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Running head: CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE ONLINE LEARNERS: A MINI RESEARCH

EDLS-6507 – Research Methods

University of the West Indies

Trimester 1 2017/2018

Assignment Three: An investigation into the Challenges experienced by Mature Online

Learners (Mini-Research)

By

Candice Brown (04008579)

Sharon Brown Floyd (95063791)

Carline Reid Willis (315200738)

Meredith B. Connor (20053571)

Paper Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements

Course Coordinator: Madgerie Jameson-Charles

Course Facilitator: Gaile Gray-Phillip

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

Table of Contents

Pages

Introduction 2

Research Setting 3

Research Problem 3

Literature Review 4

Relevant literature in the field of study and Analysis 4

Summary of literature 9

The Relationship between the Literature and the study 9

Research Design and Methodology 10

Research Design 10

Description of Participants 13

Description of Data Collection Tool 14

Data Analysis Procedures and Justification 17

Evaluation of Findings 18

Presentation of Findings 18

Conclusion and Recommendations 20

References

Appendix

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

Introduction

According to Miliszewska (2007), education landscape is now characterised by

institutions which offer services across borders utilizing online media. Studies have indicated

that tertiary education via online media has yielded many advantages including advanced

communication techniques, modern information and increased interaction between students and

instructors (Synder, 2017). Significantly, the face to face culture of education in some territories

have welcomed online media, but many are still resistant to the full transition to online learning

due to deficiencies such as, relatively poor computer literacy and challenges manipulating the

online learning platform (Davis, 2016).

Consequently the objective of the research is to:

Investigate ways in which online learning media can be improved to support the mature student

Research Question: What can educational institutions do to support/assist the mature learners in

overcoming the challenges of online learning?

Aims:

1. To determine the issues affecting mature learners in the e-learning environment.

2. To identify solutions to address the challenges experienced by mature learners currently

pursuing an online programme.

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

The Research Setting

The researchers will be utilizing a sample of participants who are enrolled as students at

the University of the West Indies Open Campus. The goals for the research project are as

follows; to investigate the challenges experienced by most mature learners while pursuing online

educational programmes and determine solutions for existing online learning programmes.

The above mentioned goals will be achieved by collating information on mature learners’

views of the online programme which they are currently enrolled as well as interactions with

colleagues and instructors. The quantitative approach will be employed. This approach utilizes

the scientific method to test the hypothesis. The data collected is numerical. The researcher will

be using a questionnaire to collect data and analyze findings in order to make recommendations

for the improvement of online programmes and the learning environment in general to benefit

online learners.

The Research Problem

Mature learners have been experiencing difficulty in transitioning from traditional

learning to online learning. In an effort to understand the challenges that mature learners face a

mini research is proposed to be conducted within an online institution with a view of identifying

suitable solutions to overcome these issues.

Significance of the research. Wick’s (2009) posits that an understanding of the different

ways of creating an effective online learning environment is imperative to support adult learners

as they seek to expand their knowledge base. The findings of the proposed research will serve to

address the unique concerns and needs of the students within the relevant context. It will

therefore clarify learner characteristics and situations in an effort to improve andragogical

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practices. Consequently, it will guide the decision making process towards improved

programme planning and implementation and ultimately student satisfaction. It is hoped that the

research will provide a platform for institutions and instructional designers to address the barriers

encountered by adult learners as they transition from face to face to online learning.

Literature Review
Relevant literature in the field of study and Analysis

Evidently, there is no one definition for online learning/education, however, it can best be

described as teaching and learning in an online environment where all course activity is done

online; there are no required face-to-face sessions within the course and no requirements for on-

campus activity Mayada et al, (2015). Johnson (2017), defines the mature students as non-

traditional students. Accordingly, these students do not fall within the 18-24 age group. The adult

learner, according to Johnson (2017), has the same needs as the traditional learner, however,

opportunities for extra-curricular activities and social interaction do present a challenge. As such,

the writer advances the idea that mature students require the use of platforms such as Bright

space and Google Docs to engage collaborative learning.

Wicks (2009) posits that although there appears to be strong support for blended learning

applications, the studies which were reviewed in the research did not demonstrate that online

learning was a superior medium. In the studies contrasting blends of online and face-to-face

instruction with conventional face-to-face classes, Mayada et al (2009) postulate that their

research indicates that any advantage towards blended learning could be attributed to the

difference in online classroom conditions as it relates to time spent, curriculum and pedagogy.

