A comparison of assistance used by field-dependent and field-independent adults engaged in self-planned learning
Author(s)Weigel, Randolph R.
Adult and extension education
Adult and Continuing Education Administration
Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching
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AbstractThe purpose of this investigation was to compare field-dependent and field-independent adult learners on the importance of assistance in self-planned learning. Fifty-seven adult learners were interviewed concerning the extent of their self-planned learning efforts. They were given the Embedded Figures Test, an instrument identifying tendencies toward field-dependent or field-independent cognitive style. They were also asked to complete three, researcher designed checklists examining the importance of assistance to self-planned learning;Checklist one listed 20 sources of assistance learners use in self-planned learning. Ten sources of assistance were categorized as human sources (involving interaction with people) and ten were categorized as nonhuman (interaction with materials or inanimate objects). Checklists two and three studied the types of assistance adults receive from human and nonhuman resources during their learning efforts;The study failed to reject eight hypotheses and rejected two. Field-dependent learners did report that nonhuman sources of assistance were more important to their learning than was reported by field-independent learners. The importance of nonhuman sources of assistance was found to be a predictor of reported satisfaction with self-planned learning. No significant difference between field-dependent and field-independent learners was found on the importance of human or nonhuman assistance during the process of choosing, planning, or implementing self-planned learning;The study identified areas needing further investigation including: a more precise examination of the behavior of self-planned learners when engaged in choosing, planning, and implementing learning projects; further study of those sources of assistance that aid or hinder self-planned learning; a more detailed comparison of the learning behavior of those adults possessing strong field-dependent or field-independent cognitive tendencies in lieu of studying the behavior of adults with varying degrees of field-dependence or field-independence.