Adult learners, also known as post-traditional students, are increasing in numbers, as well as complexity. Some know exactly what they want to get out of their education, and others need more guidance.
Either way, it is imperative that institutions rely on data to match these students with the right programs and personalize the experiences along the way. Data can help schools get to know prospective adult learners better and predict their educational path, while also guiding messaging to connect these students with the kind of experience they can expect.
According to Eduventures’ report, “Meet Today’s Adult Learners: A Guide to Segmentation and Storytelling,” there are four distinct categories of adult learners, each with different characteristics, driven by unique motivations, and inspired by relatable “stories”:
Career Advancers – these students are likely already engaged with a specific field and are primarily driven by what they will achieve. Your message to these students: highlight outcomes that they can relate to.
Degree Completers – these students likely already have some college credit and are most concerned with time to completion. Your message to these students: map out a clear and feasible path to graduation.
Career Searchers – these students don’t typically have a particular program in mind, but tend to be mostly concerned with the kind of experience the institution delivers. Your message to these students: provide compelling testimonials that will resonate with them.
Lifelong Learners – these students tend to prioritize not just the quality of the experience, but also the content above all else. Your message to these students: focus on opportunities, learning models and outcomes.
As Eduventures notes, “The key to making segmentation work is to use your data to focus on the adults that your programs are best suited to serve and to adjust your recruitment and retention strategies to meet their needs throughout the entire student lifecycle.”
At Helix Education, we couldn’t agree more. Our services and technologies are built with data integration in mind, powering insights and strategic decisions that support student success. Moreover, understanding each kind of learner, what their goals are, and what messages resonate best will help you create individual stories that these students can relate to, making the learning experience tangible, appealing and within reach.