What’s the Best Way to Facilitate Success for Adult Learners?

What’s the Best Way to Facilitate Success for Adult Learners?

2017 UPCEA New England Regional Conference, Keynote Speaker

I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 UPCEA New England Regional Conference a few weeks ago.  During the 2.5-hour drive home from Portland, Maine, I had some time to reflect on the conference and keynote presentation.  The theme of the conference was Navigating Pathways for Student Success, focusing on discovering the different pathways that can support the educational journey and success for today’s learner.

Dr. Rebecca Wyke, President of the University of Maine at Augusta was the keynote speaker kicking off the conference.  Surrounded by her colleagues from the New England region, she began her presentation with a number.  A large number – 158,000 – appeared on the first slide.  She said this number both ‘haunts’ and ‘directs’ her.  You might wonder…what does this represent and why is she so concerned?

158,000 is the number of people that need higher education to support the economy of Maine.  And here’s why…If Maine were to grow jobs by 10% over 10 years that would mean 65,000 more jobs than today. To meet the demands of the economy, 60% of that larger workforce would need a credential of value in addition to a high school diploma. This translates to an increase of 158,000 skilled workers over today’s numbers. Maine also has an aging population so the people in need of an education are adults.

What is the number or statistic that both haunts and drives you?  It is aligned to your unit’s mission?  Does it drive your daily activities? And how do we support the education journey for today’s learner?  Are we setting students up for success?

Throughout my career I have designed and delivered learning.  If you’re like me and in Higher Ed, you likely believe in the transformative power of college education.  That’s why we get up in the morning.  One of the biggest challenges with adult learners is finding the time.  As we advance technically, it feels as life is getting even busier and time is scarcer.  Short of creating more hours in the day, what’s the best way to facilitate success for adult learners?

Dr. Wyke presented the following list of benefits we can strive to provide within our units.

Benefits to Adult Learners

  • Offer high-quality certificate programs
  • Stack certificates
  • Conduct prior learning assessments so adult learners get credit for what they’ve already completed
  • Provide a concierge model to students with strategies making it easier for them to stick around
  • Conduct an online new student orientation so students aren’t required to come to campus and don’t feel behind before they even start
  • Design curriculum with modality best practices in mind

There are 3 key mantras or takeaways from the presentation related to adult learners that I wanted to share as well:

  • “We listen. We care.  We help.”
  • “You (students) step up and we’re there.”
  • “Make it possible and probable that students will succeed.”

Do you and your colleagues live by these mantras?  What do you do to support adult learners?  I’d love to hear your feedback.  Please comment below.

For more information or to see how MindMax could potentially help your unit achieve its goals, check out our Marketing, Recruitment and Enrollment Services on our website.

For more information on UPCEA and upcoming events, visit www.upcea.edu.


How I lived, saw or experienced one of MindMax’s values this month

Get Results – Learn Always – Align to Mission – Build Meaningful Relationships – Ask for Help.

On the wall at one of our partner universities, there’s a large sign with the words “We work as a team.  We win as a team.”  I think of this mantra often.  When every member of a team is working at their best capacity and the team works in a coordinated fashion, the outcome is amazing.  This month I was lucky to experience this firsthand.  Our internal and client team challenged each other to meet and exceed enrollment goals through creativity, focus, and determination – and we succeeded!