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Research and Adult Education

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Norma Bedell

on 8 April 2017

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Transcript of Research and Adult Education

Volunteers for Learning
Adult Education and Adult Needs
The Inquiring Mind
Cyril Houle
The Inquiring Mind, 1961
By John W. C. Johnstone and Ramon J. Rivera
Volunteers for Learning
22 Participants
21 White - 1 Black
10 Women and 12 Men
All but 2 were between the ages of 35 and 65
All from 75 mile radius of Chicago
All were considered individuals who were engaged in various forms of continuing learning
What do you need to know for comps?
A study of adults who continue to learn
Any Questions???
Reliability, Validity, and Threats
Now about the study
By Robert J. Hvighurst and Betty Orr
Adult Education and Adult Needs
Who were the participants?
Studied motivation of adult learners who continue to learn
Was one of the first to look at individuals learners and not the agencies/institutions that serve them (Merriam and Brockett, 1997)
Identified a 3 sub-groups of adult learners
May it inspire and stimulate a new generation of adult educators who must creatively and dynamically address new and challenging developments. -Huey B. Long
Stood the test of time and is still used today!!!
3 learner classifications
Instrument consisted of two parts:
1. A two page statement about continuing education, describing the interview process, and indicated the nature of the questions
2. 19 questions were asked. The respondent answers were voice reordered then the recording was transcribed and evaluated. The average interview took
two hours.
Goal oriented- Participate to fulfill a goal.
Learning oriented- Participate for the love of learning. Activity oriented- Participate in learning for social stimulation (to meet new people or other social functions).
Activity Time
3 sub-groups
It is simple there is NO measurement of reliability or validity in this study. It simply does not exist.
Reason for the study: acute need for comprehensive information about the learning habits and practice of adults
Lack of data in the field
Only 1 study - Dept of Health, Ed and Welfare, 1959
None on a national scale in America
Purpose of Study
To remedy the info needed
Provided comprehensive overview of numbers & characteristics of adults engaged in studies/various subjects
Methods of the studies
Institutional settings provided
Purpose 1
Purpose 2
Purpose 4
Purpose 3
To assess attitudes and opinions held by adults concerning their education
Evaluating the nature of potential audiences for programs w/I adult ed
To Investigate the situations typically entered into formal learning
Initial enrollment reasons
General impact of learning on their life
To better understand rages of ed programs available to adults
Kinds of institutions providing programs
Nature of public knowledge
Nature of dispositions
To trace the ed and occupational experiences of young people (ages 17-24)
From just after K-12
Special emphasis on High-School and college drop-outs
Nature and Goals of the Study
National survey of ed activities/adult population
Based on survey of activities of members of 12,000 American households
Accomplished the first purpose of the study
Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 4
Phase 3
Intensive study of reactions of adults to continuing ed
Personal interviews
National samples of 1,800
Random selection of adults
1,000 recent adult ed participants
Accomplished second purpose of study
Case studies of adult ed facilities
Four middle-sized american cities
Impact of these facilities on residents (two cities)
Field inventories of ed resources
Personal interviews with approx. 550 adults
Accomplished third purpose of the study
Inquiry into post-school ed experiences of youth
National sample of approx. 700 young adults
Accomplished fourth purpose of study
Potential problems with the study:
Sample of Mail Findings:
Final overview, conclusion and recommendation
Final Overview
Peter H. Rossi, The National Opinion Research Center Director, states about this work: "This volume attempts to be a contribution to the professional educator concerted with the field of adult education, to the social scientist concerned with contemporary American society, and to the general reader with some curiosity and concern with the problems of continuing education" (p. viii)
Although it is good information for what we need for comp evaluations, it is a hard read. Therefore, I would not recommend this book.
By Norma Bedell, Judy Hangartner, and Michelle Phillips
A study of performance on developmental tasks

Study by members of the University of Chicago

2-hour interviews with men and women (40-70)

110 men and 124 women
20 interviews with young men and women (25-30)

Preliminary ratings/final rating

What does that means?
How can education help?
Questions: Daily Life? Important?

