James Wilkens | Communication, Media and Learning Technologies Design | Mathematics Science and Technology

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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Communication, Media & Learning Technologies Design

In the Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology

Transmogrifying Adult Education in the United States and Germany: Exploring Opportunities for the Integration of Instructional Technologies in Adult Education

James Wilkens, Ed.M. Communications and Education

Information and communication technologies have revolutionized teaching practice and learning across the globe. They have been incorporated into a variety of learning environments over the years due to expectations of education leaders, standards organizations, learners and facilitators themselves. A thorough literature review revealed the benefits of ICTs in terms of learning outcomes and illustrated how stakeholders in K-12 and postsecondary learning environments have pushed for such technologies to be integrated into classrooms everywhere. Antipodean to that, recent literature on the topic of reshaping adult education markedly exclude even the slightest hint of the need or benefit associated with ICTs. This integrative project explored the limited use of ICTs in adult learning environments. By conducting a number of observations in both the United States and Germany, I witnessed a relative lack of persistence for technology to be integrated in adult learning environments by neither learners nor facilitators. The chief causes for the indifference seemed to be related to the lack of consistency in pre-service qualification(s) to become a facilitator of adult learning, misconceptions about instructional technologies, and lack of deep connections with technology in general. The project ends with a number of suggestions for moving toward a more technology-infused provision of adult education, guidelines for selecting appropriate technologies to be used for learning and an evaluation model for the implementation process.

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