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All Resources

Adult Learning - Publications

National Adult Learners Satisfaction-Priorities Report

The report reveals the results of the pilot study of the new Adult Learner Inventory™ conducted by Noel-Levitz and CAEL (Council for Adult and Experiential Learning). The results identify the level of importance that adult learners place on aspects of their student experience ...

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The Career Lattice

 The Career Lattice is the essential guide to strategic lateral moves, showing through narratives and case studies how individuals and employers grow in their careers.

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Maturity in the Workplace: Stories of Workers Aged 55+ on their Journeys to New Work and Careers

This publication profiles the stories of some of the mature workers who have participated in the Tapping Mature Talent initiative. Some have needed to upgrade their skills, some have pursued brand new careers in high-growth industries, some have worked hard to recover.

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Game Changers: Education and Information Technology

CAEL’s Pamela Tate and Rebecca Klein-Collins contributed a chapter to this book discussing technology and the nontraditional learner, with a focus on career pathways, prior learning assessment, and career/educational advising …

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Tapping Mature Talent: Policies for a 21st Century Workforce

People aged 55 and older are one of the fastest growing demographic groups in much of the developed world. While they have seen tremendous changes in technology and everyday living over their lifetime, some of the biggest societal changes are those that they themselves are helping to make.

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Workplace Action Steps for Leveraging Mature Talent: Findings from the Talent Management Study

Demographic and other trends indicate that the U.S. will be seeing more mature workers actively engaged in the labor market, whether out of financial need or out of continued ability and preference.

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Older Workers, Rising Skill Requirements, and the Need for a Re-envisioning of the Public Workforce System

The lingering aftermath of the Great Recession that commenced in December 2007 has shown that despite the efforts of the traditionally under-resourced public workforce system to serve more job seekers than ever before, far too many job seekers have been unable to reconnect to the labor market.

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Financial Literacy and Retirement Decisions: The Choices Facing Older Workers

Older workers face a series of decisions that will affect their economic well-being in retirement. They must decide when to retire from their career jobs, whether to work after retirement, whether they need to continue to invest in their skills and productivity, when to start pension and Social Security benefits, whether to accept lump-sum distributions, and how to invest their retirement wealth.

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Occupational Profiles for the Mature Worker: Finding and Using Detailed Information About Occupations with the Largest Share of Mature Workers

The U.S. Department of Labor supported a three-year Aging Worker Initiative (AWI) between 2009 and 2012. As this initiative came to a close, CAEL invited leading experts on the mature workforce to help us showcase the work of the AWI grantees alongside their own research findings.

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From High School to Career: A Strategy to Weather Talent’s Perfect Storm

Across the country, businesses are partnering with high schools and colleges to build programs that develop the skills needed for employment within their own industry. This report covers exemplary high school-to-career programs. Each of these initiatives results in prepared students contributing to a prepared workforce.

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PLA - Publications

PLA Data Tracking

In this new report, CAEL proposes a model for institutional tracking and reporting of credit earned through prior learning assessment (PLA). The report provides recommendations for specific PLA-related variables that postsecondary institutions should track in their student information systems (SIS), as well as suggestions for internal reports on PLA.

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State Policy Approaches to Support Prior Learning Assessment

This guide is intended to serve as a resource for state leaders who wish to promote PLA policy, whether through new higher education policy or through legislation. It includes background information on PLA and why a state- or systemwide approach can be helpful, information on the kinds of policies that other states and systems are adopting, and case studies of both general approaches to state- or systemwide PLA and approaches designed specifically to benefit veterans.

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PLA is Your Business

As more institutions embrace PLA, two of the questions they frequently have are, "What should my organization be charging for the various PLA services we want to offer?" and "What are the costs to my organization.

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PLA and CBE on the Competency Continuum

There is no single “right way” to do CBE, but there are two different ways to approach it, as defined by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions.

