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Academic Writing sample

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Running Head: SAMPLEWriting Sample Courtenay M. Wills Kansas State UniversityOctober 1, 2015Running Head: SAMPLE2Today’s adult can wear many “hats” and fulfill…
Running Head: SAMPLEWriting Sample Courtenay M. Wills Kansas State UniversityOctober 1, 2015Running Head: SAMPLE2Today’s adult can wear many “hats” and fulfill many roles on a daily basis. For example, someone can be a spouse, parent, employee, friend and family member, just to name a few. When adding the additional role of being a non-traditional student, at times, it can be hard to choose activities that encourage learning (learning activities) over any other activity (nonlearning activities) that might arise. The Ponton (2005) article takes a look at the motivators that an adult learner must possess to achieve personally valued outcomes and how educators can help aid in their awareness of their activity choices. “The ultimate goal of this work and future work is to better enable educators to incorporate instructional strategies that aid in the development of autonomous lifelong learners,” (Ponton, 2005, pg. 116). Self-directed learning has numerous definitions and it is hard to identify just one, as it has been researched for over 50 years. The article discussed several theorists who studied learning and self-directed learning. Knowles has a well-known definition for self-directed learning, “in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying material and human resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating those learning outcomes (1975, p.18). Long (1989) believes that self-directed learning has three different dimensions: sociological, pedagogical and physiological. While Oddi (1987) and Merriam and Caffarella (1999) assesses that self-directed learning can be grouped into two categories, process or personality characteristic. In this study, a path analysis was performed on the data and results from the study suggest that, “resourcefulness plays a critical role in whether a learner will persist in learning activities (Ponton, 2005, pg. 118). The results from the study indicate that the connection between resourcefulness and persistence was comparable to the level of initiative that one has. To assistRunning Head: SAMPLE3with this theory, two inventories were developed, the Inventory of Learner Resourcefulness (ILR) and the Inventory of Learner Persistence (ILP). The ILR looks at a person’s intention to exhibit four behaviors and the ILP measures behavioral intentions. Both the ILR (1999) and the ILP (2001) have been revised three times with validity and reliability analysis since their creation and are licensed by the Human Resource Development Enterprises as part of the Learner Autonomy Profile (LAP). The LAP is considered externally and internally reliable. The research was performed on 492 adults who all completed the web-based version of the LAP (Ponton, 2005, pg. 119). The authors conclusions are supported by the research presented in the article. Houle (1961) believes that adult learners are motivated to participate in learning because those efforts are (1) either meant to accomplish a goal (2) seeking knowledge is personally gratifying and (3) and the activities are socially gratifying. Whereas, goal-oriented, learning-oriented and activity-oriented learners are all goal directed but the goal is different for each person. Ponton (1999) first described learner autonomy as “the characteristic of a person who independently exhibits agency in learning activities” (pp. 13-14). In addition, Chene (1983) defined learner autonomy as an independence to learn something at the discretion of the learner. In 2000, Ponton, Carr and Confessore theorized that “autonomous learning includes the exhibition of personal initiative, resourcefulness and persistence in one’s learning.” Bandura (1997) suggests that outcomes can take three major forms: physical, social and self-evaluative. Strong beliefs influence not only activity choice but also the degree to which goals are pursued in spite of the presence of obstacles. The investigation suggests “an adult’s persistence in autonomous learning is more related to the anticipation of future rewards of present learning, with or without the mediating influence ofRunning Head: SAMPLE4prioritizing learning over non learning activities, than with the mediating effect of choosing of learning over nonlearning activities,” (Ponton, 2005, pg.123). The motivation for an adult is the anticipation of the future rewards that learning may bring. However, life happens and sometimes things must be prioritized by order of importance and/or timelines. The research also suggests that although adults may have intentions on persistent behaviors in their learning activities that they may not always choose learning activities over nonlearning activities. Kuhl & Fuhrmann (1998) hypothesized that the activities that people participate in are directly related with how they see themselves. “Helping students to identify themselves as lifelong learners may facilitate choosing learning activities that are coincident with this ingrained self image,” (Ponton, 2005, pg. 126). A definite strength in the research is a hypothesized method that will help the learner become aware of the choices that are being made instead of participating in desirable learning activities. The author chose to discuss strategies that may help a learner choose learning over nonlearning