Develop an orientation program for new students at Parker Online Community College





Program Design Groundwork Delissia J. Broadnax Strayer University

EDU 550: Adult Learning: Curriculum Design and Development

Prof. Sheri Burnett

Scenario 1 – Develop an orientation program for new students at Parker Online Community College

First of all, the theme of online education for adult students is an important one that explains my choice of Scenario 1. On the one hand, the notion of online learning is quite a popular means of getting an education, including the students of different ages. However, according to my personal experience, adult students face a lot of difficulties and challenges referring to their age, occupation, gender, and skills needed for accomplishing the course. Thus, the example of Parker Online Community College (POCC) with the average student age of 34 years old allows the opportunity to develop an orientation program for adult students that is connected with by future career goals based on dealing with the students of such type.

Referring to the needs of adult learners compared to other types of learners, it is important to broach the issues of the existing challenges referring to lack of time because of work or family, lack of experience in taking online courses, and cognitive changes associated with aging. It is true to say that adult students are often the representatives of the working class who have full-time or part-time jobs as well as families that limits their opportunities in the educational process. Besides, a lot of adult students have their first experience with online education that points to the lack of skills and knowledge about online courses and opportunities they provide. What is more important, adult students can have a lack of support from their workplaces and families that makes them isolated (Kara, Erdoğdu, Kokoç & Cagiltay, 2019). What is also important, it is essential to focus on the slowing of cognitive processes, reduced working memory capacity, reduced cognitive control processes that point to special design of curriculum combining the needs of adult learners (Wolfson, Cavanagh & Kraiger, 2014).

In this way, adult students require a special educational environment in order to maintain their private life. The purpose of adult education programs and curriculum lies in meeting all the needs of adult students referring to their limited situation and providing the maximum of opportunities. Consequently, “online distance education environment offers appropriate opportunities through the flexibility it provides for adult learners, who are aware of their own learning responsibilities and are required to manage their own learning processes” (Kara, Erdoğdu, Kokoç & Cagiltay, 2019). With the help of inline learning, adult students are allowed to engage in individualized instruction, control the process of studying, and have the opportunity of life-long learning.

Thus, theoretical models based on addressing the peculiarities of adult learners refer directly to the program design, referring to acknowledgment adulthood obligations through teaching. According to the theory of andragogy, the prior learning of the adults, the need for the application of content, and the ability to make connections between learning processes and their life experience require special practical approach. As a result, the programs should allow adult learners to direct and control their learning, have the opportunity to connect it with life experience, trace the possibility for immediate application of knowledge, and, of course, be motivated to learn something new (Glowacki-Dudka, 2019). In this way, the task of academic advisors lies in the application of the theory of andragogy and tracing the process of taking online courses by adult learners. Logically, it depends on a timely and qualitative feedback since “adult students are task-oriented, working professionals who want feedback quickly, especially when in a mostly asynchronous online course where feedback is one of the primary forms of interaction with the instructors” (Hodge & Chenelle, 2018).

As a result, concerning developing an online orientation program for adult students, it is important to implement all the needs of the students, including both their private life limitations and changes connected with age. First of all, the curriculum should be highly structured and organized that makes the process of education easier and more understandable (Wolfson, Cavanagh & Kraiger, 2014). The accurate and organized system will help students “select, organize, and integrate training content into memory” (Wolfson, Cavanagh & Kraiger, 2014) that requires fewer efforts. Adult learners should have the possibility to customize the sessions and different elements of the course according to their personal needs and time frames. Besides, the sense lies in customizing the training program in the form of feedback and adaptive guidance that should include constant instructions and pieces of advice provided by the supervisors. If a learner feels support and guidance throughout the course connected not only with the peculiarities of the program but the need and possible application of the knowledge, he or she will be more confident and motivated. The design of the user interface should also be developed in a simple manner taking into account age-related cognitive, psychomotor, and sensory declines (Wolfson, Cavanagh & Kraiger, 2014). Referring to the lack of experience with technologies, adult students should also be guided and instructed according to the basic knowledge needed for using the program and the security and privacy protection. The task of the instructor or advisor is to demonstrate the advances and simplicity of taking online courses pointing to its privacy and security. In this case, the curriculum and program developed on the basis of such elements will be understandable, accessible, and what is more important, useful to adult learners.



Glowacki-Dudka, M. (2019). How to Engage Nontraditional Adult Learners Through Popular Education in Higher Education. Adult Learning, 30(2), 84-86. doi: 10.1177/1045159519833998

Hodge, & Chenelle. (2018). The Challenge of Providing High-Quality Feedback Online: Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement in an Online Course for Adult Learners. Transformations: The Journal Of Inclusive Scholarship And Pedagogy, 28(2), 195. doi: 10.5325/trajincschped.28.2.0195

Kara, M., Erdoğdu, F., Kokoç, M., & Cagiltay, K. (2019). Challenges Faced by Adult Learners in Online Distance Education: A Literature Review. Open Praxis, 11(1), 5. doi: 10.5944/openpraxis.11.1.929

Wolfson, N., Cavanagh, T., & Kraiger, K. (2014). Older Adults and Technology-Based Instruction: Optimizing Learning Outcomes and Transfer. Academy Of Management Learning & Education, 13(1), 26-44. doi: 10.5465/amle.2012.0056

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