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Random Access: The Latino Experience with Prior Learning Assessment

Through analysis of more than 32,000 student academic records, as well as interviews with Latino students and PLA administrators, the study examines how Latino students engage with PLA in terms of methods used, number of credits earned, and areas of study for which credits are earned.

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Promoting College and Career Success: Portfolio Assessment for Student Veterans

Active service members and veterans are pursuing postsecondary degrees in record numbers today, due in large part to the GI Bill education benefits that can cover much or all of the cost. An important tool for helping service members and veterans succeed in postsecondary education is prior learning assessment, or PLA.

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Assessment’s New Role in Degree Completion: A Registrar’s Primer on Prior Learning Assessment and Competency-Based Education

This 23-page publication provides an introduction to prior learning assessment (PLA) and competency-based education (CBE), and explores what registrars should consider in their roles supporting institutional adoption of these assessment-focused programs and services.

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The Growing Importance of Prior Learning Assessment in the Degree-Completion Toolkit

Central to many of the current developments in higher education is prior learning assessment (PLA). In the past several years, with new and ambitious degree completion goals for adults, the U.S. is witnessing what can only be called a surge of interest in PLA. This article expains the new, expanded future for PLA that may now be possible. It appeared in in the Winter 2013 issue of New Directions in Adult & Continuing Education, published by Wiley Periodicals.

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Achieving Dreams: Results from a Survey of Students Using LearningCounts Portfolios to Earn College Credit

The benefits of LearningCounts are very real for adult learners. Successful portfolios can save students a significant amount of time and money when they can apply these credits towards their postsecondary degrees. CAEL recently reached out to current and former LearningCounts students to learn more about them—what brought them to LearningCounts, their experiences with the program, and the impact of portfolio assessment on the achievement of their education and career goals.

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Earn College Credit for What You Already Know, fifth edition

Janet Colvin: This edition offers the latest, most current information on prior learning assessment (PLA). Earlier editions of this book, specifically written for adult learners considering the prior learning assessment process, have assisted tens of thousands of adult learners. The book is also helpful to evaluators, administrators, faculty, and training managers. Many CAEL member institutions use this book as text for their PLA portfolio development courses.

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Assessing Learning: Standards, Principles & Procedures, second edition

Since CAEL first published Urban Whitaker’s book, Assessing Learning: Standards, Principles, and Procedures, in 1989, the landscape of higher education and adult learning has changed dramatically. While respecting the Whitaker framework and the fundamental principles, authors...

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Employer Views on the Value of PLA

This CAEL research brief, produced in partnership with Prometric, presents highlights from conversations with 19 U.S. employers representing a range of industries on the topic of PLA. The conversations address the value of PLA to both workers and corporations, as well as employers’ views on PLA as an allowable expense within their tuition assistance programs.

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Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success

With support from Lumina Foundation for Education, CAEL collected data on 62,475 students at 48 higher education institutions that offer prior learning assessment (PLA). The new report presents our findings on the comparison of PLA students with non-PLA students in terms of earned degrees, persistence, and time to degree. Such a large-scale look at PLA credit earning and academic outcomes has never before been done.

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Holding Tight or at Arm’s Length: How Higher Educational Regional Accrediting Bodies Address PLA

In this research brief, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) explores the role of regional accrediting organizations in shaping institutional PLA policies and practices.

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State Policy Approaches to Support Prior Learning Assessment

According to Lumina Foundation, the U.S. needs to educate nearly 800,000 more college graduates each year from now until 2025 to meet the growing needs of the workforce.

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The Learning that Maturity Brings: An Analysis of the Value of Prior Learning Assessment for Mature Learners

Just as mature workers bring decades of experience to the workplace, they also bring learning from that experience to their postsecondary pursuits. This learning, if evaluated through prior learning assessment (PLA) methods, can give mature learners a way to earn college credit for what they already know, helping them complete their learning programs in a shorter period of time. This CAEL research brief presents data on the experience of mature learners with PLA credit.

