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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

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

-Lee Bash, Adult Learners in the Academy

  • 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
the aging student population
The Aging Student Population

Fall Enrollment by Student Age

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

prevalence of women
Prevalence of Women

Highest Level of Educational Attainment

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

the aging student population7
The Aging Student Population

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

enrollment by ethnicity
Enrollment by Ethnicity

Percentage of undergraduates 25 and older

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

November, 2005

where pennsylvania stands
Where Pennsylvania Stands
  • In ratings of educational attainment of American workforce by state, Pennsylvania ranks #32 of 50

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

penn state leading pa forward
Penn State: 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

What Education

Will Be Needed?

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

*Source: Occupation Outlook Quarterly, Fall 2006


Where We Need Workers


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

an aging workforce
An Aging Workforce

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

wanted older learners
Wanted: Older Learners!
  • 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

where adults take work related courses
Where Adults TakeWork-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

future corporate trends
Future Corporate Trends
  • 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
future corporate trends19
Future Corporate Trends

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
future corporate trends20
Future Corporate Trends

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

learning dashboards atutor22
Learning Dashboards: ATutor
  • 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
corporate university trends
Corporate University Trends
  • 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

corporate university trends24
Corporate 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
what corporate america wants from higher education
What Corporate America Wants from Higher Education
  • 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

online learning evolution
Online Learning Evolution
  • Frontier
  • Competition
  • Age of Branding

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

online learning evolution28
Online Learning Evolution

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

granular clumps
Granular Clumps

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
merlot not just another fine wine
MERLOT: 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

military learners
Military Learners
  • 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.

hispanic learners
Hispanic Learners
  • 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

hispanic learners33
Hispanic Learners

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

older learners
Older Learners
  • Longer U.S. life expectancy
    • 1900: 47 years
    • 2007: 78+ years
  • Learner goals affected by
    • Triggers ▪ Transitions
  • Changing trends
      • Work
      • Retirement
      • Personal fulfillment
older learners35
Older Learners
  • 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
trends in international lifelong learning
Trends in International Lifelong Learning
  • Hong Kong—Hunger for Learning
  • China—Need for Learning
  • Europe—A Mobile Workforce
  • Australia—Hunger for Learners
  • International “Hubs”

For you are the educators

  • who teach the students
  • who solve the problems…