ERIC Number: ED190741
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979
Reference Count: 0
Choosing to Learn.
Several questions regarding the frequency and motivation of adult learning are examined in light of findings from several research studies. Focus is on highly intentional learning which is not part of formal course work: a series of time-consuming episodes in which the person's primary intention is to gain certain definite knowledge and skill. Findings are reported which indicate that about 90 per cent of all women and men initiate and conduct at least one major deliberate learning effort a year (five on the average), only 20 per cent of these are professionally guided, and that intentional self-planned learning is at least as important, relevant, and useful to others as professionally-taught groups. The author outlines a useful way to identify why people learn through examination of the benefits a person intends to obtain through the learning effort. He discusses findings which indicate that a variety of reasons is always present and that the decision to learn is often voluntary, self-initiated, and proactive even if the task or responsibility for which the new knowledge or skill is used is not voluntary. Survey results are cited to show that demographic variables (previous education, age, socioeconomic status, race, sex) have little or no influence on the choice to learn. In the final section the author notes that most learning efforts are good, but some are harmful. He suggests ways to encourage people to learn things that are beneficial to others. (JT)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Ontario Inst. for Studies in Education, Toronto.