Adults Contemplating University Study at a Distance: Issues, themes and concerns

  • Jenny Bird
  • Chris Morgan
Keywords: students support, adult learners, fear, motivation, support from home, academic preparedness, suitability of programs, identity change

Abstract

This study identifies and explores a range of themes, issues and questions that commonly confront adults contemplating enrolment in university, and why they persist. The study focuses particularly on issues facing prospective adult distance education learners. From a range of interviews, six themes were identified including fears, motivation, support from home, academic preparedness, suitability of programs, and identity change.

It is argued that the more effective we become at information provision, guidance and preparation of adult pre-entry open and distance learners, the more likely students will experience a smooth transition to study, thus improving both student satisfaction and retention rates. Successful intervention with prospective distance education learners at this early point should aim to assist the process of informed decision making, which could result equally in an individual deciding not to pursue university study. The findings in this study should be particularly useful for those academics, course advisors, student counsellors, teachers in preparatory programs, and university information and support officers, and others who provide adult distance students, with pre-enrolment information and advice.

Author Biographies

Jenny Bird
Jenny Bird M.Ed., is an educational designer at Southern Cross University, Australia. Her research interests include flexible learning in higher education and the profession of educational design. For more information, you can email Jenny Bird at: jbird@scu.edu.au
Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan is an educational designer at Southern Cross University, Australia. He is the co-author of two books on assessment, Assessing Open and Distance Learners (1999) and The Assessment Handbook: New Directions in Contemporary Assessment (in press) both published by Kogan Page, UK. For more information, email Chris Morgan at: cmorgan@scu.edu.au
Published
2003-04-01
How to Cite
Bird, J., & Morgan, C. (2003). Adults Contemplating University Study at a Distance: Issues, themes and concerns. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v4i1.130
Section
Research Articles