Sun and Chen (2016), highlight the positive aspects and strategies of the online learning

and teaching process and how it can benefit the mature learner if implemented successfully.

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

Sun, A. & Chen, X. (2016), provide some of the best practices for those who are planning to

develop and implement online courses. Their studies primarily focused on how theories,

practices and assessment apply to the online learning environment, with a view to provide best

practices for online education. They further articulate that the worldwide use of websites has

provided opportunities for the development of online communities and groups. Emailing,

conferencing, chatting, working together via Google drive, Google doc, Google hangout,

dropbox, facebook and Twitter have contributed to the use of online classrooms. According to

Bell & Fedeman (2013), the upgrade in technology and software could allow instructors,

students, and university administrators to gather data, feedback, and evaluation regardless of

their online experiences.

As e-learning has evolved into a global change agent in higher education, it has become

more diverse in its form and applications. This increased diversity has improved our ability to

share research findings and best practices, consequently, we lack a shared set of definitions to

distinguish among the many variations on e-learning that have arisen Mayada, ( 2015).

Online learning helps adult learners to overcome a few challenges, in that it provides

flexibility in the face of other responsibilities. The adult learner is able to schedule classes when

he/she is available without having to worry about fitting in other things around the classes. Also

as an adult learner with responsibilities and in many cases time constraints, it is easier to be more

serious about one’s work and get that passing grade, because one does not have the luxury of

time nor the finances for re-sit examinations.

Another advantage of online learning is that it removes the stigma of being older. It is

easier for students in the virtual world to hide their age. Furthermore, it would seem that mature

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learners make up a larger percentage of the online classroom than the traditional face –to-face

classroom Green, (2015).

In a study conducted to assess adult students’ perception and satisfaction of online

education, the findings revealed that adult students engaged in online learning were satisfied that

they were able to achieve their academic goals more effectively than if they had to struggle to do

so through face to face education Alvarez-Trujillo (2015).

Summary of Literature

The review of literature has revealed that the needs of mature online students are the

same as learners in the traditional face-to-face learning environment. According to Snyder

(2017), despite the increased advantages of advanced communication techniques and modern

information acquired through online learning there is a gap as it relates to providing

opportunities for social interaction comparable to face-to-face learning experience. Other means

of technology have been utilized to support the transition to online learning where collaboration

and cooperative learning can take place. Sun, A., & Chen, X. (2016), from their review of studies

of online teaching and learning have devised a set of best practices that would be beneficial to

mature learners in the online learning environment. Through additional research more ways to

enhance the efficacy of online learning for mature learners can be uncovered including what

educational institutions can do to better meet the needs of learners in an online environment.

Relationship between Literature and Study

There is no doubt that one can readily access a plethora of literature regarding online

learning and the mature student. However, this literature can be viewed as very generic and as

such there is need for research geared towards the mature student and online learning within a

more local/regional context.

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

The literature reviewed illustrates that the phenomenon in question has been researched

and therefore, bears relevance to the study as it explores the context of the wider community of

mature online students. Consequently, it provides valuable background information of the area to

be studied. Additionally, it helps to establish clarity of thought of the broader topic which will

inevitably impact the analysis of the research findings. As a result of this, the researchers will be

able to use the already established framework to contextualize the problem to be investigated and

seek consistency and coherence. Further, the researchers will be able to make a comparative

analysis of what has already been written and her/his findings.

Further, the literature clearly states that the online environment has proven to be

beneficial to mature students, as they are able to surmount barriers that are encountered in the

traditional face-to-face environment. The study will examine the relevance of the literature to a

specific geographical context and identify potential gaps in the literature that will need to be

addressed within a real-life context.

Finally, the literature provides insight into the fundamental theories and principles which

underpin the phenomenon of online learning.

Research Design and Methodology

Research Design
In a recent discussion among mature university students it was hypothesized that online

learners face challenges that are different from those experienced by learners in a face to face

learning environment. Based on the discussion students were generally dissatisfied with some

aspects of online learning and felt that the matter should be further looked into. A group of

researchers set out to examine the correlation between student satisfaction and educational

institutions’ approach to constructing learning experiences.

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A descriptive research method is the most ideal approach for investigating person’s views

towards a particular issue or situation and therefore is applicable to an investigation in an

educational setting such as the classroom or other learning environments (Loeb, Dynarski,

McFarland, Morris, Reardon, and Reber, 2017). This method enables the researcher to use a

quantitative approach to make statistical inferences about a large group of people (Babbie, 2004).

