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ERIC Number: EJ783570
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 13
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-0309-877X
Context and Identity: Exploring Adult Learners' Experiences of Higher Education
Askham, Phil
Journal of Further and Higher Education, v32 n1 p85-97 Feb 2008
This article examines a longitudinal case study exploring the experience of a cohort of part-time, adult, work-based learners, mostly experiencing higher education for the first time. A wide range of instruments, including diaries and interviews, were used to collect data to explore, in some depth, the nature of the learning experience. Data analysis was undertaken using a matrix framework focusing on the positive and negative dimensions of the experience using the twin perspectives of learning context and individual identity. The study is shown to be part of a longer action research cycle. The study identified tensions between individual anticipation and anxiety and an institutional tension between positive conceptualisations of a supportive learning community contrasted with manifestations of higher education as an alien environment that actually hampers learning. The research was driven by the need to explore the development of a support infrastructure that addresses student needs. At one level the purpose of the research was to develop the course with a view to continuous improvement of the student learning experience. However, at the same time the research underlines the power of action research as a means of improving practice by formalising tacit reflection on learning and teaching and how this benefits both tutors and students by improving engagement and awareness of the learning process. (Contains 4 figures and 2 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A