Adults Accelerate Toward a Degree
By Colleen Bielitz, Dean of Accelerated & Professional Studies
Are you an adult who wants to go to college, but are afraid? Do you have nightmares about the thought of having to cram for tests and pull all-nighters? Accelerated classes for adults who want to earn an undergraduate degree are not the classes you might remember from high school, from an abbreviated try at college, or even what you assume college is like. Courses for adult students are taught differently because adults learn differently than students who are in their teens or early twenties.
The art and science of teaching adults is called andragogy. Malcolm Knowles pioneered the development of adult learning theory (andragogy), which includes reflection and life experiences –vital pieces of course design. Andragogy is often called learner-focused education, and that is what we practice at the Center for Accelerated & Professional Studies at Becker College. We’ve been in the business of educating adults since 2001 and are proud of our hundreds of graduates who have launched businesses, advanced in their careers, increased their earning potential, and inspired their children to go to college.
We understand the way adult students learn and follow the six andragogical assumptions identified by Knowles et al. (2011). These include:
- Adults need to see learning in a meaningful context and understand how it will be helpful to them.
- Adults need to be guided as self-directed learners.
- Adults bring many diverse experiences with them; they can provide their own rich source of learning.
- Adults must be ready to learn. That readiness to learn comes from an understanding of how the learning will help them in the real world.
- The adult orientation to learning is life-centered. They are motivated to learn to the extent that they see the learning will help them perform tasks or solve problems.
- Adults respond to external motivations, such as promotions, better jobs, and more money. Many, though not all, are motivated by the intrinsic need to keep growing and developing.
The Accelerated degree programs at Becker are designed to provide adult students with flexible degree completion options. Our degrees assist adults in their preparation for a successful career in a rapidly changing work environment. Courses are generally five to seven weeks in length, and meet one evening per week. Degree options include a bachelor of science in business administration with a management concentration, a bachelor of arts in liberal studies leading to initial teacher licensure, and a bachelor of arts in psychology, to name a few. Class time is spent on case studies, simulations, team work, presentations, and discussion groups or breakout sessions. All courses are designed to help the adult student develop the skills necessary to be successful in today’s dynamic workplace. We also offer a high level of academic advisor guidance throughout the program to keep you on track.
So what are you waiting for? The days of Jolt cola and No-Doz to study for tests are over. You are now an adult, so come to Becker College and learn like one.
Knowles, M.S., Holton, E.F. & Swanson, R.A. (2011) The Adult Learner. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.