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State System PLA Adoption: Lessons from a Three-System Initiative

In states across the nation, there is an urgency to increase the educational attainment levels of citizens and the workforce. Between 1973 and 2008, the share of jobs in the U.S. economy which required postsecondary education increased from 28% to 59%, and it is projected that by 2018, that proportion will rise to 63% of all jobs.

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Raising the Profile of Experiential Learning

Prior learning can be as valuable for an adult’s workforce advance and success as a credential, but more effort must be made by higher education and government leaders to more closely integrate the two elements.

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Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success: Executive Summary

With support from Lumina Foundation for Education, CAEL collected data on 62,475 students at 48 higher education institutions that offer prior learning assessment (PLA). The new report presents our findings on the comparison of PLA students with non-PLA students in terms of earned degrees, persistence, and time to degree. Such a large-scale look at PLA credit earning and academic outcomes has never before been done.

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Moving the Starting Line Through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Prior learning assessment (PLA) methods can help adult students earn college credit for what they already know. PLA can be an important offering by postsecondary degree programs because it can save students time and money.

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Underserved Students Who Earn Credit Through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Have Higher Degree Completion Rates and Shorter Time-to-Degree

Earning college credit for prior learning can help adult students in many ways. For example, earning prior learning credit can help students avoid having to take courses in subjects they have already mastered.

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CBE - Publications

Salt Lake City Community College: Competency-Based Education in the School of Applied Technology

This publication is part of CAEL’s ongoing series of case studies on competency-based education (CBE) programs in the U.S. The new case study is of Salt Lake Community College’s ambitious CE initiative, which launched with 10 active programs in 2015 and many more under development.

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Faculty and Administrator Views on Competency-Based Education

Today’s competency-based education (CBE) programs offer students a unique post-secondary experience that focuses more on student learning and less on whether or how long a student has spent time in a classroom.

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PLA and CBE on the Competency Continuum

There is no single “right way” to do CBE, but there are two different ways to approach it, as defined by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions.

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Assessment’s New Role in Degree Completion: A Registrar’s Primer on Prior Learning Assessment and Competency-Based Education

This 23-page publication provides an introduction to prior learning assessment (PLA) and competency-based education (CBE), and explores what registrars should consider in their roles supporting institutional adoption of these assessment-focused programs and services.

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Customized, Outcome-based, Relevant Evaluation (CORE) at Lipscomb University

This is the first of what will be a series of case studies of competency-based degree programs that have been emerging in recent years. The case studies are prepared by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) with funding from Lumina Foundation.

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Competency-Based Bachelor of Business Administration at Brandman University

In October 2014, Brandman University launched a competency-based direct assessment program. Brandman University is a private, adult-focused, non-profit institution based in California. The competency-based Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) is a low-cost and flexible alternative for adult and nontraditional students.

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City of Seattle (CityU): Performance-Based Degree Model Degree Model

This case study is part of a series on newer competency-based degree programs that have been emerging in recent years. The case studies are prepared by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) with funding from Lumina Foundation.

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Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Program

A Collaboration between the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, South Texas College, and Texas A&M University-Commerce.

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Competency-Based Education – CAEL Forum and News

In the last year, there has been what CAEL President Pamela Tate has called a “tidal wave” of activity related to Competency-Based Degree Programs, including white papers, summits, new program development, and real movement in terms of public policies .We are using this print issue of the CAEL Forum and News to bring you some of these developments.

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Competency-Based Education: A Powerful Way to Link Learning and the Workplace

In order for competency-based programs to meet and exceed expectations, colleges and universities must forge closer bonds with employers and hiring managers to ensure the programing is actually serving a demand.

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You Have to Start Somewhere

Among the most common questions I hear when I am working with institutions on competency-based education (CBE) is where to start? Also, does it have to be a full program?

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Exploring the CBE Landscape

One of the frustrations of those who are considering moving toward a competency-based model is the lack of data available about existing programs, including who is in the space, what challenges they faced or are facing still, and what the programs look like.

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Competency-Based Technology Solutions

Help is on the way for institutions that are looking for answers to technology challenges as they consider competency-based education (CBE) programs. A frustration for many early adopters has been the inability of their current technologies to adapt to a CBE environment.

