Work Skills: Important fundamentals or technical skills valued by employers. Often taken by students seeking to increase their chances of employment or to advance their careers. The instructor sets students up for future success by "doing basic education well," or by preparing students to be hired by giving them specific skills. With more esoteric technical subjects, the instructor may also hope to increase the visibility of their field of study. Examples: Linear Algebra, Circuits and Electronics, Scientific Writing
Hearts/Minds: Informing students about important world issues and empowering them to change their own societies. Often taken by activists seeking new knowledge and deeper understanding to help their communities. Instructors are committed to a social mission, seeking to frame and publicize issues and perhaps even dispense policy-relevant advice. The course introduces concepts to the public discourse and can potentially influence society for the better. Examples: Democratic Development, International Human Rights, Child Nutrition & Cooking.
Exploration/Enjoyment: Learning purely for the joy of it. "Open your mind, explore the nature of the universe, marvel and wonder!" Often taken by curious students and Baby Boomers looking to expand their intellectual horizons. Instructors hope to share the enjoyment of learning, while furthering public understanding of their subject. Examples: Jazz Appreciation, Modern Poetry, Relativity and Astrophysics.
Just as students take these courses for a wide variety of reasons, instructors may have a blend of motivations as well. But though a course may serve more than one purpose, when designing the class, rather than the omnibus "this class is for everyone" approach, it is helpful to use one of these lenses to focus the experience.