Answers: Societal expectations and personal Expectations

"...people live successfully when they meet social expectations with a sense of freedom and fulfillment” (p. 6)
Kansas City Study of Adult Life
Developmental Task of Middle-Aged Adults
Measurements of Study

Must be achieved if we are to live successfully
Good promise of success in later life
Set for us by three forces:

a) Expectations of values of our society
b) Maturing and then the aging of our bodies
c) Our own personal values or aspirations
1. Setting adolescent children free/helping them become happy responsible adults - as aunt/uncle, serving as role model and parent-substitute

2. Discovering new satisfactions in relations/working out intimate relationships with siblings

3. Working out affectionate, independent relationship with aging parents

4. Creating a beautiful/comfortable home

5. Reaching peak in work career

6. Achieving mature social/civic responsibility

7. Accepting/adjusting to physiological changes

8. Art of friendship

9. Satisfying/creative use of leisure time

10. & 11. Becoming/maintaining oneself - active
The adults were asked a series of questions about success, future aspirations related to eleven development tasks of the middle-age adult.

Represent authors believes


High – Ideal accomplishment of expectations of American society and of self

Medium – Acceptable or average

Low – Unacceptable or below average
Personal Motivation for the achievement of developmental tasks Measured as the researchers read interviews.
Assessed the degree of motivation/desire for achievement
Ratings for motivation were given as follows:

3 – High motivation
2 – Average motivation
1 – Low motivation

Most scores were ranked 2

Highest rankings: work, parenthood, relationship with spouse, caring for an aging parent, leisure, church attendance and home-making

Studies showed little/no difference between the sexes, (few differences between the older and younger)
Many differences according to socio-economic status

Motivation; decrease with decreasing socio-economic status

Socio-Economic Class Description

Upper Middle-Class With a few upper-class persons as described by Warner and other
writers on social class in America

Lower-Middle-Class White-collar clerical workers, owners of small business, foremen,
supervisors, and highly skilled artisans

Upper-Lower-Class Regularly employed manual workers, ranging from skilled to semi-skilled.
Many factory operatives, truck drivers, and other hard-working people.

Lower-Lower-Class Mainly unskilled workers, with a few unemployed people and some who
were living on public or private charity.
Teachable Moment
Certain developmental tasks come with great urgency to a person during a relatively short period of time. At this time, motivation is high, This may be called a teachable moment. Adult
educators could find many possible teachable moments
to help adult learners at times when their need and
motivation are high.

Consideration of performance task scores or motivational scores alone is not enough for adult educators to create a sufficient strategy for adult education programs. Combinations, however, of social need, as identified by the performance task scores, and personal motivation do offer an opportunity for adult education strategy.
Index of the potentialities for adult education in the various developmental tasks:

It appears the best possibilities for adult education lie in areas where people in general are doing an average or good job now and are highly motivated to do a good job.

High Good High
High Poor Medium
High Poor Low
Medium Very Good High
Medium Fair Medium
Medium Poor Low
Low Fair High
Low Poor Medium
Low Very Poor Low
Performance Possibilities for Education Motivation/Conscious Need

1. The most likely areas of educational offerings that adult learners would take advantage of were those of: work, parenthood, leisure, and home-making. Motivation to do well was high and there was ample room for improvement.

2. Citizenship, where the social need was high, although motivation was low is an area where educators should work aggressively to stimulate people, to help them clarify their life tasks and to see the importance of better performance.

