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Addressing & Enhancing Diversity: Age Issues. Barbara B. Shadden University of Arkansas. Relevance for CSD Programs. Growing #’s non-traditional students Ph.D. shortages and need to appeal to mid-career professionals Au.D. and similar degrees attracting practitioners beyond entry-level

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addressing enhancing diversity age issues

Addressing & Enhancing Diversity: Age Issues

Barbara B. Shadden

University of Arkansas

relevance for csd programs
Relevance for CSD Programs
  • Growing #’s non-traditional students
  • Ph.D. shortages and need to appeal to mid-career professionals
  • Au.D. and similar degrees attracting practitioners beyond entry-level
  • Broader issue of graying of America
  • Distance technology and older learners
age must be considered in
Age must be considered in:
  • Recruitment
  • Instructional design
  • Retention
  • Mentoring

Age is also a factor for faculty:

  • Graying of faculty
  • Recruitment of new faculty -- different needs, philosophies of teaching and learning, institutional demands
  • Conflicting perceptions of mission, career goals
dilemmas in covering topic
Dilemmas in covering topic
  • How/when do we decide age is a factor?
  • What part of the lifespan are we considering?
  • How far must we go in accommodating?

Topics for Today

  • Definitions & Demographics
  • Lifespan differences
  • Characteristics of adult learners
  • How do we respond

There is the 18-22 y.o. student and then…

  • the older learner
  • the non-traditional student
  • the returning student
  • the re-entry student
  • adult students/learners
at least 2 important distinctions
At least 2 important distinctions
  • the older learner (at least 50 years or older)
  • the non-traditional student (pretty much everything BUT the student who transitions relatively directly from high school to college)
criteria examples
  • CAPCSD -- > 30 years old
  • part-time students over 35 years
  • students married, 25 y.o or older, a parent, and/or out of school for a few years (KSU)
  • adult returning to school FT or PT while maintaining responsibilities such as family and employment
  • 25 years (U of A); 24 years (UMM)
facts and figures capcsd national survey
Facts and figures--CAPCSD National Survey
  • Mean 12.4% of CSD students >30 years
  • Figures vary tremendously by Federal Region, from 5.9% in Region III (DE, MD, PA, VA, WV, DC) to 18.9% in Region I (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT) and 20% internationally
why such a range of nontraditional students in csd
Why such a range of nontraditional students in CSD?
  • Access to programs?
  • Distance education availability?
  • Models of academic course delivery (e.g., night, weekend, summers-only courses)?
  • Availability of part-time programs of study?
  • Other?
other facts and figures sample data
Other facts and figures--sample data
  • 29% of students at KSU are nontraditional
  • 24% of students at U of A-Fayetteville campus -- in last 10 years, nontraditional enrollments in CSD masters’s program ranged from 10% to 35%
  • 40% of all enrollments in post-secondary ed (Indiana U, average age 35 years, 80% working at least 20 hours/week, 72% with children)
the older learner in general
The Older Learner in general
  • Aging of society reflected in higher education
  • Fastest growing age group on American campuses is over 50 years old
  • Universities being challenged to create better, age-integrated learning
  • Computers, internet access…not turning out to be problem
1999 aarp study 50 years or older
1999 AARP study -- 50 years or older
  • preferred learning methods with easy access, requiring small investments in time and money to start, with immediate learning possible
  • learn best through direct, hands on experience -- do, study, think about it
  • interested in learning to keep up to date, for spiritual or personal growth, or simple joy of learning something new
for the truly older learner have to accommodate
For the truly older learner, have to accommodate
  • true aging changes -- physical and cognitive
  • life stage
  • motivations/goals for learning
  • familiarity/discomfort with classroom learning environment


