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Handbook of Research on Student-Centered Strategies in Online Adult Learning Environments

Fitzgerald, Carlton J.; Laurian-Fitzgerald, Simona; Popa, Carmen
IGI Global, 2018

Book Review

Tags: adult learning   |   online learning   |   online teaching   |   student learning

Reviewed by: Khalaf Mohamed Abdellatif, Cairo University
Date Reviewed: April 15, 2020

Adult learners are different than younger learners. These groups do, however, share some interests and learning similarities; for instance, both are motivated to use technology in learning. Yet adult learners often have additional challenges using technology because of their late involvement with the digital world. Older adult learners’ participation in online learning and continuing education pose institutional, situational, and dispositional challenges.

Online learning provides particular possibilities for adult learners, thereby allowing them to cope with specific adult learning demands. It helps adult students to maintain some sustainability while navigating new technological terrains. Adult learners may have particular learning issues and challenges arise from time to time.

The Handbook of Research on Student-Centered Strategies in Online Adult Learning Environments was developed for educators who work with adult learners in online programs. It is a book primarily focused on helping teachers by offering specific ideas for working with students in online environments and serving as a guide for structuring learning experiences for people at different stages of development.

The book comprises 22 chapters organized in four sections. Section 1, “Integrating Educational Practices into Online Learning,” provides insights into how educators can link natural learning tendencies in teaching to students’ learning. Furthermore, it highlights competency-based education and the position of student-centered online learning. Section 2, “Adult Learners and Learning,” discusses andragogy in relation to the transitions in knowledge acquisition, focusing on concepts of digital natives and digital immigrants. Discourse on preparing the efficient teacher in the age of information and communication technology is foregrounded in Section 3, “Professional Learning.” For instance, Chapter 14, “A Guide to Professional Learning for Secondary Mathematics Teachers,” explores the impact of a professional learning program on mathematics teachers’ self-efficacy. Section 4, “Student-Centeredness and Collaboration,” provides an overview of collaborative learning as well as student-centered online learning.

This handbook also provides arguments on converting theoretical frameworks into practical work in an online classroom or any other digital context. The chapters are organized subsequently in a rational order, yet the reader can start with any chapter of potential interest. However, the discourse on neoliberalism, along with austerity, and their impact—on online education generally, and online adult education particularly—is absent. Furthermore, the counter-argument which debates that online learning should be accepted with much caution receives only 15 pages. Moreover, while Dan Patroc argues that insufficient non-verbal communication is a major drawback in online learning, non-verbal communication receives only one paragraph. Overall, the editors and authors provide a remarkable contribution to the literature on online adult education. Handbook of Research on Student-Centered Strategies in Online Adult Learning Environments is highly recommended for adult educators, online trainers, researchers, and policymakers.

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