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Does Your CBE Program Look Like This?

The picture is starting to become clearer with regard to the elements that make up a successful competency-based education (CBE) program.

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Where is Help Needed Most with CBE?

With hundreds of institutions interested in learning more about competency-based education (CBE), we at the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) were not surprised to have forty-one applicants for just seven slots in the third round of our CBE Jumpstart program, funded by the Lumina Foundation.

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Sharpening Our Focus on Learning: The Rise of Competency-Based Approaches to Degree Completion.

Competency-based postsecondary degree programs—programs that focus sharply on what students know and can do—are on the rise. These programs do not assume that successful completion of a series of courses results in the achievement of learning outcomes; rather, they confirm student learning through individual assessment.

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VETS - Publications

College Credit for Military Training: How Illinois Schools Serve Our Service Members Appendix: Complete Survey Responses

Of the total respondents, 38 (41%) offered primarily associate degrees, 7 (8%) offered primarily bachelor’s degrees, 41 (45%) offered primarily bachelor’s and graduate degrees, 4 (4%) offered primarily graduate degrees. Two institutions (2%) did not had other primary offerings.

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Promoting College and Career Success: Portfolio Assessment for Student Veterans

Active service members and veterans are pursuing postsecondary degrees in record numbers today, due in large part to the GI Bill education benefits that can cover much or all of the cost. An important tool for helping service members and veterans succeed in postsecondary education is prior learning assessment, or PLA.

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Investing in Veterans: The Need for Career and Education Advising

Federal education benefits for veterans represent a substantial investment—$18 billion since 2009 under the Post-9/11 GI Bill—in the development of a skilled American workforce.

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Serving Student Veterans

CAEL works directly with veterans services coordinators and faculty at Chicago-area colleges and universities to create networks that promote best practices in serving student veterans. For example, CAEL has developed veteran-focused higher education affinity groups in Denver and Chicago. Within these networks, CAEL has organized quarterly professional development opportunities, leveraged the collective voice of members in advocacy efforts, and encouraged crosslearning. Issues that have been addressed include military benefits, recognizing military learning through prior learning assessment, and accommodations and disabilities.

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Public Policy - Publications

State Policy Approaches to Support Prior Learning Assessment

This guide is intended to serve as a resource for state leaders who wish to promote PLA policy, whether through new higher education policy or through legislation. It includes background information on PLA and why a state- or systemwide approach can be helpful, information on the kinds of policies that other states and systems are adopting, and case studies of both general approaches to state- or systemwide PLA and approaches designed specifically to benefit veterans.

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Innovation in Maryland Nursing Education to Meet Anticipated Demand

This policy brief describes innovative approaches to nursing education and how the policy leadership help to support the use and expansion of these models and strategies while keeping a sharp focus on educational quality.

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State Strategies to Support the Maturing Workforce

This paper describes strategies that states and regions can consider in their efforts to assist mature workers and also to use this group as a valuable resource in meeting skill requirements for developing economies. We look at strategies that have been developed and used in a U.S. Department of Labor-funded initiative in ten pilot sites since 2009 as well as strategies that state leaders have implemented to support the mature workforce.

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Written Testimony for the Education and Workforce Committee - U.S. House of Representatives

Written Testimony of Pamela J. Tate President and Chief Executive Officer Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), before the Education and Workforce Committee - U.S. House of Representatives.

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Random Access: The Latino Experience with Prior Learning Assessment Policy Brief

National efforts to address the degree completion goals of the country cannot succeed without focusing on strategies to improve the educational attainment of Latinos. ..

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Renewing the promise of The higher education act Seven principles For reauthorization

When Congress passed the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), it opened the doors of learning and economic opportunity to all Americans regardless of their financial means. The law has benefitted generations of students who might not otherwise have afforded college. It has also benefited our democracy and economy, providing the basis for a highly educated citizenry and workforce.

