High-Impact Practices and the Adult Online Learner

Pamela Duke Morris, Christina M.Cobb, Meredith Anne S. Higgs


Institutions of higher education are challenged to get students engaged, especially adult or non-traditional online learners. In this study, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) 2017 & 2018 data on High-Impact Practices (HIPs) are examined to understand the extent to which adult online learners are engaged in HIPs. This analysis finds that engagement levels for adult learners are lower than those of traditional learners (under the age of 24) for all HIPs surveyed by the NSSE. Moreover, the levels of engagement of the subset of adult learners who took only online courses was even lower than the levels of the broader adult population, and part-time adult online learners had the lowest engagement of all student populations examined. Based on these findings, suggestions for improving the engagement of adult and online learners in HIPs are discussed. Institutions should focus on incorporating opportunities that allow more learners to experience HIPs, as research findings suggest that HIPS increase engagement and could result in significant improvements in student success measures, such as program completion and graduate school attendance (Stoloff, Good, Smith, & Brewster, 2015).

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/wjer.v6n4p463


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