adult learners

How to Help Adult Learners Stay Motivated and Stress-Free

Most people think of college students as young, twenty-somethings who have few responsibilities beyond academics. As instructors we know that many of our students are over the age of 25, have a job and a family to support. They have returned to school driven by a motivation to change careers, advance in their profession or complete a degree that was begun years ago. However, despite a firm motivation to succeed, these students face incredible challenges and stresses. What can we do as instructors to smooth their way and help them stay on track with their goals?

The advantage of

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Coursework-life Balance Skills for Adult Learners

According to the Lumina Foundation, of all undergraduate college students, 38 percent are older than age 25, 58 percent work, and 26 percent are also raising children. Because of financial pressures and competing obligations, adult learners are much less likely to complete their education. While older and more mature than the “traditional” college student just out of high school, these students must deal with pressures that can be daunting to even the most motivated student. In order to promote student success and student engagement, colleges must understand their needs and make serving those needs a fundamental part of their Read More…


Classroom Practices for Learners of All Ages

Guest Contributor: Sherri Singer, Alamance Community College.

As you look out over your classroom this semester there will be a variety of learners from ages 16 to 64+ staring back at you. While it may seem like there is a vast difference in their learning preferences and backgrounds, the reality is they have a lot in common.
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Questions to Help Adult Learners Set Their Success Strategies

Typically, the adult learners in your course want to succeed, and they are quite driven towards achieving success. However, most are also balancing many responsibilities, activities, and commitments at home, work, and elsewhere. As a result, they may have an ultimate goal in mind (a certificate or diploma that leads to a job)… but, they may benefit from additional encouragement and support, as well as a “refresher” on the specific traits, positive habits, and attitudes that enable them to earn academic success. In the Instructor’s Manual for her text, The Adult Learner’s Companion: A Guide for the Adult College Student, Second Edition, Deborah Davis provides a set of ten Read More…


Digital in the Classroom: An Adult Learner’s Perspective

How do adult learners perceive the use of digital solutions in the classroom? Let’s find out by asking one ourselves. We recently spoke with JoAnna Zalkovsky, a student at Navarro College. Joanna, a member of the panel for “STUDENTS UNFILTERED: Digital in the Classroom,” Cengage Learning’s session to take place during SXSWedu 2016, is an adult learner in the nursing program and also serves as secretary of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter. Below, Joanna discusses why she believes it’s important to include students in the conversation about digital in the classroom.  

Why is it important to hear from students

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Adult Learners: Mastering the Balancing Act of College Life

With all they’re balancing in life and in their education, adult learners (students who begin college at age 25 or above) have some added challenges that students attending college fresh out of high school may not. We recently surveyed thousands of adult learners to find out more about the types of responsibilities they’re balancing.

Balancing acts

Naturally, each balancing act is as unique as the individuals themselves. As expected, the vast majority of respondents are also balancing full or part-time work. Many are also balancing family life on top of school and work, some being single parents. In addition to this, we must all make Read More…


Adult Learners on Stress in College

Despite all they’re balancing in life and in their education, adult learners (students who begin college at age 25 or above) seem to find college challenging—but perhaps not overwhelmingly so, as compared to those who begin college fresh out of high school. In fact, we recently surveyed thousands of adult learners to learn more about their experiences in college. Only 9% of students 25+ say that their experience has been difficult. The vast majority (79%) say their experience in college has been “moderate,” suggesting that adult learners actually may have a leg up on traditional students, who tend to be a bit more Read More…


Top 5 Life Skills That Aid Adult Learners in Higher Education

Despite all they’re balancing, adult learners (students who begin college at age 25 or above) find college challenging—but perhaps not overwhelmingly so. We recently surveyed thousands of adult learners to learn more about their experiences in college. The majority, 69% of students 25+ say that their life skills “definitely” help them manage college, as compared to students who enter directly after high school. Life experiences account for a lot of our intellectual strengths. Experiences let you learn how best to interact with the people and world around you, how to manage stress, and how to prioritize your time. These are Read More…


Supporting the Success of Adult Learners

How do you engage the adult learners in your courses? What activities and strategies might work to enhance their learning in your classroom and their overall success in college? And, how can you enable them to see that what you’re covering is relevant to their academic, personal, and professional goals, as well as to their daily lives? If you teach the College Success course, or if you have a number of adult learners in your classes, you likely have these types of questions on your mind. In their recent webinar “Adult Student Success: How Does Awareness Correlate to Program Completion?” Read More…


Four Things Adult Learners Wish Their Instructors Knew

The adult learners in your courses have many of the same wants and needs as the “traditional” students: your insights and perspectives on the topics you cover, a solid understanding of the material they need to master in order to succeed, and, ultimately, good grades. However, because of their stage in life, adult learners do bring some unique wants and needs to the table. But what, exactly, might those be? In our recent Student Engagement Insights survey, we asked students twenty-five years and older: “what do you wish your instructors understood about your needs?” As we read through their responses, Read More…