Welcome/Introduction by JLAdult learner research has been called “neglected” and “orphaned” because there are massive gaps in what we know about what adults need, how they learn, and how to apply that knowledge to adult success.There have been many separate theories, but none have been put together in a cohesive prescription for online adult learners. Today, we’d like to suggest why adult distance learners have statistically not seen degree success and share with you an innovative way to address their needs through an online orientation program. Mention term “swaddling”? Bear with us...it will become clearer as we move forward
(JL) Let’s take a look at the bigger picture first. This mission to educate and graduate these 54 million adults goes beyond any of our individual institutional missions and extends to a national calling to higher education professionals to make a difference. We have to take the time to do serious research and purposeful reflection into what we can do, each of us, to develop the untapped potential of the American workforce. Statistics show that many leave before the first course ends, and a startling amount leave by the end of the first year. What then, can we do, to affect change from the onset? What kind of outreach can we perform that can save these students before they disengage?Well, we start at the beginning. We start atrecruitment. (not discussing today; that’s the prequel) We then craft a comprehensive orientation program (which we will focus on today). By strengthening the core of student services from the first course and giving adults what they need, we will have truly moved beyond student-centered to adult-success centered.
(JL) There are many challenges/obstacles to successfully complete that mission. (Read bullet one). Yet the irony is that despite these statistics, adults tend to choose distance education to meet their lifestyle needs. Typically, institutional responses have been to “add-on programs” even though research shows this doesn’t work. Students experience both situational (life) barriers, and institutional barriers. We can help a bit with student’s situational barriers, but we can do EVERYTHING about institutional barriers. And this is what this presentation is about: breaking down barriers to support adult online learners.
(Chayek) How do design that program-build for adults? We scaffold it based on their readiness. If we are truly going to be student-centered, then we should place the student at the center of our program design. We need to look at everything we know about adults, how they transition, and why they don’t persist. When we do that, we find that if we address these 4 areas in one cohesive program, we will have a chance to make a difference. Let’s glimpse at each one of these areas individually and then put them together to see how they work in program design.
(Chayek) We over stimulate; we give our new learners too much information at once. They get startled, and they drop out. We overwhelm them in this new place.
(Chayek) Here‘s what we do know. There are 6 principles in Knowles theory of andragogy and each is equally important. I’m going to focus on 2 for our overview today and they are (read slides)
(Chayek) Tinto and Palmer warn against ‘add-ons’ yet we see this all the time: Have a problem with diversity? Add a course. Have a problem with English language barriers? Add a seminar.
Chayek (Explains Adult transition theory)(JL) So, now we are aware of what most behavioral and psychologists have been saying since the early 1950s. The theories have shown us that: We know adults need a comfortable environment; they need real-life-centered learning; we need to be aware that this is a transition; and that if we overload them early on, they are going to drop out. What does this mean for practical application of curriculum design? How do we integrate these theories into a flexible online orientation program?
(Chayek) Some retention experts say you need to bundle your support services, but they don’t recommend how to do this in an online environment where you’ve promised students flexibility. It seems to be an impossibility? How can we engage students asynchronously? How can we help them through first courses, when dropout rates are highest, yet allow them the freedom to progress at their own pace? Well, we can and in fact, we have to. We have to for the same reasons that Dr. LaNear mentioned earlier: because our nation calls us to. And, how do we do it? By swaddling support services. If we make that commitment to move from student-centered to adult-centered, we realize that our adult learners are simply new to a quite threatening environment. They are new, “infants” if you will to a new world. We are all comfortable in academia, but that’s not true for most adults. One of the most thought-changing statements I’ve read came from an online adult student. He was a solider who served in the Iraq war. He said, “I was more afraid to go back to school than I was to go to Iraq”. (Repeat quote)(JL) The day we become cognizant of that anxiety and transition is the day that we can start to make a difference. In some way, adults are taken out of their comfort zones, and because of some personal need (loss of job, for example), they are forced to excel in uncomfortable surroundings. They are indeed startled by this transition and mentally overloaded. They are stressed and that fight or flight instinct takes over. (Chayek) I’ve spent much of my time just reflecting on this and I came up with the fact that if we want to calm those nerves, we have to address the needs of a person who is brand new in an environment...so let’s look at newborns. They are, just like our adults, thrown into a new environment; a cold and threatening environment; but we do put them in the capable hands of people who can help them survive in that environment. Let’s look at how this works...and see if we can gain insight on what type of capable hands higher education needs for our new people...
(Chayek) Work through the slide to demonstrate the similarities. Explain how adults fit into this as well (Premature=readiness for online learning via technology access/technology skills/self-direction)
(Chayek) We understand how and why swaddling works for a new learner. This is our prescription. How do we custom design an orientation around those these theories? How do we create swaddling?
(JL) Here’s where it changes from black and white to “Technicolor” for our students. Support, warm climate, and course design are swaddled around the learner to give him/her the initial support he/she needs for this transition.GU100 is at the top because it’s the course that all of the swaddling is contained in. Let’s take a look at each individual component of GU100 starting with our Academic Companion Courses (ACC)
(chayek) Progress through the 3 bullets on slide
(JL) Progress through slide
(JL) Explain slide... Then,We didn’t “add on” a study skills course. We integrated it! We didn’t add on a “Learning Styles Survey Course”, we incorporated it. We didn’t add on a “Critical thinking course”, we embedded it.
(JL) Though audience can’t read, they can see the extensive Mind mapping that students are doing in American Gov’t to satisfy GU100 assignment AND prepare for GP210 test.
