In 2012, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) partnered with Pearson, an education publishing and assessment service, to change the way adult learners in Kentucky access educational resources and invest in their academic futures. The goal was to revolutionize KCTCS’ already successful Learn on Demand (LOD) program, using Pearson’s technology (in particular their MyLab platform) to facilitate increased competency-based learning opportunities. Now, through this adaptable and customizable curriculum, students have a chance to complete workforce skills and academic credentials more quickly while remaining focused on genuine learning--and all at a lower cost.
If You Have Access to the Internet, You Can Have an Education
Learn on Demand, the KCTCS online college readiness program, is an accredited virtual learning resource with an empowerment focus that puts education directly in the hands of students. With flexible scheduling, full-length online courses, and shorter, subject-targeted modules exploring a range of topics, all students need is an Internet connection and a desire to learn in order to benefit from everything this program offers. KCTCS classes, and especially LOD’s online readiness courses, enable job-skill improvement, educational enhancement, and the completion of academic coursework toward two-year or four-year degrees.
In working with Pearson, KCTCS has filled a much needed gap for learners who might not find their needs being met in a more traditional four-year university setting. According to their website, nationally lauded KCTCS schools provide online learning to “students who cannot attend classes on campus due to scheduling conflicts, childcare, work or other commitments,” allowing these individuals to pursue education on their own time and their own terms.
Teachers agree that the incorporation of MyLab module learning has been a boon to non-traditional students. Kate Welsh, who worked as an adjunct professor of English composition for KCTCS from 2010 to 2013, says the “best thing about Pearson’s MyLab is the human video instruction.” As a teacher of both online and physical classes, Welsh explains, “Online learners really need to feel engaged with the entire course on a human level to connect to the teacher and the material.” According to Welsh, MyLab is successful in hitting these marks because “a human teaching in a video in an online classroom does this, making the content more accessible to students.”
Pearson Helped Make Online Learning Programs in Kentucky Even Stronger
Launched in 2009, Learn on Demand quickly grew to be a stalwart community program, and this status was elevated even further with the 2012 incorporation of Pearson’s MyLab. The accelerated and modularized coursework helps both new and returning adult learners master required competencies in service of academic and professional growth. By allowing students to set their own pace as they work toward a professional certification or accredited degree, learners are able to create customized curriculums that meet diverse academic needs.
Program Director and veteran teacher Etta Cantrell discusses the collaborative process with Pearson, explaining, “We designed the reading, writing, and math developmental modules and handed them over to the incredible Pearson technology team.” As a competency-based program utilizing both online education best practices and content literacy strategies that build the foundation of face-to-face developmental instruction, the result was an accelerated and personalized college-readiness program that, Cantrell says, “provided individualized modules where students anytime, anywhere, take responsibility for using prior knowledge to learn new content and master competencies for college and work.” With “input from more than 11 million student users annually,” data from Pearson indicates the program’s success as well.
How does this work, exactly? Through the innovative creation of programs that, as Pearson outlines, react “to how students are actually performing, offering data-driven guidance that helps them better absorb course material and understand difficult concepts.”
Above and beyond helping students better understand course concepts, the program “also created pre- and post-test learning modules to break up longer courses into more easily manageable units of learning,” explains Cantrell. She adds that in addition, the collaboration with Pearson enabled “streamlined Common Core college readiness standards and provided a seamless integration with the KCTCS learning management system.”
Learn on Demand allows continuing or returning adult students to pursue coursework toward marketable job skills, professional certification, or an accredited two-year or Bachelor’s degree with the customization and flexibility provided by online, self-motivated learning. Even better, students get quality access to education while still participating in a comprehensive and engaging academic community within KCTCS.