar scale of motivation-to-comply with the referent. (Motivation scales are unipolar as few

adults are expected to be counter-dependent.) Direct measures of the theory’s variables, as well
as external variables (e.g., demographic), are also included in the questionnaire.

Data Analysis
     Data are analyzed by multiple regression of intention on the predictor variables of attitude
and norm, and correlational analyses of these predictors with variables external to the theory.
After a selection of groups to be analyzed (e.g., “intenders” and “non-intenders,” or “high-,”
“middle-,” and “low-intenders”), between-group differences on all variables are examined.
Hotellings’ T2 or ANOVA are used to test overall differences (e.g., on outcome beliefs,
evaluations, and products), and t tests are performed to determine between group differences on
the individual belief-evaluation products that determine attitude, and the belief-motivation
products that determine norm. Differences on these variables show how the two (or more)
groups formed different attitudes or norms. These differences demonstrate what information
must be provided to influence beliefs, attitudes, intentions, and behavior in the desired direction.

        Applying the Theory’s Results to Recruitment (and Retain) Adult Learners

     The theory could just as easily be applied to the understanding and change of adult students’
intentions to remain in a program as to the intentions of potential adult students to become
involved in a program. The discussion below will focus, however, on the latter.

Three Ways to Change Attitude in the Desired Direction
     As adults consider registering for a training workshop, they automatically begin forming
beliefs about likely outcomes of this behavior, and they automatically evaluate each outcome.
Not all adults will hold the same beliefs, but a set of beliefs can be derived that are modally
salient for the population of interest (e.g., adults in a given field of work). There are three ways
to alter the set of outcome beliefs so as to change attitude in the desired direction, by the
provision of information targeting the outcome belief-evaluation products that make the largest
contribution to attitude.
     The first way to change attitude in a positive direction targets those outcomes that are
negatively evaluated, and attempts to reduce the strength with which they are believed. The
second way to change attitude targets positively-evaluated outcomes and attempts to increase
their belief strength. The third way is to provide information that adds new, positively-evaluated
outcomes to the outcome belief set. (This approach is easiest concerning a behavior which is not
highly salient to a population and about which, therefore, they hold fewer strong beliefs about

Three Ways to Change Subjective Norm in the Desired Direction
     As adults consider their registering for a training workshop, they automatically form beliefs
that certain other people or groups (referents) would favor or oppose their monitoring. Adults
will be highly disposed to comply with the expectations of some of these referents, less so with
     The first way to change subjective norm in a positive direction targets negative referents
(those who are perceived as not wanting the adults to register for the training workshop), and
attempts to reduce the strength of normative beliefs.

     The second way to change subjective norm in a positive direction targets positive referents
(those perceived as wanting the adults to register for the training workshop), and with whom the
adults are strongly motivated to comply, and involves increasing the strength of normative
beliefs that these referents want the adults to register.
     The third way is to make the adults aware of new referents who would be perceived as
wanting them to register, and with whom they would be motivated to comply. For vocationally-
oriented programs such new referents might be their professional associations and peers in other
firms or agencies. For home-oriented programs (e.g., gardening), such new referents might be
their neighbors, friends, and buddies in the neighborhood association.


      The theory of reasoned action is a research-tested approach to understanding and
influencing people’s decisions about their behavior. In response to the calls for more theory in
our research, of Boshier (1980) and others, the theory of reasoned action offers an excellent
theoretical anchor for investigations of a wide variety of adult behaviors and behavioral domains
concerning adult and continuing education. It has at least two contributions to the area of
recruitment (and retention) of adult students.
      First, the theory’s parsimony, clear conceptual and operational definitions, and utility across
a wide variety of behaviors and behavioral domains are important for building a comprehensive
body of research about how adults make decisions about their involvement in education.
      Second, the theory’s focus on variables proximal to behavioral decisions makes it an
invaluable tool for adult educators to increase and enhance adult educational participation
regardless of the type of program concerned. Although the inclusive models of participation
might eventually be useful in building a comprehensive understanding of ACE participation,
their complexity seems likely to inhibit the empirical testing required for their further
development. A research focus on the proximal variables constituting the theory of reasoned
action, presents at least three possible advantages over the inclusive approach. Although there
have been a number of applications of the theory in adult and continuing education, the theory is
still not as widely applied as it could be, to the best advantage of our field.


Anderson, R. E., & Darkenwald, G. G. (1979). Participation and persistence in American adult
    education. New York, NY: College Board.
Boshier, R. (1980). A perspective on theory and model development in adult education. In
    Yearbook of adult and continuing education: 1979-1980 (pp. 20-31). Chicago, IL:
    Marquis Academic Media.
Boshier, R.; Huang, Y., Song, Q., Song, L. (2006). Market socialism meets the lost generation:
    Motivational orientations of adult learners in Shanghai. Adult Education Quarterly,
    56(3), 201-222.
Becker, E. A., & Gibson, C. C. (1998). Fishbein and Ajzen's theory of reasoned action: Accurate
    prediction of behavioral intentions for enrolling in distance education courses.
    Adult Education Quarterly, 49(1), 43-55.
Chapman, V.-L. (2005). Attending to the theoretical landscape in adult education. Adult

     Education Quarterly, 55(4), 308-312.
Cookson, P. (1986). A framework for theory and research on adult education participation.
     Adult Education Quarterly, 36(3), 130-141.
Cross, K. P. (1981). Adults as learners: Increasing participation and facilitating learning.
     Washington, DC: Jossey-Bass.
Darkenwald, G. G., & Merriam, S. B. (1982). Adult education: Foundations of practice. New
     York, NY: Harper and Row.
Isaac, E. P., Guy, T., & Valentine, T. (2001). Understanding African American learners'
     motivations to learn in church-based adult education. Adult Education Quarterly, 52(1),
Fishbein, M. (1967). Attitude and the prediction of behavior. In M. Fishbein (Ed.), Readings in
     attitude theory and measurement, (pp. 477-492). New York, NY: John Wiley.
Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention, and behavior: An introduction to
     theory and research. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Grotelueschen, A. D., & Caulley, D. N. (1977). A model for studying determinants of intention
     to participate in continuing professional education. Adult Education, 28, 22-37.
Livneh, C., & Livneh, H. (1999). Continuing professional education among educators:
     Predictors of participation in learning activities. Adult Education Quarterly, 49(2), 91-106.
Pryor, B. W. (1989). Recruiting and retaining adult students in continuing professional
     education (pp.35-48). New Directions for Continuing Education, 41.
Pryor, B. W. (1990). Predicting and explaining intentions to participate in continuing education:
     An application of the theory of reasoned action. Adult Education Quarterly, 40, 146-157.
Pryor, B.W., & Pryor, C.R. (2005). The school leader's guide to understanding attitude and
      influencing behavior: Working with teachers, parents, students, and the community.
    Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Ray, R. O. (1981). Examining motivation to participate in continuing education: An
     investigation of recreation professionals. Journal of Leisure Research, 1, 66-75.
Rubenson, K. (1976). Recruitment in adult education: A research strategy. Linkoping,
     Sweden: Linkoping University, Department of Education and Psychology.
Yang, B, Blunt, A., & Butler, R. S. (1994). Prediction of participation in continuing
     professional education: A test of two behavioral intention models. Adult Education
     Quarterly, 44(2), 83-96.

Brandt W. Pryor, 216 Park Dr., Edwardsville, IL 62025, bwpryor@yahoo.com

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006

             Image-Based Research: Ethics of Photographic Evidence in
                              Qualitative Research

                                                  Meena Razvi


         The traditional mode of text as the dominant form of research dissemination has been challenged by the use
of visual representation. This paper discusses the historical and contemporary use of photographs to aid
understanding of the research phenomena, and highlights ethical and moral considerations for researchers.


        “Images provide researchers with…an alternative to the way we have perceived data in
the past” (Prosser, 1998, p. 1). The purpose of this paper is twofold: to illustrate that visual
images have the potential to significantly contribute towards understanding the human condition,
and to highlight ethical and moral responsibilities of collecting and presenting photographic
         Visual research incorporates photography, film, video, artifacts, diagrams, maps,
symbols, and art among other forms of non-textual data (LeCompte & Preissle, 1993; Pink,
2004; Prosser, 1998). As it is not possible to discuss each type of visual data in such a short
article, this paper presents an opportunity to consider the viability of one method; use of
photographic data through examples from an ethnographic case study of female grassroots
leaders conducted in Ahmedabad, India during 2004.
       Why are images important? They signify multiple representations of a culture and enrich
understanding of the phenomena under investigation. Image-based research has been used to
enhance and even replace textual communication. Interdisciplinary methods of research have
gained ground in recent years providing multiple opportunities for scholars and practitioners
concerned with the needs of diverse audiences. Images honor the preferences of visual learners
so have much to contribute to adult education. The proliferation of digital media research has
made visual research methods particularly appealing for researchers with basic technical skills.
        Images provide powerful portrayals of individuals and their contexts such as the study of
gender disparities. University Institutional Review Boards (IRB), however, are extremely wary
of the ethics of visual data because of the potential to harm study participants. Current debates
focus on the production and interpretation of knowledge. No researcher or data collection
method is free from bias, but careful consideration and planning of visual methods can enhance
research and communication of data.

                                      Image-Based Methods

Figure 1: Self-employed vegetable vendor on a street in Ahmedabad.

Towards a Visual Method
        Visual methods of data collection are recognized in ethnography as a valuable resource
(Pink, 2004). Ethnography requires the ability to provide “thick” description and realistic
accounts (Geertz, 1973, p.9).
        …Theoretical approaches to subjectivity, experience, knowledge and
        representation…and an emphasis on interdisciplinary have invited exciting new
        possibilities for the use of photographic technologies and images in ethnography.
        (Pink, 2004, p.2)
        Pink critiques Prosser’s (1998) image-based methods as being too prescriptive and argues
for a more humanistic approach to production and understanding of visual ethnography. Pink
cautions “methods should serve the aims of the research” and not vice-versa (p.3). According to
Pink, each research design necessitates the need for creativity.
Edgar (2004) argues that images have the power to “access the latent knowledge and
unexpressed feelings of respondents” (p.104). Debates surrounding the merits of visual data are
similar to dialogue regarding other research methods.
        Harper (2003), discusses the evolution of using photographs in research: from recording
history, conducting interviews, or discussions about societal change. Whether visual methods are
used for documentation, theoretical support, comparative studies, confirmation of fieldwork
observations, confirmation of textual reports, or recording evolving societies, the purpose of
visual data is dependent upon the research design. Photography as a method to generate theory
was pioneered by Mead and Bateson (1942) during their study of Balinese culture. Over time,
however, the use of photography in research seems to have declined (Harper, 2003). Harper
believes that the camera can “present reality almost as the eye sees, only slightly narrower than a
normal view” (p. 258). Although visual methods can be problematic, careful planning and ethical
considerations can warrant their use in research studies.

