adult learning

Latest higher ed innovation aims to enhance adult learning programs

Results will help colleges and universities serve rapidly growing population of adult learners to improve rates of enrollment, persistence and completion.

To further its vision of providing meaningful learning, credentials and work for every adult, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) has launched a new way for colleges and universities to measure and improve their support of its adult students: Adult Learner 360™.

Adult Learner 360™ is a tool that compares colleges and universities’ effectiveness against adult students’ perceptions. The tool, informed by CAEL’s decades of experience assisting colleges and universities in meeting the needs of adult learners, is based upon two surveys: one that captures the importance and effectiveness of the institution’s activities, policies and practices, and one that measures satisfaction of adult students.

Upon analysis of the survey results, the college or university will receive a report that highlights their strengths, areas for improvement and changes that can lead to better support for adult students. The report also compares results with other two- and four-year institutions.

In addition, a CAEL expert discusses recommended changes with the institution, incorporating the institution’s external drivers and current strategic initiatives.

“Research shows that the population of adult learners in our country is growing, and that population needs support, unique to that offered to younger students, to reach academic and career goals,” said CAEL president and CEO Pamela Tate. “Adult Learner 360™ builds upon our long-held belief that colleges and universities can benefit tremendously when they have the right insight into its adult student population.”
According to the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, only 29 percent of today’s 18 million undergraduates are traditional learners – those who attend college full-time right out of high school. In addition, between 2000 and 2011, the percentage of students age 25 and older enrolled in college rose more than 41 percent; today, more than one-third of college students are over the age of 25.

Results from an Adult Learner 360™ survey are measured against CAEL’s Ten Principles for Effectively Serving Adult Learners, which include Life and Career Planning, Outreach, Assessment of Learning Outcomes, Strategic Partnerships and Adaptivity, the Principle that measures how effectively an institution adapts to shifting external market forces and to changing expectations of internal stakeholders, students and employers. These Principles are born from CAEL’s extensive experience as a leading advocate for adult learners, said Tate.

“Since its founding in 1974, CAEL has strived to develop solutions for adult learners that are backed by both rigorous research and an appreciation for the barriers they often must overcome,” said Tate. “Adult Learner 360™ acts as a catalyst for success and gives us the opportunity to share that wealth of knowledge with the very colleges and universities that serve them.”

To learn more about Adult Learner 360™, including details on pricing and timing for implementation, visit

Material from a press release was used in this report.


eCampus News Staff