Encouraging success in "non-traditional" students



In response to society's growing need for knowledge, universities are offering an increasing number of professional programs that are attended by "non-traditional" students with family and professional responsibilities affecting their academic engagement.

Starting from the hypothesis that the pedagogy of these programs needs to be revised in order to foster persistence and success in these students, the researchers of the AXIALES project developed, in the context of a 2nd-year School Administration program at UQAM and in partnership with the Commission Scolaire de Laval/Laval School Board (CSDL), a "hybrid teaching" model (presence-distance) placing value on the students' professional knowledge and aimed at promoting the link between practical and theoretical knowledge, as well as skill development.

Universities are offering an increasing number of professional programs for "non-traditional" students.

In addition to remarkable lectures, various educational strategies are used: practice in the workplace, mentoring, online discussion groups, and collaborative construction of graphic knowledge networks. Two successive groups of CSDL school directors or future directors tested the model. The data obtained from the students, their mentors, the teaching staff and the CSDL administration show that this type of teaching model can encourage persistence and success at university as well as professional insertion. However, the generalization of the model, which is based on a university-workplace partnership, would require adaptations in university operations and in teaching practices.

In addition, the research suggests that the manner in which the students reconcile their studies, work and family, as well as certain educational factors, will need to be taken into consideration in any subsequent research into explicative and predictive models of educational persistence and success in non-traditional students.

Main researcher

Josianne Basque, TÉLUQ

Summary

Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: September 2009