Teaching Adult Undergraduates

Decorative: A wheel image made up of 14 versions of the word "Learning," each as a spoke in the wheel


"Teaching Adult Undergraduate Students" (web page) focuses on the unique "characteristics and challenges" of "adult students and adult learners ... who fall outside of the typical 18-24 age range, or who have life experiences and responsibilities beyond those typically expected of a college student."

Topics covered include the following:

1. Who Is an Adult?

"Non-traditional undergraduate students ... are generally adults by anyone’s definition," including those who:

  • "begin or return to college after the typical age of 18-24"
  • "have had important life experiences before returning to college, experiences like raising a family, starting their careers, or serving in the military"
  • "are enrolled full or part-time while also working 35 hours or more per week, students with dependents — whether married or single parents, and those who claim financial independence.

2. Research on What Works for Adult Learners

  • Collaboration
  • Self-Direction
  • Integration

3. Strategies for Connecting with Adult Learners

"[S]everal key strategies for connecting with adult learners that provide useful pedagogical implications" include the following:

  • "Engage with adult learners personally." [3 specific suggestions]
  • "Help adults build on what they already know." [2 specific suggestions]
  • "Create opportunities for interaction." [2 specific suggestions]
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