Don’t forget the adult learners

In a recent post with the Sloan Consortium Group, Kathleen Ives shares her experience teaching at the University of Phoenix. While this institute might conger up controversial thoughts, it is one I have watched for some time. If UofP does one thing right, they understand and support their adult learners. They see them as busy individuals with full life responsibilities. They also see them as potentially new learners returning to school after many years.

In my research on online graduate students I found a variety of stories, needs, and skill levels. University of Phoenix seems to cater to these needs, and in one specific area theyrecognize the need to provide support for “re-learning and re-developing study, note-taking, and research skills.” These are essential skills for students pursuing a higher education. From my experience, most universities do not focus on developing these skills through substantive support. At times, it seems as if they expect students to develop these abilities on their own.

More important, as the article declares, adults are returning to school in large numbers to pursue a higher education. For some of these adults, it might have been awhile since they learned in a formal setting, searched academic journal databases, developed critical thinking, studied complex concepts, written formal essays, etc. Why not help them develop these skills? It would make for a successful and satisfied student, which I think is a main aim for the University of Phoenix. Good on them.