Ways to Help Nontraditional Students with Technology


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Nearly half of the students that are enrolled in a higher education intuitions are considered nontraditional. For a quarter of them, this means that they are over the age of 30, bit despite the large numbers, Forbes reports that the older students are completing their degrees at a lower rate. Being able to leverage technology for the nontraditional students can help them complete their degrees. Here are three effective ways to do so:

  1. Use Adaptive Technology
    One way to increase undergraduate graduation rates, adaptive learning programs can be used. Using these types of learning can change the educational experience to fit each individual. At National Louis University in the Chicago area, their adaptive tools are all cloud-based, meaning that the students will have more flexibility when completing their school work or when they cannot attend class.
  2. App-Based Communities and Social Media Support
    A study done by the Gates Foundation required nine community colleges to use an app to help connect students with each other. As a result, the students using the app received a higher GPA and the rates of enrollment continued. While the app helped overall with GPA, for the nontraditional students, this allowed them to feel a sense of community. According to the study, “their posts tended to be of a more personal nature, exposing their emotions and vulnerabilities… They used the app to seek connection with others similar to themselves and to offer guidance to others in similar circumstances.”
  3. Tech Initiatives Need to Consider Learner Skills
    In a recent study done by Pew Research Center found that when it came to learning technology, adults lack in digital readiness. Those that are older than 50 are more likely to not recognize technology tools used for learning, and those in their 30s and 40s are confident with technology as a whole, but not with those related with education.

Dave Doucette, director of West Coast higher education sales for CDW-G states that “[Universities] need to recognize that different generations may approach technology in distinct ways, and that has implications for new rollouts.”

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