Exploring the characteristics, motivations, teaching methods and barriers of masters students as adult learners at Makerere University
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Understanding adult learners is critical in higher education. My study aimed at exploring the characteristics, motivations, teaching methods and barriers of masters’ students as adult learners at Makerere University. My study was guided by four objectives namely; 1) to explore the characteristics of masters’ students as adult learners in Makerere University.2) To explore the motivations of masters’ students as adult learners at Makerere university.3) To explore the teaching methods used by instructors in the teaching and learning of masters’ students at Makerere University as well as 4) to explore the barriers faced by masters students as adult learners at Makerere University. I reviewed literature on my objectives in the United States, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Uganda. Using a qualitative approach, My participants revealed that they possessed characteristics such as such as joining voluntarily, having many commitments, they are self-directed and self-motivated, they were part-time learners, joined their studies with experience and are in ages of forties. My participants also revealed that they are motivated to persist with their studies because of their desire for more knowledge, need to obtain more money, need for academic and professional growth, support in form of money and counseling from families and friends as well as their desire to have job security. My participants showed that the instructors used the discussion, lecture, research-based, experimentation, field tours and problem solving methods to help them learn. My participants further revealed that they faced barriers related to finances, time, programme design and schedules, lock down, absence of laboratory equipment and the attitude of research supervisors while pursuing their studies at Makerere University. My study concluded that some masters’ students are indeed adult learners. My study concluded that some masters’ students are more intrinsically than extrinsically motivated to persist with their studies at Makerere University. My study also concluded that some instructors used mostly learner centered methods to help those masters’ students to learn at Makerere University. My study also concluded that some masters’ students faced more institutional than individual barriers while pursuing their studies at Makerere University. My study therefore recommends the need to design flexible programmes, short trainings for the staff and students about adult learning and graduate students’ motivations, provide scholarships to some of the graduate students and to provide a conducive environment to graduate students at Makerere University.