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CAEL Pathways Blog

The Rise in Student Expectations

The_Rise_in_Student_Expectations.jpgAdult learners need and expect certain things from their instructors. What can institutions do to meet the rising expectations of students? Crafting a learning plan with some key thoughts in mind can create a productive, positive environment that enables students of all ages and backgrounds to build their careers.

Higher Education is coming with higher and higher expectations these days.

With all that is happening with technology and the ever-evolving structure of the modern workplace, students are demanding more. Instructors and institutions can stay competitive by pinpointing exactly what lifelong learners are looking for to help them advance, and stay marketable. The solution involves creating a holistic, customizable educational experience that allows each student to use their existing knowledge to master new skills and concepts.

At the end of the day, adult learners should be able to contribute as much to the classroom conversation as they take away from it.

Are you curious about what adult learners are looking for from the classroom in 2016? Take a look at the top four things that create positive, meaningful learning experiences for students.

Real Connections

The old model for the relationship between instructors and students has become out of date as today's students look for something more along the lines of a partnership. You might say that collaboration is the word of the day in Higher Education. Today's students want teachers to act as mentors and advisers.

Aside from merely teaching lessons, students want modern instructors to become invested in their careers. It is important for instructors to take an interest in each student's career path and offer advice for taking the right courses to fulfill credentialing requirements for certain positions.


The world is simply changing faster than textbooks and curriculums can keep up with. Instructors can no longer simply go by the book when it comes to designing lessons for their students. One of the best ways instructors can provide relevant lessons is by giving their students some freedom regarding how the classroom is structured. For instance, the types of careers students are focused on will impact the types of skills those students want to master.

It is important for instructors to allow their students to personalize their learning experiences to a certain degree. By doing this, students with difference career paths will extract what they need from a class based on their own personal goals. Using the model for competency-based education (CBE), each student is allowed to progress on their own schedule and at their own pace. This method creates students who are prepared for the workforce because it builds upon the existing knowledge they have gained in the workplace, the military or other life experiences.

External Learning Experiences

As far as education goes, the classroom is only the beginning. Instructors need to be able to bring their students outside of the classroom to engage in real-life applications of what they've learned. External learning experiences also serve the purpose of allowing students to network. A savvy instructor will deliver what students want by setting up visits to networking events or tours of local businesses.

 Of course, internships should be at the heart of any plan for external experiences. The best instructors should take it upon themselves to network with local businesses to secure desirable internship slots for their students.

Meaningful Technology

Today's learners are looking for real encounters with technology in the classroom. They want to discover programs and applications that can be brought to the workplace to increase efficiency. Regardless of the subject being taught, technology needs to be woven into every lesson. Instructors should take time to provide their students with emerging trends and resources that enhance the learning experience. It is also essential for today's instructors to use technology to make learning as easy as possible for busy working professionals.

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