(chayek) This is a clip of an assignment that demonstrates critical thinking. We ask our students to take on the role of the instructor and create a 10 item pre-test for their upcoming test in CJ101 on chapters x-z. This particular student submitted a 4 page typed test with answers. He passed both courses with an “A”.
(JL)What exactly are confidence building courses?? What are the ACC (Academic Companion Courses)? (Relevance: We have at least one courses from every major)
(JL) GU100 instructor is also the student’s academic advisor. For the 1st 8 weeks, they get to know the student well, and then we don’t just leave them or send them off to another new person. That instructor remains with that student for 8 additional weeks as his/her academic advisor. They stay in a GU100 Learning Community together where the instructor encourages him/her through the next set of courses. ) (chayek) Developmental Advising: Developmental advising is an ongoing, student-centered process intended to help students clarify and achieve their educational, career, and life goals. Developmental advising involves the integration of programs of study and support services that lead to academic success and personal development. Developmental advising:Helps students clarify their life/career goals. Helps students develop educational plans consistent with their values, interests, and skills. Involves communication, information exchange, and decision-making between the advisor and advisee. Enables students to accomplish their goals. ~CrockettAdvising as Teaching: Philosophy that academic advising is an extension of teaching and is an important part of the learning process. Through advising, students learn to become more self-directed and take responsibility for their learning. Effective advising also helps students learn how to learn and set realistic goals. Through advising, students learn skills such as think critical thinking, communication, reasoning, autonomy, and decision-making.
(JL) We can’t simply focus on the student; we also have to focus on the people that come in contact most with our students: The faculty. We have front-loaded our best and brightest; our best “swaddlers” to teach GU100 and advise new students. And, our students recognize that hey are being ‘embraced’ no matter where they are on the globe.(Tell the “coddled” story????)
(Chayek) So, we train them and then we make sure that we appreciate, retool and develop our faculty every opportunity we can. Because they are VIPs...Explain how each part of acronym is a best practice.Proud that Sloan International conf. has asked us to speak about VIP2 later this month....
You can do this too. Think about what your students need based on adult student theories. Create an integrated first courses that addresses those needs. We are the barrier; but we can certainly choose to take care of these students by making the environment that we ask them to thrive in, one that is suited for them. When people are taken care of, they thrive. Let’s take care of our adult students. They are trusting us to do just that.
Adult Student Success: A Nation’s Opportunity<br /><ul><li>54 million working adults in the United States have not completed a four year degree
“The gap between qualifications and job demands, [will create] a shortage of 9 million qualified workers by 2014”
To help offset this deficit, it is estimated that the United States will have to increase degree production by 40% over the 20 year period 2005-2025 </li></li></ul><li>The Challenge to Higher Education <br /><ul><li>Online attrition rates are 10-20% higher than their face to face counterparts (Angelino, Williams, & Natvig, 2007).
Adults seek online education to meet their busy lifestyle needs.
Research to date indicates that add-on programs do not work; student success must be integral to the student’s academic program
Barriers are both personal and situational</li></li></ul><li>The Solution: Theoretical Foundation<br />
Cognitive Load Theory<br />“...first time eLearners often experience cognitive overload in the early stages of an online course and it is suggested that this is a likely contributor to high dropout rates, particularly in terms of those withdrawing within the first few weeks of the course start” <br />(Tyler-Smith, 2006,¶3). <br />
Adult Learner Theory: Andragogy<br /><ul><li>Adults are motivated to learn new material if applicable to their real-life situations. </li></ul>Adults learn best in informal, comfortable, flexible, nonthreatening settings (Knowles)<br />
Departure Theory<br />Inclusive programs; avoid “add-ons”<br /> Result is segmentation <br />Make retention efforts integral to student life; not marginal<br />Change the 1st year of college conditions<br />We have to change the environment that we ask them to thrive in<br />
Integral to student’s program; no add-ons (Tinto/parker)
Flexible (allows for growth and separation) (Vygotsky)
Real-life centered (Knowles)</li></li></ul><li>Swaddling Student Support Services<br />We surround our students with earlyintegrated support.<br />
So, What is GU100?<br /><ul><li>“Student success has less to do with aptitude and IQ than with a positive attitude, curiosity, determination, effort, character, and learning how to learn best.”
It takes these students beyond study skills, to life skills.
GU100 is paired with an Academic Companion Course to assist the student through not one, but 2 academic courses so that in just 8 weeks, a student has earned 4 credits! </li></li></ul><li>AcademicCompanion Courses: ACC<br /><ul><li>Students take GU100 simultaneously with an ACC. All ACCs were chosen because they are deemed ‘confidence building courses’
In each of the 8 week ofGU100, the student learns a new study topic or life skill.
During each week, the student applies this study skill to their academic companion course</li></li></ul><li>The Results are Two-fold<br />Students put their study techniques to use immediately. <br />Students are studyingfor their academic course while doing the GU100 assignment. <br />
Training Faculty<br />Especially high-risk students who overcame the odds and succeeded in college cited one or two events, when someone had made personal contact with them...that’s what made the difference.<br />~Vincent Tinto<br />
What are the online‘best practices’?<br />Merging all research, Grantham has developed its own faculty training model <br />VIP2<br />VIP2<br />Visible ImmediatePersonal Proactive<br />
Grantham University<br />Educational Support Services<br />“It takes a village to raise a child.” <br />~ African Proverb<br />It takes an entire university to support a student.<br />