Take a look at what adult students expect from their education and see if your VLE is prepared.
Disruption in undergraduate education has arrived in many forms. From virtual and augmented reality, to vegan lunch options in the cafeteria. But because of the increase in institutions offering fully online course offerings, a new batch of students has been tapped for enrolment: the adult learner. In fact, adult learners are poised to represent over 41% of undergraduate students by 2019.
Online courses take the lead for learners
Technology, such as a higher education VLE, has been the key driver to opening up learning opportunities for those individuals seeking a undergraduate education or to upgrade professional skills and training, who might otherwise have missed out. Taking night classes and working slowly through 4-year degrees is a major commitment that simply doesn’t encourage great student success. But having access through a higher education VLE to an online course, or to be able to take advantage of the efficiency of a competency-based program can be very attractive to the time-wary learner, who might possibly be:
- A busy parent
- Full-time employed
- Someone living in a remote community
Adult learners need greater flexibility
Higher ed institutions are now re-thinking the boundaries of their campuses and are looking to technology to extend their reach to include as many students as possible. Time commitment is a major factor for any student. Having the ability to study, do assignments, and research while not at a physical campus means a great deal to them. The same flexibility is an advantage to lecturers. For example, the traditional practice of marking a giant stack of essays has been a fatiguing process. Technology now allows them the ability to interact one-on-one with each student individually as they progress through the writing process. Because these interactions are immediate and (in some cases) real-time, more attention can be paid to the writing, leading to improved student outcomes and less stress upon instructors.
Higher education VLE needs mobile accessibility
Part of what makes flexible learning so attractive is the ability to access the higher education VLE, course content, resources, and instructor communication from anywhere and at any time. The rise of tablet and smartphone technology has opened up new channels of opportunity. But are universities and colleges keeping up with the demand? There is greater need for institutions to review their current online learning environment to determine if they’re prepared for the increase in online course offerings.
When considering a higher education VLE specifically designed for colleges, universities and community colleges, look for tools that enable mobile access, such as a VLE with responsive design. Ensure that course content is attractive on any device. Then consider the trend towards online learning and examine your institution to determine if it’s ready for an increase in enrolment from this growing demographic group. See the exciting story of how Kaplan University is addressing the needs of its adult learners.