3. Middle-class individuals were the most receptive to adult education, however a substantial lower-working-class group also showed the kind of interest and competence and could profit enormously from education.
approx. 45-60
Havighurst, R. J., & Orr, B. (1956). Adult Education and Adult Needs. Chicago: Center
for the Study of Liberal Education for Adults.
Houle, C.O. (1961). The Inquiring Mind. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.
Johnstone, J. W., & Rivera, R. J. (1965). Volunteers for Learning: A Study of
the Educational Pursuits of American Adults. Chicago: Aldine Publishing
Works Cited
23,950 ADULTS
1,928 UNMARRIED YOUTH (17-24)
2,845 PEOPLE
Complete independent operation
Consisted of two distinct field tasks

1ST - surveyed reps from various orgs: CHURCHES, SCHOOLS, INDUSTRY, GOV. AGENCIES, VOLUNTEER & COM ORGS., ETC.) covering adult ed availability

2ND - personal interviews of adults completed ed at these orgs (two of the four cities)
Special Sample
865 young people to rep. total pop. (between 17-24)
Personal interviews completed these people
Inclusion of Sunday school (local church/synagogue)
Misleading - precise measure of further ed and role of institutions/agencies in prevision of ed opps.
Study appears to under-rate adult ed in rural areas
1. Approx. 25 million American adults or more - 20% active in some form of adult ed (w/I prior 12 mo.)
2. Major emphasis of adult learning by participants was:

Practical rather than academic
Applied rather than theoretical
Skills-based rather than knowledge/info based

3. more adults involved in classes, lectures, or group discussions participated in these outside of
schools/ed institutions (i.e. YMCA, private business, churches, synagogues & Com. inst.)
4. Social profile emerged from adult ed participants:

5. People w/I socio-economic positions (SEP) found to have different reasons for taking courses
Men/women (under 40) w/I lower SEP's were more likely to take courses to prepare them to get a job rather than advance in a job

Likely to take courses leisure or for self enrichment
Middle & upper class phenomenon

6. Men/women w/I lower SEP's did not conceive ed terms of personal growth or self-realization

Understood ed could lead to employment opps/job security
Not pleasurable

7. Most important: conclusion derived - American was likely to experience adult edu exposure during
following few decades (proven true)

Growth would have a powerful effect on adult ed in the future (it has)
...as often a woman as a man, typically under fourth, has completed high school or more, enjoyed an above-average income, works full-time and most often in a white-collar occupation, is married and has children, lives in an urbanized area but more likely in a suburb than a large city, and is found in a parts of the country, but more frequently in the West than in other regions.
Published: 1965
Adult ed - major part of total ed effort in U.S.
Three out of five Americans had engaged in one or more ed activities after formal ed.
Cont. Ed showing signs of more important component of total American ed system going forward

Major forces behind heavy participation of adults in ed were demands for adequately prepared workers/highly industrialized and technologically savvy occupations
U.S. shifting from a society of workers, living out working lives with current knowledge obtained early in their adulthood to a society of workers requiring continuing ed to obtain and keep a job
Majority of adult ed opps at the time of study were being sought out by workers for new skills

Another force - ed breeds more ed.
By 1965 - most Americans completed formal ed in public school system
learned how to learn - adults were pursuing further ed - learning how to play to relate to their fellow man, how to understand, how to understand traditions and religious and how to become more responsible citizens.
"But as everyone knows, they are also found among the poor, isolated, the newcomers to a community, the old, single, those who do humble labor, and among those with little formal education".
Indicators of reliability
Threats to validity
Very easy read and I recommend all Adult Education students should read it!
Cyril Houle's thoughts on the diversity of learners.
Had several committee meetings to edit the interview questions
Defined his variables (continuing learners, motivation, and adults.
Results are easily replicable today
Due to small sample size the generalization is weak
The lack of racially diverse sample
Sample was not random
The result are still accurate today
(1965) By John W. C. Johnstone and Ramon J. Rivera
(1956) By Robert J. Havighurst and Betty Orr
(1961) Cyril Houle
A study of adults who continue to learn
Remember the names of the books, authors and year published. We will add a note next to important facts for you!
Now, just lean back and enjoy the presentation!
Full transcript