Date of Award

5-2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership with a Global Perspective

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Carole Warshaw

Second Advisor

Richard Cohen

Third Advisor

Rita Gugel

Abstract

This dominant/less dominant design uses two methods (phenomenological and quantitative) to study, describe, examine, and analyze the learning style of two groups of older adults. The first group consists of Young-Old adults, who are between the ages of 65 and 74. The second group consists of Old-Old adults, who are between the ages of 75 and 99.

The researcher used the Kolb Learning Style Inventory Version 3 to determine the preferred learning style of each participant within each group. The results of the inventory for each participant was analyzed and compared between the two age groups. The analysis includes a within-case analysis and a cross-case analysis identifying differences and similarities among the members of each group and between the two groups.

The researcher used an audio-recorded interview of each participant. Each participant was asked 12 questions about how stages of maturity affected perceived learning styles. Each participant described awareness and perceived problems of aging applicable to learning. The responses to questions of perceived problems of learning of new information were compared with the results of the Kolb Learning Style Inventory (LSI-3).

The predominant learning styles among older adults are assimilating and diverging and five of ten participants demonstrated use of more than one learning style. There was corroboration between the LSI-3 and self-perceived learning style. There were no differences between age groups and learning style, and learning style appeared stable. Because learning new knowledge, information, and skills can occur after 65, it is important that studies be conducted that contribute to the understanding of learning in older adults.

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