Online Learning And The Adult Learner

1955 words - 8 pages

Today is a time, where knowledge and information moves faster than ever before. What is known just yesterday is old news when compared to today’s developments. For many people born in the 1980’s or earlier, it is astounding to see what children and young adults are capable of today. The gadgets and gizmos available now would only be dreams then. Technology, and the ever growing availability of mobile technology, has moved us light years ahead from the days of learning solely by experience, hardbound books and in brick-and-mortar learning establishments. However, there seems to be a growing gap between the knowledge necessary to succeed in life, and the things learned and available yesteryear. Today more than ever, adult learners require solutions to meet the demands of their crazy schedules, as well as their need for further knowledge. According to the American Council on Education, adult learners are defined as learners over the age of 25, and for the last two decades encompass approximately 40 percent of college attending students. These people come from a lot of different backgrounds ranging from war veterans, to people graduating with GEDs, to professionals and skilled employees experiencing career transitions (“Adult Learners”, 2014). So what does an adult learner do to keep up with the youth of today? Online learning is an avenue where many adults are turning for solutions to their need to know more. In this paper we will discuss the varying online learning formats available, the advantages and disadvantages of online learning, and guidelines for becoming a successful adult learner online or otherwise.

Once an adult considers online learning as part of the solution for their educational needs, it is time for them to determine what program and institution will best fit their desires. According to, there are five distinctive online formats available to learners, and they include adult online education, hybrid education, online continuing education, online distance education and online higher education. Adult online education includes any online program which helps adults get the skills they need in order to be fruitful workers, family members and citizens. These programs typically teach basic work and life skills such as problem solving. Hybrid education blends online coursework with in-class education, where students learn both via the internet and face-to-face interactions. Traditional universities have added this option especially in majors such as nursing. Online continuing education offers classes for students who already have a degree or profession and need to advance their skills in a particular area. Professions, such as pharmacists, are required continuing education credits to maintain their licenses. Online distance education is when a student who is pursuing a degree at a traditional school takes courses online rather than taking them at their brick-and-mortar institution. By offering this...

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