Ghost Bear, A. (2012). Technology, Learning, and Individual Differences. Journal of Adult
Education, 41(2), 27-42. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
Adult learning is often motivated by a need to understand something that is applicable to real-life situations. Anne Ghost Bear describes some of the individual differences found when people are teaching themselves a skill. In this study, individuals participated in surveys to help determine the type of self-directed learner they were when they taught themselves the skills needed to purchase and sell items on eBay. The article describes how learners were identified as falling into three different categories. These categories include the navigator, the problem solver, and the engager.
This article discusses the approach each type of adult learner took to understand the skills and nuances needed to be successful using eBay. It provides ample descriptions of the different types of learners and how they went about learning the skill. It also provides appropriate quantitative data to show which type of learners were most successful in learning these skills.
While the insights gleaned from this study are focused on the learners who taught themselves this one online auction tool, the data gathered provides ways to better understand the methods that work for many adult learners. The descriptions of how they learned on their own can help to create learning opportunities for individuals that mimic these methods. Because adult learners are driven by different motivations than children, research like this can give those who instruct adults some different learning opportunities that will be beneficial and allow them to get the most out of their learning experience.