                                        Issues and Ethics

        Text as the standard paradigm for research dissemination dominates scholarly practice
because of concerns regarding the use of images. Merriam and Simpson (2000) recommend that
in considering reliability and validity in research one should ask, “how congruent are one’s
findings with reality?” (p.101). Simco and Warin (1997), offer a discussion of methodological
problems in the use of visual data. Scholarly resistance towards visual data is fueled by questions
of ethics, validity, reliability, rigor, moral conduct, and trustworthiness (Harper, 2003; Pink,
2004; Prosser, 1998). Practices such as early British colonial studies attempting to prove Social
Darwinism were highly criticized (Harper, 2003), and raised concerns regarding scholarly
conduct. Ambiguity in the research process makes it difficult to reach a consensus among
scholars and practitioners.

Ethical Considerations
         Multiple fields such as education, anthropology, sociology, and psychology, have used
images for different purposes. A range of experiences in the use of images for research defies the
formation of rigid rules and guidelines. However, most agree on a general code of conduct that
includes ethics and moral responsibilities of the researcher: “informed consent, opposition to
deception, privacy and confidentiality, and accuracy” (Edgar, 2004, pp. 101-102).
Operationalizing the code of ethics in practice, however, becomes a challenge.
         The need for an ethical code dates back to the Nuremburg military trials during the 1940s
that instigated The Nuremberg Code in 1947 introducing the term “informed consent” (Merriam
& Simpson, 2000, p. 205). During the 1960s and 1970s, government agencies created strict
regulations for government funded research projects (2002). Subsequently, most IRBs have
required researchers to obtain informed consent from study participants to ensure their rights and
well-being. University IRB guidelines stress that respect for individuals and their dignity must
take precedence over any particular method. When in doubt, it is wise to follow the do no harm
         Critics challenge the bias, purpose, and analysis of visual data, but similar debates
continue regarding textual representation. Edgar argues that any data collection method has the
potential to be intrusive. Even interviews “can suddenly trigger a sensitive area” (p. 102). One
major concern is that researcher’s repressed feelings may be portrayed in the images captured
(Edgar, 2004). Pink (2004), questions the source and intent of ethical codes and wonders whether
they are equally transferable to differing contexts. Pink chose to remain neutral in her study of
Spanish bullfighting. As in written text, the description and interpretation of visual data carries
with it the bias of a researcher’s frame of reference, personal background, descriptions, purpose,
and theoretical and conceptual framework. The lens from which images are captured, analyzed,
and presented are similar to textual representations of data. Researchers determine what to
include and what to leave out dependent upon their research designs.
         Any strategy that aids the collection and analysis of data without violating ethical
considerations is relevant in qualitative studies. Captured images can provide a historical archive
for future studies as a comparison of development in a topic, or with other study groups.
Photographs provide a sense of awareness of oppressed groups as well as evidence of their
marginalization for court cases as in Indian women’s struggle for emancipation. The Self

Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India has a video team of trained staff members
who produce and present evidence of marginalization at government meetings, national, and
international conferences (SEWA). Because of high visibility, the government of India took steps
to rectify gross discriminations and exploitations of low-income women.
         Ethical considerations apply to all phases of the research design: from idea generation to
data presentation. Protection of study participants takes precedence over any particular method.
Following IRB regulations will help to guide the research design.

                                        India Case Study

         A case study exploring experiences and perceptions of poverty alleviation among female
grassroots leaders in India provided the opportunity for a critical examination of a low-income
community. Poverty, caste, class, gender, and low levels of education marginalize low-income
Indian women. Data collection for this study included interviews, observations, documentation,
artifacts, and photographs. In a complex society where multiple sensory data made it difficult to
capture accurate field notes during observations, memory alone could not be relied upon to
facilitate recall during analysis that took place several months later. Photographic evidence
provided insights that were missed on site, enabled the recognition of patterns, enhanced notes
that were too brief or incomplete, and helped to recall observations and experiences in a manner
that textual representation could not replicate. Photographs of working women documented their
poverty and inferior working conditions within the informal sector.
         The purpose of this feminist ethnographic inquiry was to bring awareness of issues of
culture, equality, and social justice from Indian women’s perspectives. While photographs
provided illustrations of working women in their natural environments, supported textual
descriptions, and were a powerful tool to help western audiences understand the conditions of
low-income self-employed women; images of paper-picking and vegetable vending women
struggling in hot dusty streets left no doubts of their marginalization and exploitation within an
informal economy.
         During research in India, confidentiality and respect of study participants were honored
in several ways. Images of informants or their homes were not collected to protect their
identities. Rather, images of similar women in similar environments provided a good substitute
for the study of low-income women. Sensitivity to people’s circumstances and cultural taboos
were vital to avoid potential conflicts during fieldwork. For most researchers, ethics are also
based on personal convictions. For example, to protect their dignity, I refrained from collecting
images of females bathing or dressing although many poor women were forced to bathe in public
areas due to a lack of private bathrooms.
         Photographs of a good resolution were captured with a Sony Cyber-shot Digital Camera
(5 Megapixels) during fieldwork (see Figure 1). Digital camera prices range from under $250 to
over $1,000 for professional models. PC Magazine’s website: www.pcmag.com offers current
product comparisons.
         Equipped with extra batteries and memory sticks, research began immediately upon
arrival in Ahmedabad. Images were downloaded daily and saved onto a computer hard drive.
Thus, photographs could be copied onto compact discs, and printed or transferred onto
PowerPoint presentations. In this study of gender disparities and social transformation,
photographs greatly enhanced and facilitated data collection, analysis, and presentation of


       Implications of visual representation reflect upon issues of knowledge production and
dissemination. A discussion of how visual methods impact research and adult education provides
an opportunity to consider their merits and challenges for research.

Implications for Research
        Scholars and practitioners are responding to the growing demand of audiences for multi-
media presentations of knowledge; especially within alternative delivery styles of education such
as online learning. Alternative research methods that incorporate a multidisciplinary approach
can inform scholars and practitioners in various fields ranging from anthropology to human
resource development.
        Answering some basic questions will help to optimize appropriate use of a visual method:
“Does it enhance the research study?”, “Does it add value?”, “What are the lenses that frame and
describe images?”, and “Does it protect the identities and well-being of study participants?” The
researcher’s intentions ultimately guide and affect research efforts.

Implications for Adult Education
        Images have the power to contribute an understanding of non-western and non-dominant
contexts to wider audiences with differing learning styles. In addition, visual data can overcome
learning and linguistic barriers in adult education. Those concerned with multiple intelligences,
will find visual data particularly appealing. While critics contend that visual research methods
are problematic, others argue for the need to meet diverse learning needs. Adult audiences
appreciate visual representations of data in the form of charts, graphs, and tables in traditional
reports. Images offer additional opportunities for researchers to communicate information.


        Multidisciplinary methods of research are not new, but they rarely include the use of
photographs. Ethics of image-based research is a complex issue that necessitates careful
consideration and practice. Justification must be made with university IRBs to gain permission
for any method of data collection prior to conducting research. Each research method brings
strengths and challenges so a visual approach offers one more way to leverage optimal results.
Narratives are, of course, powerful testimonials that project the voices of the informants. Visual
data have the potential to support and enhance narratives, as well as provide a tool for theory
building. Careful consideration and planning of image-based methods can enhance research
studies, and provide creative strategies for critical understanding.


       I am grateful to Gene Roth, Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education,
Northern Illinois University, for his valuable comments on the first draft of this paper.


Edgar, I. R. (2004). Imagework in ethnographic research. In K. Pink S., L., & Afonso, A.I. (Ed.),
        Working images: Visual research and representation in ethnography (pp. 90-106).
        London: Routledge.
Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures: Selected essays by Clifford Geertz. New York:
        Basic Books.
Harper, D. (2003). Framing photographic ethnography: A case study. Ethnography, 4(2), 241-
LeCompte, M. D., & Preissle, J. (1993). Ethnography and qualitative design in educational
        research (2nd ed.). San Diego: Academic Press.
Mead, M., & Bateson, G. (1942). Balinese character, a photographic analysis, by Gregory
        Bateson and Margaret Mead. New York: New York Academy of Sciences.
Merriam, S. B., & Simpson, E. L. (2000). A guide to research for educators and trainers of
        adults (2nd ed.). Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing.
Pink, S. (2004). Doing visual ethnography: Images, media and representation in research.
        London: SAGE.
Prosser, J. (Ed.). (1998). Image-based research: A sourcebook for qualitative researchers.
        Bristol, PA: Falmer Press.
SEWA. Retrieved June 27, 2006, from www.sewa.org
Simco, N., & Warin, J. (1997). Validity in image-based research: An elaborated illustration of
        the issues. British Educational Research Journal, 23(5), 661-672.

Meena Razvi, Consultant, Global Learning Resources, Elgin, IL.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

     From Social Policies to Organizational Practice: Do National Policies
   Translate into Organizational Polices to Retain, Retrain, or Rehire Older
                 Tonette S. Rocco, David Stein, Sunny L. Munn, and Gina Ginn

Abstract: How a society might value and employ older workers is reflected in the social policies
governing the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of employers and employees. This study
examined three major workforce policies in the United States the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act to
determine the underlying values expressed in these legislative acts. The analysis suggests that
while organizations follow the practices much more attention to the values regarding the worth
of older workers is still necessary.

