IT's not just a kids' revolution: an empirical study of adult computer learners

Neil Selwyn, Dennis Moss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


As information technology (IT) becomes increasingly commonplace in society, computer-related courses have also risen in popularity among adult learners. However, despite the growth in numbers enrolling, adult IT learners remain an under-researched element of educational computing research. This paper reports on a study of adult learners (n=138) enrolled on a part-time IT course in a South Wales college. In particular the background of students choosing to take IT-related courses was examined along with their attitudes and prior experience of computers. Questions were also asked regarding adults' motivations behind enrolling on such a course. The paper concludes that different groups of adults are choosing to study computing for a variety of reasonsincluding work and career purposes, studying the subject for its own sake and wanting to be able to use a computer at home. Gender was not found to be a significant factor although the advantage of having access to a home computer was confirmed. The paper concludes with recommendations for the focusing of adult IT courses onto learners' specific needs and requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-290
Number of pages16
JournalResearch in Post-Compulsory Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

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