Adult Education

Curricula Design for Adult Learners

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    • #30704
      Kevin Chan


      I am new to NROC, having searched the internet for an online forum revolving around adult education – I stumbled upon this platform. I hope to engage with everyone here if this forum is still active. The HippoCampus tool is a resource I will likely be using in my own professional practice.

      I was curious if anyone in the field of adult education cared to share any experiences or opinions on curricula design for adult learners. I am currently in school for education, and a large portion of my focus at the moment is planning, instruction, and assessment.

      Currently there are 4 modes of curricula conceptions:

      • Individual – focuses on self regulated learning or inquiry based learning
      • Society – focuses on learning to conform with the needs of society
      • Technology – focuses on learning through the means of technology or ‘how to learn’
      • Academia – focuses on learning for the sake of academics and acquiring high levels of knowledge


      How prominent are any, some, or all of these in your fields of practice? Do some stand out more than others? Are there conceptions that don’t get used at all?

      Very curious to hear back.




    • #30908
      Emily Glikas

      Hello Kevin! Welcome to the group!

      I am the Instructional Coordinator for our adult education program here in Clovis, NM and I typically use a bit of all four models in designing our curriculum.

      As most of our students’ primary goals are passing an HSE exam, we start building our curriculum by looking at the College and Career Readiness Standards and the High Impact Indicators on the exams. This standards/academia based curriculum is typically how we go from a stack of resources to an organized content schedule. However, I have found that in adult education there is no way to avoid working with individual students. All of our students come in with different talents, skills, ideas, and habits. For this reason, I try to build flexibility into our curriculum. Our classes are 4-weeks long and as self-contained as possible to allow students to stop-and-start on their journey. We also offer online supplements and software (thank you NROC!) to keep students studying when they can’t come to class.

      This year, we have had a huge paradigm shift towards learning as a technology, or learning to learn. We’ve made everything but math interdisciplinary, and maintain a heavy focus on reading and study skills across all subjects. So far, it is going really well and the students have been fairly accepting. Looking forward, I need to address more of the “societal” model and work more closely with workforce and our community college to ensure that we are also including professionalism skills in our curriculum. It’s a constant work in progress!

      • #30977
        Kevin Chan

        Hey Emily,


        Thank you for your reply, and the information about your adult ed program in Clovis! Can you elaborate on providing flexibility for your individual students? I am also trying to offer online modules or software into my professional practice. How did that affect your planning, instruction, and assessment phases of your work? Did it make it easier, harder, or different in what way?

        I think a big part of my practice is also shifting towards ‘learning to learn’, or as technology. My specific work focuses heavily on the societal relevance aspect as opposed to academic rationalism.

        Curious to hear your thoughts!




        • #31154
          Emily Glikas

          We increased our program flexibility by shortening our class length to 4-weeks a session, aligning our face-to-face curriculum with online materials that students could access if they couldn’t attend a session, and making each session as self-contained as possible so that students don’t need to take any pre-requisites to jump in to whatever round of classes we are on.

          We had been using EdReady as an online supplement for students for a little over a year before we decided to make the jump and build our curriculum off of EdReady and the NROC Developmental Math and NROC English open textbooks. It’s been a bit of a struggle adjusting to life without traditional textbooks, overcoming digital inequity among our students, and training the teachers to plan and teach with different tools, but we’ve made it through the first semester and I couldn’t be happier with where we are at! It’s been a semester of hard work and big changes, but we are working towards a more flexible, accessible program that can benefit traditional, online, and blended learners.

          • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by Emily Glikas.
    • #30938
      Jessica Everton

      Hi, Kevin! We are glad you found our NROC Adult Ed community and posted your questions. And Emily, thanks so much for replying with those helpful tips about what’s going on in NM. We have a lot of engaged adult educators who use NROC, so I’m sure others will chime in with their best practices, too.

      Another way to get involved is to follow us on Twitter, @theNROCproject, and check out the hashtag #adultedu.

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