        The extent to which older workers elect to remain or return to the workplace is related to
an understanding of how organizations manage social, economic, political, and technological
trends regarding the employment and productivity of older workers in the workplace. Federal
and organizational policy and the aging baby boomer population affect these trends. Withnall
(2000) refers to this group of aging, educated and healthy workers, as the Third Age of
Employment. The Third Age is associated with choice, personal fulfillment and liberation
(Soulsby, 2000). During the Third Age, older workers are situated in a dynamic pattern of
periods of active employment, disengagement from the workplace, and re-entry into the same or
new career. The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of society through legislation
on the organization and the workspace asking: how does social policy affect the employment
decisions of aging workers such as to remain, return, retire, or the organization’s decisions to
redesign, retrain, and recruit.
        The workspace has been described as a field of interacting forces where Rocco, Stein and
Lee (2003) postulated five potential work patterns: renewing the relationship, redesigning the
workspace, retraining older workers for a new position, retaining older workers in current
positions, and recruiting older workers to fill vacancies. These patterns might characterize the
relationship between an employer and an older worker. The renewing pattern, allows older
workers to capitalize on their expertise and renew their relationships with organizations as
entrepreneurs or consultants. For example, an older worker leaves a workplace and returns as an
independent agent selling services and expertise to the former employer. For the older worker,
returning as a consultant or supplier provides flexibility, new skill development, and new
challenges. In the redesign pattern, jobs are redesigned to accommodate flexible work schedules
or a physical redesign of the work. For example, job redesign in health care includes using lifting
equipment to reduce bending by older workers (Mullich, 2004). Retraining involves an
organization’s commitment to older workers seeking new positions within the same organization.
It can also involve retraining to enhance technical skills. Today, organizations are realizing that
losing older workers reduces productivity and organizational memory. Therefore, efforts are
made to retain older workers.

        A policy review was conducted which illustrates reasons for the creation of the policy
and its phases of implementation and societal receipt (Bardach, 2000). We examined the

influence on organizational decisions about retaining, retraining, recruiting or retiring older
workers and the counterpoint decisions of the individual. We selected national legislation such as
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the
Americans with Disabilities Act.

                                       Insights from the Analysis

         The national policies provide notice to organizations that older workers are a valued
source of knowledge and experience. Age, family responsibilities or physical ability should not
be more important to the employer than continued and sustained performance. Federal polices
concerning older workers may encourage new employment patterns and encourage organizations
to proactively seek strategies to make the workspace more accommodating toward older
workers. They also have the potential to discourage such actions. These laws are intended to
protect a growing percentage of the United States population from employment discrimination.
However, with the implementation and enforcement of these policies, many still face
employment discrimination. Providing incentives for companies and organizations to retain,
retrain, or rehire this population of workers, can benefit society socially and economically.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
        The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), was enacted as the first
social policy prohibiting discrimination in employment against workers ages 40-65 and indicated
a mandatory retirement age of 65. The ADEA was designed to protect older workers in the
workforce, specifically their ability to retain and regain employment, as well as to receive
retraining within current employment. In 1960, prior to the ADEA numerous states had already
enacted laws protecting workers within certain age brackets (Stock & Beegle, 2004). The ADEA
also outlawed the establishment of “arbitrary age limits” often set by employers to displace and
disadvantage older workers when seeking or retaining employment. Because of such
discrimination, older workers were more likely to suffer from unemployment than their younger
counterparts: ADEA was a countermeasure to these inequities (P.L. 90-202, 1967).
        The ADEA acts to prohibit age discrimination in numerous facets for multiple entities,
including employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations. The ADEA was created to
reduce the occurrences of employment discrimination due to an employee’s age (Johnson &
Neumark, 1996). This legislation only applies to employers with twenty or more employees, but
is inclusive of all employers including state and local governments
(www.eeoc.gov/types/age.html). The ADEA protects employees and/or potential employees in
apprenticeship programs, pre-employment inquiries, benefits, and job notices. Though the
ADEA does not directly prohibit an employer from asking a job applicant’s age or date of birth,
employers are in violation if they choose to terminate employment or refuse hiring of an
individual, or attempt to remove company compensation or benefits due to an employee’s age.
        Many employers denied benefits to older workers that were offered to younger workers
because it often costs more to provide benefits for an older adult, hence the creation of the Older
Workers Protection Act of 1990 (OWPA). Should the employer attempt to separate employees
based on age in a manner that inhibits one’s ability to prosper within the organization or to
reduce the wage of an employee based on age, the employer is in violation of ADEA and subject
to charges of discrimination (P.L. 90-202, 1967). Additionally, the displacement of older, more
expensive workers often saves organizations money because they can be replaced with younger,

less expensive employees (Koeber & Wright, 2001). Similar consequences occur for
employment agencies that “fail to refer” an individual for employment based on age (P.L. 90-202
§ (4), 1967). There are exceptions to the ADEA, which allow employers to make decisions based
on age when a “bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal
operation of the particular business” can be demonstrated (P.L. 90-202, 1967, §623(F) (1)).
Discrimination is also allowed if “good cause” is discovered for dismissal of an employee ((P.L.
90-202, 1967, §623(F)(1)), §623 (f)(3)). Although, mandatory retirement laws are outdated,
some remain such as a mandatory age limit of firefighters and law enforcement officers.
        The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 has undergone multiple
amendments. For instance, the 1974 amendments to ADEA extended the original legislation to
state employers instead of solely private employers. Via the Fair Labor Standards Amendments
of 1974 (FLSA), the word “employer” was amended to include “a State or political subdivision
of a State and any agency or instrumentality of a State or a political subdivision of a State”
(FLSA, §630b). In 1974 it was also amended to protect workers ages 40 to 70 as opposed to only
65. However, the FLSA indicated a mandatory retirement age of 70. Mandatory retirement was
finally abolished in 1986. Two studies, Neumark & Stock (1997) and Adams (2000) found that
the ADEA has aided in the increase of employment opportunities available to workers 60 years
and older. However, Adams (2000) also found that due to the ADEA, those 65 and older were
less likely to be a new hire. This has attributed to decreased retirement rates since the
implementation of the ADEA.
        The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 extends coverage of the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act by protecting all persons in the United States, “on the basis of age, [from]
be[ing] excluded from participation in, be[ing] denied the benefits of, or be[ing] subjected to
discrimination under, any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” (Age
Discrimination Act, Section 6102). Under no circumstances should this act be construed in such
a way that it violates the provisions of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. The
Commission on Civil Rights has an obligation to research and to provide the results and analysis
of age discrimination where applicable to federal funds. Under the 1979 President’s
Reorganization plan, all issues related to age discrimination were transferred to the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Established via Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, the EEOC is the federal agency, which is responsible for overseeing, coordinating and
enforcing all Federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Laws. By examining these laws
concerning hiring, retaining, and retraining workers in the next several decades, it is important to
understand how companies can encourage or discourage employment of older workers.

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
        The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) provides opportunities for both
males and females to leave the workplace temporarily in order to care for a child or an ill parent
(P. L. 103-3). Although, the FMLA tends to focus on balancing the duties of work and home in
terms of birthing and raising children, this act does have implications for older workers. The
FMLA allows individuals to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from a job with the security
that they will return to their same job or a similar job. Workers can take this time to 1) care for
an immediate family member such as child, spouse, or parent, 2) care for oneself, 3) care for a
newborn baby, and 4) care for a recently adopted child. Workers are eligible to utilize the
benefits of the FMLA if they have been employed for at least 12 months and worked a minimum
of 1250 hours during that period, and their employer has more than fifty employees (FMLA,

Section 101). Although, many employers with fewer than fifty employees abide by this
legislation they are not required to because it is thought that the absence of one employee for 12
weeks could potentially damage their businesses.
        The act also finds it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee for the
use of this benefit. For example, a worker may take time off work to care for an aging parent, or
an older worker may take the time off work to care for him/herself. All protections under the
ADEA and other anti-discrimination policies are applicable in this situation. Another example of
how the FMLA applies to older workers occurs when an older worker survives a child and is
needed at home to take care of grandchildren. Older workers may take over the position of parent
once again. The same job or equivalent job must be available for the worker upon return. If an
employee chooses to utilize the benefits of the FMLA, they do so unpaid by their employer.
However, pertinent to the FMLA is the issue of informal care giving and its economic value. The
consequences of informal long-term care giving for an older adult and/or disabled individual are
minimally addressed in public policy. The FMLA only allows 12 weeks for an individual to care
for such a person and without pay; therefore placing an incredible economic burden on the
employee should they have to take the time away from work. Arno, Levine, and Memmott
(1999) note that policy adjustments should be made to the FMLA to compensate for the
economic costs of informal care. Such costs could be supplemented by the government or the
employer. However, the employer may also incur additional costs as the absence of an employee
may cause them to hire a contingent worker and/or pay other workers overtime.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
         The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was implemented to eliminate discrimination within
federal work environments due to disability. It requires nondiscrimination in federal
employment, accessibility in federal buildings, affirmative action in employment by federal
contractors and nondiscrimination by the recipients of any federal funds (Schaffner & Van Horn,
         In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed to prohibit
discrimination of individuals with disabilities and mandates reasonable accommodations.
Disabilities can be both visible and invisible and can be mental, cognitive, or physical. Currently,
the ADA provides for accommodations to be made for people with disabilities. The ADA states
that if an individual can perform the essential function of the job, reasonable accommodations
should be made for the person as long as it does not cause undue hardship to the employer
(Americans with Disabilities Act: P.L. 336). The baby boomer generation is comprised of nearly
76 million aging adults (Appel, 2005). Advanced age brings about new disabilities that were not
previously there. For instance, many may become disabled due to hearing loss, vision
impairments or other aging conditions. Issues regarding an individual’s age and accessibility can
change the impact that the ADA has on the workplaces and the surrounding community (Appel,
2005). As a result, accessibility within the community and the workforce may be affected
(Appel, 2005).
         Since the enactment of the ADA, several Supreme Court cases have influenced the
implementation of the ADA as it pertains to older workers. Murphy vs. United Parcel Service,
Inc. (1999) involved an employee hired by the United Parcel Service (UPS) as a commercial
driver. The position required a Department of Transportation (DOT) health certification which
documented “no current clinical diagnosis of high blood pressure likely to interfere with his/her
ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely” ([ 49 CFR § 391.41 (b)(6)] as in (Katsiyannis &

