Informace o publikaci

Non-traditional Students' Trajectories To Higher Education: The Role of Biographical Learning and Structure in Shaping the Learner Identity



Rok publikování 2022
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis The present paper investigates the narratives of learning trajectories given by an under-represented and thus vulnerable group within higher education (HE) - the non-traditional students. This group is operationalised in the Czech educational context as adult learners who enter HE at least 26 years old and had a break in their formal educational trajectory between upper-secondary graduation and university (Novotný et al., 2019). These learners come to university from adult life anchored in work, family, relationships and previous education. These experiences have shaped their learner identity and approach to current learning in higher educational settings. The aggregate of these experiences can be seen as a learning trajectory. Previous studies show (Gorard et al. 1997, 1998; Gorard & Rees, 2002) that characteristics set very early (gender, age, family) essentially predict later-life learning trajectories (see also Kerka, 2003) and conclude that efforts to increase participation of adults in education won't help those who don't see themselves as learners. To study the relationship between learner identity and learning trajectories, the present paper uses the biographical approach. Through life stories and narratives, we can explore the significance and intersections of informal and formal learning (Hodkinson & Macleod, 2010). Formal learning is in the narratives represented by the university environment but also previous levels of education, and informal learning is incorporated in experiences when the adults learned something through their life. Biographical methods have been used most extensively in Europe (compared to less extensive use, e.g. in North America; Gouthro, 2014) and have become recognised as a valuable methodological approach to research adult learners' learning trajectories and identities life-wide experiences. Using the biographical learning dimension makes it possible to determine how adult learning is structured over time and how higher-order structures are created through various temporal aspects (e.g. social or institutional time, present, past, experience and meaning; see Alheit, 2018). In this way, we can trace learning experiences over a more extended time and consider the influence of the broader social, political, economic, and cultural factors and reflections from the learners regarding their own experience (Crossan et al., 2003). This paper thus raises the following research questions: How has the specific educational and historical context impacted the biographical learning trajectories of non-traditional students in the Czech higher education? What is the role of biographical learning in shaping learner identity in this specific context?
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