The 3 Best Online Master's in Adult Education

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The Absolute Best

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The best online master’s in adult education programs are designed to provide adult education practitioners with the theoretical and practical skills to improve their performance in the classroom and achieve better learning outcomes for their students. Most quality online master’s degree in adult education programs first provide you with a deep understanding of the special challenges that adult learners face. You then study the educational techniques and teaching practices that help adult learners overcome these common challenges, learning how to apply them in a classroom environment to enable more effective learning.

The top programs in adult education target technical school instructors, corporate trainers, professional development teachers, and other adult education professionals. They are not subject-specific, meaning that they are a good fit regardless of what subject or skill area you teach or plan to teach. While you do need a bachelor’s degree to qualify for one of these programs, you do not require a degree in education or any prior academic training in education.

Auburn University is home to one of the best online master’s in adult education programs in the country. In addition to courses in educational theory and practice, this program also includes courses that cover curriculum planning and course design, which are especially valuable topics for those who are transitioning into adult education from another professional career. Auburn’s online master’s degree in adult education also provides a special focus on educational research skills, which enable you to continue learning and follow developments in educational theory and practice long after you graduate. Students interested in pursuing further online study at Auburn can continue with a post-master’s program that culminates in a Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) degree in adult education.

Indiana University-Bloomington has one of the oldest adult education specialty programs in the country, which dates back to 1946. Today, the program is delivered online and targeted at education professionals who want advanced training in the latest educational theories and most effective classroom teaching practices for adult learners. In this program, you develop a full understanding of how the learning process changes as adults age and how to improve learning outcomes by modifying teaching practices to better fit adult learners. Note that all students in this program are required to visit campus for a three-day workshop that primarily covers teaching techniques for creating and maintaining a participatory classroom environment.

Michigan State University is another good alternative for advanced studies in adult education. Alongside practical skills development, this program provides you with a broad view of the historical, social, and philosophical contexts within which the field of adult education has developed over time. You also consider the social and cultural forces that influence how individual adult learners engage in the learning process, which is important to creating an effective classroom learning environment. While many MSU online master’s degree in adult education graduates continue working as instructors in adult and higher education, others go on to take university or college positions in academic advising and admissions departments. There are also those that go on to pursue public communication and education careers in community health centers, nonprofit service groups, and other organizations.