#SUNYCIT: Principles for Effectively Serving Adult Learners

#SUNYCIT: Principles for Effectively Serving Adult Learners

Dr. Jen Groh from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) presented on ten principles for effectively serving adult learners.

(Presentation starts at the 14-minute mark)

Groh began her presentation by highlighting the work of CAEL and defining Post-Traditional Student.

Post-Traditional Student

Based on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a post-traditional student has one or more of these characteristics:

  • delayed enrollment into postsecondary education
  • attends college part-time
  • works full time
  • is financially independent
  • has dependents other than a spouse
  • is a single parent
  • does not have a high school diploma
  • veterans
  • typically within the age group of 25-64

Within this age group, 45.8% have earned a certificate or degree. This means there is a large group who could benefit from additional education. This is a group that JCC could be focusing on.

JCC was not listed in the Washington Monthly 2016 College Guide and Rankings that focused on adult learners. Actually, most SUNY 2-year schools were not listed.

CAEL works with institutions to do an Adult Learner 360 survey for both institutions and adult learners to identify gaps. From this survey, institutions receive reports to help close the gaps. They focus on 10 principles.

Principles for Effectively Serving Adult Learners

  1. Assessment of Learning Outcomes
  • Focuses on prior learning and its assessment.
  • Associate’s Degree students with prior learning assessment result in 2x the completion.
  • Prior learning assessment can be given for
    • transfer credit
    • credit by exam
    • institutional exam
    • military credit
    • training and certification
    • portfolios, etc

2. Outreach

What can we do to remove barriers for time, place, and tradition to create lifelong access to education? For example, we have a 9-5 workday.

3. Student Support System

  • We need to create student supports that also attend to post-traditional students.
  • Are we including enough imagery on the web and marketing materials representing post-traditional students?

4. Transitions

  • Create guided pathways to the next level whether that is for transfer or career.
  • We need to review our material to ensure this is transparent enough.

5. Life and Career Planning

  • Are we talking enough about life and career planning? Do we start this discussion before admissions through graduation?

6. Strategic Partnerships

  • Collaborate with employers and nonprofits to identify their needs.
  • Establish pathways to employment with employers.
  • Work with workforce boards.
  • Continue to pursue internships and service learning.
  • Career services need to be seen as an ecosystem across the whole degree program.
  • Do graduates come back for additional classes?

7. Teaching Learning Process

  • Offer internships, study abroad and student leadership opportunities.
  • Provide additional training for adjunct faculty regarding the opportunities available.

8. Technology

  • Are we using technology to help learning experiences?
  • We need to provide additional training opportunities for our students on Blackboard, Google, and other essential technologies both face-to-face and online.
  • We need to highlight LinkedIn Learning training for students. We can support this with a playlist.

9. Financing

10. Adaptivity

  • Are we keeping up with changes caused by external forces?

This presentation provided a lot to think about. I would definitely recommend watching the video. Because a degree has a shelf life, we should be figuring out ways to attract these students to our campus. If you would like to learn more about this presentation, I would be happy to discuss it with you.

Additional reading

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

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