Learning for being: an ontological and existential approach

Taylor & Francis Inc
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Lifelong Education, 2007, 26 (4), pp. 363 - 384
Issue Date:
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This paper will investigate the ontological and existential learning experience of a group of laterlife computer learners in Sydney, Australia. The research, undertaken as a PhD project, focused on the interpretation and understanding of the learning experience from the perspective of the learners. Hence, a qualitative method was used because it enabled existential insights into the learning experience and privileged the voices of the participants. A hermeneutic phenomenological method was considered suitable because of its emphasis on understanding the lived experience of people. The research found that participants wholeheartedly believed in the worth of the learning they were undertaking. They felt that the outcomes from learning would lead to greater opportunity for participation in their lifeworld. Without computer skills and knowledge they believed they would be ignored and relegated to a peripheral position as observers in their lifeworld. Their purposes and expectations in undertaking learning were situated in the changing nature of the world and a desire to continue to live their lives authentically, as participants and not spectators. Learning for the people in the study provoked both ontological and existential questions that demanded answers. The author believes that the findings from this particular research could be used to inform other studies involving both adult learners and lifelong learning.
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