The researchers will use the following data collection procedures:-

● Questionnaires will be distributed online via UWI email addresses.

● Respondents will be given a period of two weeks to complete their respective

questionnaires (November 1-14, 2017).

● The target group consists of UWI Open Campus students who are enrolled in online

programmes at the undergraduate, graduate and post graduate levels.

● Data analysis will commence immediately after the data collection has concluded. Data

will be quantified and analyzed statistically and expressed in the form of percentages and

charts.

Strengths and Limitations. The following are the major strengths and weaknesses

identified by the researchers;

● The data collection instrument is characterized by a combination of dichotomous, and

open ended questions which should yield clear responses;

● Participants in this study exist in different locations and are likely to complete the

questionnaire under different circumstances which may affect the responses. (Datt &

Datt, 2016).

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

● Data collection will be conducted via the internet and though it is likely that responses

can be traced to the respondent the researchers will maintain the respondents’

anonymity;

● Findings of quantitative research are often limited due to the use of close ended

questions which is prone to researcher bias. The study may not capture the reliable data.

(Datt & Datt, 2016).

● The target audience for data collection is limited to students of the UWI. Although this

group excludes teachers and facilitators who utilize the training programme and persons

who are desirous of pursuing training, the target group is suitable because they are

currently experiencing online learning. Consequently, this gives them the unique

advantage of communicating potential upgrades and other strategies for accommodating

the mature student based on their encounters.

● The research team will solicit the participation of classmates currently engaged in the

programme they are studying. This strategy is advantageous because it assures access to a

sample of students.

● Data Analysis in quantitative research is costly and can be time consuming if not well

managed (Datt & Datt, 2016). The researchers intend to mitigate these problems by

utilizing Data Analysis Software.

Rationale for Research Design

The research design outlines a systematic method of data collection (Blakstad, 2014).

This aspect of the project was critical in order to establish the most effective way to collect the

data. The quantitative method of data collection is a very attractive method of research for

educators and psychologists Knupher & McLellan, ( n.d.). Among the advantages of this method

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

is the fact that it is very effective in analyzing human behaviour, particularly for large groups

(Babbie, 2004).

The data collection tool being utilized supports web based data collection which was

appropriate for the unique target group. The participants are characterized by different majors,

residences, race, sex, and age due to the fact that the collection process occurs online (Dubois,

2016). The data collected is quantitative and this is advantageous because quantitative data is

relatively easier to analyze than qualitative data. It can also be manipulated to be represented in

charts and text. The statistical nature of the data also allows for immediate analysis after data has

been collected (Babbie, 2004). A period of two (2) weeks was earmarked for data collection.

This period is suitable due to the differences in locality and anticipated work and school

schedules.

Description of Participants and Sample

For the purpose of this research the target audience will consist of male and female

students currently enrolled in distance education at the UWI Open Campus who are over the age

of twenty four (24). Many of these non-traditional students are employed full-time, raising

families, leading active lifestyles while pursuing their studies part-time. Thirty (30) students will

be randomly selected to participate in an online survey administered by the researchers. It is

believed that this group would provide insight into what adult learners desire most in an online

learning environment.

Simple random sampling will be used where the researchers will randomly select

participants. A listing in alphabetical order of one hundred (100) students currently enrolled in

the online University of the West Indies Open Campus programme will be used as the sampling

frame. The sample will comprise one third of this list selected in the following manner: 1st, 3rd,

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

6th, 9th and so on. Each prospective participant will be assigned a number. This information

will subsequently be entered in the Microsoft Excel software. The researchers will then use the

random command method to select the thirty (30) candidates for participation in the survey. This

method is the most suitable technique because it gives all members of the student population an

equal opportunity to participate in the survey (Babbie, 2004).

Description of Data Collection Tool

The essence of good quality research is effective data collection (Godfrey, 2017).

Quantitative research captures numerical data to explain a phenomenon. This kind of data

collection is structured and relies on random sampling. The researchers propose to use survey

which is a suitable instrument for quantitative data collection. Quantitative data collection

instruments facilitate a greater level of objectivity, generalizability and reliability (Borg and Gall,

1983). Additionally, random selection of participants will mitigate against researcher bias.

