Course Overview

The Master of Arts Degree in Adult Learning and Development is intended to give training, education and human resource practitioners the opportunity to:

  • Extend and deepen their knowledge and understanding of theories underlying adult learning, training, education and development;
  • Apply critical analysis and problem solving skills in the development of new knowledge and practice to the field of adult learning, training, education and development;
  • Contribute to the debate on the role of lifelong learning in the context of international experience, government priorities and in the framework of personal and professional development.

NB: Participants have an exit option on successful completion of 60 ECTS. In such cases participants will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Adult Learning and Development (Level 9 NFQ).

Applications and Selections

Apply Online

Early application is advised as offers will be made on a rolling basis.

A limited number of applications may be accepted after the official application closing date, subject to the availability of places.
 

* Please note applicants are not required to complete the section relating to Leaving Cert results.

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Assessment includes written assignments, practical projects, online contributions, and reflective learning journals. You will complete a research-based dissertation in the second year of the programme.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

  1. Academic: Candidates must have achieved a minimum of a 2.2 honours degree.
  2. Experiential: Candidates must possess a minimum of three years’ experience in training and education or other relevant experience.

Candidates for entry may be required to attend for interview prior to being offered a place on the programme. The number of places will be restricted.

Entry requirements for part-time students can be found in our FAQs section (i.e. age, english language requirements etc.). 


Additional Requirements

Duration

2 years, part-time

Next start date

September

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

25

Closing Date

Next start date

September

NFQ level

9

Mode of study

Blended learning

ECTS weighting

90

Award

Master of Arts in Adult Learning and Development

CAO

PAC code

Course Outline

Timetable

Students will attend 1-day and 2-day workshops throughout the academic year (see below). This usually amounts to 14 days in total.

Modules - YEAR 1
ECTS   Workshops
Human Resource Development and Training for Work 5 1 day
The Psychology of Adult Learning and Development 10 2 days
Adult Learning Theories and Concepts 5 1 day
Teaching and Learning Online 5 1 day
Lifelong Learning: Concepts, Context and Issues 10 2 days
Social Science Research 10 2 days
     
Modules - YEAR 2
   
Learning and the Individual 5 1 day
Management and Leadership in Training and Education (Elective) 10 2 days
Online Learning Design (Elective) 10 1 days
Dissertation 30 1 day

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Module
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (45 Credits)

Required ED417: Teaching and Learning Online


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Teaching and Learning Online focuses on the fundamental models and concepts of online learning, on the range of related literacies that trainers need to develop and on the pedagogical approaches needed for successful online learning.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a broad and specialised knowledge of the fundamental models and concepts of the online learning environment
  2. Identify the key drivers, benefits and challenges to eLearning adoption
  3. Discuss the range of knowledge, skills and digital literacies needed by trainers to develop, facilitate and manage an effective online learning environment
  4. Discuss the range of knowledge, skills and digital literacies needed by learners to fully engage in collaborative virtual learning communities
  5. Apply online pedagogical models and learning technology tools to plan and construct prototype online courses and learning activities in an online learning environment
  6. Critically engage in current eLearning discourse (e.g. ‘Digital Native v Digital Immigrant’ debate, data protection, copyright, digital identity)
  7. Reflect and apply learning to participant’s own professional practice
  8. Recognise the role of technology in the learning process ensuring that appropriate pedagogical approaches are implemented for online learners
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED417: "Teaching and Learning Online" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required ED418: The Psychology of Adult Learning & Development


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

The Psychology of Adult Learning and Development introduces learners to the key psychological perspectives of learning to provide a coherent theoretical foundation for understanding the adult learning process.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Synthesise broad, up-to-date general knowledge and specialised knowledge relating to the psychological perspective of learning and its underlying principles
  2. Critically evaluate the contribution of the associationist, cognitive and situative perspectives, and the leading proponents of those perspectives, to our understanding of adult learning and development
  3. Select and apply independent research, critical analysis, and communication skills to arrive at, and effectively communicate, evidence-based conclusions regarding theoretical explanations of complex adult learning situations
  4. Critically analyse complex adult learning theories and concepts to establish a coherent theoretical and practical foundation for facilitating adult learning in a variety of predictable and unpredictable contexts
  5. Exercise autonomy and judgement in applying your learning in a wide variety of complex professional contexts, including those that are unfamiliar and emerging
  6. Take responsibility for ensuring quality of evidence-based professional practice and strategic decision-making
  7. Evaluate own learning needs and take responsibility for continuing professional development to remain up-to-date with significant issues and trends in the field of adult learning theory, including those at the interface with related professions
  8. Scrutinise and reflect on your professional practice to ensure integration of high ethical standards including responsibilities to peers, learners and other stakeholders
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED418: "The Psychology of Adult Learning & Development" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required ED408: Human Resource Development and Training for Work


