Investigation of the persistence factors and barriers experienced by mid-life learners returning to post-secondary education

McManus, John D. (2014) Investigation of the persistence factors and barriers experienced by mid-life learners returning to post-secondary education. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The world today is one of employability related lifelong learning, hence continually learning a living¹. In the Canadian Province of Ontario, there has been a shift in the economy from a manufacturing base toward various service sectors. Changes in technology, outsourcing of work, and business closures have resulted in an increase demand for further post-secondary education by displaced workers. Workers either are trying to stay relevant through formal learning or are reskilling into new careers. Mature adults, who have been away from the classroom for a long time, often have situational and operative psychological factors that are quite different from younger learners. The purpose of the research, using interpretive qualitative methods, is to explore and examine the motivations and barriers encountered by mid-life learners returning to post-secondary education funded by Ontario’s Second Career Program. As the Second Career Program has only been existence since 2008, there has been virtually no research focused on these mature learners or the success of the program. The knowledge gained would inform mature adults on the challenges inherent in their return to studies after a long absence. Post-secondary institutions may need to address the different needs of the older student with adjustments or additions to their current support systems. This research seeks to identify completion barriers experienced, the persistence factors, and motivational drivers utilized by mature adults in their return to studies. These issues, and revealed subsidiary outcomes, are explored in the context of one post-secondary institution actively recruiting Second Career learners thus experiencing a high intake of those mature adult students. ¹ The term “Learning a Living” may well have been originally coined be University of Toronto professor emeritus Robert K. Logan, Ph.D. in his book The Fifth Language: Learning a Living in the Computer Age. (1997). Toronto: Stoddart Publishing.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 8140
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 127-149).
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: October 2014
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Career changes; Middle-aged persons--Education (Continuing education); Middle-aged persons--Education (Higher); Middle-aged persons--Psychology; Adult college students--Psychology

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