The relationship between learning style and attitude toward distance education among older adult learners at National Open University in Taiwan
Tzy-Ling Chen, The Pennsylvania State University, United States
The Pennsylvania State University . Awarded
The main purpose of this study was to examine empirically whether a relationship exists between older adult learners' individual learning styles and their attitudes toward the distance education provided by National Open University in Taiwan (NOUT). Also, this study attempted to identify the individual learning styles of older adult learners who currently study at NOUT and investigate their attitudes toward the distance education provided by NOUT.
The target population for this study was older adult learners at least 65 years old registered as students at NOUT during the spring semester 1999. Kolb's Learning Style Inventory (LSI) was used to identifying individual learning styles of older adult learners participating in this investigation and an attitude questionnaire—Distance Education Differential—based on Osgood, Suci, and Tannenbaum's (1957) Semantic Differential, Moore's (1976) Independent Study Differential, and the actual learning situations at NOUT was constructed to evaluate older adult learners' attitudes toward the distance education provided by NOUT. The study sample in this case mainly consists of the male “young-old” adult learners, and the mean age is 72. The results also confirmed that the most common pattern of Taiwanese older adult learners from NOUT were assimilators according to Kolb's LSI, but there were also substantial number of the subjects in the other three learning style groups. Additionally, regardless of the differences in learning style, overall, there was a positive attitude toward the distance education offered by NOUT among older distance learners participating in the study. However, no significant relationship was found between learning styles and attitudes toward distance education among older adult learners at NOUT.
The current research established a basis for better understanding theories and practices in elderly distance education as well as older adult learning and distance education. Further studies using a larger-scale population in the same or different research contexts, supplemented by a qualitative research paradigm, and including groups with cultural differences, are recommended and may provide some insightful information on those missing from this investigation.
Chen, T.L. The relationship between learning style and attitude toward distance education among older adult learners at National Open University in Taiwan. Ph.D. thesis, The Pennsylvania State University.
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