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ERIC Number: EJ1146506
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0737-7363
The Managed Heart: Adult Learners and Emotional Presence Online
Williams, L. Susan
Journal of Continuing Higher Education, v65 n2 p124-131 2017
Historically, distance education was designed to connect with people for whom educational experience was otherwise unavailable. While origins of distance education date back to the 19th century, it was around the mid- 1980s that it became well-established in the United States ( Matthews, 1999). Reports note continually steady growth in distance learning, with 5.8 million students enrolled in at least one distance course as of fall 2014 (Friedman, 2016), expanding the reach especially to nontraditional populations (Matthews, 1999). However, many scholars characterize student engagement as a fundamental problem with distance learning (Hall, 1996), implying that online interactions are distant, detached, and emotionless (Russell, 2006). One of the most cited questions regarding distance learning pedagogy centers around engagement; a quick Internet search for "distance education and engagement" yielded more than three million hits. Studies find that motivational factors--long associated with emotion and drive are especially significant in engaging one subset of the distance education population, online adult learners (aged 25+), a group for whom several unique challenges arise. Both structure and content of an online learning environment may be especially unfamiliar; the many demands of ongoing career and family concerns can be highly distracting; and the impetus for further education is often accompanied by a life crisis, creating additional emotional challenges. This article utilizes a field exercise to demonstrate that purposeful instructional design involving emotion and real-life encounters is particularly constructive for adult learners in an online class.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A