According to Borg and Gall (1983), a questionnaire is made up of a series of

questions and other prompts and serves the primary purpose of obtaining relevant information

from respondents. Within the context of the proposed research question, this instrument will

make it easier to determine mature students’ andragogic needs as they transition from face to

face to online and capture a wider demographic. This is so as the nature of online learning caters

for a more diverse geographic population.

According to Jones, Murphy, Edwards and James (2008), the administration of

questionnaires is more cost effective, time efficient, and persons using them require minimal

training. Being an instrument that allows for anonymity, respondents are more likely to provide

honest responses. Questionnaires provide “Structured, often numerical data, being able to be

administered without the presence of the researcher, and often being comparatively

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straightforward to analyze” (Wilson and McLean 1994, p. 317 cited in Cohen, Manion and

Morrison 2007). Though they are less onerous to administer than some other data collection

instruments, the researchers are cognizant that careful planning, question design and sequence

are imperative to ensure the validity and reliability of the instrument.

Validity and reliability are inherent to an effective data collection instrument and

ultimately effective research. Skewed data collection will have a negative impact on the findings

and ultimately invalidate the research. Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2007), posit that invalid

research is worthless. Fundamentally, validity demonstrates the ability of the instrument to

measure what it proposes to measure. However, no instrument is fool proof therefore the

researchers have taken steps to improve the instrument. Careful sampling, appropriate

instrumentation, and appropriate statistical treatment of data are some of these steps (Cohen,

Manion and Morrison, 2017).

The following points which will be considered regarding validity: interpretation and use

of findings must take precedence over process, degrees of validity vary according to purposes

and situations, and judgements on the validity and interpretations of findings should be made

subsequent to the examination and integration of the different aspects of validity (Nitko and

Brookhart, 2007).

The reliability of the data collection instrument speaks to how dependable and

consistent the instrument proves to be. That is, whether or not the instrument produces consistent

results over time, instruments and groups of respondents (Cohen, Manion and Morrison 2017).

Reliability, as it relates to questionnaires is closely aligned with the sampling. According to

Morrison (1993) cited in Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2007), if the sample size is too large or

too small, the data could be easily distorted or in the case of sample being too small, statistical

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analysis can be impeded. Consequently, an invalid instrument will no doubt cause the research

conclusions to be unreliable and consequently erroneous which will inevitably influence poor

decisions. A domino effect is therefore created.

The questionnaire proposed will be a standardized instrument (see appendix).

Siniscalco and Siniscalco and Auriat (2005) define a standardized questionnaire as one in which

the same questions are given to all respondents and the coding system is the same. This also

impact the validity and reliability of the research. The instrument will consist of dichotomous as

well as open ended questions which will seek to explore the challenges that mature students face

in the online environment and the extent to which they are coping with these challenges. The

open ended questions will provide rich data which might inform instructional designers about the

needs of mature online students.

Another compelling consideration is the personal nature of questionnaires and the

potential for intrusion into the lives of respondents, the researchers must be sensitive about

ethical issues when preparing and administering the instrument and therefore the researchers will

treat the information acquired with the highest level of confidentiality.

Finally, the primary objective of the questionnaire will be to determine the kinds

of strategies and considerations that educational institutions and instructional designers ought to

consider for implementation, to enhance the online learning experience for mature students. The

research question therefore requires insight into the perceptions, opinions and experiences of

respondents hence the reason why the questionnaire will consist of dichotomous, single-select

response options as well as open ended questions. The open ended questions will avoid the

researchers having to infer reasons for responses. In this way respondents get to express

opinions without being influenced by the researcher.

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Data Analysis Procedures and Justification

In analyzing the data collected, the researcher will use reports of descriptive statistical

analysis to give the reader a good understanding of the study (Anaesth, 2016). In accordance

with Gabriel (2013) and Ericson (2015), the researchers will use inductive analysis to establish

and articulate the link between the research objectives and the findings from the raw data.

Standard steps for statistical analysis will be used to analyze the data and generate tables and

charts. Deutsches Arzteblatt International (2009), states that descriptive statistical analysis can

include tables, graphical presentations and simple statistics. The measures of central tendency

such as the mean, median and mode will be used to compare and contrast distribution and

explain valuable findings about numerical data. The researchers will use Pearson’s correlation

analysis to establish the relationship between variables. The confidence interval, margin of error

and standard deviation and some regression analysis will also be used to document the summary

of findings. Data will be analyze according to student demographic information (age, gender, and

so on) and the challenges they encountered to determine what can be done to assist them in the

online learning environment.

