Remember that Walden’s Title IV Code is 025042.
Prepare to become an effective adult educator in a range of learning settings. Through the General Program, you can gain an overview of adult learning theories, research, and best practices that can be applied to create transformative learning experiences for adults. Broaden your understanding of adult development, including how diversity and multiculturalism affect motivation in the adult education field.
Estimated time to completion is 20 months. Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.
The field of adult learning is multifaceted; adult learners are also complex, bringing diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives into the classroom. This course is a foundation for understanding this dynamic field. Education professionals examine what it means to be a leader in a fast-paced, changing environment. They explore and discuss key topics, including the conceptual base of the field, adult learner motivation, settings and contexts of practice, forms and processes of adult learning, best practices that support adult learning, and major issues and controversies in the field today. Applying course concepts, education professionals develop a personal philosophy of adult education to use as a guide in their current or future practice as an adult educator. They also become familiar with the philosophy, requirements, and community of Walden University, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, and the M.S. in Adult Learning program.
To understand adult learning, one must ask and answer complex questions: Who is the adult learner? What is the social context of learning? What motivates adult learners? In this course, education professionals explore the theories and frameworks that inform the field of adult learning today. They identify, compare, and contrast foundational and emerging perspectives on adult learning with the aim of transforming theory into practice. They engage in an integrative course project through which they synthesize and apply various theories to real-world situations, including their own development; summarize how the idea of wisdom impacts their experiences as adult learners; interview an adult learner; and assess various perspectives in regard to educating diverse learners.
Today’s diverse, multicultural world dictates that adult learners are not treated as a homogenous group but rather as distinct individuals, each with his or her own intrinsic motivations. Education professionals in this course learn the importance of culturally responsive teaching methods that promote respect, relevance, engagement, and academic success. They engage in readings and assignments focused on inclusive approaches that promote cross-cultural communication, and they explore and discuss a range of topics, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nontraditional learners, and linguistic diversity.
Understanding, evaluating, and using research effectively are critical skills for adult learning professionals. In this course, education professionals work toward gaining the knowledge required to be critical consumers of research, understand the language of research, and apply research and inquiry skills to the field of adult learning. Through various conceptual and practical course assignments, they build competence in analyzing trends, assess emerging knowledge, and learn to use a variety of tools to access and evaluate quantitative and qualitative research.
A number of best practices in adult teaching and learning have been identified based on decades of research and experience. Education professionals in this course examine these evidence-based practices to build their skills and gain strategies to facilitate learning in a variety of settings. They also explore promising new ideas and emerging trends in the field of adult learning.
Given the wide variety of settings in which adult learning takes place, it is no small challenge to plan and implement robust learning experiences tha can be effectively evaluated. This course examines the ingredients essential to succesfully promote learning, including multiple needs assessment models, approaches to program design, implementation strategies, and models of evaluation and assessment.
Research shows that adults learn best in a social environment. Through collaboration and idea exchange, a supportive “community of practice” is generated where learners co-create their experience in socially meaningful ways. This may take the form of discussions, peer-to-peer activities, small-group work, and student-centered assignments, among other approaches. This course examines the mechanics of collaboration and identifies facilitation practices that lead to student success. Also addressed are issues of consensus and decision making, trust-building, collaborative teaching, and group process online.
Emerging technologies are rapidly altering the field of adult education today. Innovative technologies are removing traditional boundaries to learning and encouraging a global perspective on school, work, and communications. New developments in software, multimedia applications, Internet technologies, and mobile computing are transforming the educational landscape and empowering learners around the world. This course explores how educators and students can leverage these advances to enhance the learning process and improve outcomes in today’s digital information society.
Adult learning takes place in a wide variety of formal and informal settings. Each of these environments has its own organizational structure, or “system,” that must be understood and considered when designing and implementing learning strategies. Understanding the fundamentals of organizational behavior, systems theory, and change management is essential for facilitating innovation and performance enhancement. In this course, key issues such as policy, advocacy, complexity, change, organizational development, and group dynamics are addressed in the context of developing transformational experiences for adult learners.
This course provides the opportunity to integrate and apply the theories, concepts, and practices learned in previous coursework to real-world issues and problems. The capstone experience, in which students are asked to select a specific adult learning situation of personal relevance for study, serves as the culmination of the program. Students conduct a detailed analysis and offer solutions to a problem or suggest interventions to improve current practice.
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