Lessons Learned in Serving Adult Students

We’ve been talking quite a lot lately about the different dynamics of adult learners and things schools should be doing in order to meet the needs of this increasingly complex group of students. Hopefully you had a chance to read our blog post, “Are You Connecting Effectively With Adult Learners?” In an effort to keep the conversation going about this multifaceted, growing population of students, we’d like to highlight an article that ran in CampusTechnology.

The article, “4 Lessons for Serving Adult Learners Online,” details specific strategies to help these post-traditional students succeed. It is based on insight from John Ebersole, who currently serves as president of Excelsior College, but who also has deep roots in academia having held leadership positions at Boston University, Colorado State University, UC Berkley, and John F. Kennedy University (now part of the National University System).

According to Ebersole, here are four things Excelsior has done to remove the barriers that can often hinder adult learners from reaching degree completion:

  1. Recognize Experience in All its Forms
  2. Scaling Fast is Tough
  3. Course Interactivity is the Goal
  4. Remind Students to Enroll

From our perspective, each of these four things can be addressed through increased emphasis on data and personalization, two concepts that fuel our student life cycle solutions here at Helix Education. Using data to deliver a personalized experience can help students meet enrollment and other milestones, connect with content and instructors in more meaningful ways, and find the most efficient and effective path to graduation.

Given the competing factors and outside influences impacting adult learners today, we believe that schools that rely on data and personalization can help mitigate barriers to success. They can help speed time to graduation and optimize the cost along the way. Now that’s a valuable lesson.

Kari Kovar

Leading the Partnerships Division at Helix Education, Kari brings more than 15 years of experience in higher education. In her role, she evaluates new partnerships, ensuring that the company and its clients are aligned for success. Kari has a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations from the University of North Dakota.