Helping Adult Learners Succeed

Good work being done here, and necessary work related to what simply isn’t explored as much as it should be. From Education Dive:

Given the profile of the adult student is quite different from the recent college grad as many work full-time, have families and/or are looking for flexible courses with online components, continuing education courses that are targeted, accessible and online are seeing fast growth.

What’s more, they make adult learners attractive candidates. Employers often tell me, “If I’m looking at an individual who has taken the time to further their education, even informally, that tells me they’re committed to learning and development, which makes them a better candidate.”

Perhaps the most significant driver of demand is the evolving job market, an age-agnostic driver that inherently requires lifelong learning. With this reality comes an increasing need/dependency on a highly educated workforce. Predictions show that by 2020, 35 percent of jobs will require at least a bachelor’s degree and two-thirds will require some type of post-secondary education showing a bachelor’s degree alone won’t support the advancement of an entire career. Additionally, innovation in technology and evolving professional standards force current and future job-holders to keep up.

I frankly think these numbers are low. But admittedly I live in NYC and work in fields where such things are absolutely necessary, so I’m biased by personal experience.

That said, the days of finishing school (be it high school or even college) and being set for life in a career are over. They just are. You can luck out, of course, but it’s not a good bet, and it’s going to get more and more difficult than it already is. Any school not reaching out to this group is not serving the market or society as well as it could be, and if they aren’t also making their programs affordable, they are likely just increasing inequality, as a handful of students (like me…) amass degrees while the others are thus barred from advancement.