Abstract: This study was conducted to investigate the difference in the academic performance of adult learners in Economics when taught with learning materials and without learning materials. The main purpose of the study was to examine the performance effectiveness of adult learners in Economics when taught with learning materials. To realize the purpose of the study, two research questions and corresponding two hypotheses were formulated to give direction to the study. The quasi experimental design was employed in the course of the study and a sample size of 80 senior secondary school two adult students who offer Economics was selected from a population of 150 using simple ballot sampling technique. Data for the study were generated from Economics Achievement Test (EAT). 40 (20 male and 20 female) of the students were taught with learning materials while 40 (20 male and 20 female) were taught without learning materials. Both groups were subjected to the same set of Economics test at the same time. Their scores were analyzed using independent t-test from the results obtained, only one of the null hypotheses was upheld which indicate that gender has no significant effect on the performance effectiveness of adult learners in Economics when taught with learning materials. The other null hypotheses were rejected showing that learning materials enhance performance effectiveness of adult learners in Economics. It was concluded that learning materials enhance performance effectiveness of adult learners in Economics. Based on this conclusion, it was recommended among others that Economics teachers should use leaning materials when giving classroom instruction as it enhances easy understanding of the lesson and increase performance effectiveness of the learners.
1.1 Background to the Study
Learning in all ages is considered fundamental human rights as it represents a basic human need. So, a deliberate attempt has to be made to highlight the significance of promoting the process among adults in all societies. For instance, the year 1990 was promoting declared international literacy year following the Jomtien Conference that was held in the reassertion of faith in adult learning and literacy education. It raised concerns for the provision of learning opportunities for all, including those who are excluded and unreached. Attention was also drawn to the need to link literary to social, cultural and economic development aspirations of people, improve the quality of literary programme, teaching and enrich the literacy environment in developing nations (Eccles, 2001).
It was in recognition of this that United Nations Economic Social and Cultural (UNESCO) (2006) described literacy as a dynamic concept, formerly understood as just reading and writing and basic numeracy. The concept has now been enlarged to encompass a whole of more complex and divers skills and understanding. Unfortunately, while advanced nations are succeeding in their efforts to eliminate illiteracy, developing countries are not making much meaningful progress and one aspect of such defect is associated with the anagogical process.
The dangers of illiteracy in the 21st Century are immense as presently experienced in some states. To achieve modernization, accelerated transformation of the economic and democratization of development institutions, meaningful and sustainable literacy activities are he keys. This is because, no democratic government can thrive in the midst of illiteracy, and no economy has space for illiterate in the 21st Century due to high technological changes as occasioned by globalization (Ogili and Nzeneri, 2001). The success of any illiteracy programme therefore, depends on the adequacy and how effectively the human and effectively the human and materials resources are deployed. Gayne, Briggs and Wager (1992) pointed out that for adult learning to be effective, instruction must be properly planned and designed in a systematic say and that, the steps to instructional design models must include:
- developing the outcomes of instructions;
- developing the effectiveness of instruction; and
- Evaluating the effectiveness of instruction.
It is however observed that some adult literacy instructors have little or no idea about the establishment methods of andragogy, because they are inexperienced (untrained) and as such, find it difficult to adapt perfect to the settings.
Literatures on the correlation between poor academic achievement and high dropout rate among adult learners show poor andragogical context, lack or near inadequate instructional materials and difficulty in getting required instructional materials or resources (Ellinton & Race, 1993; Akinyemi, 1992; Nzeneri,, 2005; Mba, 2004).
Adult instructors are seen as planners and organizers of the learning environment who seek to effect change in the learner’s behaviour, preserve attitudes and habits which are useful in any society and introduce new ideas and concepts (Zuofa, 2001). The adult educator is then seen as a resourceful manager of scarce educational materials and finance, in order to improve on the teaching-learning process.
Hence, instructional materials and learning resources are associated with objects, persona or other aspects of the environment which can be used to impact, or help in any learning activity. Instructional materials are intermediate or mediating materials used in instruction or teaching learners so as to make the learning objectives clearer and teaching easier. A careful explanation of a subject may not absolutely lead to a better understanding of that particular subject by adults, whereas, the use of teaching aids or instructional materials provides clarity on issues that are of learning interest to the adults (Knowles, 1996; Ezimah, 2004; Angaye, 2002).
