Part 1: Introduction
Like all universities and colleges, the landscape is changing for seminaries. Increasingly, a seminary education is being pursued by individuals working in the ministry who approach theological education as a logical step in their professional career.
While overall enrollment numbers are showing a decline, over the most recent decade, the enrollment of men and women in the M.Div. and other master’s programs has increased substantially among younger individuals (folks in their 20s) and older adults (individuals in their 50s).
Combined with the availability of more flexible education models, many of these mature students are also opting to pursue their seminary education part time. This allows individuals who may be actively working in the ministry to pursue their education more affordably and at their own pace.
A modern learning management system (LMS) is well-suited to the needs of mature and part-time students. These learners need to flexibly fit education into their busy lives. They often are working to support the family and have other personal obligations while taking classes for their degree.
They need an LMS that allows them to progress through their studies at a personalized pace from home in the evening, on a lunch break at work or in a local coffee shop. An LMS that supports a competency-based education model is also important. These individuals come to their studies with experience, knowledge and perhaps a previous degree. Through competency based education (CBE), mature learners can gain credit for previous learning and experience and move more rapidly through topics that are already familiar to them while giving more time to areas that are new. This means someone pursuing a theological education such as an M.A. or M.Div. can progress more quickly through their degree (and with less of a financial burden) by demonstrating mastery of subject matter.
So how can you make sure your LMS provides support for mature learners? Stay tuned for part 2 of this series where we highlight the top 6 ways your LMS can help seminaries better support mature learners.