The Master of Education in Adult Learning is a 33-credit hour program of study that prepares individuals for a broad range of positions related to the education of adult learners. Students choose one of three elective concentrations in adult literacy, human resource development, or instructional design and technology. Graduates are found in major corporations, higher education, health care organizations, state and federal agencies, nonprofit and community-based organizations and human services agencies. Admission to the program is predicated on the “whole person” concept, taking into account life experience, academic record, references and the reasons for the student’s interest in the program. An interview with the program adviser is recommended prior to admission. Successful applicants will have sufficient prior work experience with adults as learners to enable them to bring relevant work experience into the classroom learning environment.
The program provides a foundation in educational research methods and a strong core of seven courses in the theory and practice of adult learning, including emphasis in development of facilitation skills, as well as the design and delivery of adult learning programs. Upon completion of the foundation and core courses, students choose one of three concentration areas: adult literacy, human resource development (learning in the workplace), or instructional design and technology. The last course in the program, a capstone seminar in action learning, reunites students from all three concentrations for a comprehensive synthesis experience as they work in action learning teams to solve a real problem of strategic importance to an organization in the community.
A unique feature of the program is the learning portfolio, maintained in an online journal (blog) format. The learning portfolio, in combination with the capstone seminar, replaces a comprehensive examination requirement. For the portfolio, students write reflective blog entries during each of the core and concentration courses. During the program, selected assignments are posted to the blog to document personal growth and learning over time. At the end of the program, students create a synthesis of their learning in an essay format or through creation of a digital story. The portfolio serves as a demonstration of the graduate’s abilities to a prospective employer and can be added to a student’s resume. Throughout, the program utilizes students’ experiences in working with adults as learners to unite theory with practice and emphasizes 21st-century technologies for teaching and learning.
Student learning outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:
Adult learning core outcomes
- Demonstrate the ability to articulate a personal philosophy of adult learning practice that enables students to work effectively as leaders and facilitators to improve adult learning and promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace
- Demonstrate the ability to integrate knowledge of all facets of adult learning to have a significant impact on the practices, culture and learning environments of the organizations in which students work
- Demonstrate knowledge of the nature, function and scope of adult learning during the capstone experience of the program
- Demonstrate awareness of the processes of adult learning and development during the capstone experience
- Acknowledge the influence of technology in adult learning, as evidenced in the final program learning assessment
- Demonstrate awareness of educational research in the adult learning field, as evidenced on the research on instructional strategy and organizational change strategy analysis rubrics
Human resource development concentration-specific outcomes
- Explain the competencies, roles and responsibilities of human resource development professionals
- Review and dissect the diverse perspectives among human resource development scholars and practitioners, and their differing perspectives on learning, performance and change in organizations
VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs
The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.
It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.
Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.
Degree candidacy requirements
A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.
Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.
Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.
As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.
Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.
Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.