Adult Learners in Higher Education: An Examination of Academic, Social and Environmental Needs as Perceived by Adult Learners and Faculty.
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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In recent years, colleges and universities have witnessed an increase in the number of adult learners entering higher education (Hardin, 2008; Osgood-Treston, 2001). The growth in adult students attending college encourages institutions to better understand the specific needs of the adult learner population. While adult learners may enter higher education for a variety reasons, nontraditional learners generally face similar challenges while pursuing academic endeavors. The purpose of this study was to examine the academic, social, and environmental needs of adult learners, as perceived by adult learners and faculty, to enhance the way four-year universities address the needs of this student population. This study used quantitative measures in its design by using the survey method. The survey, with a convenience sample of 136 adult learners and 74 faculty members, was used to measure responses to each of the research questions. The dependent variables of this study were academic, social and environmental needs; whereas, the independent variables included adult learners and faculty members. To analyze the research data, three 2 x 2 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tests were used to compare means between adult learners and faculty perceptions to academic, social, and environmental needs of adult learners in a four-year setting. The quantitative findings of the study indicated a statistically significant interaction occurred between part-time and full-time status in relation to academic needs. The results also indicated a statistically significant interaction occurred between part-time and full-time status regarding adult learner environmental needs No other relationships were found through the analyses of participant data.