The Adult Learner's Opinions on the Integration of Critical Thinking Using Technology: A Qualitative Case Study

The Adult Learner's Opinions on the Integration of Critical Thinking Using Technology: A Qualitative Case Study

Author: 
Carol Nash
Program of study: 
D.M./IST
Abstract: 
This qualitative case study provided insight into college students’ experiences with critical thinking and technology integration in course delivery. Adapting to changes in adding higher order thinking skills and technology into class structure, administrators may need to modify existing curriculum to incorporate concentration on 21st century skills. The integration of innovative methods encourages the use of supportive technologies to assist educators in addressing creative lessons. The primary research question sought to determine the extent to which analytical skills and technical knowledge were perceived to be important to adult learners. Fifteen participants from the student body were enrolled in undergraduate programs in a two-year college. Data sources included responses from interviews and document review of transcribed information. Analysis methods for this study were the use of coding and categorization of ideas and themes. The themes include an anticipation of value from higher education, challenges with motivation while continuing education, and an expression of an imperative need for competent educators, and support of further expansion of computer knowledge, uncertainty of the initiation of critical thinking in daily lessons, a support of curriculum modification to encourage critical thinking using technology, and an individual benefit when employers, administrators, and educators work to integrate workplace skills in lessons. Results of the study are significant to educational leaders responsible for curriculum development because they identify areas where the expansion of learning can enhance marketable skills like problem-solving and technical aptitude. Research findings may lead to a consideration by institutions to enhance pedagogical practices.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to my daughter, for whom I am inspired daily to do my best. Without her support, understanding, and encouragement, I would not cherish this accomplishment as one the most gigantic triumphs of my life. A special dedication goes to my parents who inspired me set achievable personal goals, and a host of friends whose support gave me the confidence to persevere. For those who consoled me when I wanted to give up, who encouraged me when I was in despair, and who prayed for me all the way through this process, I dedicate this work to you.
Acknowledgements: 
First, I thank God with whom all blessings flow. Without His infinite wisdom, love, grace, and mercy, this work would not be possible. I will continue to give Him all praises, honor, and dedication for blessing me with the abilities to see this “possibility” become “reality”. I would like to acknowledge the support of my mentor, Dr. Rebecca Sanders. With your assistance, direction, and giving spirit, I pressed through some difficult situations and decisions on my journey. To my committee members, Dr. Pamela Brown and Dr. Sara Jimenez Soffa, I admire the professional experience you bring to the doctoral candidate and the finesse you deliver when encouraging others to function at their full potential. It is with utmost respect that I acknowledge your expertise. Thank you for my academic, financial aid, and being a support system, and providing the encouragement vital to the completion of this work. A special thanks to the participants, Dean of Education at the learning facility whose willingness made this research effortless.