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Human Resources Development and Training for Work explores human potential in the context of job settings and the scope for diversity in human potential development in the working environment

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically evaluate current developments and trends that are influencing modern Human Resource policy.
  2. Identify and prioritise the fundamental challenges presented to modern HRM professionals to embed a culture of learning and influence strategic direction through their role as” business partner”.
  3. Evaluate your development needs to maximise your contribution to organisational performance.
  4. Contribute to the development of an effective human resources strategy utilising critical analysis skills and professional experience to ensure the contribution of individuals and teams are maximised and organisational goals are met.
  5. Create an environment that encourages innovative thinking and practice through participation and lifelong learning and development
  6. Evaluate and review existing performance management processes and procedures to adopt best practice, foster employee motivation and engagement and reinforce behaviours that are consistent with organisational goals.
  7. Take responsibility for transforming employee appraisal programmes into performance development tools that are transparent, inclusive and promote effective and regular feedback
  8. Review existing total reward policy for your organisation and determine if the right balance of financial and non-financial rewards is being used to motivate employees to achieve optimal result
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED408: "Human Resource Development and Training for Work" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required ED415: Lifelong Learning: Context & Issues


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Lifelong Learning explores lifelong learning within the structure of European education and within new themes of learning with particular emphasis on social and community change. It examines the challenges to Irish education in a globalised environment and within a lifelong learning agenda that seeks to expand the possibilities offered by education and learning
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically analyse the evolution of the lifelong learning concept and how it has been conceptualised theoretically and in society.
  2. Synthesise a range of specialised knowledge and theories relating to adult learning and continuous professional development.
  3. Formulate responses as to how lifelong learning policies, documents, structures and issues has impacted and shaped lifelong learning initiatives from both national and international perspectives.
  4. Draw insights into up-to-date developments and trends in the Further Education and Training sector indicating how lifelong learning can be embedded in adult education, training and developments in a national and community context.
  5. Exercise autonomy in how the lifelong learning concept could be advanced in the context of adult learners within different sectors of education and training.
  6. Exercise judgement in how different research issues inform the development and practical application of a lifelong learning approach to adult learning and continuous professional development.
  7. Reflectively appraise how the professional educator adopts the andragogy concept with adult learners in the lifelong learning process.
  8. Integrate into your own professional role based on commitment, practice and experiences, the contribution that knowledge, skills and challenges in the context of lifelong learning can make to adult learning and development.
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED415: "Lifelong Learning: Context & Issues" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required ED416: Adult Learning Theories & Concepts


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Adult Learning Theories and Concepts examines individual differences in learning, transformational and experiential learning and learning styles and preferences. It provides learners with the knowledge and skills to recognise how learning differences can be facilitated in the learning environment.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Synthesise broad, up-to-date knowledge of a range of psychological theories and concepts relating to the learning process, in particular those relating to individual differences among learners and the influence of humanistic psychology on adult learning theory
  2. Critically discuss the range of theoretical approaches to the concept of intelligence, the concept of learning style, and the influence of humanistic psychology on adult learning theory
  3. Critically analyse and evaluate information on differences in ability and style to gain clarity of perspective and integrate evidence-based conclusions into professional practice
  4. Select and apply research and critical analysis skills to establish a coherent theoretical and practical foundation for considering the role of experiential learning and reflection in education and training
  5. Exercise autonomy and judgement in integrating learning into professional practice to innovatively manage and transform adult learning contexts that are complex, unpredictable and require new strategic approaches
  6. Take responsibility for ensuring quality of evidence-based professional practice and strategic decision-making
  7. Reflect on and interrogate own attitudes, beliefs and professional practices, relating in particular to learner differences in ability and style, to identify own continuing professional development needs and remain up-to-date with significant relevant issues and trends, including those at the interface with related professions
  8. Integrate high standards of ethical values to own professional implementation of new learning
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED416: "Adult Learning Theories & Concepts" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required ED414: Social Science Research


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module explores the principles and skills relating to planning and designing research, developing a literature review and preparing survey strategies. It examines in detail qualitative and quantitative methods of research based on philosophical assumptions and applied to different research questions. It encompasses developing students’ knowledge and skills of data analysis methods and writing-up research findings

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of research strategies and their philosophies, up to date knowledge of a mixed methods approach to research, its philosophical underpinnings and its analytical approaches.
  2. Express knowledge of the context for research within professional practice including the identification of appropriate quantitative and qualitiative approaches to completing high standard research within a professional practice.
  3. Select, integrate and apply research strategies for the formulation of a research question and to the design of a research project.
  4. Critically review literature to develop a coherent, comprehensive and rigorous justification for research.
  5. Exercise research appropriate autonomy and judgement in applying knowledge and skills in a wide variety of contexts including professional practice and study.
  6. Manage a research process and project through the implementation of qualitative, quantitive or mixed methods using appropriate tools and techniques.
  7. Manage learning tasks independently, professionally and ethically.
  8. Express an internalised personal world-view and critique personal learning in line with the content and expected learning outcomes of the module and the value, approaches and etics of research.
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED414: "Social Science Research" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional ED403: Psychology of Learning 2


