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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses whether institutions of higher education in general and departments of psychology in particular are meeting the needs of nontraditional students, who do not follow the traditional path to postsecondary education due to variables such as age, socioeconomic status, work, and family responsibilities. We discuss three categories of nontraditional student characteristics (Cross, 1981): dispositional (e.g., learning styles), situational (e.g., time constraints), and institutional (campus climate). We also suggest strategies for pedagogical and institutional practices (based on classic and current research), such as emphasis on experiential learning, online delivery of courses and services, flexibility in providing mentoring and advising services, inclusion of prior learning credits that can help increase persistence and graduation rates for adult students and other nontraditional learners while also enhancing the learning environment and opportunities for all students.

Keywords: nontraditional, Cross, learning styles, experiential learning, online delivery, mentoring, prior learning, persistence, graduation, adult students

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