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Get Involved: Help us design a new framework for adult learner success

CAEL is partnering with the Hewlett Foundation, EQOS, and Northeastern University to design a new framework that helps postsecondary education providers impact more adult learners. Learn how you can be a participant in this important work here.  

Enrollment declines, industry disruption, economic inequity; more than ever, education providers are tasked with providing sustainable practices that help adult learners succeed. 

In this five-phase process, the framework project team will convene representatives from ten existing best-practice programs to uncover the methods, resources, and supports that most significantly impact adult learner success. Findings will be used in conjunction with other research to design and develop a new structure for promoting best practices for supporting adult learners. This emerging framework will inform our initiatives, including the Principles for Effective Serving Adult Learners, going forward and help education providers as they consider adult learner strategies for their programs. Although CAEL has periodically adjusted the Principles, which were primarily designed to help institutions support adult learners through diverse but traditional postsecondary education pathways, it is undertaking this comprehensive review in response to the massive disruption and acceleration in change created by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the institutional imperative to ensure support of adult learners includes career transitions, regardless of whether students pursue a degree or another credential.

The Project's Key Phases

  • Phase 1
    Program Selection, informed by a comprehensive literature review and landscape analysis of best practices and emerging methodologies.

  • Phase 2
    Quantitative study and focus groups among the ten selected programs.

  • Phase 3
    Convening of the ten selected programs and the partnership to review findings and design the framework.

  • Phase 4
    Activities at the CAEL Annual Conference in November 2021: Be the first to see our framework! We will have opportunities for everyone to be involved.

  • Phase 5
    Public debut of the new framework and associated monograph by the end of 2021.

Seeking Ten Top Performing Programs

At this time, the framework project team seeks ten best-performing programs for participation in an intensive study that will inform the design and development of this framework. The study includes a questionnaire, focus groups, networking events, and your chance to directly inform this framework and associated publications as a thought leader in adult learner postsecondary education. For their participation, the partnership will provide stipend support of $2,500 to each of the ten selected, participating programs. We are soliciting adult degree completion programs and short-term training providers, both within accredited postsecondary institutions and other training outlets (e.g., coding bootcamps).

Ideal Candidates Have:

  • Majority adult learner populations and marketing programs specialized to them

  • An attempt to collect learning outcomes and post-completion job placement/earnings data,

  • An equity-driven commitment to dismantling socioeconomic and racial injustice

Interested in applying? 

The deadline to apply is June 11, 2021.

Apply for Consideration

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Have questions? Let's talk.

For more information or with any questions, please contact Barry Nickerson, project manager and CAEL director of initiatives.

Email Barry at framework@cael.org