Bird, JL & Morgan, C 2003, 'Adults contemplating university study at a distance: issues, themes and concerns', International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, vol. 4, no. 1.
Published version available from:
This study identifies and explores a range of themes, issues and questions that commonly confront adults contemplating enrolment in university, and why they persist. The study focuses particularly on issues facing prospective adult distance education learners. From a range of interviews, six themes were identified including fears, motivation, support from home, academic preparedness, suitability of programs, and identity change. It is argued that the more effective we become at information provision, guidance and preparation of adult pre-entry open and distance learners, the more likely students will experience a smooth transition to study, thus improving both student satisfaction and retention rates. Successful intervention with prospective distance education learners at this early point should aim to assist the process of informed decision making, which could result equally in an individual deciding not to pursue university study. The findings in this study should be particularly useful for those academics, course advisors, student counsellors, teachers in preparatory programs, and university information and support officers, and others who provide adult distance students, with pre-enrolment information and advice.