The Role of Adult Education in Online Delivery of Career and Technical Education

The Role of Adult Education in Online Delivery of Career and Technical Education

Victor M. Hernández-Gantes
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-153-9.ch016
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As online education continues to grow, there is a consensus that online courses and programs should be designed based on the needs of adult learners. This premise is also relevant to growing career and technical education (CTE) programs offered online. However, much of the literature in online CTE lacks implicit connections to emerging notions of adult development and learning. This article provides an overview of the status of online education in CTE offered in higher education, and discusses adult learning development as a means to inform curriculum design and instruction. The article concludes with an outline of emerging trends bridging adult learning and online education relevant to career and technical education.
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Distance education encompasses a wide array of formal and informal strategies bridging physical separation between instructors and students (King, 2008). Online education represents a formal asynchronous instructional system offered by educational institutions through courses and entire programs. Online education is characterized by the use of communication networks building upon varying combinations of online technology such as the Internet, electronic libraries, web-based conferencing, virtual discussions, and e-mail communication. Typically, the delivery of online education is organized through a web-based management system (e.g., Blackboard, WebCT) with many variations in delivery and support services depending on institutional resources and the nature of individual courses (e.g., size of student enrollment) (Aragon, 2003; Conrad, 2008; Paloff & Pratt, 2001).

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