Marian University’s MPath System Designed To Help Adult Learners Succeed in Master’s Programs

June 25, 2020

Adult learners succeed with Marian University’s MPath online learning program.Adult learners face unique challenges that often include balancing a job, family, and education. They want online master’s degree programs that can boost their career to the next level. But they also want schools to take into account their time constraints, learning style, and experience.

Marian University kept these issues in mind when creating the MPath student-centered online program platform. In both design and delivery, MPath offers adult learners online master degree programs tailored to their needs.

The MPath system gives adult learners choices in how they approach earning their degrees. A common choice for master’s degree students is the MPath Online Flexible Program that offers four-week courses and 12 start dates per year.

MPath incorporates Competency-Based Education (CBE). This approach gives students credit when they master skills and knowledge, which they demonstrate by applying them to real-world experiences. Students earn credits through learning, not just time spent in a seat. 

“Everything we do with MPath aims to support the success of adult learners,” said Polly Manske, Assistant Professor and Faculty Director of CBE at Marian University. “Many working adults want to move forward in their career by earning a graduate degree, but they face roadblocks with programs that do not factor in their real-life challenges. In our programs, we’ve removed those roadblocks.”

What Is MPath?

The MPath platform integrates the school’s core values with innovative technology. Those values include compassion, justice, educating the whole person, and transforming lives by preparing graduates for professional service and leadership.

Through MPath, students engage in 15-week or seven-week semesters, depending on the program. For those seeking a master’s degree, the online flexible program offers the most freedom. Students take four-week courses and create a custom plan for degree completion. The courses have 12 start dates per year, giving adult learners even more control over the pace of their education.

The system includes software to track progress and communication tools to build networks with peers and instructors. School faculty engage often with students, offering personalized instruction and guidance.

Master’s degree programs offered through the MPath Online Flexible Program include:

How Does Competency-Based Education Work?

In the working world, people use a combination of skills, knowledge, and abilities to complete tasks. CBE adopts this approach to education. Students earn credit by showing they have mastered what they need to complete real-world tasks.

It’s an approach that works well for adult learners. CBE lets them bring experience to the table, using the skills and knowledge gained through experience to move forward at their own pace. 

In each master’s program, the curriculum clearly defines what students need to master at the course and program level. Through it all, instructors provide support and feedback, guiding, and enriching students. They also help them keep on track for degree completion.

For adult learners, CBE and MPath offer a way to take what they already know and apply it to earning a master’s degree. It’s an approach that considers their specific needs and gives them a realistic option for attaining their educational goals.

Manske said the Marian University approach “is fundamentally different from traditional learning models. But we believe it’s a model that best allows adult learners to progress at their own pace through a master’s degree program.”