According to (Abeyasekera, n.d.), quantitative methods of data analysis can be of

pronounced value to the researcher who is trying to lure meaningful results from a large body of

qualitative data. This kind of data analysis permits for better objectivity and accuracy of results

which support generalizations about the phenomenon under study. In order to accomplish this,

the researchers will use few variables and employ well-established standard procedures to ensure

validity and reliability. This means that the research can be replicated, and analyzed and

associated with similar studies. This quantitative analytical approach permits the researcher to

summarize huge sources of information and allow for comparisons across categories which can

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be done many times. There are various tools that will assist the researchers in analyzing the data

collected such as Data Analysis and Statistical Software (STATA), IBM SPSS Statistics and

SaS. Using these tools, researchers can solve research problems efficiently.

Evaluation of Findings

Presentation of Findings

The researchers of this study hypothesized that mature online learners face challenges that

are different from those experienced by learners in a face to face learning environment. As such,

the research question is: What can educational institutions do to support/assist the mature

learners in overcoming the challenges of the online environment? Through this descriptive

analysis of the data collected, the researchers anticipate that this study will sensitize and deepen

the perspective of instructional designers in an online environment. Further, it will provide a

platform for more informed policy decisions.

As was indicated earlier, the respondents were selected from among a population of

students who are currently enrolled in one of the programmes offered by Open Campus. A

sample of thirty students responded. There was a 100% response rate to the questionnaires. The

nominal data illustrates that 73.3% were female. Based on the ordinal data the youngest

respondent was 23 and the oldest 57. However, the majority of respondents (70%) ranged

between the ages of thirty-six and fifty-five. Additionally, 76.7% of the respondents are pursuing

graduate studies.

Using Measures of Frequency, the results of the questionnaire clearly indicate that mature

online students consider collaboration a critical component in the learning environment as 92.3%

of the respondents indicated their preference for collaboration. However, it is noteworthy that

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with respect to question 16, when a univariate analysis is done to compare that question with

preferential learning modes, although students are partial to collaborative learning, 60% of the

respondents indicated that they did not have a preference for group work. The results of the

questionnaire also suggest that with respect to question 12, completing group assignments is

indeed a challenge with 76.7% of respondents answering in the affirmative to this question.

Another interesting revelation of this study is that 50% of the respondents have thought

of dropping out of the programme. This is relatively high and is not consistent with the responses

to question 13 (b) where 70% of respondents indicated that they are coping well with balancing

school and work. It was indicated on the questionnaire that the programme is overwhelming at

times. This seems to be consistent with the responses with regard to balancing work and studies,

73.3% of the respondents viewed this as a challenge. In spite of this though, respondents cite

support from family and peers as aids to balancing work and school. One of the respondents

indicated definitively that she/he will be dropping out. With respect to lecturers’

support/helpfulness, 30% of the respondents indicated no, not sure, sometimes and occasionally

as their responses while 70% indicated that the lecturers were helpful.

Scaffolding, mentoring, activities to promote critical thinking and authentic or real life

experiences are desirable androgogical practices among mature students. Responses to these

items on the questionnaire ranged from 76.7% to 100% having a preference for these strategies.

Discussions to promote critical thinking proved to have a high level of significance with 100% of

the respondents indicating a preference for this strategy. This was followed closely by linking

learning with real life experiences (96.6 %). The need for provision of scaffolding by lecturers

also featured prominently with 93.3%. It should be noted that only 6.7% of the respondents

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provided answers to the open-ended questions requiring reasons for their responses when

required to do so.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The survey results illustrated that there are several challenges that mature students face in

the online environment. Participants considered collaboration to be an important aspect of

online learning but found group work to be challenging; some students had difficulty completing

assignments while others found school to be overwhelming at times. Many students revealed that

they struggle to balance work and school life and 50% of those who completed the questionnaire

considered dropping out. Clearly there is a need to improve the online experiences of mature

students as it relates to the facilitation of successful studies. This will ensure that they are

satisfied and would generate sustained levels of student retention, progression and completion.

To help mature learners overcome the stated challenges the following recommendations

are proposed to online institutions particularly the West Indies Open Campus:-

● According to Kelly (2017) students who work in groups develop employability skills

such as leadership qualities, and conflict management skills. These skills also have a

positive effect on learner achievement. Therefore, it is recommended that the University

of the West Indies Open Campus include course activities which enable learners to

collaborate with each other and with facilitators throughout the duration of the semester.

