Title page for ETD etd-09132010-195301

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Machobane, Amohelang Masibongile
Email amachobane@hotmail.com
URN etd-09132010-195301
Document Title Strategies for facilitating learning in Adult Basic Education and Training
Degree MEd
Department Early Childhood Education
Advisor Name Title
Dr P H du Toit Supervisor
  • adult learning
  • learning style flexibility
  • self-directed learning
  • whole-brain learning styles
  • roles of educators
  • constructivism
  • Adult Basic Education and Training
  • Outcomes-based Education
  • cooperative learning
  • learning styles
Date 2010-09-01
Availability unrestricted

This study examines the strategies used by facilitators at Adult Basic Education and Training Centre in order to determine whether the facilitators are responsive to adult learning principle and practices. If inappropriate strategies for the facilitation of learning are used, adult learners are likely to become bored, frustrated, overwhelmed or unable to cope with the challenges of learning. This may contribute to the high drop-out rate that many adult education programmes face. The failure to retain adult learners in ABET programmes may result in adult learners relapsing into illiteracy, which then poses a problem as the overarching goal of the South African government is to eradicate illiteracy. This study aims at answering the following research questions:

  • What are the perceptions of adult learners of the facilitation of learning in the programmes they are enrolled for?
  • What are the strategies used by ABET facilitators to promote cooperative learning?
  • How do ABET facilitators promote self-directed learning among adult learners?

The theoretical framework on which this study is based is constructivism. Constructivist theory advocates a paradigm shift from traditional methods of teaching to a more learner-centred approach of instruction and learning. Thus, constructivist theory embraces Outcomes-based Education that emphasises that active participation by learners should be the backbone of all learning activities. Both facilitators and learners are required to focus on the outcomes that should be achieved during each learning activity.

This study employs a mixed-methods approach that includes quantitative and qualitative research methods. The research design for this study is the case study method. The population of this study comprises adult learners and facilitators at Gaegolelwe Adult Centre. A simple random sampling was used to select forty-seven adult learners to participate in this study. Convenience sampling was used to select 4 facilitators. The methods of data collection used were questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and observations.

The findings of this study are the following:

  • Facilitators at Gaegolelwe Adult Centre cater moderately for learners with different learning styles.
  • Learners are engaged in different learning activities, such as completing tasks individually, in pairs or in groups and are involved in research orientated activities in order to discover things for themselves.
  • Facilitators promote active participation during learning opportunities.
  • Most adult learners demonstrate responsibility towards their own work. However, some do not, and this may be attributed to many competing social roles that must be balanced against the demands of learning.
  • Learners are challenged to develop critical thinking, problem-solving and higher order reasoning skills.
  • Cooperative learning as one strategy of facilitating learning is not utilised to the maximum.
  • It has been observed that the lecture method is predominantly used by facilitators; this is not in line with constructivist learning theory as the latter emphasises the use of different methods of facilitation in order to accommodate learners with diverse learning styles.

The following recommendations have been made:

  • Facilitators with extensive teaching experience should be engaged to facilitate adult learning. However, they should be educated and trained in methods of facilitating adult learners.
  • Male adults need to be mobilised through mass literacy campaigns to join ABET programmes.
  • Learners should be given the opportunity to make an input in the development of strategies for facilitating learning.

Copyright 2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Machobane, AM 2010, Strategies for facilitating learning in Adult Basic Education and Training, MEd dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09132010-195301/ >


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