#LTHEChat 55 : Bilingual German/English May 18th – Opening-up HE for non-traditional students, Martina Emke (@martinaemke)

#LTHEChat 55: Die Öffnung der Hochschulen für nicht-traditionelle Studierende, Martina Emke (@martinaemke)


Martina Emke @martinaemke

Who are non-traditional students? According to a 2015 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCSC) there is no clear definition. However, there seem to be some characteristics that many non-traditional students (NTS) share: NTS often study part-time, work full-time and have dependents. Another common factor seems to be that for many NTS the support of university staff and the institution, to help increase their confidence in learning and address practical and personal issues, is crucial for their success at university study (Field, Merrill & West, 2012).

NTS already possess professional knowledge and work experience which influence their attitude towards studying. Research suggests that they are interested in applying knowledge and that they are determined and committed to learning and studying because they have clear goals, which are often connected to pursuing a professional career (Johnson & Merrill, 2004). However, this does not mean that NTS see learning as primarily instrumental, as NTS are a heterogeneous group and views on learning differ. Rather, it means that these students expect that the knowledge, skills and experiences they bring to university are recognised and can be integrated into their studies. But how well are universities, lecturers and teachers really prepared to meet the needs and expectations of NTS?

Pedagogies and course offerings that support self-directed and social learning, possibly in blended-learning contexts, could be very helpful in addressing the needs of NTS, help strengthen learner motivation and improve student retention. This #LTHEchat will discuss ways to facilitate learning for NTS which take account of the students’ previously acquired knowledge and skills through formal and informal learning, their lived experience and their need to balance studying with work and life. Come and join us on Wednesday, 18 May at 8 p.m. BST on Twitter!


Multitasking” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by foreverdigital

Wer gehört zu den nicht-traditionellen Studierenden? Laut einem Bericht des National Center for Education Statistics (NCSC) aus dem Jahr 2015 gibt es dazu keine klare Definition. Allerdings scheint es einige Merkmale zu geben, die viele nicht-traditionelle Studierende (NTS) teilen: NTS studieren oft in Teilzeit, arbeiten Vollzeit und haben Familienangehörige. Ein weiteres gemeinsames Merkmal scheint darin zu bestehen, dass die Unterstützung von Hochschulmitarbeitenden und der Hochschule zur Stärkung des Selbstvertrauens der Lernenden und bei praktischen und persönlichen Fragen entscheidend für den Studienerfolg von vielen NTS ist (Field, Merrill & West, 2012).

NTS besitzen bereits ein berufliches Wissen und Berufserfahrung, die ihre Einstellung zum Studium beeinflussen. Forschungsergebnisse lassen vermuten, dass NTS Interesse an der direkten Wissensanwendung haben und eine starke Lern- und Studienverpflichtung empfinden, weil sie klare Ziele haben, die oft mit der beruflichen Karriere in Zusammenhang stehen (Johnson & Merrill, 2004). Das bedeutet nicht, dass NTS Lernen als vorrangig instrumental ansehen, da NTS eine heterogene Gruppe darstellen und unterschiedliche Auffassungen zum Lernen bestehen. Allerdings bedeutet es, dass diese Studierenden erwarten, dass das Wissen, die Kompetenzen und die Erfahrungen, die sie mit an die Hochschule bringen, anerkannt werden und sie diese auch in ihr Studium einbringen können. Aber wie gut sind Hochschulen und Lehrende wirklich darauf eingestellt, den Bedürfnissen und Erwartungen von NTS gerecht zu werden?

Didaktische Konzepte und Kursangebote, die selbstbestimmtes und soziales Lernen fördern, beispielsweise in einem blended-learning-Format, können helfen, den Bedürfnissen von NTS zu entsprechen, die Motivation der Lernenden zu stärken und die Abbruchquote von Studierenden zu senken. In diesem #LTHEchat werden Möglichkeiten diskutiert das Lernen von NTS zu unterstützen, die formal oder informell erworbenes Vorwissens, formal oder informell erworbene Kompetenzen, Lebenserfahrung und die Notwendigkeit, eine Balance zwischen Studium, Arbeit und Privatleben zu finden, berücksichtigen. Machen Sie gerne mit bei unserem Chat am Mittwoch, den 18. Mai um 21 Uhr deutsche Zeit auf Twitter!

