Self-Directed Learning Projects of Older Adults

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This study determined the number of self-directed learning projects undertaken by older adults and examined the motivational factors and anticipated benefits related to the learning activities. In addition, obstacles to conducting self-directed learning were identified by the respondents. A list of 20,032 names of adults, aged 50 or more years and residing in Tom Green County, Texas, was obtained from voter registration rolls and the residential rolls of four retirement complexes. Four hundred names were randomly selected to serve as the sample of the study. Of the 400 potential subjects, 120 persons agreed to be interviewed. Indepth interviews were conducted ... continued below

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v, 110 leaves

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Sears, Emma Jo Benson August 1989.

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  • Sears, Emma Jo Benson

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This study determined the number of self-directed learning projects undertaken by older adults and examined the motivational factors and anticipated benefits related to the learning activities. In addition, obstacles to conducting self-directed learning were identified by the respondents. A list of 20,032 names of adults, aged 50 or more years and residing in Tom Green County, Texas, was obtained from voter registration rolls and the residential rolls of four retirement complexes. Four hundred names were randomly selected to serve as the sample of the study. Of the 400 potential subjects, 120 persons agreed to be interviewed. Indepth interviews were conducted using the questions from Tough's Interview Schedule for Studying Some Basic Characteristics of Learning Projects and a probe sheet to identify obstacles to conducting self-directed learning projects. The interviews focused on the learning activities of older adults during the previous year. The 120 subjects of this study conducted a total of 239 learning projects in the previous year, an average of 1.99 self-directed learning projects per person. Ninety-five (95%) percent of the persons interviewed reported to have conducted at least one learning project in the past year. The majority of the learning projects were self-planned for the purpose of self-enjoyment and self-fulfillment. The most frequent obstacles to conducting self-directed learning projects identified by the subjects included: 1) finding the time for the learning activity; 2) the cost of the learning activity; 3) home responsibilities; 4) difficulty deciding what knowledge or skill to learn; 5) difficulty remembering new material or information; and 6) poor health. Comparisons of the results of this study were made with the results of previous studies by Tough, Hiemstra, and Ralston. The data support the belief that books, pamphlets, and newspapers are the primary source of information for the older adult. The results of this study indicate that older adults value self-directed learning as a major source of self~fulfillment in their lives and are motivated to develop new knowledge and skills through self-planned, self-directed learning projects.

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v, 110 leaves

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • August 1989

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  • Aug. 22, 2014, 6 p.m.

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  • Sept. 4, 2015, 9:24 a.m.

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Sears, Emma Jo Benson. Self-Directed Learning Projects of Older Adults, dissertation, August 1989; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc331838/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .