Learning Modalities

Purdue Global students can choose from four modalities to engage with their curriculum, subject to availability in their program of study and proximity to certain locations. Each provides specific benefits depending on a student’s personal characteristics and preferences about learning and pace.

Traditional Online Modality

This is the modality Purdue Global has been refining over the past 15 years and the one used to deliver more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. In the online classroom—a virtual classroom students access from a desktop or mobile device—students experience course materials and collaborative tools that provide the best elements of any traditional, ground-based instructional approach. The online classroom is the focal point for a student’s learning activities each academic week.

In addition to the online classroom, courses offered in the traditional online modality typically include seminars—online sessions in which students meet with their instructor in a virtual room to review important weekly topics. Seminars provide opportunities for consistent student–faculty interaction and collaboration—a major part of the traditional online modality. Students best suited for the traditional online modality are those who prefer a structured online learning environment characterized by a fixed schedule of required learning activities and regular interaction with faculty and classmates.

ExcelTrack Modality

Building on the principles of competency-based education, the ExcelTrack modality is designed to enable students to acquire real-life, career-oriented skills and demonstrate those skills at their own pace without “seat time” requirements, while they save time and money as they accelerate their path to degree. Because Purdue Global’s traditional online modality delivers programs with curricula already built on competency-based learning outcomes, ExcelTrack uses the same curricula to help students learn those real-life, career-oriented skills.

ExcelTrack differs from the traditional online modality in important ways. While the traditional online modality offers students highly structured learning, ExcelTrack offers highly flexible, personalized learning; the student decides which and how much of the learning activities are needed to demonstrate mastery of course concepts. Students are able to accelerate review, assessment, and awarding of credit for material they already know to focus on what they need to learn.

The flexibility in ExcelTrack offers opportunities for students to accelerate the pace of their learning toward their degree. Because the tuition model for ExcelTrack is a flat rate, students stand to achieve significant savings if they can accelerate their pace toward degree completion. A successful student in this modality has professional and previous college experience and is self-reliant, driven, and able to closely manage a study schedule.

Open College at Purdue University Global Modality

Open College at Purdue University Global offers students another cost-effective means of earning a degree by tying together their learning achieved through successful completion of open online courses offered at Open College and elsewhere, an experiential portfolio based on applicable professional experience, and transfer credit from accredited colleges and universities.

Open College courses are not restricted to students enrolled in an open-degree program; any interested student may take open online courses through Open College. Additionally, open online courses offered through Open College go a step beyond typical “massive open online courses” (MOOCs). While there is no cost for open online courses at Open College, students who wish to demonstrate their mastery of the material may pay a fee to take the corresponding course assessment and, if they pass the assessment, earn college credit.

Students enrolled in an Open College program work with their faculty advisors who help them master the course material. In addition to coaching students, the faculty advisor helps students customize their degree with an ILP. The ILP maps out the coursework to be completed as part of the degree plan, both core requirements and electives. The student’s degree is customized: it is based on professional knowledge and skills, problem solving, and strategic planning that culminates in a capstone class with a portfolio project.

Open College program students also work with faculty subject matter experts to determine how best to incorporate previous professional experience, including professional training, such as from the military, into their customized degree through an experiential portfolio. Faculty subject matter experts review and assess submitted experiential portfolios to determine how much course credit can be applied toward the degree.

Students best suited to the Open College modality have substantial previous college credit from myriad sources. We help them consolidate that credit to optimize their time to degree in their chosen discipline. The student profile is reflected in the tuition model: a monthly rate that rewards students who can consistently invest great effort into their studies and accelerate the pace of their learning.

Hybrid Ground-Based Modality

This modality combines online learning outcomes with limited onsite, classroom-based learning. The School of Nursing has ground-based prelicensure programs at some locations for students who want to earn an Associate of Science in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing while they become registered nurses. At these locations, students take classes online and experience hands-on learning. They learn to handle complex patient situations in the simulation laboratory and to care for actual patients in carefully selected clinical experiences throughout the program. Prelicensure laboratory and clinical experiences are overseen by nursing faculty and occur at local health care organizations such as hospitals, community health clinics, and skilled-care facilities.

There are also School of Health Sciences programs that have limited laboratory sessions at select locations and can help facilitate local externships/internships.