About Martina Emke (@martinaemke)

Martina Emke works as a project manager for a company affiliated to the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony in Germany. She is the project leader of the OHN-KursPortal (https://ohn-kursportal.de ), a German portal with open, tutor-led online courses designed to support non-traditional students preparing for university study. Martina is also an experienced EFL teacher in adult and vocational education and has worked for the European Centre for Modern Languages as a teacher educator and materials developer in the ICT-REV (http://ict-rev.ecml.at/ ) and DOTS projects. As a doctoral researcher at the Open University she has been investigating part-time language teachers’ informal professional development on Twitter. Other research interests include the use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for teaching and learning, networked learning and learner autonomy. Martina has published about her work and presented at conferences.

Introduction to #LTHEChat 55

In many European countries it has become easier for adults to study at a university at a later stage in life. However, information about the different pathways into higher education is not always easy to obtain and resources which help these ‘non-traditional students’ prepare for university study often lack entirely. In this chat we would like to discuss ways in which educators can support non-traditional students’ in their learning processes, especially  in the early stages of university study. In what ways do the learning needs from non-traditional students (NTS) differ from the learning needs of traditional students? Which pedagogies and tools might be useful in supporting NTS’ learning? Which challenges are there for educators and for the university, and how can they be met?

In vielen europäischen Ländern ist es für Erwachsene einfacher geworden zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt in ihrem Leben zu studieren. Allerdings ist es oft nicht einfach, Informationen über die unterschiedlichen Wege des Hochschulzugangs zu bekommen und Angebote, die diesen ‘nicht-traditionellen Studierenden’ bei der Studienvorbereitung helfen, fehlen oft gänzlich. In diesem Chat würden wir gerne diskutieren, inwieweit Lehrende nicht-traditionelle Studierende insbesondere in der Studieneingangsphase unterstützen können. Inwieweit unterscheidet sich der Lernbedarf von nicht-traditionellen Studierenden (NTS) von dem Lernbedarf traditioneller Studierender? Welche didaktischen Konzepte und Werkzeuge könnten hilfreich für die Lernunterstützung von NTS sein? Welche Herausforderungen gibt es für Lehrende und für die Hochschule, und wie kann diesen Herausforderungen begegnet werden?

Please note, this will be a bilingual chat, German and English.

Update: @debbaff 19/5/16 The Storify can be found here http://sfy.co/d11VP #LTHEChat 

Update: @cpjobling 19/5/16 The TAGSexplorer 6 visualisation is LTHEchat 55.

If you are reflecting on this specific #LTHEchat please share your post with us so that we can reblog.

If you participated/are participating in any way in the #LTHEchat, please complete our short survey and let us know if you have other suggestions on how we could make the #LTHEchat more valuable for you. Thank you.

See you Wednesday, same time, same place – 8-9PM BST #LTHEchat




About @katessoper

Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor, working in Higher Education in the UK.
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3 Responses to #LTHEChat 55 : Bilingual German/English May 18th – Opening-up HE for non-traditional students, Martina Emke (@martinaemke)

  1. @katessoper says:

    Reblogged this on katesoperthoughts and commented:

    This week’s #LTHEChat will be a bilingual exploration (German and English) of opening up HE to non-traditional students. I strongly recommend having a read of Martina Emke’s thought provoking blog post, which introduces the topic. How can we enable students to draw on their experiences outside of university to keep their studying relevant and personal? What techniques do you use to balance the needs of traditional and non-traditional students? There are lots of things to consider in this, perhaps even, to play devils advocate, if any distinction should be made between traditional and non-traditional students at all? Have a read and don’t forget to join us on Wednesday 18th 8-9pm BST for this fascinating and bilingual #LTHEchat!


  2. Pingback: #LTHEChat 55 : Bilingual German/English May 18th – Opening-up HE for non-traditional students, Martina Emke (@martinaemke) | Debs OER Journey

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