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Capsule Education: Cultural Influences in Education Provision

McArdle, Deirdre (2007) Capsule Education: Cultural Influences in Education Provision. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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Abstract

The genesis of the study was an observation that contemporary culture seems to encourage consumers to purchase capsule products, such as food, holidays and decor, where the product is shaped by the provider and the input of the consumer is very limited. Anecdotal information would suggest that students, their perception shaped by the educational experience they have undergone, view education as a commodity and require that information be packaged for easy consumption. The purpose of this study is to ascertain if this, in fact, is the case, and to examine the current situation in education against the backdrop of an emerging trend that sees education as a product and students as consumers or customers. There appears to be a gap between what lecturers want to give, in terms of education, and what students wish to receive. This may be because students may be attuned to the postmodern whereas lecturers may be firmly rooted in modernity. The postmodern approach is one based on consumption where there is attachment to the fleeting and the ephemeral, where image is more important than reality, where there is a questioning of the old certainties. Modernity, on the other hand, is characterised by tradition and by certainty. The study is an international one carried out through surveys and interviews with lecturers and students. The findings provide overwhelming support for the hypothesis. They show that most students do not have all their essential texts, most consult these texts rarely or never, but, despite this, the vast majority expect to pass their examinations. Students like to have notes packaged for them in order to avoid having to undertake independent reading. They favour a minimalist approach and do not have an understanding of the "big picture". They do not engage with the education process and they rank knowledge third in importance, after a job and qualification, as an outcome of their course. Lecturers see the term "capsule education" as an appropriate one to describe the students’ approach and they experience a decrease in morale in the current situation. A seminal finding, discovered through Path Analysis, is that the cause of encapsulation comes from outside the remit of the study.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Capsule education; Third level education; Ireland; United Kingdom; Australia; South Africa; Finland; France; Modernism, Post modernism; Lecturers; Academics; Students.
Subjects: Social Sciences > Adult & Community Education
Item ID: 1334
Depositing User: IR eTheses
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2009 11:33
URI:

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