Title: Guided independent learning: a teaching and learning approach for adult learners

Authors: Jeffrey Hsu; Karin Hamilton; John Wang

Addresses: Information Systems and Decision Sciences Department, Silberman College of Business, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ, 07940-1099, USA ' Office of the President, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1000 River Road, Teaneck, NJ, 07666, USA ' Information and Operations Management, School of Business, Montclair State University, 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ, 07043, USA

Abstract: Adult learners bring life and work experiences into the classroom beyond those of the traditional undergraduate student. These same students, however, often lack a firm foundation in the college-level language arts, mathematics, humanities, et al. that help round out perspective and fine-tune critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Although adult students can draw upon a richer context when building new knowledge, they typically exhibit knowledge gaps that must be closed in order to successfully continue on to higher-level coursework. For this reason, courses should be designed and taught with their specific strengths and needs in mind. The development of a modular, hybrid online teaching approach incorporating and employing varying teaching approaches including andragogy, constructivism, collaboration, critical thinking, and other techniques and tools is described. The application of this method to courses in the context of a specialised adult learner programme is examined. The employment of this and related approaches, and the implications for adult learners and universities, is also examined.

Keywords: adult learners; andragogy; constructivism; critical thinking; collaboration; modular learning; distance learning; guided independent learning; e-learning; online learning; electronic learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2015.066103

International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 2015 Vol.17 No.1, pp.111 - 133

Published online: 17 Nov 2014 *

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