Many adults do not have the skills required for online learning, according to a report by Pew Research Center.
Researchers surveyed 2,752 adults during the fall of 2015. The youngest adult in each household was asked a series of questions regarding their use of technology and its purpose in their acquisition of new knowledge.
Researchers grouped respondents into five categories based on their comfort with digital technology:
- Digitally ready learners: just 17% of respondents, were the most self-assured in their ability to find reliable information online;
- Cautious clickers: 31%, expressed confidence in their digital abilities but were not inclined to use the internet for learning purposes;
- Reluctant adults: 33%, were confident their ability to find reliable information online, but had "below-average" trust in their computer skills;
- Traditional learners: 5%, were regularly engaged learners, but were not enthusiastic about using technology to learn; and
- Unprepared adults: 14%, engaged in rudimentary learning exercises like reading, but do not actively participate in online learning.
Resolve the financial issues that may be holding back your online and adult students
As universities increasingly make efforts to accommodate and enroll non-traditional students, the population of older students is growing. As such, two and four-year universities must continue to innovate new ways to provide online instruction to support these students.
"It's on higher ed institutions to ensure these learners are matched to the educational opportunities that are the best fit for them, and that they also receive adequate preparation for the missing digital skills that are needed for an increasingly digital world," argues Roger Riddell, writing for Education Dive (Pew Research Center report, accessed 4/5; Ascione, eCampus News, 4/3; Riddell, Education Dive, 4/4).
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