When we talk about the challenges we face with Adult Learners, there are several area’s that we can focus on. I’ve summed these up as Digital blefs. This post will look at the first issue, Digital Bias.
When used in the context of eLearning, this can play a massive part in how an adult learner will interact with some types of technology.
A learner may have vast experience with one particular product or brand and may be very comfortable using this technology. How often have you had the Apple® V Microsoft® or Apple® v Android® conversations with your friends? When it comes to learning, this can affect how an adult learner will study.
If the training provider is only delivering learning resources via iTunes U®, the learning resources won’t work on an Android as they have been designed for Apple®. Some learners may accept this and just get themselves an iPad and be done with it. Other adult learners may not take the course at all, as it’s too biased towards one particular brand. Some may say this is digital discrimination!
Instructional Designers and Education Technologists need to consider this when designing online courses. There really is a balancing act as to how this can be achieved. Consider using platform agnostic tools to deliver your courses, perhaps in a browser using HTML5 technologies. If you wish to support a particular brand’s eco system, insure that you have provided an alternative means of delivering the learning resources as well as providing clear instructions.