Yell, 2002). Murphy was hired, and subsequently fired due to incorrect medical documentation.
The 10th circuit court ruled that Murphy’s hypertension was not a disability because he could
function normally in everyday activities, and therefore did not qualify under the ADA. The
Supreme Court upheld this judgment by stating that Mr. Murphy’s condition only limited him
from performing this particular job, thus having insufficient grounds for being protected under
the ADA. Additionally, the Supreme Court stated that employees who can function normally
when an impairment is treated do not qualify for protection under the ADA (Katsiyannis & Yell,
2002). A person must presently, not potentially or hypothetically, have a substantial limit in their
ability to work. Therefore, a person may be considered too disabled to be hired or not disabled
enough to challenge an employer’s judgment for hire, while reserving eligibility for those who
“truly” qualify (Katsiyannis & Yell, 2002). Rulings such as these may have had an affect on the
reduction in the number of people with disabilities in the labor force since the passage of the
ADA (Houtenville & Daly, 2003). This case is pertinent to older workers because the
Administration on Aging found that most older adults have at least one chronic condition such as
hypertension and many have multiple conditions. In 2000-2001, hypertension (49.2%), arthritic
symptoms (36.1%), all types of heart disease (31.1%), cancer (20.0%), sinusitis (15.1%), and
diabetes (15.0%) were among the most frequent medical conditions effecting older adults
(Administration of Aging, A Profile of Older Americans: 2004). Because these conditions can be
treated with medication, as in the Murphy ruling, special accommodations in the workplace or in
the hiring process are not required. This could have serious implications for older workers who
wish to retain or re-enter the workforce.
         The Murphy ruling causes reflection on the extent to which the ADA can have a positive
effect on employment and accommodations for people with disabilities. Some argue that the
Murphy ruling stripped the definition of a disability of its intended meaning. This judgment
creates a need for the ADA to protect those truly in need of the protection. If a person is
legitimately limited in his or her work ability for which medication is not an option, they qualify
under the ADA (Katsiyannis & Yell, 2002).

                                          Concluding thoughts

         These laws are intended to protect a growing percentage of the United States population
from employment discrimination. Without the enforcement of these policies, many older workers
face unemployment. Providing incentives for companies and organizations to retain, retrain, or
rehire this population of workers, can benefit society socially and economically. Since,
increasing global competition causes increasing costs for employers and little incentive to keep
aging employees. Older workers often have a need for retraining, increased health care and
family care, causing employers to encourage retirement.
         In response to organizational and social forces, employers make policy decisions to
retain, recruit, and retrain older workers as a strategy to maintain an experienced workforce and
possibly, alleviate shortages of skilled experienced workers. The decision to remain in the
workplace is dependent upon the employer’s decision to provide training opportunities, modify
the work environment to account for the physiological changes of age, assign tasks that build
upon the older worker’s experience and expertise, and recognize the place of work in the life
situation of the older worker.


Administration on Aging: U.S. Department of Human Services (2004). A Profile of older
       Americans: 2004. The Annual Profile of Older Americans, 2004 Edition.
Age Discrimination Act of 1975. P.L.No. (1975).
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. P.L. No. 90-202. (1967).
Americans with Disabilities Act: P.L. 336. 101st Cong. (1990).
Appel, A. (2005, November 25). Baby boomers will change the perception of disability.
       Scripps Howard News Service. Retrieved December 1, 2005, from http://www.shns.com
Arno, Peter S., Levine, Carol & Memmott, Margaret, M. (1999). The Economic Value of
       Informal Caregiving. Health Affairs, 18-2.
Bardach, E. (2000). A practical guide for policy analysis: the eightfold path to more effective
       problem solving. New York: Chatham House Publishers.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (www.eeoc.gov/types/age.html).
Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1974. P.L. No. (1974).
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. P.L. (103-3).
Houtenville, A. J., & Daly, M. C., (2003). Employment declines among people with disabilities.
       In D. C. Stapleton & R. V. Burkhauser (Eds.), The decline in the employment of people
       with disabilities: A policy puzzle (pp. 87-124). Kalamazoo, MI: W. E. Upjohn Institute
       for Employment Research.
Johnson, Richard W. & Neumark, David. (1996, June). Age Discrimination, Job Separations, and
       Employment Status of Older Workers: Evidence From Self-Reports. National Bureau of
       Economic Research, Working Paper 5619.
Katsiyannis, A. & Yell, M. (2002, Fall). Americans with disabilities act and the Supreme Court:
       Implications for practice. Legal Issues, 47, 39-41.
Koeber, Charles & Wright, David W. (2001). W/age bias in worker displacement: how industrial
       structure shapes the job loss and earnings decline of older American workers. Journal of
       Socio-Economics, 30, 343-352.
Mullich, J. (2004). New ideas to raw older workers. Workforce Management, (83) 44-46.
Murphy vs. United Parcel Service, Inc., 527 U.S. 516 (1999).
Neumark, David and Stock, Wendy A. (1997) Age discrimination laws and labor market
       efficiency. National Bureau of Economic Research. Cambridge, Mass.
Older Workers Protection Act of 1990. P.L. No. (1990).
Rocco, T., Stein, D. & Lee, C. (2003). An exploratory examination of the literature on age and
       HRD policy development. Human Resource Development Review, 2(2), 155-180.
Stock, Wendy A. & Beegle, Kathleen. (2004, January). Employment Protections for Older
       Workers: Do Disability Discrimination Laws Matter? Contemporary Economic Policy,
       22-1, 111-126.
Soulsby, J. (2000). Learning in the fourth age. Leicester, NIACE
Withnall, A. (2000).The debate continues: Integrating educational gerontology and lifelong
       learning. In F. Glendenning (Ed.), Teaching and learning in later life: Theoretical
       Implications (pp.87-98). Aldershot, UK, Ashgate
Tonette Rocco, Associate Professor, Florida International University roccot@fiu.edu; David Stein, Associate Professor, The Ohio
State University stein.1@osu.edu; Sunny L. Munn, munn.12@osu.edu and Gina Ginn, ginng6042@aol.com doctoral students,
The Ohio State University
Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education, University of
Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

         Through the PRiSM: A Decision Model for Adult Enrollment in
                             Higher Education
                            David S. Stein and Constance E. Wanstreet


        This study examines the decision-making process adults may use to enroll in higher
education. This project uses studies published in the adult enrollment literature. Four themes and
a proposed model emerged: pathway to a better life; reflective learner; synchronizing learning,
earning, and living; and match with an academic life. The PRiSM model integrates the themes
and illustrates the multifaceted decision-making process.


        Why adults voluntarily choose to engage in programs of study has been a feature of the
adult education landscape for more than 50 years. Since adult learners account for almost half of
higher education enrollments in the United States, the factors related to enrollment assume more
importance as institutions of higher learning adapt to a changing body of learners. The increasing
number of adult learners is changing the nature of higher education in terms of program delivery,
the services needed to recruit and retain adult learners, and the meaning of learning in the lives of
adults. In the next decade, adult learners may exceed the number of new traditional-age entrants
into higher education (Kim, Collins, Williamson, & Chapman, 2004). A better understanding of
the decision-making process used by adult learners to enroll in a program of higher education
may assist higher education institutions in creating an environment for adults to enter and
complete their goals.

        This project examined the literature on adult decision-making related to returning to
higher education. Our analysis of themes from the literature suggests a new model of the factors
involved in the process. For the purpose of this inquiry, adult learners are defined as persons 25
years of age or older who delay enrolling in college after graduating from high school or who
stop-out, meaning they “begin their education, leave, and then resume their education, often
several times” (Spanard, 1990, p. 312).

                                     Method and Procedures

Two research questions were posed to the literature collected: What are the factors that describe
the decision-making process to enroll in higher education for adult learners who delayed or
stopped-out of college? How might the factors be combined to develop a model that illustrates
the decision-making process?

Three general databases representing the educational and social science literature were searched:
Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), Academic Search Premier, and Social
Sciences Citation Index. Descriptors used were adult learning, higher education, retention,
teaching adults, graduate education, participation, and reentry. Those terms were combined as

in adult learning and higher education, adult learning and retention, higher education and
retention. Themes were identified following procedures for analysis and code development
(Boyatzis, 1998).

                      The PRiSM Decision Model for Adult Enrollment

       The decision to enroll is a complex process that is made over a period of time (Cross,
1981; Hensley & Kinser, 2001; Micari, 2004). Adults may cycle in and out of various academic
programs before finding a program that is suited to their abilities and needs. The major findings
from the literature are described in the PRiSM Decision Model for Adult Enrollment, which
encompasses the Pathway to a better life; the Reflective learner; Synchronizing learning,
earning, and living; and the Match with an academic life.

Theme One: The Pathway to a Better Life
        The pathway to a better life describes a factor that recognizes that adults evaluate the
extent to which their economic and intellectual circumstances may improve as a result of
enrolling in higher education. Occupational advancement through the skills higher education
might offer provides an opportunity to become more secure in an insecure marketplace. (Kim et
al., 2004; Kasworm, 2003a; McGivney, 2004). Kember et al. (2001), investigating the reasons
adults return to higher education on a part-time basis, found that coping with technological
changes, especially among professionals, was a prime factor in the decision to enroll.

         Economic considerations may be interpreted differently based on gender. Working-class
males may evaluate the opportunity costs of attending higher education; i.e., the benefits of a
future job, against the certainty of present employment; while females may evaluate the decision
based on becoming economically self-sufficient by entering the labor force or by improving
present occupational status. A decision point for females, especially those who have experienced
a life transition, is the need to become economically independent (Mohney & Anderson, 1988).

        A second consideration influencing adults to enroll in education is the intellectual
challenge of mastering a body of knowledge. Adult learners enter or return to higher education to
pursue knowledge as a personal growth opportunity (Kasworm, 2003a), to improve one’s sense
of self-esteem in the academic arena (Micari, 2004), to reconnect with intellectual pursuits that
may have been neglected during other life stages (Bird & Morgan, 2003), or to deepen the
understanding of a subject matter (McGivney, 2004).

