The benefits and opportunities available to educated individuals in Nigeria is “visible to the blind and audible to the deaf”. This made older generation decide to go to school to acquire more knowledge and improve on themselves. Technology has been undeniably beneficial in all aspects of our lives (education, health, commerce and governance) and it is obvious the traditional forms of print, (book and letter) is gradually fading and new forms have come into view with technology.
ICT, Information and Communication Technology is a broad-based technology that supports individual ability to manage and communicate information electronically, through the use of wireless network, cell phones and other communication devices.
So as not to be left out in what is happening in the world, adults in the society, take the opportunity of ICT to better and improve themselves.
Benefits of ICT in Adult Education
- With ICT, there is opportunity for distance learning and on line instructional materials are available anywhere and at any time to improve learning.
- It made education available not only to younger learners but older learners also.
- There is a common belief that the use of ICT in adult education will contribute to more constructivist learning and an increase in activity and greater responsibility of the adult learner (Volman, 2005).
Challenges of ICT in Adult Education.
- ICT may be perceived as setback for some adult learners because, some turn learning and studying time to leisure time when they switch to online gaming, Facebook and other communication channels while learning and gets carried away.
- The high cost and maintenance of technology is also another limitation, expensive parts, virus attacks of software and the computer. Furthermore, internet connection may also be interrupted due to poor network. Poor supply of power is also a limitation of ICTs use in adult education.
- The skill of the people implementing it. Adult educators don’t have professional skills with regard to ICT and integration into their existing curricula is a challenge.
- When integrating ICT into Adult Education, there is need to consider the relevance of the learning content to the learners. In terms of language, English is the dominant language used in teaching in Nigeria and this is one barrier in integrating ICT to adult education.
- Another great challenge is that most adult education centers especially in the rural areas are not equipped with ICT tools like computers, internet facilities and assistive technologies for disabled adults because of the huge cost involved.
The government is aware of the need for ICT development and training to improve people’s wellbeing and for economy sustenance and is making huge effort to ensure it. The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is part of the government’s commitment to ensure access to education by a large percentage of the population. The former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo recently badged a doctorate degree from this. Private and non-governmental organizations are also taking part in the provision of ICT training programmes and centers. In community centers, Adult education programmes are delivered through access centers such as community radio.
The Way Forward
- Special education specialist need to develop ICT tools, e-learning and distance education programmes and therapy services for adults and exceptional individuals in the community to enable help them benefit in learning.
- Adult educators should be trained on the use of ICT facilities and assistive technology. This will help exceptional/disabled adults to benefit from learning.
- Learning contents and language should cater for the need of adult learners. This will make them familiarise and understand what they are taught better.
There is need to integrate ICT in adult education to enable both adult educators and learners to be more responsive to new challenges in ICT. Integrating ICT in adult education programme would provide everyone with skills that can be used to develop and equip themselves in order to be relevant in this global age.
Written by Busayo Tomoh