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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/299

Title: Web of WisCom: An ethnographic case study of older adult learners online
Authors: Farquhar, Lynn A.
Supervisor(s): Conrad, Dianne (Centre for Distance Education)
Examining Committee: Blodgett-Griffin, Cynthia (Centre for Distance Education)
Heller, Bob (Centre for Distance Education)
Archer, Walter (University of Alberta)
Degree: Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education
Department: Centre for Distance Education
Keywords: Distance Education
online learning
educational gerontology
perspective transformation
transformative learning
late-life learning
older adult learning
community of inquiry
non-formal learning
Berlin Wisdom Paradigm
Issue Date: 31-Oct-2019
Abstract: This differentiated replication examined the WisCom instructional design model when used in an online course for persons over 55 years of age. In total, 23 older adult men and women participated in a non-formal course that ran twice within two consecutive six-week semesters. I describe several key findings of this ethnographic case study. First, the older adult participants were ill prepared for a course with a constructivist ethos. As a result, course forum participation was low. Group collaboration and knowledge building was evident only during case studies. Second, the participants identified good listening skills, experience, and a reflective nature as the three most prevalent characteristics of those who are wise. Listening skills were in evidence among many participants; they seemed to have anticipated a course where they would simply apprehend an abundance of direct instruction. Third, the forum comments of the first cohort of participants was made available to the cohort that followed. This appeared to have had a positive effect upon the second cohort of participants, who were able to access the previous store of knowledge. Fourth, there was no evidence of transformative learning among participants who took this course. This was contrary to the previously reported results by the WisCom developers. Among conclusions is that evidence of perspective transformation may have been misapplied to ordinary instances of learning in earlier uses of WisCom.
Graduation Date: Jun-2020
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/299
Appears in Collections:Theses & Dissertations

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