Are Undergraduate Students Adult Learners?

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Morrissey, Kathryn
undergraduate students , adult learners , motivations , barriers , teaching strategies
Providing support services and programs to undergraduate students is well recognized as of critical importance in the United States, where many graduate programs and specialized training opportunities exist for student services professionals to learn about the unique and diverse population known as traditional undergraduate students. In Canada, the academic and professional development opportunities for studying undergraduate education are significantly limited. This project is an exploration of the theoretical perspectives of student development theory and a review of academic literature to determine the unique characteristics, barriers, motivations, and teaching strategies for both traditional undergraduate students and adult learners. The purpose is to consider how adult learning principles can apply to undergraduate students. In considering how to best meet the needs of undergraduate students, a workshop series was created to enhance professional development opportunities for individuals who provide programs and services to undergraduate students at one mid-sized Canadian University. The workshops seek to encourage participants to consider the characteristics, barriers, and motivations of traditional undergraduate students from the theoretical perspective of student development theory and adult learning principles. The workshops incorporate a review of adult learning principles and how they can be applied when providing programs and services to undergraduate students. The workshops have been designed as a four-workshop series to be offered sequentially between October and March. Workshops may be taken individually but are designed as a series where knowledge builds over the course of the workshops.
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