The Motivation of Francophone Adults to Use Assistive Technologies for Workplace Learning

May 10th, 2012 by Matthias Sturm

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Background: Due to all kinds of circumstances, a majority of francophone adults in minority settings must get training or upgrading while they are in the workplace. Distance education, e‑learning, learning objects and learning communities have had an undeniable impact on that type of learning. Assistive technologies are new tools that are increasingly used by adults to perform certain tasks, especially in the workplace. Aside from providing tools for people with disabilities, assistive technologies have other functions offering many advantages for learning. They were found to also have an instructional purpose. Therefore, we must consider the use of assistive technologies as new learning tools in the workplace. However, before generalizing the use of assistive technologies in the workplace, we must first understand the needs and challenges of their use.

Purpose: The purpose of this report is to offer an approach to understand and address the current situation of francophone adult learners in the workplace and what motivates them to use assistive technologies. More specifically, this report on assistive technologies and learner motivation is designed to help improve the instructional design of assistive technologies in order to prepare learners to develop and maintain new skills throughout their lives.

Research question and methodology: The main question of this research is how francophone adult learners perceive assistive technologies as they relate to solving learning challenges in workplaces where they are a minority. The method used by this exploratory research is a case study leading to a descriptive analysis of perceptions observed in learners regarding assistive technologies.

Results: This analysis resulted in two recommendations: 1) to test an adapted model of motivational dynamics highlighting the factors of francophone adult learners’ external and internal motivation, which relies on learning challenges and perceptions; and 2) to develop and support positive perception taking into account the advantages of assistive technologies in a broad francophone minority setting.

Issues: On the one hand, the motivators to use assistive technologies proposed here will allow practitioners to know exactly which factors motivate francophone adult learners to use assistive technologies in the workplace and to adapt their pedagogy accordingly. On the other hand, by focussing on internal motivations, practitioners will know precisely whether the assistive technologies they recommend to learners for their workplace training really help improve workplace skills. Consequently, knowing the motivations will help determine whether francophone learners are likely to use assistive technologies all their lives to develop their workplace skills.

Overview: This research provides a literature review on the use of information and communication technologies in training, followed by an analysis and recommendations.

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