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A principle of the Irish Education system is its endorsement of equity of access to higher education for all Irish citizens. This principle has been enacted through successive government policies including the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2015-2019 (HEA, 2015). The aim of this policy is to “ensure that the student body entering, participating in and completing higher education at all levels reflects the diversity and social mix of Ireland’s population” (p.8). Data from this plan shows that participation in higher education by the adult population has increased and that there is a potential for increasing the overall educational attainment levels of the adult population as a whole. Mature students are those aged 23 years or over. Among the many reasons why mature students enter full time higher education are; career orientations, replacing of redundant skill sets, being a role model for children, the enjoyment of learning. Our objective is to examine the literature relating to curriculum design, in particular, teaching (including technology), learning and assessment strategies and how programme and module designers (new and longstanding lecturers) might support the needs of mature students within a programme/module. The report also provides information on policy and statistics of the current mature education landscape in Ireland.
O'Carroll, J., Ennis, C., Loscher, K., Ryan, D. and Dixon, N. (2017) Strategies for Enhancing the Mature Student Experience in Higher Education. Dublin Institute of Technology.