Is the Internet/Web 2.0 turning adult learning on its head?
The answer is simple, No. The Internet is not ravaging adult learning theory, on the contrary, it is confirming what we already knew. Let's take Marie Wallace's points and see how they stack up against todays Web 2.0 and on-demand learning.Adults are self-directed:
What more self -direction than on-demand learning where adults can gather their own materials to meet their learning needs? And not only they are self directed towards their gathering of learning, now they are sharing that learning via wikis and blogs.Take responsibility for their learning experiences:
Again here, the fact that someone takes the initiative to go to the web search for appropriate learning experiences and engage in them proves this point. However, remember that adults are not as homogeneous as some would lead us to believe but here we are only commenting on those that do engage in today's Web 2.0 / on-demand learning.Flourish when their abilities and life achievements acknowledged and respected:
Well, on the web and adults is going to find such an environment of respect or they will just click away from one site and click onto another that does provide the respectful supporting environment they need and deserve. That is the benefit of the web, it is truly democratic, people vote with their clicks and their voices on the blogs.Flourish when their abilities and life achievements acknowledged and respected:
As I have searched for content on the web, and I am not an a-typical adult, I am automatically driven to content that relates to my life. As so as adults do this type of content searching they will flourish greater than in an old style push content course where the instruction might not have been as good a match as desired. Yes, Web 2.0 is assisting in the fulfillment of this mission.Learn readily from their peers:
Need I say anything here in this age of wikis, blogs, and messaging? Hardly...Have formed a dominant learning style and know what it is:
How many times have you clicked on a search result and gone to a site only to hit that “back” button and return to the search for something that best fits your needs. That is what is happing with Web 2.0 learning. Learners are truly in control and can seek what appeals to their learning style.Want immediate and regular feedback:
This will depend on what feedback is needed but as I see it there are plenty of chances for feedback on the web. If you want feedback on just about anything post in a blog... But for learners that are seeking a different kind of feedback there are self assessments and plenty of experiences online in addition to the traditional feedback one gets in courses or formal training which has not gone away, of course.Are ready to learn when an event in their personal/professional life sparks "the need to know":
The web is ideal for this. I can have a life event, walk to my computer, and find a learning activity that to match. This is irrespective of time and location. What would we do without search engines?... And interactive web has added to this as I can now go to message boards and find a number of opinions from around the world in addition to the learning experiences I can find on a search.Marie Wallace said Adults may be "education wounded" from earlier pedagogical experiences and require "unlearning" to become an effective adult learner:
What better way to heal wounds than to go to an environment that is truly different and that we truly control. In today's web I am the master of my learning. Forget the days when someone might have been victimized by an instructor that gave the learner no escape. As said above, today you can click your way to the learning environment that suits you.
So as we see, Web based learning is truly empowering and maximizes all those adult learning characteristics as identified by Marie Wallace. The challenge for educators now is how to produce the type of content that will best suit and maximizes the advantages of Web 2.0. In addition, there is much to be learned about how individuals learn.