Adult Learning In Agriculture: A South African Case Study of Responses to Printed and Digital Matter
The results of studies conducted in the agricultural sector of the RSA are offered and discussed. It is argued that when designing effective learning material for adult users, successful communication is the core challenge. In the conducted studies the focus fell on information dissemination aimed at educating adult small-scale farmers on best practices in agriculture. The aim with the studies was to discern whether adult learners interpreted the information offered to them in the way that the communicators intended it to be interpreted. An attempt therefore to determine the meaning adult learners attached to received information via different media. The first part of the paper reports on information conveyed via material in printed and digitised format. Criteria such as comprehension, usefulness, attractiveness and/or appreciation were used to investigate the reception of content carried by verbal and visual signs. The aim of the data analysis is to indicate the effectiveness of the communication process. Conclusions and recommendations regarding the preferred use of visual and verbal signs in this context are highlighted. The second part of the paper focuses on the effectiveness of information communicated to a similar target group via digitally born media. The findings in this part of the paper draw attention to the possible success of digital media (with its possibilities of e.g. animation and sound) in communicating the learning material effectively, in contrast to the static visual and verbal signs that are offered on paper. Conclusions involve the way in which visual and verbal signs have been used in the investigated media. Recommendations are made regarding what to avoided and what embrace when packaging information for adult learning.
Keywords: Communication Designs, Adult, Community And Workplace Literacies, Adult Learning, Adult Learning In Agriculture, Responses To Printed, Digitised And Born Digital Matter, Effective communication, Visual Signs, Verbal Signs, Animation, Sound
Dr Karen De Wet
Senior Lecturer, Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria
Associate Professor, Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria