Cultivating the Habits of Mind Online for the Adult Learner: An Andragogical Perspective

 

By Jennifer Levin-Goldberg Ed.D

 

Abstract

Adult online learners represent a burgeoning population in institutions of higher learning and according to predictive indicators, will continue to outpace enrollment of younger students. Due to these current and portending trends, it is essential that postsecondary institutions accommodate and cultivate the needs of this demographic. One way to foster a positive, engaging, and productive online learning experience, is by developing, cultivating, and employing the Habits of Mind utilizing andragogical principles. On account that there are sixteen Habits of Mind, this article will examine three: persistence, managing impulsivity, and listening to others with understanding and empathy. A sundry of recommended strategies and best practices will be proffered in order to apply the principles of andragogy to the Habits of Mind. If properly executed, adult online learners will be more apt to having a satisfying, productive, and academically performance enhancing learning experience.  

In 2011, approximately 13.5% of students were enrolled in fully online courses with 78% of those constituents being over 24 (EvoLLution NewsWire, 2012; Noel-Levitz, 2012). These trends will continue, with adult learners outpacing traditional student enrollments through 2016 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2012). However, according to Apollo Research Institute (2012), 51.5% are concerned about their intellectual ability to complete coursework and 40.4% resent spending time completing coursework in lieu of doing something they feel is more interesting. Another study conducted by Noel-Levitz (2012) found that adult online learners postulated the top challenges to their overall satisfaction to be: a lack of quality in instruction, clearly defined student assignments, faculty responsiveness to student needs, lack of timely feedback regarding student performance, and the cost of tuition paid not being worthwhile. 

Considering all these trends and statistics, it is imperative postsecondary institutions better accommodate this burgeoning population of learners.  There are a plethora of strategies educational institutions can employ but this article will focus on one: developing and cultivating the Habits of Mind by utilizing the principles of andragogy. The Habits of Mind are defined as, “Those dispositions that are skillfully and mindfully employed, by characteristically successful people, when confronted with problems, the solutions to which are not immediately apparent” (The Institute for the Habits of Mind, n.d, .para. 1). It involves an intellectually-driven pattern of choices for performing specific behaviors dependent upon appropriate contexts and times, possessing the capabilities to perform such behaviors, and perpetually striving to improve the performance of them (Costa & Kallick, 2000). There are sixteen Habits of Mind: persistence, managing impulsivity, listening to others with understanding and empathy, thinking flexibly, metacognition, aspiring for accuracy and precision, questioning and posing problems, applying past knowledge to new situations,  thinking and communicating with clarity and precision, gathering data through all senses, creating, imagining, and innovating, responding with wonderment and awe, taking responsible risks, finding humor, thinking interdependently, and learning continuously. Developing and cultivating these Habits in the adult online learner will not only improve their virtual educational experience and performance but also furnish them with exigent skills to succeed in the global workforce. However, a paramount consideration toward the actualization of this goal is to apply the principles of andragogy, which are the instructional strategies and methods used to instruct adults versus pedagogy that focuses on teaching children. There are specific attributes the typical adult learner possesses that the average child learner does not. Adult learners tend to be more self-directed, take more accountability for their learning, bring variegated rich, real world experiences to the learning, expect to see the connection and relevance of the learning to their life, anticipate the learning to be focused on real world situations and tasks, respond better to intrinsic rather than external motivators- such as self-esteem, better quality of life, confidence, recognition, and achievement- and that the instruction be more problem-centered rather than content-centered (Florida Adult Basic Education Committee of the Practitioners’ Task Force, n.d.; Knowles, 1984). 

Analyzing each of the discrete Habits, there are a plethora of strategies online instructors can employ to promote and hone these skills using andragogical principles. However, due to the vast number of Habits, this article will address the first three: persistence, managing impulsivity, and listening to others with understanding and empathy. 

 

Online Strategies to Develop and Hone the Habits of Mind
While Applying Andragogical Principles

 

Persistence

Andragogical principles assume adult learners are self-directed (Knowles, 1984). According to Costa and Kallick (2000), persistent learners do not procrastinate; they start and finish a task until its completion. They utilize problem solving strategies to find a solution, even if this requires starting over and trying another strategy. They are cognizant on how to systematically analyze a problem: how to commence problem solving strategies, determining which would be best for a particular problem, performing the appropriate steps and data required to solve the problem, and evaluating its efficaciousness. Applying andragogical principles, adult learners tend to exhibit self-direction but only if they feel the learning environment is safe, purposeful and relevant, collaborative, supportive, and the educational services accessible. 

Encompassing these principles to the Habit of persistence, online instruction should accommodate these andragogical needs. To cultivate safety, the adult learner needs to feel welcomed, and that their ideas, reflections, and self is respected and accepted- not judged. They need to feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes. As a result, online courses should foster welcoming environs by humanizing the course contextually and procedurally (DuCharme-Hansen & Dupin-Bryant, 2005; Jones, Kolloff & Kolloff, 2006). For example, the instructor can create an introductory video about the class, its expectations, procedures, and themselves; composing an email or class announcement introducing oneself, course expectations, challenges, and instructor availability; holding synchronous meeting times utilizing videoconferencing tools, such as Skype, ooVoo, or Google Hangouts or scheduling chat sessions using chat tools such as Webbychat, Meebo, or Twitter; and encouraging students to create their own introductory videos and posting profile pictures (DeltaWire, 2011). To help foster comfort in sharing diverse perspectives and reflections, an instructor should establish, share, and model respectful netiquette and create formative open-ended discussion questions on course material that requires learners to apply personal examples to the topic where there is not always a right or wrong response. The instructor should personalize comments on each student’s response and encourage other learners to respond as well by asking more clarifying or probing questions to their colleagues’ reflections in order to create further academic discourse. 

In order to make the online course more purposeful and relevant to the adult learner’s life, the content and assignments should incorporate real world scenarios, examples, and problems. Adult learners already bring a rich amount of real world experiences with them in the classroom that children learners do not. As a result, the learning process and content should not patronize the adult learner by ignoring this reality. The adult learner responds better when they feel the content and assignments are immediately applicable to their life and can easily make connections to the learning via their personal and prior experiences. Instructors need to ascertain that when introducing and disseminating content, it is saturated with real life scenarios and examples,  as well as asking content questions that apply to the students’ careers and previous backgrounds or experiences, and informing them why the content is relevant to their life. Allow the adult learner to express and share these experiences in synchronous and asynchronous dialogues and video chats. Lastly, ensure the assignments are real world applicable and relevant. Problem Based Learning (PBL) is an excellent method to achieve this since it involves solving challenging real world problems. 

The adult learner thrives more in collaborative learning environments; therefore, instructors should create collaborative learning groups and assign students to groups based upon similar interests and experiences; this increases persistence (Kerka, 1995). Encourage these small collaborative learning groups to schedule synchronous videoconferencing and/or chat times. Throughout the course, specific assignments should be ascribed to these groups. The instructor should include ongoing online class discussion questions pertaining to the content where students are to furnish personal examples and experiences. As students compose their posts, the instructor ought to respond positively and personally and ask deeper and provocative questions in order to invoke critical thinking and further the academic discourse. 

Adult learners need to feel supportive if they are to exhibit persistence. The instructor should contact students weekly via, email, videoconferencing, blogs, or phone to check on how they are doing in the course and if their personal and professional goals are being met. If a student contacts the instructor expressing difficult times or challenges to the learning, the instructor should play the role of student advocate and refer them to services that can assist them. Dependent upon circumstances, the instructor can give extensions and communicate empathy and compassion toward the learner’s obstacles. Remember, the adult learner is trying to balance family, job, and school. The responsibilities these learners possess are at times, insurmountable and need to be considered. They need to feel supported and that the instructor is on their side to help. They also need to have the support of their peers. Instructors could include an online class blog or separate forum for student comments, questions, and collaboration so students can bounce ideas off one another, ask and answer each other’s questions, and share thoughts on a more personal level(as long as netiquette guidelines are utilized).

Last, adult learners need to feel that the educational services are accessible. For the online learner, it is essential that the Learner Management System (LMS) is consistently and effectively functioning. The adult learner’s time is limited and precious and therefore, they expect their LMS to be fully operational at all times. When the LMS is having technical difficulties, it becomes harder for a student to perform the habit of persistence, especially if the system malfunctions frequently. It is also requisite if the LMS system is user-friendly. The easier it is to navigate and perform academic tasks, the more apt students will be to “attending” class and fulfilling their scholarly expectations. When technical problems do arise, it is imperative that the educational institution rectifies the problem immediately, informs instructors and students of the situation, and when it will or has been resolved. Due to these unforeseen circumstances, it is crucial that institutions grant flexibility for assignments to be completed and submitted when these obstacles to the learning process occur. 

Access to course content is also cardinal for instilling adult persistence. Broken links and resources that are no longer available can be frustrating and the adult learner expects their institution to be cognizant of this at all times.  Course designers and instructors should frequently review their course materials to ensure they are still available and easily accessible. Another factor to consider is to ascertain online tutorials and student help centers are available, easily accessible, and operational.  Finally, the instructor needs to be present throughout the course and be accessible for answering questions and comments. Instructors can post office hours, provide contact information such as emails and phone numbers, and have a forum in the class where students can email and/or post inquiries to the instructor as well. The instructor’s presence should include: immediate  meaningful questions and feedback, an introductory video on both the course and instructor profile so that the students can put a face and voice to the instructor and see them as a real person, answer inquiries within 24 hours, comment on student discussion posts regularly, exude respect, ask critical thinking questions about the learned concept(s) in relation to their life and profession, and check on students weekly to evaluate their satisfaction, goal attainment, attendance, group collaboration and cooperation, and performance.

 

Managing Impulsivity

Acosta and Kallick (2000), ascribe this type of learner as conscientious and contemplative; they think before they say or do. Before acting or reacting, they tend to ensure they understand instructions, learned concepts, or perceptions and opinions of others first in order to decide which appropriate academic and professional behavior to perform and attitude to subscribe that is conducive toward their learning. Knowles (1980) andragogical assumption states that adult learners bring their previous and current life experiences with them to the learning environment. This will notably differ from the previous and current life experiences of a child’s. Adults tend to have marital, work, family, and other real world events they bring with them into the online classroom. As a result, some of these experiences are positive and others negative. Adults have a longer history of learned behaviors. In order for adults to manage impulsivity, they need to feel the learning environment is safe, have netiquette guidelines and consequences for not following them, clarity in instructions and assignment expectations, and differentiated curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Creating safe learning environments and establishing netiquette were already discussed; as a result, the next section will focus on fostering lucidity of instructions and assignment expectations and differentiation.  

To facilitate managing impulsivity, writing clear and unambiguous instructions are exigent. Frustration emerges when learners are uncertain what the assignment is asking them to perform or how they will be evaluated. For adult learners this can be intensified. They are attempting to delicately dance a balancing act with their family, work, and education; ergo, when they allocate time to completing their assignments, they expect explicit instructions, expectations, and how their work will be assessed. Instructors should also provide adult learners with guidelines on how they will be evaluated. The best way to execute this is via rubrics. If an instructor is unfamiliar with employing rubrics, programs such as RubiStar and iRubric can help educators create and generate quality rubrics. In order to ensure the instructor and students are defining what the expectations are and look like, furnishing examples and non-examples of end products may be necessary. Instructors can ask students to utilize the given rubric and assign a grade or point value to the examples in a class blog, like edublog or 21classes, or a discussion forum and then, as a class, compare and contrast what the instructor  and students viewed as exemplary work versus poor and why. After reaching an understanding as to what the assignment expectations are and how they will be evaluated, students will be more apt to managing impulsivity. 

Differentiation is cardinal when teaching adult learners as well. Adult learners bring their previous experiences with them into the classroom culture. As a result, it is critical that instructors identify their students’ background knowledge regarding the topic, technology comfort and skills, learning styles, previous attitudes and experiences regarding education, and their professional and academic goals and interests. Acquiring this data allows the instructor to effectively differentiate the learning experience. There are three ways to differentiate: the content, the process, and the product (Tomlinson, 1999). 

When differentiating the content, an instructor must remember the adult learner needs to know the relevance behind what it is they are learning, how it applies to their life, and prior experiences they already possess. Some learners may have more knowledge and personal experience with specific topics; therefore, the instructor can scaffold the content by ensuring there are degrees of academic readiness and relate the content specifically to the learners’ previous experience and interest. For instance, if the topic of study pertains to the various instructional design models, such as ADDIE, Gagne’s, Dick and Carey, ASSURE, ARCS, Backward Design, and so forth, the degree of academic readiness for the topic may vary greatly. Some students may be very familiar with the models and have already employed most or some of them in their practice. Other students may have heard of most or some of the models and have used a few in their practice, while others may have not heard of or utilized any of them. In this case, the instructor should differentiate the content. For instance, furnishing the adult learners with a pretest in order to identify which design models the student is familiar, implemented, and how frequently. Providing lecture videocasts using programs such as  Voicethread or Jing, for each model, accompanied with a script and critical thinking questions will allow those students who are versed in some of these paradigms to dedicate more time to those they are not as familiar and respond to the critical thinking questions with their personal experience and application; whereas, others may take more time viewing the videocasts and reflecting upon the questions at their own individual pace. The instructor may also individualize and/or compartmentalize the questions by asking follow-up inquiries that relate to the learners personal interests and experiences as well as scaffolding the learning for those less cognizant of the paradigms by creating more application and analytical queries in order to ascertain deep understanding and differences between the design models. This is pertinent to consider due to the fact that some of the adult learners may not be familiar with them and therefore, in lieu of injecting their personal experiences implementing the design models, they will need to demonstrate deep understanding and differentiation of each. After mastering this, their assignment can contend with applying the new learning to their personal and professional interests and goals. For those learners already versed in the instructional design models, supplying additional research and creating online discussion forums, videoconferencing opportunities, and blogs for these students may be employed in order for them to share and collaborate their views and thoughts regarding the designs, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, debate how applicable each may be in teaching to the 21st century digital learner, and whether they as a professional community could create one themselves they feel is more accommodating to the digital age. 

Another component of differentiating is via the process. There are various learning styles and multiple intelligences (MI) adult learners possess; therefore it is critical to identify them using learning style and MI inventories. After pinpointing the adult learners preferred learning, provide multifarious modes of disseminating the learning. Tailoring instruction for the disparate learning styles for online instruction may include the following: 

  1. Auditory learners: podcasts, music, speeches, audio conferencing
  2. Visual learners: videos, videocasts, movies, nonlinguistic organizers, images, maps
  3. Kinesthetic learners: interactive lessons, activities involving the movement of the mouse, virtual fieldtrips, online simulations, utilizing games to learn the content

Availing instruction to accommodate the diverse multiple intelligences may encompass:

  1. Intrapersonal learners: discussion forums, individual activities, independent studies, creating an individual blog posting reflections on instructor-based questions on the learning
  2. Interpersonal learners: collaborative activities, videoconferencing, group forums and chat rooms, instant messaging with other students
  3. Linguistic learners: videocasts, videos, multimedia, eBooks, utilization of games to support new learning, online articles, podcasts, movies
  4. Visual-Spatial learners: interactive demonstrations and three dimensional models, virtual field trips, movies, videocast, videos, nonlinguistic representations, maps, multimedia, videoconferencing
  5. Logical-Mathematical learners: problem solving scenarios, investigations, individual or group mysteries, interactive online experiments, creating hypothetical and philosophical inquiries via a blog or discussion forum, utilization of games to learn content
  6. Musical-Rhythmical learners: videos, music, speeches, CDROMS, multimedia, videocasts and videos with music in the background
  7. Bodily-Kinesthetic learners: interactive lessons, activities involving the movement of the mouse, virtual fieldtrips, online simulations, utilizing games to learn the content
  8. Naturalist learner: virtual fieldtrips, furnishing online simulations, demonstrations, and videos of various environments, plants and animals to tie into the learning, providing images and sounds of nature into the background of videos and videocasts.  

Instructors can also differentiate the product. Considering student learning styles and MI, an array of choices should be provided to demonstrate mastery of the learning. This could be via a multimedia presentation, power point, webquest, blog, video or podcast, movie, interactive website, paper, eBook, collaborative online project, just to name a few. Specific and objective rubrics for each choice should also be supplied in order for the learner to know exactly what is to be expected. Adult learners, unlike some children learners, avoid the trial-by-error approach to learning. They possess a passionate need to succeed and try to avert failure (Stilborne, Ingenia Communications, Williams, & Williams, Donaldson, and Associates, 1996). As a result, it is essential that rubrics accompany each assessment and comprise of explicit and clear criteria, precise expectations for each, levels of performance, and- under each performance level- specific behaviors exemplifying that level of performance. For example:

Levels of Performance Unacceptable Developing Proficient Exemplary
Criterion Author has not accomplished all or very few of the following: appropriate research skills; writing composition, style, and clarity; exhibited problem solving and critical thinking skills to the assignment: application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation; exhibited creativity in thought and product; produced a product that was relevant and fulfilled all requirements of criteria. Author has accomplished some of the following: appropriate research skills; writing composition, style, and clarity; exhibited problem solving and critical thinking skills to the assignment: application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation; exhibited creativity in thought and product; produced a product that was relevant and fulfilled all requirements of criteria. Author has accomplished most of the following: appropriate research skills; writing composition, style, and clarity; exhibited problem solving and critical thinking skills to the assignment: application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation; exhibited creativity in thought and product; produced a product that was relevant and fulfilled all requirements of criteria. Author has accomplished all of the following: appropriate research skills; writing composition, style, and clarity; exhibited problem solving and critical thinking skills to the assignment: application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation; exhibited creativity in thought and product; produced a product that was relevant and fulfilled all requirements of criteria.
Webquest Basic Components Webquest  contains two or less of the following components: Introduction, Task, Process, Evaluation, and Conclusion   Webquest  includes at least three of the following components: Introduction, Task, Process, Evaluation, and Conclusion   Webquest  includes at least four of the  following components: Introduction, Task, Process, Evaluation, and Conclusion   Webquest  includes the five following components: Introduction, Task, Process, Evaluation, and Conclusion  
Multimedia Inclusion within Webquest Webquest contains three or less of the following multimedia components: video, podcast, uploaded images, audio (such as music, speeches, effects), hyperlinks to interactive websites, videocasts, maps, to name a few Webquest contains at least four of the following multimedia components: video, podcast, uploaded images, audio (such as music, speeches, effects), hyperlinks to interactive websites, videocasts, maps, to name a few Webquest contains at least five of the following multimedia components: video, podcast, uploaded images, audio (such as music, speeches, effects), hyperlinks to interactive websites, videocasts, maps, to name a few Webquest contains at least six of the following multimedia components: video, podcast, uploaded images, audio (such as music, speeches, effects), hyperlinks to interactive websites, videocasts, maps, to name a few
Instructional Design Models (IDM) Addresses two or less IDMs Addresses at least three IDMs Addresses at least four IDMs Addresses at least five IDMs
Instructional Design Model Synthesis and Evaluation Few of the following Critical Thinking Components are included in the Webquest:

Design Models have been  thoroughly explained, furnished with real world examples and applications, provided with strengths and weaknesses, and supplied with  a personal evidence-based evaluation of each.

Some of the following Critical Thinking Components are included in the Webquest:

Design Models have been  thoroughly explained, furnished with real world examples and applications, provided with strengths and weaknesses, and supplied with  a personal evidence-based evaluation of each.

Most of the following Critical Thinking Components are included in the Webquest:

Design Models have been  thoroughly explained, furnished with real world examples and applications, provided with strengths and weaknesses, and supplied with  a personal evidence-based evaluation of each.

All of the following Critical Thinking Components are included in the Webquest:

Design Models have been  thoroughly explained, furnished with real world examples and applications, provided with strengths and weaknesses, and supplied with  a personal evidence-based evaluation of each.

 

The above rubric consists of only four criteria and by all means does not exemplify a complete rubric. It serves solely as an example; however, it is specific, clear, and affords the learner exact expectations for each of the enumerated criteria for a webquest pertaining to the Instructional Design Models. As mentioned above, furnishing choices for the assignment is also critical in order to accommodate the adult learners’ learning styles and MI. Reverting to the preceding topic of Instructional Design Models, the following examples can be viable choices for the learner to select: creating a webquest, developing an educational website or blog, producing a videocast or video, making an eBook or digital story, or the  participation in an online collaborative project that would entail the end result of a website or blog. 

 

Listening to Others with Understanding and Empathy 

Successful individuals listen more than they talk, practice generative listening, choose their words carefully, read emotional cues and body language, sensitively consider other people’s views and perspectives, and successfully paraphrase and understand another’s thoughts and emotions (Acosta & Kallick, 2000; Covey, 2004; Haden, 2012). Knowles (1989) andralogical assumptions of the adult learner profess they tend to be intrinsically motivated to learn and bring their life experiences with them into the learning environment. Therefore, adult learners need a safe, nurturing, accepting, and validating instructional culture in order to flourish. Some of the ordeals from their past and present will be positive and fruitful and others negative and toxic. Due to these unpredictable outcomes, engendering a trusting, warm, and safe educational community is critical if the adult learner is to foster. Internally, the adult learner desires to maintain and build a positive self-esteem, confidence, competence, meaning, and feel a real connection to the learning environ in order to prosper academically (Wlodkowski, 1999). Research shows that if the adult learner’s intrinsic motivators are not addressed and catered, academic attainment and participation diminishes (Lloyd & O’Sullivan, 2003; James & Nightingale, 2005). The adult learners past and present experiences and internal motivators of security, validation, and acceptance will affect their ability to listen to others with understanding and empathy. Taking these andragogical assumptions into account and applying them to the third Habit of Mind, the question becomes, how do we create understanding and empathetic listeners in the adult online learner?   

Trying to teach one to be an empathetic and understanding student can be a challenging task; however, there are some strategies an instructor can employ to facilitate fostering this skill/behavior. 

  • Encourage the adult learner to first validate another’s opinions, perspectives, and feelings (Brooks, 1999). Inform them that it is okay to disagree and not always go with the flow of others in the class cognitively or affectively but how they demonstrate and communicate the dissension is paramount. Adult learners need to feel validated so this strategy is essential for avoiding conflict and engendering acute tension among students. This is even more crucial in the online environment since the majority of communication is via words from discussion forums, emails, and so forth. Furnishing students with possible sentence stems may avert these encounters. For example:

Thank you for sharing your feelings/thoughts regarding _____. I can see how _____ would make you feel frustrated/disappointed/challenged. Tell me, have you considered possibly _______? Then go on to elucidate your point.

Or have a student share a similar situation that relates to the other learner’s ordeal and inform them of how frustrating/disappointing/challenging it was for them and/ or others. Then go on to elucidate their view of the situation.

 

  • The cardinal rule, Treat others how you would like others to treat you, applies fittingly here (Brooks, 1999). Adult learners need to feel respected and secure in their learning environment; therefore, providing professional netiquette behavior guidelines is quintessential. In addition, encourage students to think first; then act. Ask them how would they feel if they were in that individual’s shoes? How would they want someone to respond to them if they shared a view that is in opposition to what someone else thought? What words would they want someone to use? What tone in the message? Have they considered how sensitive the experience or view is to the other individual? What positive, sentient, compassionate, and considerate way can they respond? Cognitively putting these practices into ones’ daily repertoire is more apt to developing and cultivating empathetic behaviors.

 

  • Inform students to be cognizant of their biases, perspectives, values, and norms. Awareness of what they are will allow the student to be more conscious of how to respond and react to their peers more effectively. Ask them to not respond defensively but try to understand and see the other individual’s perspective, even if they do not concur. If this is difficult for them to do, encourage them to ask their peer to elaborate or clarify their position. This will provide students with a more detailed base for them to build a foundation of empathy and understanding from in order to facilitate conducive and less contentious interactions.  Recognizing ones’ biases, perspectives, and so forth also enables the individual to modify or change their attitudes and behaviors to become more receptive to other cultures, ideologies, vantages, and philosophies. Perhaps there were issues or positions a student never considered or were not aware that their perspective or attitude was offensive or insensitive to others and therefore needs to be ameliorated in its delivery of the message or reevaluated in general. This is critical in the online environment since the majority of communication is performed with written words. Choose them carefully.

 

 

Conclusion

Research is scant regarding andragogical development and cultivation to the Habits of Mind, especially for the online adult learner. More research needs to be conducted considering the sprouting number of adult online learners. This article furnished a myriad of strategies to employ in order to cater to andragogical assumptions for the online learner to further facilitate fostering the Habits of Mind. Postsecondary institutions and their instructors have an academic responsibility to accommodate their adult learners and ensure their educational experience is positive and fruitful in order to generate productive, engaging, scholastically motivated, and thriving students. Utilizing these suggested strategies may improve student satisfaction, decrease attrition rates, increase student online participation, engender a fruitful and trusting learning environment, and augment academic performance. If the predicative indicators are accurate, institutions of higher learning cannot afford to ignore the burgeoning adult learner population and therefore, we, as professionals, should move forward in developing, implementing, and identifying andragogical online best practices with the Habits of Mind in mind…a great habit for educators to harbor.

 

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