       This pathway is constantly monitored and evaluated in terms of the benefits likely to be
achieved relative to the costs of changes in an adult’s social, family, psychological, and
economic situation associated with enrollment in higher education.

Theme Two: The Reflective Learner
        The reflective learner describes a factor that acknowledges the influence of previous
academic experience and an assessment of academic readiness on an adult’s decision to enroll
in higher education. Kemp (2002) proposes that the decision to enroll may be related to the
belief in the competence and confidence that one can master the academic challenges and put

forth the effort necessary to complete a program of study. The decision to enroll may be related
to the degree that adult learners have examined their attitudes toward higher education,
reflected on previous academic experiences, and have developed learning-oriented personalities
(Bird & Morgan 2003; Cross, 1981; Micari, 2004; Ponton, Derrick, & Carr, 2005).

        Adults may consider the identity changes that might take place as a result of new
knowledge and new situations and need to determine whether they are ready for new identities. If
they move too far away from comfortable identities, they may not enroll. Gallacher, Crossan,
Field, and Merrill (2002) suggest that identity changes as transitions are taking place during the
decision-making process.

        Hensley and Kinser (2001) suggest that adult learners might cycle in and out of higher
education settings while each time revisiting and assessing their academic strengths, self-image,
and the extent to which they are moving along their pathway to a better life. This cycle is viewed
as practice finally leading to the decision to withdraw or to successfully complete.

Theme Three: Synchronizing Learning, Earning, and Living
       Synchronizing learning, earning, and living describes a factor that recognizes the life
stage and an adult’s ability to balance learning, earning, and living when deciding to enroll in
higher education. This does not imply that the elements are equally weighted; rather, they are
balanced in a way that enables adults to maintain their learning, earning, and living roles.

        Adults consider when the time is psychosocially appropriate to enroll in a program of
higher education. The timing is related to a change in a life stage or a life transition (Kasworm,
2003a). Adults consider the impact of their enrollment on career, family time, and other social
and community obligations. Financial concerns weigh heavily in the equation to enroll in a
program of study. Mohney and Anderson (1988) suggest that females enroll in higher education
during times of divorce or when there is a strong need to become financially independent. Other
transitions might include the need to develop an identity other than that of mother or spouse.

        While intending to enroll, adults consider time available for completing other competing
tasks. Thus the future rewards of engaging in study may be moderated by the immediate needs at
hand (Lore & Tait, 2004). Disruption to family routines and established roles and identities can
act as a barrier to enrollment (Parnham, 2001; Skilton-Sylvester, 2002; Stalker, 2001). Concerns
for family can also facilitate the decision to enroll. Enrolling in higher education can serve as the
completion of a promise to family members to obtain a degree or to model for one’s children the
importance of education (Hensley & Kinser, 2001).

Theme Four: Match with an Academic Life
         Match with an academic life describes a factor that acknowledges the importance of
institutional support and program flexibility in an adult’s decision to enroll in higher education.
The decision to enroll in a program of study includes an assessment by the adult of the degree to
which an institution not only provides the needed course of study but may also be considered
“adult friendly,” the degree to which an institution is ready and able to provide academic and
social integration within the rhythms of an academic life (Polson, 2003).

        Adults are concerned about the following in making the decision to return to a degree
program: (a) the degree to which the instructional environment accommodates a working and
earning lifestyle; (b) ease in registering for courses and accessibility of offerings, bookstore
hours, and other administrative concerns (Hadfield, 2003); bonding with other adult students
(Kasworm, 2003b); (c) the extent to which the program structure will lead to success (Kasworm,
2003a); and (d) the extent to which the program encourages completions yet allows the adult to
pursue matters important to the learner intellectually and vocationally (Bird & Morgan, 2003).

                                    Implications for Practice

        Deciding to enroll in higher education is a complex decision-making process occurring
over a period of time. The recent literature indicates that making the decision to enroll is not a
linear process but rather a multifaceted process with simultaneous decision points. Nor is it a
matter of making only a yes or no decision regarding enrollment based on a strong orientation to
learning. The decision to enroll is a cognitive, emotional, and relational decision considered
within the web of family, work, social, financial class, gender, institutional support, and program
delivery considerations.

         While many of the elements in the decision-making process have been mentioned by
Cross (1981), the present literature emphasizes the important role of the institution in assisting
the learner to make the decision to enroll. Adult students are particularly influenced by the
accommodations that the institutional representatives can make with regard to student services.
Academic integration becomes a stronger variable than social integration. Thus, higher education
institutions may want to consider having a more visible presence in the work and social
communities adults occupy. Institutions might also assist the learner to evaluate the opportune
time to enroll by helping the learner evaluate and consider present obligations, academic
potential, and the benefits that might accrue through participation in higher education.


Bird , J., & Morgan, C. (2003). Adults contemplating university study at a distance: Issues,
         themes, and concerns. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
         4(1). Retrieved July 7, 2005, from http://www.irrodl.org/content/v4.1/bird_morgan.html

Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code
       development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Cross, P. K. (1981). Adults as learners: Increasing participation and facilitating learning. San
        Fransciso: Jossey-Bass.

Gallacher, J., Crossan, B., Field, J., & Merrill, B. (2002). Learning careers and the social space:
       Exploring the fragile identities of adult returners in the new further education.
       International Journal of Lifelong Learning, 21(6), 493-509.

Hadfield, J. (2003). Recruiting and retaining adult students. In. D. Kilgore & P. J. Rice (Vol.
       Eds.), New directions for student services: No. 102. Meeting the special needs of adult
       students (pp. 17-25). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Hensley, L., & Kinser, K. (2001). Rethinking adult learner persistence: Implications for
       counselors. Adultspan Journal, 33(2), 88-100.

Kasworm, C. (2003a). Setting the stage: Adults in higher education. In. D. Kilgore & P. Rice
      (Vol. Eds.), New directions for student services: No. 102. Meeting the special needs of
      adult students (pp. 3-8). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kasworm, C. (2003b). From the student’s perspective: Accelerated degree programs. In R.
      Woldkowski & C. Kasworm (Vol. Eds.), New directions for adult and continuing
      education: No. 97. Accelerated learning for adults: The promise and practice of intensive
      educational formats (pp. 17-27). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kember, D., Armour, R., Jenkins, W., Lee, K., Leung, D., Li, N., et al. (2001). Orientations to
      enrolment of part time students: A classification system based upon students’ perceived
      lifelong learning needs. Higher Education Research and Development, 20(3), 265-280.

Kemp, W. (2002). Persistence of Adult Learners in Distance Education. The American Journal
      of Distance Education, 16(2), 65-81.

Kim, K., Collins, H. M., Williamson, J., & Chapman, C. (2004). Participation in Adult
      Education and Lifelong Learning: 2000-001. (National Center for Education Statistics
      Publication No. NCES 2004050). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Lore, T. & Tait, A. (2004). Too little time to learn? Issues and challenges for those in work.
       Studies in the Education of Adults, 36(2), 222-234.

McGivney, V. (2004). Understanding persistence in adult learning. Open Learning, 19(1), 33-47.

Micari, M. (2004). Transformation and tension: The experience of returning to school in a liberal
        arts program. New Horizons in Adult Education, 18(2), 4-16.

Mohney, C., & Anderson, W. (1988). The effects of life events and relationships on adult
      women’s decision to enroll in college. Journal of Counseling and Development, 66, 271-

Parnham, J. (2001). Lifelong learning: A model for increasing the participation of non-traditional
      learners. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 25(1), 57-65.

Polson, C. (2003). Adult graduate students challenge institutions to change. In. D. Kilgore & P.
        Rice (Vol. Eds.), New directions for student services: No. 102. Meeting the special needs
        of adult students (pp. 59-68). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Ponton, M. K., Derrick, M. G., & Carr, P. B. (2005). The relationship between resourcefulness
       and persistence in adult autonomous learning. Adult Education Quarterly, 55(2),

Skilton-Sylvester, E. (2002). Should I stay or should I go? Investigating Cambodian women’s
        participation and investment in adult ESL programs. Adult Education Quarterly, 53(1),

Spanard, J. A. (1990). Beyond intent: Reentering college to complete the degree. Review of
       Educational Research, 60(3), 309-344.

Stalker, J. (2001). Misogyny, women, and obstacles to tertiary education: A vile situation. Adult
        Education Quarterly, 51(4), 288-305.

David S. Stein, Associate Professor, Workforce Development and Education, The Ohio State
University, 283 Arps Hall, 1945 High St., Columbus, OH 43210, stein.1@osu.edu

Constance E. Wanstreet, Doctoral Candidate, Workforce Development and Education, The Ohio
State University, 2200 Olentangy River Road, Columbus OH 43210-1035, wanstreet.2@osu.edu

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

                From Personal Meaning to Shared Understanding:
               The Nature of Discussion in a Community of Inquiry
           David S. Stein, Constance E. Wanstreet, Cheryl L. Engle, Hilda R. Glazer,
           Ruth A. Harris, Susan M. Johnston, Mona R. Simons, and Lynn A. Trinko


This study investigated the process by which shared understanding develops in a chat learning
space. Findings suggest that individual meaning reflected in triggering events and exploratory
statements is transformed through discussion into statements that integrate ideas from group
members and create shared solutions. The findings show that chats are spaces that can lead to
shared understanding.


        This study examines the interactions of students in a blended learning environment as
they shift from personal meaning to shared understanding negotiated in a chat learning space. It
uses the Community of Inquiry framework developed by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000)
to examine how learners experience cognitive presence in chats that support knowledge
        In many Web-based and Web-enhanced courses, learners are expected to share their
experiences, negotiate meanings, and construct subject-matter knowledge through discussion.
Brookfield and Preskill (2005) champion discussion as a way of teaching that enhances
democratic participation. Constructivist educators generally agree that discussion in communities
of inquiry contributes to higher-order thinking and helps learners create knowledge (Garrison et
al., 2000). A number of researchers have explored online discussion postings in terms of
cognitive presence (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001; Meyer, 2003; Pawan, Paulus, Yalcin,
& Chang, 2003). Fewer studies examine cognitive presence in real-time environments (Vaughan
& Garrison, 2005). Given that discussion that leads to shared meaning is an expectation in many
blended courses, and that little is known about how it develops in synchronous learning spaces,
this study seeks to bridge the research gap by investigating how shared meaning develops during
the chat process. Improved understanding of how cognitive presence develops may help
instructors facilitate higher-quality discussions in online inquiry-based environments.

