ERIC Number: EJ824803
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 15
Adult Learning and the Emotional Self in Virtual Online Contexts
Smith, Regina O.
New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, n120 p35-43 2008
The online environment represents one of the fastest growing contexts for adult learning. The first online programs resembled electronic versions of old correspondence study programs. As problems of low motivation, alienation, dissatisfaction, and attrition within these programs mounted, practitioners and scholars recommended more emphasis on building online learning communities through collaborative learning methods. However, the emotional issues in collaborative learning associated with group process and development, communicating with peers to make decisions and solve problems, and developing relationships are largely ignored. The lack of attention to this issue may in fact sabotage the benefits of collaborative effort in online learning. This article explores two issues that represent powerful emotional challenges for students in online collaborative learning groups: (1) epistemic challenge; and (2) identity challenge. The article examines the theory of group and individual development, explores the emotional issues students face in online groups, looks at the ways in which these emotional issues facilitate adult and group development, and identifies some implications for adult educators.
Descriptors: Online Courses, Adult Learning, Computer Mediated Communication, Cooperative Learning, Emotional Response, Group Dynamics, Peer Relationship, Computer Uses in Education, Epistemology, Identification (Psychology), Individual Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A