● Study and professional skills courses should be offered to help the mature student to

develop skills and competencies applicable to relevant learners industry.

● Despite the demand for collaboration mature learners surveyed indicated that they

preferred individual assignments because they experience difficulty completing group

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work. Joseph (2017) explained that in groups participants are often affected by person’s

unwillingness to participate in projects which results in some group members being

overwhelmed and possible conflict between members of the group. Based on the

findings stated above, the removal of group work would not be beneficial because mature

learners benefit from collaboration. It is therefore recommended that facilitators should

implement stringent assessment regulations for group work activities.

● The UWI Open campus should also implement initiatives to increase faculty awareness

of the challenges faced by mature students in the online learning environment so that they

can develop clear and balanced assessments based on the needs of the adult learner.

● Another major finding was the fact that half of the respondents have felt overwhelmed

and a strong desire to drop out of the programme. One could surmise that this is because

of the relatively limited opportunity for fraternity while pursuing online studies. Many of

the mature learners will not meet each other until graduation given their geographic

locations. According to Furger (2008) one strategy to reduce the incidence of college

dropouts is to support non-academic integration. This may include the establishment of

online social groups which provide mature learners with an opportunity to receive

coaching, guidance, share challenges and build student community. It is therefore

recommended that mature learners of the University of the West Indies Open Campus be

required to participate in a UWI social network forum.

● Another strategy to address the desire to dropout or the tendency to feel overwhelmed is

the application of the following instructional design solutions. According the National

Research Council (2012) the inclusion of student centered approaches motivate students

to investigate, present and explain content. The learner should be encouraged to have

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flexibility in the organization of content and the right to adopt diverse views and

interpretations of issues. Consequently, courses should empower students to self-regulate

learning. The UWI Open Campus should adopt this strategy by encouraging lecturers to

employ differentiated learning activities.

This mini research has provided insight into the challenges which impact mature online

students. Further, a platform for more in depth research of this phenomenon has been

established. The responses of the questionnaire indicate that the mature online students

experience unique challenges that online institutions must be cognizant of if they are to provide a

high quality educational experience that meets the needs of adult learners.

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

https://sites.google.com/a/boisestate.ed/edtechtheories/emerging-theories-and-online-

learning-environments-for-adults-/

Appendix 1

The following are some sample of questions

1. What is your age range?


a. 25 – 35
b. 36 - 45
c. 46 – 55
d. 56 plus

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

2. Please indicate your gender below.


a. Male
b. Female
3. Please state your ethnicity.
a. African
b. East Indian
c. Chinese
d. Caucasian
e. Mixed
4. What level of tertiary education are you currently pursuing?
a. Undergraduate
b. Graduate
c. Post Graduate

Please answer yes or no to the following statements and questions.

5. Is the need to collaborate important to mature students in an online learning environment?


a. Yes
b. No
6. Mentoring is important to mature online students.
a. Yes
b. No
7. The need for instructors to teach for critical thinking is important to mature students in an
online learning environment.
a. Yes
b. No
8. The need to link learning to real life experiences is important to mature learners studying
online.
a. Yes
b. No
9. Frequent student to student communication is a challenge to online learning.
a. Yes
b. No
10. Consistent lecturer support would meet learning needs of online students very much.
a. Yes
b. No
11. Balancing work and study is a challenge for mature online students.
a. Yes
b. No
12. Completing group assignments is a challenge for mature online learners.

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

a. Yes
b. No
Please answer yes, no or I am not sure to the following questions and provide the reason for your
response.

13. Are you coping well with the following?

1. Collaborating with peers: Yes No I am not sure

Give a reason for your answer _____________________________________________

b. Balancing work and study: Yes No I am not


sure

Give a reason for your answer _____________________________________________

14. Do you think the lecturers are helpful? Yes No I am not sure

Give a reason for your answer ______________________________________________

15. Have you ever thought of dropping out of the programme? Yes No

Give a reason for your answer ______________________________________________

For learning purposes which of the following do you prefer?


16. Group work
Yes No
17. Projects
Yes No
18. Linking with real-life experiences
Yes No
19. Scaffolding
Yes No
20. Mentoring
Yes No
21. Discussions to promote critical thinking?
Yes No

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CHALLENGES OF THE MATURE LEARNER: A MINI RESEARCH

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