Purpose of the Study
       The purpose of this study is to examine how meaning develops through the chat process
in a way that reflects the dynamic relationship between personal meaning and shared
understanding in a community of inquiry.
       In this study personal meaning is conceptually defined as individual construction of
meaning, which involves not only cognition but also a combination of affect and personal
experiences. Personal meaning is operationally defined in terms of the practical inquiry model as
statements that represent triggering events and exploration (Garrison et al., 2001). Shared
understanding is conceptually defined as the dynamic relationship of incorporating personal

meaning and integrating knowledge that has been received by the group. Shared understanding is
operationally defined as statements that represent the integration and resolution phases of the
practical inquiry model (Garrison et al., 2001).
        The research questions are (1) What is the process by which shared understanding
develops in a chat learning space? (2) How does the conversation flow during a chat in terms of
the practical inquiry model?

Conceptual Framework
        This project is based in social constructivism, which recognizes social processes in
individual knowledge building (Vygotsky, 1978). This study explores those processes within a
Community of Inquiry framework that assumes higher-order learning occurs through the
interaction of social, teaching, and cognitive presence to produce a worthwhile learning
experience (Garrison et al., 2000). Social presence entices participants to remain engaged in an
educational experience by creating enjoyable group interactions and personally fulfilling learning
activities (Rourke, Anderson, Garrison, & Archer, 2001). Teaching presence accounts for the
design and facilitation of educational experiences that tie social and cognitive presence together
to achieve learner outcomes (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001). Cognitive presence
represents meaning making through sustained communication (Garrison et al., 2001).
        Garrison et al. (2001) operationalized cognitive presence through a practical inquiry
model that has four phases: triggering events, exploration, integration, and resolution. Triggering
events reflect issues or dilemmas that begin to surface. During the second phase, exploration,
learners search for information, knowledge, and alternatives to assist in deeper understanding of
the situation or problem. In the third phase, integration, learners construct meaning from the
ideas formulated in the exploratory phase by critically linking concepts and creating solutions. In
the fourth phase, resolution, learners defend solutions or apply new knowledge. Practical inquiry
is useful for testing cognitive presence due to the model’s generic structure and its ability to be
used in a formal educational experience (Garrison et al., 2000).

Context of the Study
        The learners in this study were enrolled in a course about the philosophical and historical
roots of adult education in American society. The course uses a dialogical, constructivist
approach in which learners make meaning by formulating ideas and refining them through the
responses of others. There were three face-to-face sessions: at the beginning, middle, and end of
the course. Throughout the quarter, learners worked in small groups to complete course
requirements. This included contributing to weekly small-group discussions related to issues
presented in the readings and questions posed by the instructor. Each group member served at
least once as a discussion moderator, who compiled a group response to the weekly questions
and posted the response to the class discussion board. Seven groups were formed by learners’
affinity or their proximity to one another in the initial class, which met in person. Five groups
chose to work online and two chose to conduct their small-group discussions face to face.


       This study used content analysis to investigate the development of cognitive presence
through the practical inquiry process. Content analysis goes below the surface-level
measurement of online communications (Krippendorff, 2004). This approach allows text to be

coded and summarized, and it permits frequencies or percentages to be determined for
comparison purposes and statistical testing (Strijbos, Martens, Prins & Jochems, 2005).
        One group was randomly selected to participate from four groups that met online. That
group’s transcripts from weeks three and seven were analyzed. Those weeks were chosen
because they represented the first and last transcripts available and provided the opportunity to
observe the greatest potential change in cognitive presence over time. The content was coded
according to protocols for teaching presence (Anderson et al., 2001), social presence (Rourke et
al., 2001), and cognitive presence (Garrison et al., 2001).
        The meaning unit for chat transcripts was a complete participant response (Vaughan &
Garrison, 2005). This included a message containing a period at the end, the word end after a
response, or statements joined by ellipses. Discussion postings were analyzed at the paragraph
level (Riffe, Lacy, & Fico, 2005).
        Three coders, who are graduate students, received 13 hours of training by a member of
the research team who has worked extensively with the protocols. Transcripts from weeks not
included in the study were coded as part of training. Initial training was followed by a pilot test
and further training before coders worked independently to analyze transcripts for this study.


        Reliability testing was conducted on the complete transcripts using Krippendorff’s (2004)
alpha (α) (see Table 1). This measure was selected because it accounts for chance agreement
among multiple coders and accommodates ratio data. A minimum level of 80% is considered the
theoretical standard for a content analysis study to be considered reliable (Riffe et al., 2005).
Because low agreement on one of the transcripts would have permitted tentative conclusions
only (Krippendorff, 2004), reliability was recalculated using two coders (Neuendorf, 2002).

Table 1. Krippendorff’s Alpha Coefficient for Interrater Reliability

   Number of           Chat 1            Discussion 1           Chat 2            Discussion 2
    Coders            Transcript          Transcript           Transcript          Transcript

Three                     .89                 .67                 .83                   .96
Two                       .98                 .99                 .81                  1.0
Note. Alpha (α) was computed from an SPSS script developed by Hayes (2005).

Social, Teaching, and Cognitive Presence
        Cognitive presence accounted for the highest percentage of coded meaning units in all
transcripts (see Table 2). Social presence remained fairly consistent from one chat to the next,
while teaching presence declined during the second chat. Discussion postings, which resulted
from the group’s chats, exhibited cognitive presence exclusively.
        Time spent in chat sessions amounted to 1 hr 8 min for chat one and 1 hr 5 min for chat
two. Although the time spent was essentially the same, the units of meaning differed (148 in chat
one and 190 in chat two) perhaps because a group member missed the first chat.

Table 2. Percentage of Meaning Units Coded as Social, Teaching, and Cognitive Presence

                                      Time 1                              Time 2
    Presence           Chat           Discussion Posting       Chat        Discussion Posting

Social                    27                 —                  29                 —
Teaching                  18                  —                 13                 —
Cognitive                 55                 100                58                 100

        In both chat transcripts, exploration accounted for the highest percentage of meaning
units, followed by integration, triggering events, and resolution (see Table 3). Integration and
resolution were evident in the discussion postings.

Table 3. Percentage of Meaning Units Coded as Cognitive Presence

                                          Time 1                            Time 2
Practical Inquiry Phase        Chat       Discussion Posting      Chat      Discussion Posting

Triggering event               18                  —                  8              —
Exploration                    52                  —                 75             —
Integration                    28                  50                15              —
Resolution                     1                   50                 2             100

Flow of Conversation
       Both chats began with multiple social presence indicators as group members became
reacquainted. Teaching presence indicators were in evidence at the beginning of each chat as the
group organized its work and as the new moderator for the week became established.
Approximately five minutes into the first chat, cognitive presence became apparent with an
unsupported opinion reflecting the exploration phase (“A dominant culture should not impose its
values on other cultures . . .”). In the second chat, cognitive presence began in the triggering
event phase with a sense of puzzlement (“I was not sure what [the instructor] means by the
public or private enterprise with regard to adult education”). Figure 1 shows the pattern of social,
teaching, and cognitive presence for the second chat.

                       SPSP In ExExExEx SP Te TP SPSP Ex TPTPTP SPSP TP ExEx TP
LEGEND                 Ex In ExExExExExEx InIn Ex Te In Ex In ExExEx SP ExEx In SP
SP Social Presence     ExEx SP ExExEx SP Ex SP Ex SP Ex SP ExExExExExExEx TP In
TP Teaching Presence
                       TP Ex SPSP ExEx SP Ex TP In TP SPSPSPSP TPTP Te TP
Te Triggering Event
Ex Exploration         ExExExEx SP ExEx In Ex TP In ExExExExExExEx SP ExEx Te Ex
In Integration         Re SPSPSPSPSP TP Te SP ExExExExExEx TP ExExEx In ExEx SP
Re Resolution          Ex Te Ex In Ex InInIn ExExExExExEx In ExExEx SP Ex TP ExEx
                       SP Re SPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSP

Figure 1. Flow of social, teaching, and cognitive presence in chat two. Cognitive presence is
illustrated through the phases of the practical inquiry model.

         When exhibiting cognitive presence during both chats, the group did not proceed in an
orderly fashion through the practical inquiry model. In chat one, cognitive presence began with
exploration, the second phase of practical inquiry. In chat two, cognitive presence began in the
first phase of the practical inquiry model with a triggering event. Tentative hypotheses in the
integration phase were not automatically accepted. Instead, hypotheses were routinely followed
by exploratory statements or triggering events, indicating earlier phases of practical inquiry.
Exploratory statements (e.g., “Skills that are pertinent only to the workplace are the repsonbility
[sic] of corporations/etc.”) were often followed by responses indicating social presence (e.g.,
“Jay, we may be saying the same thing.”) Resolution came near the end of the chats and was
followed by indications of social presence.


        Shared understanding develops in a chat learning space through a dialogic process
informed by experience and course readings. Individual meaning reflected in triggering events
and exploratory statements is transformed through discussion into statements that integrate ideas
and create and defend solutions. In the context of this course, collective understanding of an
issue requires dialogue that helps group members understand various perspectives deeply. For
that reason, it is expected that the majority of the cognitive presence indicators would be in the
exploration phase. Indicators of integration and resolution should be relatively small during the
        These findings support Brookfield and Preskill’s (2005) assertion that discussion helps
learners co-create knowledge, extends their integration skills, and cultivates collaborative
learning. Collective or shared meaning comes about as the discussion moves through the higher-
level indicators of cognitive presence. Garrison et al. (2000) acknowledge a connection, albeit
not straightforward, between communication and higher-order learning. These findings show that
communication leading to higher-order learning is not cyclical, as the phases of the practical
inquiry model suggest. Rather, the majority of the responses move back and forth between
exploration and integration.
        Social presence supports the community of inquiry through affective and cohesive
statements. In addition, social presence specifically supports the practical inquiry process
through statements that express agreement and help move the group toward integration.
Teaching presence helps keep the discussion organized and on track to resolution.
        The findings suggest that chats are spaces that lead to shared understanding. In Web-
based or Web-enhanced environments, the use of chat should be increased since it has the
potential to increase shared meaning when used in the context of a community of inquiry.