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State Policy Approaches to Support Prior Learning

According to Lumina Foundation, the U.S. needs to educate nearly 800,000 more college graduates each year from now until 2025 to meet the growing needs of the workforce.

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Employee Career Development - Publications

Talent Investments Pay Off: Cigna Realizes Return on Investment from Tuition Benefits

An analysis of health insurer Cigna’s Education Reimbursement Program (ERP) shows every dollar the company puts into the program is returned and generates an additional $1.29 in savings—a 129 percent return on investment. Lumina Foundation, a national foundation focused on increasing postsecondary attainment partnered with Cigna to design the study, which was conducted by Accenture, a leading global professional services company.
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6 Steps to Improved Employee Engagement

“Engagement.” It’s quite a buzzword when it comes to employees these days. But what does it really mean? At CAEL, we speak with employers frequently about the concept of engagement, and in most cases, we’re referring to employee enthusiasm and performance and, by extension, employee productivity. The bottom line: Engaged employees are employees who feel valued. Because of that, they are more productive and more likely to stick with the company.
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8 Tips for Better Employee Retention

If employee retention isn’t on your mind today, it should be. Now that the economy has bounced back, businesses are hiring and employees are ready and willing to seek new opportunities. All of a sudden, keeping your employees is more important than it was during the recession. To keep employees happy, there are a number of factors to consider. This includes a culture of transparency, engagement and development, and all of that contributes to somebody wanting to stay with you. It’s not all dollars.
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Knowledge Transfer: 4 Tips to Get You Started

With thousands of baby boomers retiring each day, knowledge transfer has never been more important. What do we mean by “knowledge transfer”? It’s the process of transferring knowledge from one part of the organization to another in an effort to organize, create, capture and distribute knowledge to ensure its availability for future users.
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5 Tips to Create a Transparent Workplace

Transparency is a big topic that touches on both a company’s external and internal brand. One key aspect of business transparency centers on the internal discussions between employer and employee, for both present and future employees. When a company is committed to internal transparency, it forms an active “partnership” between the employer and the employee.
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A Guide to Upskilling America’s Frontline Workers

The US economy is continuing to experience a strong recovery and is creating millions of jobs along the way. But still, there are not enough skilled workers to fill these jobs. In fact, as of January 2015, five million jobs remained unfilled in the United States. Employers consistently report they are facing a major skills shortage challenge.

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LearningCounts Portfolio Assessment Means Cost Savings for Students…and Employers

Adults who pursue postsecondary education often bring with them considerable college level learning that they acquired from their work, military, or life experience. Through prior learning assessment (PLA), they may be able to have this learning evaluated for college credit. One form of PLA is individualized assessment, in which students prepare a portfolio of their experiential learning, often with supporting documentation. This portfolio is then evaluated by trained faculty assessors to determine a credit award. PLA can save students a significant amount.

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The Hidden Classroom of the Workplace

Many of us are accustomed to the idea that we learn at school and that a college education is acquired in college classrooms. In reality, however, learning takes place in all aspects of a person’s life — through military experience, raising a family, volunteering, and perhaps most significantly in the workplace.

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Are Your Employees Asking for Career Development?

This white paper explains strategies that address career development in the entry and mid-level workforce.
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Employee Career Development - Webinar's
 

Credit for What? College Credit for Workplace Learning

Employees at leading corporations are getting college credit for workplace learning – saving them time and money en route to a degree or credential. 

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Where Do I Go from Here? Direct Employees to Development Choices that Meet Business Goals

Approximately 30 to 40 percent of organizations provide programs to help employees make better education and development choices. In this webinar, you’ll hear best practices for education advising and coaching.

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Use Career Maps to Build Your Talent Development Strategy

Where is your organization headed and what workforce will get you there? When you uncover career paths within your organization, your current and potential employees can see their options. When their route is clear, they are more likely to get there—and less likely to leave.

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How Supervisors Can Help Employees Learn

Supervisors can have a dramatic impact on employee learning. This webinar will share innovative practices for helping front line supervisors build skills critical to their performance. By developing their skills using real workplace challenges, supervisors strengthen their ability to lead their teams and improve key business metrics.

