A qualitative analysis of adults' descriptions of their learning activities was conducted to determine those factors that organize nonformal learning but which apparently lie beyond the consciousness of the learner. It was hypothesized that the organizing circumstance (organizing factors external to the learner), rather than preplanning by the individual, is the directing force behind much adult nonformal learning. Nine formal and nine nonformal learners were interviewed to study their learning processes. Four major patterns surfaced repeatedly from respondents' accounts of their learning projects and provided a basis for establishing categories related to the circumstances affecting the learner. The four types were single event/anticipated learning, single event/unanticipated learning, series of events/related learning, and series of events/unrelated learning. Findings suggested five areas for additional research: effects of the setting and circumstance on structure of the learning project, effect of circumstances on learners when the educational level is controlled, varying abilities of individuals to extract learning opportunities and resources from personal life spaces, elements in structure of nonformal learning that ought to be incorporated into formal learning to increase its effectiveness, and learners' perceptions of organization of their projects. (YLB)
Presented at the National Adult Education Conference (DeKalb, IL, November 1981).
1 - Available on microfiche
Kirschner (E.J.) and Associates, Washington, DC.; Missouri Univ., Kansas City. Center for Resource Development in Adult Education.