Series # :
  ETAOP 2008-09
Title :
  Flexible Learning Options for Adult Students
Release Date :
Abstract :

This paper takes a close look at emerging trends in public postsecondary education that offer adult learners more flexible access to courses and help accelerate their progress through credential programs.  The authors have examined the literature and conducted interviews with public postsecondary education practitioners and research experts and fielded two surveys with state-level experts in an effort to identify promising practices, good program models, and barriers to program development and diffusion.

The paper begins with a framework that categorizes various approaches to flexible and accelerated learning including alternative scheduling and locations such as weekend courses and workplace-based courses.  Also included in the framework are alternative course and program designs such as modularized courses and accelerated programs.  Finally, distance learning is touched upon.  The authors then provide profiles of programs at community colleges – where most adult learners are enrolled – from across the country, including the Community College of Denver, Madisonville Community College in Kentucky, Housatonic Community College in Connecticut, and Mt. Hood Community Colleges in Portland, Oregon, and a Washington State program.  The authors report on their analysis of data from interviews and surveys on barriers to institutions developing and implementing more flexible and accelerated programs designs to better fit adult learners’ needs.  The top three barriers include lack of financing to redesign and/or develop new program models, faculty resistance to designing and/or teaching in new models, and lack of faculty to teach in the new model formats.  The authors conclude with a series of strategies for addressing these barriers.

Publication Author(s)
FutureWorks and Jobs for the Future
  • Vickie Choitz
  • Heath Prince
Full Text Document(s)
Additional Information

Hard copy available: No