How Adult Students are Growing Higher Education

A USA Today interview with the VP of New Partner Development at the Wiley Education Services, Gene Murray revealed adult learners have different needs from teenagers, who were the bulk of traditional students in the past years. They are prompting higher institutions of education to change their models.

Below are the key points from Murray’s interview.

Provision of Learner Tailored Program

The method of instruction at institutions develops with time. Specialization to provide prompts information and is one of the ways how adult students are growing higher education. Higher education providers have tremendous expertise in subject matters, placing them as designated institutions for learners who want to progress academically. The current adult learning population does not focus on broader knowledge but specific skills that advance their career.

The main focus of these learners is to attain ongoing education that instills specific skills to advance in technology, healthcare, teaching, or other professions. Today’s adult learners focus on finding opportunities matching their specific careers because of commitments that limit time and flexibility. Institutions that provide learning opportunities were challenged to align their programs with their adult learners’ personal responsibilities and career paths.

Customization of Programs to Suit Learner Preferences

Adult learners have deviated from studying for an undergraduate then a master’s to gain a full degree. Institutions have been forced to rethink their models to accommodate this class that requires ongoing education for professional career advancement certification. Traditional learning experiences that did not address the unique needs of learners compelled higher education institutions to change their delivery and meet the following requirements:

  • Flexibility to accommodative work or family responsibilities
  • Allow faster completion (with cost consideration in place)
  • Deliver specific skills that contribute to career advancement

Introduction of Remote Learning Technology

Traditional learning requires in-person attendance for students and instructors. The need to personalize lessons for today’s adult learners led to the introduction of technology in classrooms. The change came to be since many adult learners are frequently away from campus, and their needs are different from a conventional 18-year-old. It is harder to engage them. Higher education institutions are adopting technology tools like behavioral analytics. The tools have information and means to facilitate institutions to communicate better with adult learners on their terms to improve persistence.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org