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CAEL’s Adult Learner 360 Now Giving Schools a 360° View of their Adult Student Population

Many colleges and universities strive to ensure a high level of institutional support for their population of adult students, and for good reason. As the populations of adult and other nontraditional students continue to grow, higher education institutions rightly see fostering a high level of support for those students as being essential to support their own growth plans.

Yet assessing that adult student support is difficult. Determining whether efforts are having the desired impact can only be done when institution and student alike have been given the opportunity to have their voices heard. It’s also crucial that efforts are assessed by expert practitioners who have the latest insight into best practices for serving adult students. Institutions must also be able to compare their offerings to those offered by similar institutions. 

To provide that essential 360° view of institutions’ support of adult learners, CAEL developed Adult Learner 360. Designed to allow colleges and universities to measure and improve their support of adult students, Adult Learner 360 is informed by CAEL’s decades of experience assisting colleges and universities in meeting the needs of adult learners.

Adult Learner 360 is based upon two surveys: one that captures the importance and effectiveness of the institution’s activities, policies and practices, and one that measures satisfaction of adult students.

Upon analysis of Adult Learner 360 survey results, the college or university receives a report that highlights their strengths, areas for improvement and changes that can lead to better support for adult students. The report also compares results with other two- and four-year institutions. In addition, a CAEL expert discusses recommended changes with the institution, incorporating the institution’s external drivers and current strategic initiatives.

Results from an Adult Learner 360 survey are measured against CAEL’s Ten Principles for Effectively Serving Adult Learners, which include Life and Career Planning, Outreach, Assessment of Learning Outcomes, Strategic Partnerships and Adaptivity, the Principle that measures how effectively an institution adapts to shifting external market forces and to changing expectations of internal stakeholders, students and employers.

As anyone in higher education can attest, the success of a college or university rests on the success of the students it serves. With Adult Learner 360, institutions can better develop strategies to increase adult student enrollment, persistence and completion. Given institutions’ heightened interest in increasing their reputations as adult student friendly, being positioned as a college or university committed to adult learner success has never been more essential to stand out from competing institutions.


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If your institution or organization is seeking guidance, solutions, or support from CAEL, or if you have an idea for a future collaboration initiative with us, please reach out. We'd love to connect.

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