Impact of Technology on Adult Learning

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Years ago when I was working toward my MBA, I spent every Tuesday and Thursday night sitting in a classroom after working a long day.  After class let out around 10:00 pm, I would commute thirty-five miles home.  When I decide to earn an MHA, I decided to try online as an option.  Technology has brought the classroom to my home.  I completed another 43 credits to obtain my degree online.  Technology has allowed adults to return to school without having to sit in a traditional classroom.  Advances in wireless Internet, hot spots, and smart devices, student can complete assignments from just about anywhere.  Technology has made attending class convenient.

The Internet offers a vast amount of resources for adult learners.  There are websites designed for adult learners to improve writing skills, obtain research information, and watch lectures from professionals in his or her field of study.  On the Internet, many top universities are offering free or open courses.  These open courses are great resources for the adult learner to expand his or her knowledge.  MIT, Harvard, and Stanford are just a few universities offering open courses.  However, remember it is very important with using Internet resources to make sure the content is creditable.

Like anything, there are factors that need to be considered before using technology for online learning.  As an instructor, it is important to remember that not all students are tech savvy.  Students have different levels of comfort with using computers, the Internet, and smart devices.  Usability for online teaching needs to be user friendly.  Learning management systems need to be easy to navigate and simple to use.  Just as important as usability, accessibility can be an issue for adult learners.  Not every student can afford high-speed Internet, cost of updating his or her computer to meet the requirements for certain online resources.  It is important to remember the cost associated with technology can be expensive.

I found technology is making be a lifelong learner very easy.  Mobile technology is making completing courses a breeze.  I recently purchased an iPad with 4G technology and a Bluetooth keyboard.  Then I purchased Office 2013 for my laptop the software came with two licenses for two computers and one license for a smart tablet.  Using the OneDrive feature found in Office 2013, I have access to coursework from any of my devices.  Now I am able to login to my class, complete assignments, and chat, from a balcony or beach chair.  Another technology I have found useful is grammar apps, which can be used to improve an individual’s writing skills.  Grammarly for Chrome is a free app that can be downloaded to a smart device to proof a person’s work.  Technology has open doors many people to attend and learn without having to sit in a classroom.

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