Impact on student satisfaction of the varying degrees and types of technology in college -based adult basic education programs
This study focuses upon the use of technology by a group of 106 college-based adult basic education (ABE) students from different areas of the country. Statistical analyses of a Likert style questionnaire offered online investigates the impact of technology on student satisfaction with the ABE program The data presented suggest that there is substantial support to the fact that high use of technology leads to a high level of student satisfaction with the ABE program. ABE participants also report that their greatest satisfaction stems from “making improvement” and that the most important reason computers are used in their program is to “improve reading skills.”
Although there are many forms of illiteracy plaguing the U.S., community colleges, comprising 15% of adult literacy providers, continue to find innovative means and strategies to improve adult literacy. The National Adult Literacy Survey has defined a literate person as one who uses “printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential” (U.S. Congress, 1993, pp. 3–4). ABE assists students whose skills are below the 8th-grade level and includes those who missed the opportunity to learn the basic reading, writing, or math skills.
This study presents several views on how adults learn. Malcolm Knowles, the “father of andragogy” (Merriam, 2001), which is the art or science of helping adults learn, says that learning happens when it is learner-centered, when students realize their own potential, and when students are allowed control over the learning process (Merriam, 1993). The data presented in this study propose that technology supports and promotes these requisites. Innovative ABE programs, through computer-assisted learning, enhance student-centered instruction, with learners and teachers becoming partners in the learning process. This research implies that adult literacy programs can prepare participants for success in a society increasingly dependent upon technology.
ABE is far from being able to retain learners long enough to make significant changes in their literacy levels. However, technology has been successful in that direction, promoting motivation and satisfaction, drawing learners into programs, and holding their interest.