Research Study – Guidelines
Thornton, an adult educator, organized and offered these community-based the guided autobiography workshops that provided the informal educational method and format for participant to discover their personal stories, exploring then and now, understanding past events in the present, and their goals of sharing their stories with family and others. Collins, with studies in educational research and program evaluation, established guidelines for data coding and analysis in QDA Minor, Provalis Research. This pairing of educational views on the context of learning in these workshops led to a productive interplay in conceptualizing and coding participant statements as learning processes or outcomes and as expanding or consolidating experiences.
Thornton explored initially participant’s learning statements as process or outcomes and then as expanding or consolidating. events. Collins explored typically from outcomes to emerging processes mixed with expanding and consolidating experiences. The list of topics or themes in the learning report expanded as the study developed, each likely containing sub-categories to be identified. The only agreed protocol initiated at the beginning of the coding process, and sustained throughout the study, required that all learning reports be formatted so coding was applied to each sentence or independent phrase, which accounts for the format of the learning reports by Case # in the Part 3 of the book.
The co-investigator’s complementary interests led them to undertake this exploratory study of participants’ learning scripts, initially, in their individual ways: (a) coding participant’s learning experiences as process or outcome, or (b) coding topics and themes they identified in the learning scripts, and (c) mostly, fluctuating between (a) and (b). The research project opens the window on the scope of learning processes and outcomes, enhancing growth and development that older adults experienced and reported by telling their stories in communities of peers and writing on topics and themes most meaningful to them: what they know, what they were seeking, where to begin, and where they hoped to go. And they migrated back and forth, up and down, into and out of their autobiographical experiences.
There are many resources, source books and reference guides, available regarding adult learning and programming adult education activities. Much of the literature is prepared for leaders and teachers and academics with a focus on better teaching for better learning. This book is focused on documenting individual’s reports of their learning experiences and their views on how, that and what they are learning, which also reveals the views on how others learn. An individual’s learning experiences in these guided autobiographical groups also reveals how various experiences enhance the collective and collaborative make-up in social learning groups. Social groups and peer learning are essential to expanding older adults’ abilities in three major areas of growth and development – learning to learn, learning for growth, and learning for healthy well-being (Thornton, 2003a; 2003b). The research study provides a view of older adult learners that focuses on individual learning capacities as self-learners, the importance of group collaboration (Yorks & Kassel, Summer, 2002), and the social situations of self-group learning (Lave and Wenger, 1990).
The book is intended for further qualitative research studies in adult learning, adult education methods, and the social, psychological and health sciences that explore adult development and meaning-making in their disciplines and professional activities.