Assessing adult learning preferences using the analytic hierarchy process
This study examined graduate students’ preferences among a set of four learning activities commonly employed in adult educational settings. It evaluated the applicability and value of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, AHP, developed by Saaty as a quantitative tool for empirical research in assessing preferences. The four activities suggested by the literature on adult learning are (a) lectures (b) in-class discussion and reflections, (c) group-based projects and (d) individual projects. A secondary focus of the study was on whether the students’ perceptions depended upon their innate primary learning style. The results of the study confirm that adult graduate students prefer to learn by discussion and reflection as opposed to lecture and prefer individual to group projects. These findings were independent of learning style as apportioned among the visual, auditory and kinesthetic types. Implications of these results are discussed.