Type of Document Dissertation Author Purdy, Martha Leete Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-52198-23399 Title Adult Experience of Learning From Novels Degree Doctor of Education Department Adult and Continuing Education Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Stubblefield, Harold W. Committee Chair Belli, Gabriella M. Committee Member Boucouvalas, Marcie Committee Member French, J. L. Committee Member Wiswell, Albert K. Committee Member Keywords
- adult education
- adult learning
Date of Defense 1998-06-16 Availability restricted AbstractM. L. PURDY
The Adult Experience Of Learning From Novels
Novel readers may not necessarily read with the primary
intention of learning from their novels, but it is known
that learning is frequently an outcome. Literature on novels
describe their content as both factual and philosophical
opportunities to learn but do not describe them in terms of
adult learning theory. A study by Radway (1984) found that
readers of formula romance have complex learning outcomes
from their reading but this was related to literature on
novels rather than adult learning theory.
Conversely, although learning is a known outcome of novel
reading, literature on adult learning theories and research
have taken little notice of novel reading as an opportunity
to learn. Yet reading novels is an activity in which
millions engage. The nature of reading as a highly personal,
self-directed activity, suggested a literature review of
theory pertaining to self-directed learning, informal
learning and how adults make meaning.
The purpose of the research was to explore the experience of
learning novels; how reading contributes to knowledge,
understanding of environment, and social and
self-understanding in the context of adult learning theory.
The research problem asked what evidence novel readers
provide for making meaning as a result of their reading and
what they do with that learning outcome. Research was
conducted with individual interviews of five regular novel
readers which served as case studies. Analysis was done by
coding each interview paying particular attention to
relationships to personal history, types of learning
suggested and their effects. Case studies were then cross
coded to discover trends and patterns.
Findings showed that respondents used novels to be
entertained and escape from their daily responsibilities,
but along the way they also experienced a variety of types
of learning. They collected new information they found
personally interesting or added to an existing knowledge
base, challenged their perspectives to think abut themselves
and others in new ways. There was also a variety of uses for
what they had learned. Respondents reported believing they
have a broader knowledge base, could more effective interact
with others, arrive at greater self-awareness, and in a few
instances change behavior.
The experience of learning from novels is a remarkable
combination of self-motivation and self-direction undertaken
for pleasure, yet incidentally can result in a range of
learning outcomes including building a more complex
knowledge base, constructivist organization and
interpretation of information, critical reflection about
self and others, and transformation of understanding to
result in change.
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