University of Jyvaskyla (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 952-956
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.0344
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
In recent decades, the talk of lifelong and continuous learning has become an internationally prevailing trend. Lifelong learning has many meanings depending on the interests and the determinants. On the other hand, lifelong learning is understood in the context of adult education as the OECD's contribution to market-liberal social and economic governance. In this case, the main actor is the individual with responsibilities and duties to ensure social competitiveness. On the other hand, lifelong learning is defined by adult education, cultural democracy, narrowing educational disparities and cultural equality.

In the ethos of lifelong learning and in the spirit of continuous education, many adults are optimistic and goal-oriented towards open university studies. Adult agency would seem to appear in accordance with the ideal concept. The Open University also seeks to take into account the everyday boundaries of a heterogeneous group of adult learners through flexible arrangements, thereby creating equal opportunities for learning.

But sometimes, and in fact, very often, open university adult student studies do not progress and the students do not graduate. For these undergraduate and zero-advanced students, there is little visibility from the spotlight of top performers. Who are these students who enrol and pay, but who do not progress at all? What kind of obstacles do they face when they are not studying?

In the study, we wanted to give voice to this quiet but quantitatively large group of zero-advanced students.
The research material was acquired through an online survey. The survey was sent to 414 students and was answered by 185 students, with a response rate of 45%. The survey contained both quantitative and open-ended questions.

According to the analysis, the reasons for the lack of progress in studies seem to be related to the lack of academic study skills and competences and the challenges of time management. Those who didn't advance in their studies wanted ready schedules and teacher-oriented guidance. A meta-level awareness of the nature of academic study and the process-oriented development of academic skills appear to be central when trying to understand the phenomenon.

And finally, using concept of Zero-advanced students is a conscious choice, through which we want to emphasize the power of used language and words and quantifying – also when regarding learning. We do not refer to the value of the individual or the inefficiency of learning, even if it is not seen as a performance and credits, learning can take place in many ways. In this paper we challenge to reflect and discuss the phenomenon of more widely, to outline the backs and blind spots.
Open university, adult student, zero-advanced student.