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Ten Principles for Effectively Serving Adults

With Adult Learner 360, colleges and universities gain unique insight into the effectiveness of their adult student support. This support is assessed through the lens of CAEL’s Ten Principles for Effectively Serving Adults, areas of focus that enhance adult learner retention and completion.


Adjusts to shifting external market forces and is able to adapt to the changing expectations of internal stakeholders, students and employers―understanding the needs of those they serve by developing creative academic solutions

Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Defines and assesses the knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired by adult learners—both from the curriculum and from life and work experience—in order to assign credit and confer degrees with rigor


Promotes choice using an array of payment options for adult learners in order to expand equity and financial flexibility

Life & Career Planning

Addresses adult learners’ life and career goals before or at the onset of enrollment in order to assess and align its capacities to help learners reach their goals


Conducts its outreach to adult learners by overcoming barriers in time, place and tradition in order to create lifelong access to educational opportunities


Uses technology to provide relevant and timely information and to enhance the learning experience

Strategic Partnerships

Engages in strategic relationships, partnerships and collaborations with employers and other organizations in order to develop and improve educational opportunities for adult learners

Student Support Systems

Assists adult learners using comprehensive academic and student support systems in order to enhance students’ capacities to become self-directed, lifelong learners

Teaching-Learning Process

Faculty uses multiple methods of instruction (including experiential and problem-based methods) for adult learners in order to connect curricular concepts to useful knowledge and skills


Supports guided pathways that lead into and from the institution's programs and services in order to ensure that students' learning will apply usefully to achieving their educational and career goals