Shopping for Knowledge: An Alternative Environment for Learning

  • Gillian Joseph University of Guelph


Educators who provide only traditional environments for post-secondary adult education often overlook the fact that a diverse mature student population requires a variety of formats and environments in which to learn effectively. Moreover, although universities and colleges continue to emphasize their mandates to serve the community, the definition of "community" itself is undergoing radical change. This paper suggests that the shopping mall has become an environment in which many North American adults seek out and find a strong sense of community. Furthermore, because people perceive the mall as a pleasant place to be, it is potentially an ideal milieu in which to facilitate adult learning, particularly via the Internet. As private agencies increasingly move to set up and tap the commercial value of such ventures, it is becoming increasingly important for universities and colleges to provide leadership.