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Laying the Foundations: Transitional Experiences of Mature Students in an Irish Further Education Setting

Delahunt, Alison (2016) Laying the Foundations: Transitional Experiences of Mature Students in an Irish Further Education Setting. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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The aim of this study is to explore the transitional experiences of mature students in an Irish Further Education (FE) setting. In exploring my research area, I decided upon two main areas for focus including; the motivation of mature students coming to FE as well as the first-term challenges experienced amongst mature students in relation to, confidence, assessments, digital competence and learning with younger peers.

Qualitative research was the adopted methodology for this study. Semi-structured interviews were the chosen data collection method as they facilitated an in depth exploration of my areas of interest. Non-probable purposive sampling was used to recruit eight participants who were studying in Further Education at the time. Open-ended questions were used to ensure that the interviews kept in close alignment to the research questions throughout

The findings in this study suggest that participants were both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to come to FE, with all participants indicating towards passion and interest for their subject area. In addition, participants indicated that a trigger of some form (such as unemployment) was responsible for leading them to FE at this point in time. Additionally, this study revealed other insights into the mature learner transition including; a fear of academic failure, lack of foresight about the workload, feelings of digital incompetence as well as tensions experienced when learning alongside younger peers. The findings of this research provides educators, providers of education and other stakeholders interesting insights into the area of transition for mature learners in an FE context.

It is important to note that while these findings have accurately represented the accounts of eight participants, they cannot be deemed representative of the mature learner population. This research was refined to one college, and so was not comparable with other FE settings.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Learning and Teaching
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ní Mhaicín
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2016 10:02
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2016 09:09

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