Anderson, T., Rourke, L., Archer, W., & Garrison, R. (2001). Assessing teaching presence in
       computer conferencing transcripts. The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks,
       5(2). Retrieved December 15, 2005, from http://www.aln.org/publications/jaln/v5n2/
Brookfield, S. D., & Preskill, S. (2005). Discussion as a way of teaching: Tools and techniques
       for democratic classrooms, 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Garrison, R., Anderson, T., and Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment:

        Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3),
Garrison, R., Anderson, T., and Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking and computer conferencing:
        A model and tool to assess cognitive presence. American Journal of Distance Education,
        15(1), 7-23.
Hayes, A. F. (2005). An SPSS procedure for computing Krippendorff's alpha [Computer
       software]. Retrieved from http://www.comm.ohio-state.edu/ahayes/macros.htm
Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology, 2nd ed. Beverly
       Hills, CA: Sage.
Meyer, K. A. (2003). Face-to-face versus threaded discussions: The role of time and higher-order
        thinking. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7(3). Retrieved June 16, 2006,
        from http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/jaln/v7n3/pdf/v7n3_meyer.pdf
Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Pawan, F., Paulus, T. M., Yalcin, S., & Chang, C-F. (2003). Online learning: Patterns of
        engagement and interaction among in-service teachers. Language Learning &
        Technology, 7(3), 118-140.
Riffe, D., Lacy, S., & Fico, F. G. (2005). Analyzing media messages: Using quantitative content
        analysis in research, 2nd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Rourke, L., Anderson, T., Garrison, R., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing social presence in
        computer conferencing. Retrieved June 16, 2006, from http://communitiesofinquiry.com/
Strijbos, J., Martens, R. L., Prins, F. J., & Jochems, W. M. (2005). Content analysis: What are
        they talking about? Computers & Education, 46(2006), 29-48. Retrieved June 16, 2006,
        from http://www.elsevier.com/locate/compedu
Vaughan, N., & Garrison, D. R. (2005). Creating cognitive presence in a blended faculty
        development community. The Internet and Higher Education, 8, 1-12.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes.
        Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

David S. Stein, Ph.D., Associate Professor, College of Education, The Ohio State University,
283C Arps Hall, 1945 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43210, stein.1@osu.edu; Constance
E. Wanstreet, M.A., wanstreet.2@osu.edu.; Cheryl L. Engle, M.A., engle.45@osu.edu; Hilda R.
Glazer, Ed.D., hilda.glazer@capella.edu; Ruth A. Harris, M.Ed., M.A., harris.479@osu.edu;
Susan M. Johnston, M.S.Ed., johnston.368@osu.edu; Mona R. Simons, M.A.,
simons.3@osu.edu; Lynn A. Trinko, M.Ed., trinko.1@osu.edu.

The authors would like to acknowledge the support of Dr. Susan Imel, Nina Kowalczyk, Evan
Straub, and Christine Wagner for their assistance with this project.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

       The Use of Survey Research to Measure Student Satisfaction in Online Courses

                                         Elaine Strachota


        Although student satisfaction in online courses is of concern to institutions of higher
learning attempting to provide quality education, the field of distance education remains in a
developmental stage as far as having valid and reliable instruments to measure student
satisfaction. Therefore a valid and reliable instrument was developed as a tool to measure student
satisfaction as an online program evaluation outcome. This study offers the researcher both a
survey instrument as well as research findings relative to the constructs that are critical to a
satisfying online learning experience.


        The gathering of feedback from students is an important part of online program
development and evaluation. Colleges and universities often focus a great deal of time and
energy on developing new programs yet are often less effective when it comes to measuring
program outcomes. Measuring online program outcomes can be efficiently and effectively done
through the use of online survey research. Of importance however is that program evaluation
must be conducted through the use of valid and reliable instruments. It is critical when
conducting survey research that the instrument is more than a series of questions and that it
measures what it is intended to measure. Therefore the Student Satisfaction Survey instrument
was developed as a tool that could be used by institutions to evaluate student satisfaction as an
online program evaluation outcome. This paper will focus on the process of conducting survey
research, share the survey instrument and identify the constructs that are critical to a satisfying
online learning experience.
                              The Process of Survey Development
         Developing a survey instrument is based on the identification of the intended outcome
that is to be measured. For the purposes of this study the outcome to be measured was student
satisfaction. The first step in survey development is a review of the literature specific to the
outcome measurement issue of concern. Based on the literature, The Student Satisfaction Survey
instrument was developed based on the typology of online interaction by Moore & Kearsley
(2005, 1996). This typology of online interaction includes: learner-content interaction, learner-
instructor interaction and learner-learner interaction. A fourth type of online interaction that of
learner-technology interaction identified by Hanna, Dudka & Runlee (2000) and Palloff & Pratt
(2001) was also included as a construct to be measured. A fifth construct of general satisfaction
was also included as part of this survey instrument.
        These five constructs served as the foundation for the development of survey questions
that would be a measure of each construct. Subject matter experts in the field of adult education
and distance education as well as a panel of measurement experts examined these constructs,
which included the definitions and questions for each construct. Several questions were modified
or eliminated based on the experience of experts in the field. This step of survey development is

necessary and is referred to as establishing content validity. After content validity was conducted
the instrument had 33 items.
        Following the establishment of content validity a pilot study utilizing the instrument was
conducted. Conducting a pilot study serves to establish construct validity. The purpose of
construct validity is to determine if the constructs being measures are a valid conceptualization
of the phenomena being tested. Data from the pilot study were then analyzed through the use of
factor analysis to determine if indeed given items loaded on the intended construct. As part of
this process, items that did not load on the intended construct were eliminated, as they were not
an adequate measure of that construct.
         This pilot study was conducted (N = 249 online students) at a Midwest Technical College
in the United States. The survey instrument was presented as a link within the college’s learning
management system. Through factor analysis of the data the instrument was reduced to 27 items
as six items had low factor loading that overlapped across all constructs, indicating that they
were not a good measure of that specific construct. The final instrument included seven items
that measured learner-content interaction, six items that measured learner-instructor interaction,
eight items that measured learner-learner interaction and six items that measured general
satisfaction. Items specific to learner-technology interaction were taken from the Cassidy &
Eachus (2000) survey instrument which had been previously pilot tested and showed a
Cronbach’s alpha of .97 for the single construct of computer self-efficacy which was equated as
being synonymous with learner-technology interaction. Removal of the six items resulted in
moderate to high factor loading with the appropriate items loading within the specified construct.
Factor loading for learner-content interaction ranged from .604 to .780, learner-instructor
interaction factor loading ranged from .594 to .841 and learner-learner interaction factor loading
ranged from .588 to .786. Therefore, questions within each construct were considered to have
good internal or construct validity.
        To be effective an instrument must have both validity and reliability. Analysis of data
from a pilot study determines the reliability of the instrument or the Cronbach’s alpha, which is
the internal consistency or reliability coefficient for an instrument requiring only one
administration. Cronbach’s alpha scores range from zero through one, with a coefficient closer to
one indicating higher reliability. Reliability coefficients should be at least .70 or higher to be
considered reliable for affective instruments (Wallen & Fraenkel, 2001). The Student
Satisfaction Survey instrument pilot study indicated a Cronbach’s alpha of .90 for the constructs
of both learner-content interaction and general satisfaction. The constructs of learner-instructor
interaction and learner-learner interaction resulted in a Cronbach’s alpha of .89. Therefore
removal of these six items resulted in a valid and highly reliable instrument that can be used at
any institution of higher learning that offers online courses and is concerned with measuring the
outcome of student satisfaction.
                                       Survey Instrument
The following includes the definitions for each construct within the Student Satisfaction Survey.
Learner-content interaction is defined as the non-human interaction the student has with the
subject matter (Moore & Kearsley, 1996). This includes interaction with course content, lessons,
learning activities, learning objects, videos, assignments, websites and projects. Learner-
instructor interaction is defined as the human interaction consisting of two-way communication
between the learner and the instructor (Moore & Kearsley, 1996). This type of interaction is

necessary for content clarification, student feedback and to minimize the impact of distance.
Learner-learner interaction is defined as the human interaction consisting of two-way
communication between one learner and other learners (Moore & Kearsley, 1996). This type of
interaction may occur via e-mail and discussion boards. Learner-technology interaction is
defined as the skill and comfort level the student has with the non-human interaction of the
technology used in an online environment. General satisfaction is defined as the overall needs of
the student have been met. All survey items included a four-point Likert scale of (1) strongly
disagree, (2) disagree, (3) agree, and (4) strongly agree. Questions specific to each construct
within the Student Satisfaction Survey (Strachota, 2003) are as follows:
Table 1 - Learner-Content Interaction
                              LEARNER-CONTENT INTERACTION
 1. The course documents – lessons or lecture        2. The websites that were linked to this course
 notes used in this class facilitated my learning    facilitated my learning
 3. The assignments and/or projects in this          4. Preparation for quizzes/exams in this course
 course facilitated my learning                      facilitated my learning
 5. The learning activities in this course           6. I feel this online class experience has helped
 required application of problem solving skills      improve my written communication skills
 which facilitated my learning
 7. The learning activities in this curse required
 critical thinking which facilitated my learning

Table 2 - Learner-Instructor Interaction
(** Denotes question not completed if course did not utilize a discussion board)
                            LEARNER-INSTRUCTOR INTERACTION
 1. In this class the teacher was an active          2. I received timely feedback (within 24-48
 member of the discussion group offering             hours) from my teacher
 direction to posted comments **
 3. I felt frustrated by the lack of feedback        4. I was able to get individualized attention
 from my teacher                                     from my teacher when needed
 5. In this class the teacher functioned as the      6. Although I could not see the teacher in this
 facilitator of the course by continuously           class, I felt his/her presence
 encouraging communication