In Akwa Ibom State, government and non–governmental organizations have established many literacy centers such as those managed by the agency for adult and non-formal education, national youth services corps, and mission literacy centers among others. In realization of the functions that learning aids to play in the classroom setting, the Federal Government of Nigeria (2004); in her National Policy on Education (2004) stated categorically that adult educators will be required to participated more actively in the production and assessment of educational and instructional materials respectively as well as evaluation of technical innovation and new techniques. This position implies that the production of these resources that can be improved at little or no cost could be undertaken by facilitators in the various andragogical settings. In addition, those instructional materials that are already produced for use at the literacy centres must be evaluated constantly to ensure that they remain useful, suitable and adequate for the purpose of sustain employment-based skills.
Instructional materials are mean to serve adult educators who are constantly engaged in the andragogical process (Knowles, 1996). This engagement is effective only to the extent that they apply the instructional materials. Thus, the national policy on statement implies that facilitators should not only produce, but utilize instructional materials in the andgragogical settings.
Instructional materials results in more effective learning of actual information in less time than verbalization. Mba (2004) agrees that picture as instructional materials can stimulate and help further study; help learners to take active interest in the topic presented development of emotional impact on the learners and affect their attitude towards what is portrayed. The usefulness of these materials depend on what the facilitators make out of them. Unless the facilitators use these materials and direct learners attention to what they should look for, the adult learners will not benefit much intended from such martial’s.
The success of any literacy programme therefore depends on a resourceful facilitator who plans the instructional materials to be used for adults learning, and also, having experienced in the fields of teaching or educating adults. Sadly, to observe however that instructional materials are not readily available in most centres and so, no effective usage and the resultant effect is likely that the andragogical process is grossly compromised. Given the fact that the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004) provides that facilitators are to improvise and utilize instructional materials in the process of instructional delivery. It is very doubtful if instructional materials are adequate and effectively put into use at the various literacy centres for the benefit for adult learners.
Economics as a subject came into existence in 1776 via the publication of Adam Smith – the protagonist of the classical school of thought; and since then, it has assumed many roles especially in both political and educational circles. The study of Economics is dichotomized into two major parts, namely microeconomics and macroeconomics. While microeconomics studies the behavior and operations of the individual units (housefuls, firms and government agencies) in the economy, macroeconomics studies the entire economy in aggregate and average (Umoh, 2007). According to Aromolaran (2006), three major languages are used in teaching and communicating economic ideas. These languages include theory or verbal, geometric or graphical, and algebraic or mathematical language.
Economics is an important subject and as such, sound academic foundation at the secondary school level is needed from students before gaining admission into any tertiary institutions especially the university to study relevant courses like Accountancy, business administration, insurance, etc. The importance and technicality of this subject makes it necessary that relevant instructional materials should be used to teach it to the learners. This fact is supported by Macaulay (1989) who asserts that visual aids make lesson come alive and help students to learn better.
Poor academic achievement in economics could be attributed to many factors among which teacher’s strategy itself was considered as an important factor. This implies that the mastery of Economics concepts might not be fully achieved without the use of instructional materials. The teaching of Economics without instructional materials may certainly result in poor academic achievement. Franzer, Okebukola and Jegede (1992) stressed that a professionally qualified economics teacher no matter how well trained, would be unable to put his ideas into practice if the school setting lacks the equipment and materials necessary for him or her to translate his competence into reality.
It is against this background that this study attempts to examine the extent to which the utilization of instructional materials could advance adult learner’s academic performance in economics in Etinan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The act of teaching is fundamentally concerned with passing ideas, skills and attitude from the teacher to the learner. In Nigeria, for example, experience has shown that spoken words alone in the communication of ideas are grossly ineffective and inefficient in producing desired learning outcomes. Every year, when the results of public examination are released, there has always been mass failure in Economics. The reasons for this could be ascribed to the fact that there are topics in Economics that pose serious problem of comprehension to students. These topics cannot be taught effectively without the use of relevant instructional materials to make the learning practical. On the foregoing, scholars like Mutebi and Matora (1994) have emphasized the effect of instructional materials utilization on teaching and learning. According to them, we learn and remember 10% of what we hear, 40% of what we discuss with others and as high as 80% of what experience directly or practice. However, the questions here are; Does the use of instructional materials really influence students’ academic performance? Is teaching effectiveness enhanced by the use of instructional materials? Could students’ learning be advanced by the use of instructional materials? Finding answers to these questions and more summarizes the entire problem of this study.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The general objective of this research was to examine the extent to which learning materials can enhance the effective academic performance of adult learners in Etinan Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. Specifically, this study was se to:
- Determine the difference between the performance effectiveness of adult learners taught with learning materials and those taught without learning materials.
- Determine the difference between the academic performance of male and female adult learners taught with learning materials.