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED403: "Psychology of Learning 2" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional ED404: Psychology of Learning 1


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED404: "Psychology of Learning 1" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional ED409: Educational and Training Technology


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED409: "Educational and Training Technology" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Year 2 (45 Credits)

Required ED420: Learning & the Individual


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Learning and the Individual explores how psychological aspects of learning are put into practice through the ideas of self-regulation, transfer of learning and constructivist psychological methods.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Synthesise broad, up-to-date knowledge of psychological theories and concepts relating to the transfer of learning, pedagogical approaches and self-regulated learning in the adult learning context
  2. Critically evaluate the contribution of key psychological theories and concepts to the understanding of practical adult learning situations
  3. Select, modify and apply critical analysis and independent research skills to provide theoretical explanations of complex adult learning situations
  4. Apply specialised knowledge to the design of evidence-based pedagogical approaches with a view to responding to the impact of current and emerging information technologies and social media in adult learning contexts
  5. Take professional responsibility for the managment of complex adult learning and development contexts that require new strategic approaches
  6. Exercise autonomy and judgement in applying relevant knowledge and skills in a wide variety of learning and development contexts including those that are unfamiliar and emerging
  7. Reflectively monitor own performance and evaluate own learning needs; take responsibility for continuing professional development and for maintenance of high professional standards
  8. Review and evaluate information from the psychological literature to arrive at justifiable, evidence-based conclusions and recommendations; communicate decisions and complex information effectively to a variety of audiences
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED420: "Learning & the Individual" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required ED410: Dissertation


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 30

The dissertation provides learners with the opportunity to carry out research on an adult learning and/or development topic of choice. Learners are expected to apply the knowledge, skills and competence gained throughout the course to their completion of their research.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically analyse the main concepts of the research process as they relate to the role of a competent researcher in undertaking a work-based research project relating to work practices in the field of adult learning and/or development.
  2. Critically evaluate the essential theory and knowledge that are an integral part of a project proposal, individual chapters in a work-based research project and their application and implementation in the research work.
  3. Formulate the research skills required for a competent researcher to plan, design, source, select, undertake and submit a research proposal and work-based research project based on the implementation of specific research guidelines, aimed at achieving successful learning outcomes, including the skills required for a presentation of the research work.
  4. Select and modify the research skills required for undertaking a comprehensive and relevant literature review, conducting different types of methodology research work, analysis and interpretation of research data and implementation in the work-based research project.
  5. Take responsibility and initiative for how the researcher selects and incorporates specific research and methodology contents in the writing of the project proposal and in the submission requirements for individual chapters in the work-based research project.
  6. Exercise autonomy and judgement in the identification of selecting relevant literature review material, showing engagement with the review contents and in the adaptation of a critical perspective to the literature review discussion.
  7. Reflectively appraise the knowledge and skills learned in undertaking the work-based research project and showing how this learning can be utilised in your continuous professional development as a researcher.
  8. Express a professional commitment to the value of research work in contributing to and in the advancement of knowledge in society.
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED410: "Dissertation" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional ED421: Management & Leadership in Training & Education


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Management and Leadership in Training and Education explores key concepts of management and leadership to provide a foundation for implementing strategic objectives in training and educational contexts. Management and leadership competencies, innovation management, programme management and leadership perspectives are studied to underpin development of a successful learning environment.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Synthesise comprehensive and up-to-date information on the theories and principles of management and leadership
  2. Critically analyse the key concepts and characteristics of management and leadership to evaluate personal performance and professional development
  3. Utilise critical analysis skills to research discipline related materials, to distil and communicate complex information and to manage information in ways that sustain working internal and external relationships
  4. Craft, implement and manage a programme management strategy that considers relevant and up-to-date developments in the workplace
  5. Exercise autonomy in the management and leadership of the learning and development process to design, implement and evaluate learning and development programmes or events
  6. Manage and transform work contexts that are complex, unpredictable and require new strategic approaches
  7. Take responsibility for managing individuals and teams, for monitoring their performance and for implementing continuing professional development
  8. Influence and promote leadership strategies to ensure best practices are employed and best results are achieved and take responsibility for difficult decisions in pursuit of goals
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED421: "Management & Leadership in Training & Education" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional ED422: Online Learning Design