Table 3 - Learner-Learner Interaction
(** Denotes question not completed if course did not utilize a discussion board)
                          LEARNER-LEARNER INTERACTION
 1. In this class the online discussion board     2. In this class the online discussion board
 provided opportunity for problem solving         provided opportunity for critical thinking

 with other students **                           with other students **
 3. The discussion board in this class was a      4. This course created a sense of
 waste of time **                                 community among students
 5. In this class I was able to ask for           6. I received timely (within 24-48 hours)
 clarification from a fellow student when         feedback from students in the class
 7. This online course encouraged students
 to discuss ideas and concepts covered with
 other students

Table 4 - Learner-Technology Interaction – (abridged version - Cassidy & Eachus, 2000)
1. Most difficulties I encounter when using       2. I find working with computers very easy
computers, I can deal with
3. enjoy working with computers                   4. Computers make me much more
5. I am very confident in my abilities to use     6. Using computers makes learning more
computers                                         interesting
7. Some computer software packages                8.Computers area good aids to learning
definitely make learning easier
9. I consider myself a skilled computer user

Table 5 - General Satisfaction
                                   GENERAL SATISFACTION
 1. I am very satisfied with this online course      2. I would like to take another online course
 3. This online course did not meet my learning 4. I would recommend this course to others
 5. I learned as much in this online course as       6. I feel online courses are as effective as face-
 compared to a face-to-face course                   to-face courses

                                     Survey Implementation

        A convenience sample of 1,593 online students were given the Student Satisfaction
Survey instrument via a web link in the college’s learning management system. The survey link
and four e-mails were disseminated over a 4-week period of time. A total of 849 students in 101
online courses completed the survey for an overall response rate for 53.3 %. This online survey

response rate exceeded the averages found by Sheehan (2001), who examined 31 online survey
response rates from 1986-2000 and found the average response rate for those surveys to be
36.83%. Conducting a survey online was found to be far more time efficient and cost effective
compared to traditional phone or mail delivered survey methods (Schmidt, Strachota &
Conceição, 2005).
                                         Survey Results
        Through the use of multiple regression analysis, learner-content interaction was found to
be the primary construct in predicting online satisfaction. Further learner-instructor and learner-
technology contributed to this model as the second and third most important variables. A total of
63.8% of online satisfaction was predicted based on learner-content interaction (58%), learner-
instructor interaction (4.8%), learner-learner interaction (.1%) and learner-technology interaction
(.9%). Three of the four constructs significantly contributed to the prediction model for online
satisfaction whereas learner-learner interaction did not significantly contribute to the prediction
Table 6 - Multiple Regression Analysis - Model Summary

Step       R              R2 Change    F Change        df2        Sig. F Change
1       LC .580           .580         1168.51         847        .000*
2       LI .628           .048          110.59         846        .000*
3       LL .629           .001             .84         845        .360
4       LT .638           .009           21.66         844        .000*

Model 1- Predictors: (Constant), learner-content (LC)
Model 2- Predictors: (Constant), learner-content (LC), learner-instructor (LI)
Model 3- Predictors: (Constant), learner-content (LC), learner-instructor LI), learner-learner (LL)
Model 4- Predictors: (Constant), learner-content (LC), learner-instructor LI), learner-learner
(LL), learner-technology (LT)

        Analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that students in courses that had either a
voluntary or required discussion group were significantly more satisfied with learner-learner
interaction than those students who were in courses with no discussion group. There however
was no significant difference in overall level of satisfaction as measured by the construct of
general satisfaction among students in these three groups.
        This study highlights the importance of having a valid and reliable instrument when
conducting survey research. A critical step of this process is conducting a pilot test and
modifying the instrument prior to final implementation. Online survey research has proven to be
far more efficient and cost effective compared to traditional methods of mail and telephone
delivery when surveying an audience of distance learners (Strachota, 2003). Further, learner-
content interaction and learner-instructor interaction were found to be the most important
variables for a satisfying online experience. Critical to the findings of this study is the need to

develop rich interactive content and to have instructor presence for a satisfying online learning
environment. Although those students who had a discussion board were significantly more
satisfied with learner-learner interaction there was no significant difference in overall course
satisfaction among those students who had a discussion board as part of the course structure.

Cassidy, S & Eachus, P. (2002). Developing the computer user self efficacy (CUSE)
        scale: Investigating the relationship between computer self efficacy, gender and
       experience with computers. Journal of Educational Computing Research, (26)2,
Hanna, D. E., Glowacki-Dudka, M., & Runlee, S. (2000). 147 practical tips
       for teaching online groups. Madison, WI: Atwood Publishing.
Moore, M., & Kearsley, G. (2005, 1996). Distance education: A system view. Belmont, CA:
Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2001). Lessons from the cyberspace classroom – The realities
       of online teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Sheehan, K.B. (2001). E-mail survey response rates: A review. Retrieved May 22, 2006
       from: http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol6/issue2/sheehan.html
Strachota, E. (2003). Student satisfaction in online courses: An analysis of the impact of
       learner-content, learner-instructor, learner-learner and learner-technology
       interaction. Doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Ann
       Arbor, Michigan, UMI Publishing.
Schmidt, S., Strachota, E., & Conceição, S. (2005). Conducting Online Survey Research.
       Milwaukee, WI: Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing,
       and Community Education.
Wallen, N. E. & Fraenkel, J. R. (2001). Educational research: A guide to the process.
       Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Elaine Strachota, PhD, Associate Professor, Concordia University Wisconsin, Professor
Milwaukee Area Technical College, Elaine.Strachota@cuw.edu strachoe@matc.edu

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, MO, October 4-6, 2006.

The Development and Validation of a Survey Instrument for the Evaluation of
                           Instructional Aids
               Elaine Strachota, Steven W. Schmidt, and Simone C. O. Conceição


        The processes associated with survey development and testing are critical when doing
survey research. Survey development for educational program evaluation is no different. This
study offers the researcher both a model for survey development as well as a valid and reliable
survey instrument to measure the effectiveness, appeal, and efficiency of instructional aids in an
online course environment.


     Instructional aids in online environments have been used as a content tool to enhance
learning in adult education. However, most articles addressing the use of instructional aids are
based on personal experiences, expert opinion, and conventional wisdom. Few studies are
grounded in the use of valid and reliable instruments to evaluate instructional aids. This study
attempts to address this concern by developing an instrument to measure constructs associated
with the use of instructional aids in a higher education context. This instrument was developed
and pilot-tested in a health occupations science online course. In a kinesiology online course,
students used instructional aids such as videos on movements of the body and muscle testing,
digital flash cards and games to identify key concepts related to muscles of the body, and a
tutorial program to review content on osteology. These instructional aids were placed within the
Blackboard Learning Management System for review and practice of content in preparation for
     Instructional aids are defined as small units of digital educational materials that can be used
flexibly and in a variety of formats (e.g., videos, interactive games, and tutorials) to enhance
online lessons. Also known as learning objects, instructional aids “decompose content into
granular pieces of information that can be stored, retrieved, and reused in instruction” (Jonassen
& Churchill, 2004, p. 32). These learning objects, or instructional aids, can be used individually,
or they can be linked together in units to form a course (Hamel & Ryan-Jones, 2001).
     Instructional aids are being used increasingly more often in adult education and online
education as teaching tools to help students understand concepts. They are easy to use, and can
be reused in different contexts (making them cost efficient) (Conceição, Olgren, & Ploetz, 2006).
Because of this flexibility, it has been suggested that they are the future of online instruction.
Hamel and Ryan-Jones (2001) posit that instructional designers “will not be designing courses
anymore. [Rather] they will be designing small stand-alone units of instruction called learning
objects” (p. 1058). The successful use of instructional aids for learning incorporates the
following constructs: effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal (Reigeluth, 1999). Effectiveness is
how well the instructional aids work relative to student learning. Efficiency is defined by the
level of effectiveness of the instruction divided by the time of the instruction. The level of appeal
is the extent to which the learners enjoy using the instructional aids.

Pollack (1998) notes that “evaluation is frequently difficult in face-to-face learning environments
and is compounded in distance education” (p. 6). Using a valid and reliable instrument that
measures all three constructs will help adult educators and instructional designers to more
accurately know if the online instructional aids their students are using are, in fact, enhancing
                                          Survey Model

        How can the constructs of effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal related to the use of
instructional aids best be measured? In order to answer this question, a survey instrument was
developed to evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal of instructional aids in a
kinesiology online course. The structure of the course for this study included 15 modules of
online instruction, optional one-hour open labs held each week when there was a scheduled on-
campus proctored exam, discussion groups, and online quizzes. The open lab was designed
primarily as a review of content and for hands-on demonstration. Students were given surveys
asking their opinion of the effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal of the instructional aids before
taking the on-campus exams.
        Twenty students enrolled in the online course completed a survey instrument to evaluate
the instructional aids embedded within each lesson during the course of the semester. Students
were given multiple surveys after each unit of instruction. The survey depended on the
instructional aids used during the unit. For example, for unit 1 the instructional aid was video, so
a survey with questions specific to the video aid was conducted. Units 2 and 3 used a tutorial, so
a survey focusing on the tutorial was conducted. Units that contained video and interactive
games used a survey specific to this type of instructional aid. The survey was the same with the
exception of the name of the instructional aid.


                                                                        Survey        Content                   (Reliabiltiy     Add/Delete/
                    Review of       Research          Construct                                   Pilot Study
                                                                       Question       Validity                     and            Change
                    Literature      Question         Development                                     (Test)
                                                                      Development     Check                       Validity       Questions?


                                    adaptable for       Yes        Adapt       Distribute          Data                Data
                                     online use?                   survey       Survey           Collection           Analysis

                                                              ONLINE ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS:
                                                              Survey Audience
                                                              Technical Skills
                                                              Internet Access

                                  Consider other
                                 methods of survey
                                    distribution               GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS:
                                                               Cost Efficiency
                                                               Time Efficiency
                                                               Methodological Efficiency

                                        Figure 1. Model for Online Survey Development

                                         Survey Instrument
         In order to develop a survey instrument to evaluate