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Adult Learners Today: Agents of Irrevocable Change 2007 Hendrick Best Practices for Adult Learners Conference The Pennsylvania State University May 7, 2007 Susan Porter Robinson Vice President, Lifelong Learning American Council on Education

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Adult Learners Today: Agents of Irrevocable Change

2007 Hendrick Best Practices

for Adult Learners Conference

The Pennsylvania State University

May 7, 2007

Susan Porter Robinson

Vice President, Lifelong Learning

American Council on Education

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“Adult learners are one of the greatest change agents in higher education today.”

-Lee Bash, Adult Learners in the Academy

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Overview higher education today.”

  • Snapshot of Adult Learners

  • Impact of Adult Learners on Economy

  • Corporate Education and the Future of Learning

  • Trends Affecting Adults in

    Higher Education

  • - Online learning

  • - Standardized e-learning

  • -Military Learners

  • -Hispanic Learners

  • -Older Learners

  • -International Learners

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Snapshot of Adult Learners higher education today.”

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The Aging Student Population higher education today.”

Fall Enrollment by Student Age

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Fall Enrollment Survey, June 2006

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Prevalence of Women higher education today.”

Highest Level of Educational Attainment

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Trends in Educational Equity of Girls and Women, 2004

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The Aging Student Population higher education today.”

Participation in College or University Degree or Certificate Programs (Part-Time)

*Source: Boeke, Marianne, and Karen Paulson, “Adult Learners in the United States: A National Profile,” Informed Practice, American Council on Education, 2006

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Enrollment by Ethnicity higher education today.”

Percentage of undergraduates 25 and older

*Source: American Council on Education, College Students Today: A National Portrait,

November, 2005

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Impact of Adult Learners higher education today.”

on the Economy

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Where Pennsylvania Stands higher education today.”

  • In ratings of educational attainment of American workforce by state, Pennsylvania ranks #32 of 50

*Source: The 2007 State New Economy Index, February 2007

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Penn State: higher education today.”Leading PA Forward

  • One of first institutions in e-Army U

  • Online learning

    • World Campus

    • 50+ degrees and certificate programs

  • Adult learning

    • Center for Adult Learner Services

    • Commission for Adult Learners

  • Member of ACE Commission on Lifelong Learning – unprecedented three times

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What Education higher education today.”

Will Be Needed?

55 million job openings are projected to be filled between 2004-2014

*Source: Occupation Outlook Quarterly, Fall 2006

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Where We Need Workers higher education today.”


Fastest growing “Pure College” Occupations

  • Postsecondary teachers

  • General managers

  • Elementary school

  • teachers

  • Accountants and auditors

  • Computer software

  • engineers

  • Computer systems

    • analysts

  • Secondary school

  • teachers

  • Physicians and surgeons

  • Data communications

  • analysts

  • Management analysts

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Winter 2005-06

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An Aging Workforce higher education today.”

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupation Outlook Quarterly, Winter 2005-06

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Wanted: Older Learners! higher education today.”

  • Last 20 years—20% growth/native-born workers

  • Next 20 years—0% growth/native-born workers

  • Only workforce growth:

    • Immigrants and adult learners

  • 76% of retirees expect to keep working!

*Source: Merrill Lynch, “New Retirement Survey,” February 2005

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Where Adults Take higher education today.”Work-related Courses

  • 51% from business or private companies

  • 21% from postsecondary schools

  • Other sources:

    • Professional organizations or unions

    • Government agencies

    • Religious/community organizations

    • Elementary/secondary schools

    • Public libraries

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics, August 2005

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Corporate Education and the higher education today.”Future of Learning

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Future Corporate Trends higher education today.”

  • Outsourcing

    • Outsource training while keeping knowledge

  • Globalization

    • Offer locally relevant and globally consistent training

    • Provide multi-lingual training globally

  • Socialnetworking

    • Use technology to collaborate

    • Be more vigilant about security, confidentiality

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Future Corporate Trends higher education today.”

Employer Educational Assistance

  • Lifelong Learning Accounts:

    • Two-way partnership for low-income employees

  • Tuition assistance:

    • Across business, industry, and military

  • Funding through state/industry partnerships:

    • Pathways for low-skilled workers

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Future Corporate Trends higher education today.”

Multi-dimensional Communication

  • Increasedtelephone/cell phoneuse

    • Learner receives pre-recorded message from contentmentor at log-in or during course

  • Simulationlearning

    • Actively solving a real problem at the local level

    • Blending in “snippets” of prior, relevant learning to a single application

*Source: Masie, Elliott. “Learning TRENDS 400,” September 2006

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Learning Dashboards: ATutor higher education today.”

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Learning Dashboards: ATutor higher education today.”

  • Designed to accommodate all learners

    • Visual ─ Global

    • Verbal ─ Hierarchical

    • Kinesthetic ─ Sequential

  • Monitors learners’ click paths and preference modifications to match each user’s learning tendencies

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Corporate University Trends higher education today.”

  • Serve as intermediaries with universities

  • Teach common culture and vision

  • Offer more employee desk-top learning

  • Allow individual business units to outsource and control learning

*Source: DeVeux, Paul. “Life at Corporate U.,” February 2001

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Corporate higher education today.” University Trends

  • Most corporate universities offer some virtual training

  • Delivery

    • Courses offered via live chat, video conferencing, and web

    • Presentation of content in even smaller chunks

    • More learning tools – gaming and simulation

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What Corporate America Wants from Higher Education higher education today.”

  • Faster response time for

    • Creating contracts

    • Designing new courses and programs

    • Starting new classes

  • Immediate on-demand training

    • On-site ▪ Off-site

  • Cost savings on training and education

    • E-learning

    • ACE college credit recommendations

  • University brand

*Source: Masie, Elliot. Learning 2006, November 2006

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Online Learning Evolution higher education today.”

  • Frontier

  • Competition

  • Age of Branding

*Source: Peter Stokes, Eduventures, Presentation, Presidents’ Forum of Excelsior College, March 28, 2006

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Online Learning Evolution higher education today.”

The Growth of Online Learners

  • 35% growth

  • from 2004-05

  • Growth rate far

  • exceeds that

  • for higher

  • education

  • Enrollment and

  • infrastructure

  • continue growth

Over 3.2 million students are taking at least one online course.

*Source: The Sloan Consortium, Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006

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Granular Clumps higher education today.”

Learning objects to “chunk” education and separate content into smaller parts.

  • Learning objects are:

    • Self-contained

    • Varied in size

    • Reusable

    • Easily combined for complex concepts

    • Clearly labeled and may be accessed on searchable databases

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MERLOT: higher education today.”Not Just Another Fine Wine

Multimedia Educational Resource for

Learning & Online Teaching

  • Databases of peer-reviewed, online materials

    • Provide free, easy, timely access

    • Foster collaboration across HE and other sectors

    • Decrease online development obstacles

      ▪ Time ▪ Money ▪ Level of IT Skills

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Military Learners higher education today.”

  • Active Duty Military Personnel: 1.4 million

  • Military Veterans: 24 million

  • Severely Injured: 23-53,000

  • Projects on campuses to support military

    • National Guard Online, Minnesota

    • Military Experience Translator

    • Campuses with Veteran Centers

    • Career One Stop and iSeek

  • ACE Severely Injured Initiative

*Source: Department of Defense, February 2007.

**Source: Department of Veterans Affairs, 2004.

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Hispanic Learners higher education today.”

  • Fastest growing student group in K-12

  • Largest minority (13%) in workforce

  • White-Hispanic postsecondary gap: 16%(1974) to 26% (2003)

  • Hispanic males only group with declining postsecondary participation

  • Lowest computer use at HSI’s

*Source: NCES, “Postsecondary Rates by Sex and Race/Ethnicity 1974-2003,” 2005

**Source: “Distance Education: Growth in Distance Education Programs and Implications

for Federal Education Policy,” GAO, 2002

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Hispanic Learners higher education today.”

However, growth in Spanish Internet use

  • 856% growth in viewing entertainment ads

  • 451% growth in viewing retail goods and service portals

  • 207% growth in Web media use

*Source: Nielsen/NetRatings report, 2004

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Older Learners higher education today.”

  • Longer U.S. life expectancy

    • 1900: 47 years

    • 2007: 78+ years

  • Learner goals affected by

    • Triggers ▪ Transitions

  • Changing trends

    • Work

    • Retirement

    • Personal fulfillment

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Older Learners higher education today.”

  • Workforce and re-careering programs

    • Portland Community College Career

      Pathways Training

  • Intergenerational programs

    • Lasell Village at Lasell College

  • Leadership/service development programs

    • MetLife/Civic Ventures’ Encore Career Grants

  • Research on aging learners and workers

    • U of Indianapolis’ Center for Aging and Community

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Trends in International Lifelong Learning higher education today.”

  • Hong Kong—Hunger for Learning

  • China—Need for Learning

  • Europe—A Mobile Workforce

  • Australia—Hunger for Learners

  • International “Hubs”

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  • For the hands of leaders like are the educators

  • who teach the students

  • who solve the problems…

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