Adult Learning and Development

The Adult Learning and Development concentration explores the frameworks for understanding and responding to the unique needs of adult learners. Emphasis is placed on developing, implementing and evaluating programs for adults.

Program of Study

    • Master’s Core Component – 9 credits
    • 3
      Seeks to examine the manner in which the behavior, feelings, or thoughts of one individual are influenced by the behavior or characteristics of others. Topics to be considered include social perception, attitudes, gender, social cognition, conflict, social influence, intercultural awareness, prejudice, discrimination, aggression, and group behavior. Fall, spring, and summer.
    • - OR -
    • 3
      This course will provide an in-depth study of the social/cultural basis of behavior and examine the role of mythology as a vehicle for intrapersonal and interpersonal understanding. The major theoretical, empirical, and applied lines of work in the following topics in contemporary social psychology will be explored, including social cognition, interpersonal perception, attitudes, stereotyping and prejudice, the self, and interpersonal and group relations. Mythology will be employed as a mechanism for cross-cultural comparison and as a unifying construct to enhance multicultural understanding.
    • 3
      A study of the historical, philosophical, and social-philosophic foundations of education. Emphasis is placed upon the ideas of the classical, medieval, Enlightenment, and post-Enlightenment periods that have influenced types of American educational systems relative to their mission and purpose. Analysis of how these systems have defined ethics and the characteristics of the virtuous person.
    • 3
      Knowledge and understanding of the commonly accepted research designs. Study of research instruments and statistics used in educational research. Wide reading in various types of research design. Critical analysis of research design.
  • Adult Learning and Development Component – 18 credits
  • 3
    This course takes a life-span developmental approach to adulthood in contemporary American society and includes the major theoretical perspectives regarding developmental transitions and age-related tasks. The course seeks to acquaint the student with seven broad themes of adult development: 1. Theory; 2. Research; 3. Changes that occur within oneself throughout adulthood - physical, cognitive, health, social; 4. Personality characteristics; 5. Meaning in life; 6. Stages and pointers for a successful journey; 7. Death and dying. Students use their own life experiences as a context for creating understanding in these seven areas.
  • 3
    The course focuses on the nature and process of learning in adulthood, especially in formal learning situations in business, industry, adult basic education, and adult higher education. Also emphasizes the concept of learning how to learn and the ways in which adults function in independent learning situations. We will examine theory, research, and practice from several different discipline perspectives to answer the question: "How do adults learn?"
  • 3
    This course builds on adult learning theory and examines the role of the instructor as the facilitator of learning. Major focus is on incorporating strategies for encouraging active learning, collaboration, self-directed learning, and self assessment by learners into a variety of learning situations. Class participants will be involved in demonstrating teaching methodologies and receiving feedback from group members.
  • 3
    This course addresses a broad spectrum of program development ranging from an individual course to a complete program of major learning activities conducted over a period of time. Participants will design programs based on their own special interests, for example, adult higher education, business and industry training, adult basic education, etc. Major emphasis will also be placed on designing program evaluations tailored to meet specified goals.
  • 3
    This course deals with the professional learning needs and priorities of the workplace. It examines the variety of ways in which employees and their managers gain new knowledge and skills as part of their professional growth. Particular emphasis is given to the concept of the learning organization: its characteristics, how the concept of 'learning organization' is implemented in different types of organizations, the benefits of a learning organization to both the employee and the organization, and the role that the professional educator or trainer plays in building a learning organization. Also included is the role knowledge management plays in the development of the learning organization.
  • - OR -
  • 3
    This course offers an exploration of the personal, interpersonal and transpersonal elements of work and personal growth. Through varied learning methods, participants will attend to the ways in which occupations transform us and how we transform our work to support personal development. Learning will extend to the ways in which we, as followers and leaders, can cooperate to support these synchronous and reciprocal processes creatively and with intention.
  • 3
    The emphasis throughout this course is on the practical application of appraisal techniques in education. Critical concepts related to assessment and the integration of assessment into teaching and learning include: the role of assessment in teaching, how validity is determined, factors influencing reliability, avoiding stereotypes, understanding and using numerical data, using standardized assessment to improve instruction, and ideas and strategies for mining and reporting assessment data.
    • Specialization Component – 3 credits

Students select a 3-credit course with their advisor relevant to their professional goals.

  • Capstone Experience – 3 credits
  • 3
    The purpose of the graduate capstone is to apply knowledge learned in previous coursework through an approved project. Capstone projects should focus on the following questions: How will the theories learned throughout the program be integrated into a coherent project or experience? How will this work enhance individual career goals? Who are the stakeholders and how will this work assist them? How does this work serve the professional community? How will this work help move the profession forward? Process: Students should plan for approximately 40 hours of work per credit to be earned. The total number of credits earned must be approved by their advisor and noted on their program contract. Candidates must submit Graduate Capstone Project forms with their registration and Capstone Projects must be approved by candidates' advisors and the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies. Once completed, candidates are expected to present their final products to their adviser and/or PSU faculty members. Students who anticipate working on their project for more than one term should register for the appropriate number of credits in each term so that they remain registered throughout the course of the project.
  • - OR -
  • 3
    Supervised internship in the development of a first-teaching field under the mentorship of an assigned faculty member. Development of a learning framework for teaching at the post-secondary level with attention to models of instruction, learning styles and needs of the college student and non-traditional learner. Presentation of course syllabus, course topics and concept lectures, course projects, tests and related materials. May be repeated with permission of instructor. Fall and offered on demand.
  • Total for MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, Adult Learning and Development Concentration – 33 credits

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