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Higher Education: Friend or Foe? Education Partnerships that Work

For many employers, the education supply chain is broken. Too many colleges are not graduating students with the skills and competencies employers need. This often leaves HR professionals, recruiters, and managers frustrated, and feeling like they have little power to resolve the problem. But there are ways to ensure that college curriculum is designed by your industry and for your industry, and delivered by education partners who know how to teach the required skills.

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Grow Talent with Career Maps

The best candidates to fill mission-critical positions may be closer than you think. When you uncover career paths within your organization, your current and potential employees see the route to where they want to go. When the path is clear, they are more likely to get there—and less likely to leave.

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Employee Career Development - Case Studies

FutureLink

Verizon Communications has long understood the importance of helping employees maximize their talents and potential within the company, which, in turn, benefits companywide productivity and growth.

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EPCE

The energy industry is facing a retirement bubble, a shift to greater use of renewable energy sources, and sky-rocketing demand for power. These factors have created a demand for workers skilled in new energy technologies. Meanwhile, many workers and high school students are seeking stable employment.

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The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) came to CAEL for help creating an interactive and visual career development tool to represent the job titles and roles that make up the scope of the field and the promotional and transitional career paths associated with them.

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Memorial Sloan-Kettering

Like other forward-thinking employers, MSKCC is moving many of their employment resources online. Learn how they are improving retention and mobility with interactive career maps. 

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Workforce and Economic Development - Publications

The Healthy Workforce Ecosystem

A healthy workforce ecosystem is one where the range of providers — K-12 systems, public and private universities, corporate education, two- and four-year colleges, skills training programs and economic developers — all play their part in meeting the range of employer and target sector needs.

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Content, Collaboration, Communication, Capacity

Every community can expand and focus content, increase collaboration, improve communication and build capacity. As communities work to differentiate themselves in a competitive global economy, the need for alignment between economic and workforce development has never been more important.

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A Guide to Upskilling America’s Frontline Workers

The US economy is continuing to experience a strong recovery and is creating millions of jobs along the way. But still, there are not enough skilled workers to fill these jobs. In fact, as of January 2015, five million jobs remained unfilled in the United States. Employers consistently report they are facing a major skills shortage challenge.

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Workforce and Economic Development - Case Studies

Charleston: Understanding the Human Capital Ecosystem

CAEL and our long-time economic analysis partner, Avalanche Consulting, worked with The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce in Charleston, South Carolina to conduct research and analysis and create regional recommendations for the education and training ecosystem which resulted in a strategy which supports talent development in key industry sectors in the region.

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Kansas City: Alignment between Industry Demand and Labor Supply

CAEL conducted an in-depth inventory of postsecondary education and training offerings that support skill development for target sectors in the Kansas City region to inform efforts to better align these resources with industry need. CAEL also researched and developed a white paper highlighting best practice models for employer engagement.

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San Francisco: Alignment between Industry Demand and Labor Supply

CAEL supported the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) of the City of San Francisco and their city-based training provider the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) to create structure around a city sponsored training and internship program developing the Information Technology workforce called TechSF.

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Nashville: Robust Workforce Pipeline to Fill High Growth Positions

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce, and its partners at the Middle Tennessee Regional Workforce Alliance, reached out to CAEL to get a more detailed understanding of career pathways within two key industry sectors: Manufacturing and Information Technology.

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Charlotte: Achieving Scale to Drive Economic Growth

The Centralina Council of Governments has prioritized skills development and workforce capacity as a key feature of their plan to grow their economy.

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Tulsa: Achieving Scale to Drive Economic Growth

The Tulsa Regional Chamber recognized that general prosperity and high employment in the region was not reaching all neighborhoods and members of the community.

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Bioscience Uses an Interactive Career Map to Help with Career Exploration and Awareness

Ohio bio employers are having difficulty attracting the volume of workers required to meet these growth projections.

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