The educational environment in institutions of higher learning goes beyond the academic programs that students undertake. Hughes and Gibbons (2018) argue that the development of the student relies on the integration of elements, such as nurturing of skills and individual growth into the learning experience. When successful integration occurs, the learners develop an understanding of selves, others, and their environment. They also understand their role in society and how to apply the acquired knowledge. Thus, the students can make informed career choices. Hughes and Gibbons (2018) identified some constructs, such as family influence, the locus of control, and self-efficacy, to have an impact on career decision-making. Successful career development occurs when the students are aware of economic, social, and cultural factors that influence their choices. Hence, an institution that offers a holistic learning experience contributes to student development by addressing learners' issues as well as academic needs.
Pursuing higher education involves selecting particular studies to undertake as a path to a specific career choice. Eidimtas and Juceviciene (2014) theorized that learners in postsecondary institutions identify with specific career needs, based on the values and attitudes that they have developed. The study reveals that some factors, such as education, economics, and information determine the choices learners make. The beliefs and outlooks that students develop influence the selection, comparison, and evaluation of different career paths. For instance, a student can choose an occupation based on their real-life career needs such as career prospects (Eidimtas & Juceviciene, 2014). The student may consider the long-term benefit that the profession offers. According to the article, the process of decision making varies from one person to the other depending on development influenced by complex social relations (Eidimtas & Juceviciene, 2014). These associations, which include the learning experience and the needs of a person, contribute to opinions and attitudes that impact the selection of professions.
Course Design and Career Decision Making
Course design entails a variety of processes whose purpose is to develop a standard learning environment that offers quality and unique learning experiences. The goal of the model is to support learners' access to educational materials and activities that propel them to acquire knowledge and skills. Levin and Mudd (2018) argue that connecting the expected curriculum outcomes to future careers influences the paths that students in higher education pursue. The integration of career-related content into the curriculum and course design helps students to evaluate their potential career applications. The authors claim that failure to expose learners to courses that contain comprehensive material on diverse professional paths limits their ability to make informed decisions (Levin & Mudd, 2018). The article posits that the school curricula should integrate career content in a way that fosters students' exploration. Detailed course designs should enable learners to understand the critical requirements of different professions to allow them to make appropriate decisions.
Student-centered curriculum designs in institutions of higher learning play an integral role in imparting students with essential job skills (Aithal, 2016). The author argues that a student-centric design results in employable candidates. These students become aware of the distinct needs of a particular profession as the nature of the course design that learners interact with impacts the learning experience. It shapes their skills, character, and profession preferences. According to Aithal (2016), the objectives of a given syllabus program should reflect the needs of the industry. Such an approach engages the students in applying the acquired knowledge to solve the identified problems. Alternatively, the course design can challenge learners to create new awareness that can address the issues. The author establishes that undertaking research in subjects which engage students in structure design provides insight into the curriculum. Thus, they can use the information to select their preferred professions.
Public Opinion Polls on the Purpose of Postsecondary Education
A majority of the public perceives pursuit of postsecondary education as a means of attaining equality of opportunity to succeed in life (Greer, 2013). According to the author, achieving a college education is crucial for individuals to acquire and maintain above average standards of living (Greer, 2013). The study hypothesizes that three out of four American citizens believe that college offers an opportunity for growth (Greer, 2013). The public also thinks that access to higher education is a right in the US society. They perceive it as a tool that equips learners with critical thinking skills as a return for investment in postsecondary education. The article estimates that 55% of the population deems postsecondary education as an increasingly important factor that determines success (Greer, 2013). Hence, the people regard higher education as an avenue that should facilitate individual and national upward mobility.
A vast section of the public believes that countries are in need of more individuals with postsecondary education ("Public Opinion on Higher Education," 2016). Survey results on the public agenda platform indicate that experts and legislators agree that higher education is crucial. For instance, according to the publication, over 40% of Americans believe that knowledge acquired at the college level plays a critical role in ensuring that students achieve success upon joining the workforce ("Public Opinion on Higher Education," 2016). Similarly, approximately 50% of the population perceives postsecondary education as the most viable investment that guarantees future prosperity. Based on the survey findings, the article theorizes that the public regards the purpose of a college education as equipping learners with relevant job skills ("Public Opinion on Higher Education," 2016). Thus, institutions of higher learning should increase learners' career prospects and enable them to perform exemplarily in various industries.
Aithal, P. S. (2016). Student-centric curriculum design and implementation-challenges & Opportunities in Business Management & IT Education. International Journal of Education & Multidisciplinary Studies 4(3), 423-437. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.21013/jems.v4.n3.p9
Eidimtas, A., & Juceviciene, P. (2014). Factors influencing school-leavers decision to enroll in higher education. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 116, 3983-3988. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.877
Greer, D. G. (2013). Troubled waters: Higher education, public opinion, and public trust. Higher Education Strategic Information and Governance. William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy; The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Retrieved from http://intraweb.stockton.edu/eyos/hughescenter/content/docs/HESIG/Working%20Paper%202%20for%20website.pdf
Hughes, A. N., & Gibbons, M. M. (2018). Understanding the career development of underprepared college students. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 19(4), 452-469. https://doi.org/10.1177/1521025116644262
Levin, J., & Mudd, C. (2018). From Curriculum to Career: Connecting Curriculum Outcomes to Future Careers. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/from-curriculum-to-career-connecting-curriculum-outcomes-to-future-careers/
Public Opinion on Higher Education. (2016). Public Agenda. Retrieved from https://www.publicagenda.org/pages/public-opinion-higher-education-2016
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