Technical Reports

Accessibility and Inclusion in Learning Management System Design: Creating an Online Learning Platform for Lifelong Learners (2019)

Baker, A. (2019). Accessibility and Inclusion in Learning Management System Design: Creating an Online Learning Platform for Lifelong Learners. Arizona State University.

As the impact of technology on daily life continues to grow, online learning platforms for primary, secondary, post-secondary, and professional institutions find ways to: 1. Connect peers and instructors through digital communication, 2. Engage users more fully in learning, and 3. Provide access to resources that enhance deep-impact education. Online learning platforms, or learning management systems (LMS), are used to connect instructors and students through synchronous and asynchronous engagement tools, provide space for the transfer of resources and ideas, and track progress. However, these platforms were designed with more mainstream purposes - and more digitally savvy - users in mind. Adult learning programs (with members ages 50+) currently have no online learning and sharing platform specifically designed to fit the needs and desires of their users. Despite the multitude of barriers to successful use, adult learning programs recognize the need to engage with members digitally and are seeking an online learning platform centered around their users.
This project, utilizing best practices in technical communication and mixed methods user experience research, broadens the boundaries of communication design by creating an online learning platform prototype specifically for adults ages 50+ through the lens of information design, content management, and user experience outcomes.

Report on Distance Learning Research (2020)

Baker, A., Connaughton, K., Ehrlich, K., Haislet, J., Langhorst, S., Logue, J., Meehan, T., Montgomery, K., Walker, P., Pollock, V.

This report offers four areas of content based on research conducted by the Osher National Resource Center's Distance Learning Committee between April and October of 2019: Technologies for Distance Learning; Technology Usage and Older Adults; Online Learning Communities for Older Learners; and Online Pedagogy. It presents results from a survey of Osher Institute directors on distance learning, secondary research in distance learning, and, forecasts of distance learning within the OLLI network.

Report on the 2018 National Survey of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes’ Membership (2019)

Hansen, R. J., Thaxton, S. P., Connaughton, K., Talmage, C. A., & Knopf, R. C. (2019). Report on the 2018 National Survey of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes’ Membership. National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (Osher NRC), Northwestern University:  Evanston, IL.

This report presents the results of the third national membership survey of a representative population of the OLLI network, conducted in the fall of 2018 by Osher NRC. The Osher NRC’s recurring membership survey has three purposes: (1) identify demographic characteristics of the OLLI membership; (2) ascertain the extent to which the OLLI population reflects often-discussed characteristics of older adult lifelong learners; and, (3) identify course topic interests. Since 2016, the Research Review Committee of the Osher NRC selects a unique subject of interest to explore. The 2016 survey investigated OLLI members’ perceptions and realizations regarding the value of lifelong learning to older adults. The 2018 survey asked about OLLI members’ satisfaction with relationships and is discussed in this report. Finally, the results of this survey are compared to the two prior membership surveys conducted by Osher NRC in 2014 and 2016.