Engaging Adult Literacy Learners: Investigating Problem Based Learning Object (PBLO) Use as a Possibility for Implementing Problem Based Learning (PBL) Online
A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts Graduate Department of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
Anecdotal evidence revealed that learners in an adult literacy program at a large school board in Ontario were disengaged–unable to identify opportunities to act in response to traditional pedagogy used to prepare them for science Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) assessments. Given the evidence that Problem Based Learning Objects (PBLOs), embedded in collaborative online learning environments, engage adult learners in science, a similar approach was adopted. A social, constructivist online learning environment and a PBLO were designed and introduced to four learners with the intent of fostering engagement in the form of “social practice.” Csikszentmihalyi’s (1990, 1997) “Flow” framework was used to measure learner emotion, the means through which activity during PBLO use was investigated. In response to the online experience, learners were able to identify opportunities to engage; however, a more longitudinal study is warranted to further understand the activities and interactions in terms of “social practice.”