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Sean Hudson

Recent Posts

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My Learning Matters—Colleges and Universities Should Not Dismiss Diverse Learning Experiences

Posted by Sean Hudson on May 31, 2019 11:17:00 AM

Topics: Adult Student Success, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), Adult Learning, Adult Learning Success

As an adult, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve acquired a decent amount of your knowledge and skills from experiences that took place outside the classroom. Whether you learned about software programming from helping your mother access her music on her computer or you’re a pro in Microsoft Excel from your years of designing pivot tables, the way you gained your abilities is derived from your life experiences. Many colleges and universities will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your existing skills through different methods of examination known as prior learning assessment (PLA). For example, you may take a standardized test (e.g., the College-Level Examination Program [CLEP] exam) to demonstrate your mastery in a particular subject, such as history. Or, you may put together a portfolio showcasing your years of work experience as, say, a researcher, to demonstrate that you don’t need to take a college-level statistics course.

So, imagine going back to school and attempting to get PLA credit for knowledge you already have, only to be told, “Sorry, that experience doesn’t count.” That would seem quite unfair, right? Well, that’s what’s happening for some native and heritage speakers of non-English languages.

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Is There an App for That? The New Age of Career Services Is here

Posted by Sean Hudson on Oct 4, 2018 10:40:00 AM

Topics: Adult Student Success, Trends in Higher Education, Student Expectations, Student Advising and Coaching, Advising Resource Center, Career Services

The old career services model—where students seek out help with job searches, resume writing and career preparation—was never all that exciting or engaging for students in years past, and chances are that many of the career services offered today haven’t changed much, other than using new high-tech tools and directing students to online job postings. The truth is that, historically speaking, colleges haven’t made career services a big priority.

Students can tell. In fact, according to a recent survey by the Strada Education Network and Gallup, nearly 4 in every 10 college students have never visited their colleges’ career offices or used their resources.

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What Happens When You Start Listening to the Adults in the Room?

Posted by Sean Hudson on Oct 2, 2018 10:47:00 AM

Topics: Adult Student Success, Trends in Higher Education, Student Expectations, Case Studies, Adult Learning, Adult Learner 360

We have been hearing more and more about “today’s students” and how they are much more likely to be older people who work and have significant family responsibilities. Some people also refer to these students as nontraditional, post-traditional or simply as adult learners. Regardless of what term is used, colleges and universities are starting to pay a lot more attention to these students, but many postsecondary institutions often wonder what they should be doing differently to meet the needs of today’s students.

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New CAEL Study Asks the Question: Do PLA Methods Matter?

Posted by Sean Hudson on Mar 5, 2018 1:26:43 PM

Topics: Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), Case Studies

That is a good question! Adult students earning credit through prior learning assessment (PLA) have higher rates of degree completion than non-PLA students. PLA can also be a valuable tool in helping adult students save both time and money towards earning a degree. But what about the specific method of PLA – is there a relationship between it and degree completion? Do we find there to be better outcomes for students using portfolio assessment as opposed to other methods? Our new report, Do Methods Matter? PLA, Portfolio Assessment, and the Road to Completion and Persistence, shares evidence that there may be one but acknowledges the complexities (and confounding factors) involved in this question as well.

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CAEL's New Study Answers the Question: What Happens When Learning Counts?

Posted by Sean Hudson on Sep 14, 2017 9:29:36 AM

Topics: Success Stories, Trends in Higher Education, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), CAEL News

Several things, actually. Prior learning assessment (PLA) provides a way for adult students to accelerate their degree completion as well as create a new way to engage in the learning process. While this may be old news for some—seven years ago, CAEL’s Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success: A 48-Institution Study of Prior Learning Assessment and Adult Student Outcomes found that adult students with PLA credit were two and a half times more likely to have earned a postsecondary degree than similar students with no PLA credit. Since then, replication studies have found the same results and researchers have documented other benefits to PLA such as increased self-confidence and motivation.

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