Universal Design for the Mature Student

After having read the article on Effective Practice in a Digital Age: A Guide to Technology Advanced Teaching and Learning, there was one portion that I really connected with me – the mature student. I consider myself a mature student because I have gone through many years of education, many career changes and I continue to take classes in order to further my education, which is why this portion of the article was something I related to.

Being a mature student has its advantages and its disadvantages. To get the negative out of the way, the mature student may not have been in school for a long time so they may have lost their skill of “how to learn”. They are not in learning mode anymore so they may not feel as though they understand how to learn or where to even draw their ideas from. In comes the advantage… because the mature student HAS so much experience in their pockets and they have learned from working and living, they are able to bring a lot of ideas and perspectives to a situation, which cannot be learned from courses. The universal design idea of an e-Portfolio is suggested, and I couldn’t agree more. Since, coincidently that is what I’m currently doing with this blog!

An e-Portfolio allows the mature student (or any student for that matter) so focus their life experiences into learning experiences and bring an added value to a discussion that young students may not have. An e-Portfolio also allows the student to set their ideas down in the order that they wish to express them without any constricting boundaries. The e-Portfolio, when given a specific topic to discuss, can become the student’s outlet and platform to combine what they have learned during their course and what they have learned during their life experiences. Life experiences should not be seen as a barrier to learning for the mature student, rather as an additional way of thinking.

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