While much has been written about science education from pre-K through to postgraduate study, interaction with science and technology does not stop when schooling ends. Moving beyond scholarship on conventional education, this book extends the research and provides an original in-depth look at adult and lifelong learning in science and technology. By identifying the knowledge and skills that individuals need to engage in self-directed learning, the book highlights how educators can best support adult learners beyond the years of formal schooling. Through case studies and empirical analysis, the authors offer a research-based exploration of adults’ self-directed learning and provide tools to support adults’ learning experiences in a wide range of environments while being inclusive of all educational backgrounds.
Chapter 1: What Are Science and Technology?
The importance of science and technology
Scientific literacy and the public understanding of science
Finding a meaning for scientific literacy
What does it mean to be literate in science and technology?
Where does STEM fit?
What science and technology do people need to know?
Where can adults learn about science and technology and how can we help them?
Chapter 2: How Do Adults Learn Science and Technology?
To what extent do adults learn science and technology?
Models of learning
Models underlying a classical view of pedagogy
The main elements of the self-directed learning of science and technology
Theories of motivation and self-determination
Individual engagement with science and technology
Chapter 3: Learning to Deal with Medical Issues
Seeking solutions to health problems
Ana’s story: First pregnancy
Penny’s story: An "invisible disability"
Mary’s story: A lifelong challenge
Commentary on the three case stories
Chapter 4: Pursuing Personal Interests – Learning through Hobbies
Pursuing a life-long hobby
Richard’s Story: Building a Logie Baird televisor
Michael’s Story: Creating Complex Jewellery
Pursuing Environmental Interests
Tina’s Story: Surprise encounter with a bumblebee
Paulette’s Story: Opaque Aquifers and Other Matters
Commentary on the four case stories
Chapter 5: Learning to Help Others
Paul’s story: pop-up dinosaurs
Liz’s story: Science for Mothers
Tiki’s story: Interpreting plants
Kristen’s story: In the galleries
Warren’s story: A science of place
Commentary on the five case stories
Chapter 6: Learning for Work
Learning in and for the workplace
Hugh’s story: An experience of life-long learning
Ketan’s story: Understanding controversy
Keith’s story: Life is a garden
Commentary on the three case stories
Chapter 7: Learning Through a Diversity of Approaches: The Case of the Moon Diary
The influence of learning styles and multiple intelligences
Free pathways and motivation
The Moon Diary assignment
Initial responses: from confusion to elation
Choosing the theme
Chapter 8: Resources for Self-Directed Learning
How self-directed learners use resources
Electronic mass media
The Internet and social media
Quality of information portrayed by mass media
People as resources – experts, friends, peers and colleagues
Experts in the field
Friends, peers, and colleagues
Course-taking and teachers
Internet e-learning platforms
Self-directed learning at education institutions
Chapter 9: Learning from New Media
Characteristics of new media
Learning via the Internet: The digital divide
Motivation to search the Internet
Exploration and discovery
Learning about science through new media: Social networks
Hazards of new media
Judging a credible source
Helping people to learn from the Internet
Chapter 10: Supporting Self-directed Learning in Science and Technology
Essential skills for effective self-directed learning
Prerequisite personal resources for self-directed learners
Motivation toward the chosen task
Active engagement in learning
Self-efficacy as a learner
Partnerships for learning
Varieties of mentorship
Learning relationships in our case stories
Learning relationships and online media
How to support self-directed learners
Likely supporters of self-directed learners
Educators providing formal learning experiences
Specialists and community liaison people
Staff in the educational sections of cultural organisations
Chapter 11: Advancing the Cause of Adult Literacy in Science and Technology
Science in the school curriculum
Dealing with science and technology in everyday life
Technology in the school curriculum
The curricular relevance of STEM and STEAM
The relevance of an integrated curriculum
Developing literacy in science and technology
Increasing "Science Capital"
Providing knowledge and skills to facilitate universal scientific literacy
Achieving the goals of lifelong learning in science and technology
"This is a book of great lucidity and relevance by three world-leading academics. It examines data from a wide range of countries and powerfully shows the great potential for adult science education. The case studies it analyses are fascinating. This is a book that deserves to be read by all those who strive for a more scientifically literate society."
- Professor Michael J. Reiss, UCL Institute of Education, UK
"This book is unique in that it reviews the knowledge and skills that adults need to update and further their understanding of science and technology. Rooted in theories of adult learning, the authors describe how work or personal interests can spark a need-to-know, which then forms the starting point of a learning trajectory. The authors of this book bring a lifetime of expertise to the topic, and have the ability to write about it in a very accessible and engaging way. As such, it is highly recommended for educators, but also, and more importantly, for every person who thinks that they may be missing out or losing touch with science and technology."
- Professor Jan van Driel, The University of Melbourne, Australia
"This book, by three of the leading scholars in the field, provides an important and much overdue look at the way in which adults learn about science and technology. Through a series of case study accounts of adult engagement with science and technology, the authors build a strong argument for the importance of self-directed learning in science education."
- John Wallace, University of Toronto, Canada