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Online Learning Design focuses on pedagogical concepts and instructional design models that are fundamental to designing and developing an online learning environment. It examines pedagogical, technical and practical issues that affect the development of effective online learning environments and the issues relating to managing and monitoring online learning activities, assessment and evaluation
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive and specialised knowledge of fundamental models and concepts of the virtual learning environment
  2. Evaluate a range of formal online learning environments (e.g. MOOCs, Virtual Learning Environments such as Blackboard and Moodle) and social online environments (e.g. Web.2.0, social networking) for a range of learning scenarios
  3. Discuss pedagogical, technical and practical issues that affect the development of online learning environments
  4. Synthesise the key elements of three eLearning pedagogical models for designing online learning activities (Mayes’ Conceptual Model; Laurillard’s Conversational Model; and Salmon’s 5-Step eTivity and eModerator framework)
  5. Apply instructional design models to construct detailed prototype online learning environments and learning activities using a variety of online learning, communication and collaboration tools
  6. Explain issues relating to managing and monitoring online learning assessment and training evaluation processes to develop effective assessment and evaluation strategies
  7. Take responsibility for applying learning to own professional practice, for evaluating and managing the learning needs of others and for ensuring the continuing professional development self and others
  8. Scrutinise the role of technology in the learning process ensuring that appropriate pedagogical approaches and professional standards are implemented for online learners
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED422: "Online Learning Design" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional ED414: Social Science Research


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module explores the principles and skills relating to planning and designing research, developing a literature review and preparing survey strategies. It examines in detail qualitative and quantitative methods of research based on philosophical assumptions and applied to different research questions. It encompasses developing students’ knowledge and skills of data analysis methods and writing-up research findings

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of research strategies and their philosophies, up to date knowledge of a mixed methods approach to research, its philosophical underpinnings and its analytical approaches.
  2. Express knowledge of the context for research within professional practice including the identification of appropriate quantitative and qualitiative approaches to completing high standard research within a professional practice.
  3. Select, integrate and apply research strategies for the formulation of a research question and to the design of a research project.
  4. Critically review literature to develop a coherent, comprehensive and rigorous justification for research.
  5. Exercise research appropriate autonomy and judgement in applying knowledge and skills in a wide variety of contexts including professional practice and study.
  6. Manage a research process and project through the implementation of qualitative, quantitive or mixed methods using appropriate tools and techniques.
  7. Manage learning tasks independently, professionally and ethically.
  8. Express an internalised personal world-view and critique personal learning in line with the content and expected learning outcomes of the module and the value, approaches and etics of research.
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED414: "Social Science Research" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional ED405: Management of Training and Education


Trimester 3 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module ED405: "Management of Training and Education" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

You may find career opportunities in the further education and training sector and in voluntary & community-based training organisations. You may also find employment in human resources and staff development areas of a wide range of organisations and businesses. Opportunities also exist with private training providers and in the corporate training and professional development sectors.

Who’s Suited to This Course


Our students have come from a wide range of backgrounds such as; further education teachers, instructional designers, educational consultants, human resource specialists and self-employed trainers.

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€4,200 (Year 1), €3,700 (Year 2)

Fees: Tuition

Fees: Student levy

Fees: Non EU

€4,700 (Year 1), €4,200 (Year 2)

A fees scholarship of up to 30% may be available for students who wish to upskill for the purposes of re-employment.  Students must be registered as unemployed and in receipt of one of the following: 

  • Job-seekers Benefit
  • Job-seekers Allowance
  • One-parent family allowance
  • Disability allowance
  • Community Employment Scheme
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Signing for social insurance contribution credits

Please download the 2018_19 Fees Scholarship Form for more information.

Find out More

 Tara Prendeville

Adult Training and Education Studies
Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development
NUI Galway, Nuns' Island
Galway
Tel: 091 494061
Fax: 091 528905
Email: tara.prendeville@nuigalway.ie


What Our Students Say

Annette

Annette Murphy |   Current Student

I’ve had the most wonderful experience of learning from, and with, my fellow students and faculty members in a constructive and supportive environment. Therefore, I can now say with confidence that I understand, and have personally experienced, what it is like to place a learner at the center of the learning. The facilitative and open approach from faculty and support staff was extremely helpful and demonstrated a genuine desire for each student to achieve success and gain as much as possible from the course.
Seona

Seona Joyce |   Past Student

This course gave me the flexibility to fit my studies around my lecturing, which made it a practical option for me. While the assessment schedule was demanding at times, the lecturers were very supportive. It gave me great insight into how adults learn so that as well as enhancing my personal development, professionally it enabled me to apply new understanding to my everyday teaching practice.
Orla

Orla Fox-Colleran |   Past Student

I have transferred what I have learned and I now have a better understanding of different styles of teaching, learning and so much more. It has broadened my horizons both personally and professionally. It’s not easy, but it is worth every minute and every cent spent on it.