activities.The study suggested that educators have students keep a log for a designated timeperiod (i.e. one week) tracking the time used daily for learning and nonlearning activities so they might be able to see the choices that they make. “The intent of this process is to foster an awareness of the implication of activity choices with respect to both time and value – selfmonitoring processes have been argued as being an important mechanism in developing selfregulated learners,” (Ponton, 2005, pg. 125). To do this effectively, the learner should track desired learning activities, benefits of participating, short and long values of the activity, time spent doing activity and if the activity was a nonlearning activity. The journaling may help learners see that choosing nonlearning activities over learning activities can be due to immediate gratification because of the outcome.Running Head: SAMPLE5Although the study had several strong points, there were a few weaknesses within the research. The researchers pointed out that life can happen and sometimes and no matter the level of persistence, one must choose nonlearning activities over learning activities. “This does not mean that valued learning activities are not still with the agent’s mind and that associated cognitive activities are still intended behaviors; however, it does mean that an adult must often choose other activities based on a multitude of responsibilities,” (Ponton, 2005, pg. 124). The research also suggests that the term “autonomous” is argued as domain specific. The example that was given in the article is one of an autonomous lawn mower; someone who anticipates the future reward, prioritizes over other activities, solves problems, etc. By definition, anyone can be an autonomous something (other than a learner) when they take the key concepts from the research. “Because choices are made with respect to activities that vie for one’s time and energy, if one has tendencies to exhibit autonomy in domains other than learning, then one will not be an autonomous learner,” (Ponton, 2005, pg.124). The results also suggest that the researched sample does not represent autonomous learners because it is not a dominant path. Derrick (2001) defined persistence as, “one’s attention to exhibit goal directedness, self-regulation and volition in one’s learning.” However, the definition does not support the work that has been done in this article as a learner might have persistence needed but sometimes may not choose to engage in learning over nonlearning activities because life happens. The implications of the work presented in this article will definitely enhance the understanding and motivation of adult learners. For example, the exercise of journaling and tracking personal time can help a non-traditional student see where their time goes and how they can make adjustments as they start or continue in school towards their goals. Also, an instructor can use the findings to see what motivates and distracts adults as students and use that inRunning Head: SAMPLE6program planning and in other areas. “To foster autonomous learning tendencies, it is hypothesized that educators should help students to increase their awareness of the implications of activity choices through active self-monitoring,” (Ponton, 2005, pg. 126). A positive image of oneself will also help the learner. If they see themselves as a lifelong learner or change their personal definition of themselves, then future learning activities will not be chosen over nonlearning activities. However, I think the author said it best knowing it is always about personal choice. “Learning activities are able to transform lives only if a learner chooses to engage in such activities,” (Ponton, 2005, pg. 127).Running Head: SAMPLE7 ReferencesBandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman. Chene, A.(1983). The concept of autonomy in adult education: A philosophical discussion. Adult Education Quarterly, 34(1), 38-47. Derrick, M.G. (2001). The measurement of an adult’s intention to exhibit persistence in autonomous learning (Doctoral dissertation, George Washington University, 2001). Dissertation Abstracts International, 62, 2533. Houle, C.O. (1961). The inquiring mind: A study of the adult who continues to learn. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Knowles, M.S. (1975). Self-directed learning: A guide for learners and teachers. New York: Association Free Press Kuhl, J. & Fuhrmann, A. (1998). Decomposing self-regulation and self-control: The volitional components inventory. In J. Heckhausen & C.S. Dweck (Eds.) Motivation and selfregulation across the life span (pp.15-49). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Long, H. (1989). Self-directed learning: Emergency theory & practice (pp.1-11). Norman, Okla.: Oklahoma Research Center for Continuing Professional and Higher Education, University of Oklahoma. Merriam, S.B. & Caffarella, R.S. (1999). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Oddi, L.F. (1987). Perspective on self-directed learning. Adult Education Quarterly, 38(1), 2131. Ponton, M. (2005). The Relationship between Resourcefulness and Persistence in Adult Autonomous Learning. Adult Education Quarterly, 55(2), 116-128. Ponton, M., Carr, P.B., & Confessore, G.J. (2000). Learning conation: A psychological perspective of personal initiative and resourcefulness. In H.B. Long & Associates (Eds.). Practice & theory in self-directed learning (pp. 65-82). Schaumburg, IL: Motorola University Press.
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