lifespan issues for adult learners
Lifespan Issues for Adult Learners
  • Growth vs. development
  • Accommodations to changing world
  • Stages (Knowles = have to look at life stage from point of view of: critical periods, focus of commitments, and perceptions of time in life cycle) (Erickson?)
havighurst after childhood
Havighurst--after childhood
  • 18-30: focus on life and concern for self image, less concern for society, education as instrument for advancement
  • 30-40: collecting energies, stability, less introspection and self doubt, focus on job and child-rearing
  • 40-50: self-exertion and assertion -- at one’s peak-- involvement in public and civic activities, decline in education focus, increase in action orientation
havighurst continued
Havighurst continued...
  • 50-60: maintenance of position with some role changes, education for expressive purposes, beginning of passivity
  • 60-70: deciding when and how to disengage
  • 70+: disengagement
  • Entry stage -- 18 to 25 -- orientation to future, change is good
  • Career development -- 20 to 50 -- orientation to present, away from interest in promotion to interest in intrinsic value of work participation, achievement in non-work arenas
  • Plateau -- 35 to 55 -- time focus from present to sense that running out
characteristics of adult learners overview
Characteristics of Adult Learners-Overview
  • Autonomous and self-directed -- self concept of responsibility, may conflict with old experiences of formal education
  • Beginning with a need to know -- including “why” having to learn something
  • Foundation of life experience
  • Different orientation to learning -- life-centered (or task/problem centered)
  • Achievement oriented
overview continued
Overview, continued
  • Learn best by relating new to previously learned
  • Relevance is all
  • Practical is focus
  • Need to be shown respect
  • Bring more clearly established values, beliefs, opinions
overview continued20
Overview, continued
  • Style and pace of learning may have changed -- or become set
    • Need variety in techniques
    • Need multi-modality presentations
    • Need participatory process
  • Physical needs may have changed -- frequent breaks, interrupt lectures, interactive and physically moving around
  • Individual differences accelerate with age
motivations why are they there
Motivations--why are they there?
  • Self-improvement--internal/external
  • Self-actualization
  • Vocational-advancement
  • Role change
  • Family issues
  • Social interests-relationships
  • Humanitarian drive
  • Knowledge-cognitive interest
some say motivation related to life stage
Some say motivation related to life stage
  • seek out learning to cope with life-changing events--the more life changes, the more learning is desired
  • will engage in learning that promotes transitions
  • usually driven by perceived need for skill/knowledge
  • self-esteem may play strong role
why return
Why return?
  • Earlier dropout for financial reasons, competing responsibilities, lack of focus or motivation or maturity
  • Changing job requirements or career changes
  • Increased premium placed on education for certain jobs
  • Changes in leisure patterns
  • Self-fulfillment
categories of motivation houle
Categories of Motivation -- Houle
  • Goal oriented -- specific, external objective
  • Activity oriented -- like learning process, like group environment, want to stay engaged
  • Learning oriented -- knowledge for itself
learning styles
Learning Styles
  • want opportunity for self-direction
  • want to participate in goal-setting
  • need opportunities for leadership
  • want to relate to what already know, and want to bring that experience into classroom
  • may want/need more time
learning styles continued
Learning styles continued
  • need goals and procedures clearly laid out
  • self-esteem may be more at stake than for younger learner
  • do best with a learning episode that is:
    • episodic, not continuous
    • problem-centered, not curriculum-oriented
    • immediate, concrete, short term
    • more driven by analogic thinking, trial and error, less memorization
    • moves from concrete to abstract
issues barriers challenges
Issues, Barriers, Challenges
  • Guilt over responsibilities to others (family)
  • Child care
  • Justifying compromises between career and family
  • Guilt over time or simply...
  • Lack of time
  • Insufficient support from family
  • Finances
issues continued
Issues continued
  • Geographical access
  • Lack of age cohort
  • Limited acceptance for student status--in institution, program, family, social milieu
  • Burden of multiple responsibilities
  • Red tape
  • Wrong motivation
common fears and concerns
Common Fears and Concerns
  • haven’t studied in years -- out of practice
  • not sure have skills
  • always nervous about tests
  • past school experience not always positive
  • computers/internet
  • won’t fit in -- will be outsider
  • faculty won’t want older student
  • it will take too long
bottom line
Bottom Line

At different life span points in development, we have different focus, goals, needs, self-perceptions, and points of crisis.

For our non-traditional students, we must expect and plan effectively for these differences if we expect to see age-diverse classrooms.

challenges for csd programs institutional
Challenges for CSD Programs -- Institutional
  • Child care
  • Finance
  • Special registration, advising, orientation
  • Greater availability & access to parking
  • Special assistance with housing
  • Networking opportunities
programmatic challenges
Programmatic Challenges
  • Distance education
  • Scheduling-- evening, weekend, alternative course times
  • Part-time?
classroom learning challenges
Classroom/Learning Challenges
  • Must constantly integrate new with known
  • Must recognize that info conflicting with previous “truths” is integrated more slowly
  • Must recognize that information with little conceptual overlap is acquired more slowly
  • Fast, complex, unusual learning tasks may be problematic
  • Relevance is the name of the game
classroom challenges continued
Classroom challenges continued
  • Active learning is essential
  • Need to plan for belief and value system change if needed
  • Must provide more changes for self-direction, self-defined learning tasks
  • Must provide an environment that supports views, minimizes fears -- self-esteem issues
  • Need to identify specific learning style of individual student
classroom challenges continued35
Classroom challenges continued
  • Need to provide detailed feedback
  • Need to learn more to facilitate than to control
  • Need to find ways of integrating and exploiting life experience of student
  • Need to ensure an environment that is physically supportive of learner with vision, hearing, physical challenges
are we in trouble probably less in this area of diversity than others
Are We in Trouble? Probably less in this area of diversity than others...
  • New ASHA standards are moving the learning experience in the directions suggested by our knowledge of adult learner needs and expectations
  • Issues of geographical access, independent study, etc. are already being grappled with by graduate programs, particularly clinical doctoral programs
where do we need to grow and change
Where Do We Need to Grow and Change?
  • Recruitment efforts
  • Making the institution more accessible and adult-learner friendly
  • Ensuring our faculty are aware of:
    • learning style differences
    • motivation differences--why there?
    • life crisis differences-critical periods
    • learning to use experience