VCU Bulletins

Adult Learning, Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Robin Hurst, Ed.D.
Adult Learning Program Coordinator
(804) 828-8021

Admission requirements summary

Adult Learning, Master of Education (M.Ed.)

of entry:


Mar 15
Nov 1
Mar 15


The Master of Education in Adult Learning is a 33-credit 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 tracks to concentrate in adult literacy, human resource development, or teaching and learning with 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 areas of focus: adult literacy, human resource development (learning in the workplace), or teaching and learning with technology. The last course in the program, a capstone seminar in action learning, reunites students from all three elective tracks 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 elective track 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

  1. In earning the M.Ed. in Adult Learning, students demonstrate the ability to articulate a personal philosophy of adult learning practice that enables them to work effectively as leaders and facilitators to improve adult learning, as evidenced on the Final Program Learning assessment.
  2. M.Ed. in Adult Learning students will demonstrate their ability to integrate their knowledge of all facets of adult learning to have a significant impact on the practices, culture and learning environments of the organizations in which they work.
  3. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the nature, function and scope of adult learning during the capstone experience of the program.
  4. Students in this program will demonstrate their awareness of the processes of adult learning and development during their capstone experience.
  5. Students will acknowledge the influence of technology in adult learning, as evidenced in their Final Program Learning assessment.
  6. Students will demonstrate their awareness of educational research in the adult learning field, as evidenced on the Research on Instructional Strategy and Organizational Change Strategy Analysis rubrics.


Foundation course 3
  EDUS 660 Research Methods in Education  
Core courses 21
  ADLT 601 Adult Learning and Development  
  ADLT 606 Design and Delivery of Adult Learning Programs  
  ADLT 610 Consulting Skills in Adult Learning Environments  
  ADLT 612 Learning in Groups and Teams  
  ADLT 636 Capstone Seminar in Action Learning  
  ADLT 650 Adult Literacy and Diversity  
  ADLT 688 Lifespan Issues for Adults with Learning and Behavioral Disabilities  
Elective tracks 9
  Students choose an elective concentration of nine credit hours in one of the three focus areas: adult literacy, human resource development, or teaching and learning with technology. These courses are designed to be taken after the student completes foundation and core courses, with the exception of ADLT 636, the capstone seminar.  
  Adult literacy electives  
  READ 602 Literacy for Adults  
  TEDU/ENGL/LING 552 Teaching English as a Second Language  
  TEDU 681 Investigations and Trends in Teaching (issues in adult literacy)  
  Human resource development electives  
  ADLT 620 Human Resource Development Overview  
  ADLT 623 Organizational Learning  
  ADLT 625 Change Strategies for HRD Practitioners  
  Teaching and learning with technology electives  
  ADLT 640 Theory and Practice of eLearning Integration Into Adult Learning Environments  
  ADLT 641 Exploration of Digital Media for Adult Learning  
  ADLT 642 Design Challenges in Creating eLearning for Adults  



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Last update: 9/5/2013

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