Engaging the Disengaged – In Virtual Classrooms For Adult Learners


The title of the paper defines its purpose, given the fact that, the deployment of Information Communication Technology (“ICT”) based delivery medium for learning resources and academic courses curriculum, is fast approaching a plateau, both in the developed and developing economies. The attractive features of the advanced electronic & digital devices, and their portability in the cyber space, may be an attraction for the young learners or perhaps the only mode of learning for future generations (Shirley Bach et al. 2007). However in contrast the working adults as learners hard pressed for time, in need of learning a specific subject matter or with an underlying objective of acquiring a recognized qualification, would be seeking a medium, a forum and a methodology, for affective and customised delivery. In the absence of which such group of learners will be disengaged in face-to-face sessions and often log-out of the virtual sessions. The proposed “three dimensional (3D) methodology,” to meet these objectives is based on three factual precepts.

First the concept of Elvidagogy (Dhingra, ELFA2015) should be adopted and not pedagogy for adult learners, as the traditional term pedagogy implying dichotomy of authority and docility as a starting point, is not without its demerits (Presner as in Takis Kayalis et al. 2010). The term pedagogy has inherent connotations or a characteristic of child education from its origin, grounded in the Greco-Roman principles. The adult learning principles which are well ingrained in the term andragogy (Knowles et al., 2012, p. 57-63) are considered to be more appropriate for designers and developers of adult learning curriculum. Secondly, the adult learners referred to in this paper, imply working adults and not aged persons devoid or deprived of education in their youth years e.g. late starters. Thirdly, the working adults are more engaged in a forum where the desired learning objective is fulfilled in a shortest and most productive manner, otherwise they are disengaged quickly unlike young learners, who have to somehow complete a tertiary education program made available to them.

This paper recognizing the foregoing precepts is focused on a three dimensional (3D) delivery mechanism based on an ICT platform, to keep the adult learners fully engaged, both in face to face sessions and in virtual class rooms. The paper also discusses the findings of 3D sessions conducted in public forum, as well as in tertiary institution’s face to face class room setting, and virtual class room sessions. The early findings are encouraging enough to recommend this methodology for adoption or trial by professional trainers and academia.


Keywords: Andragogy; Virtual Classroom; 3D Learning Forum; Elvidagogy; Learning Designs;