The State of Continuing Education, 2021

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Amrit Ahluwalia, Editor in Chief of The EvoLLLution (an online publication founded by Modern Campus), joined the podcast to talk about the results from their State of CE survey addressing the gap between what modern learners want and what higher education actually offers.

Nearly fifty eight percent of students,when they're asked with their primary reason for enrolling in a degreeprogram, they say to achieve career outcomes, a professional locome, you're, listening to enrolment growth,university from helics education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Romant at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and romant growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to anroman growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network, I'm EricWolson with helics education and we're here today with UMRI Alawalia editor inchief of the evolution. I'Mt. Welcome to the show. Thank you so much forhaving me. I appreciate that so excited to talk to you today about the resultsfrom your recent survey, addressing the gaps between the modern adult learnerand what higher education is actually offering them before we dig in. Can yougive our listeners a little bit of background on both the evolution andyour role there for sure? So the evolutions, an online newspaper,focused on Calle ID nontraditional, higher education and transformation. Wewere founded by modern campus in two Thousana, twelve, basically focused ontrying to share stories, exploring how higher education is changing and howcolleges and universities are that Ting to keep paid. So what we do is focusexclusively on working with instiutional leaders at at the HigherEintitutions in Canada, an the US basically to talk about that n RourFocus Ins we started was really on demographic changes and shiftingstudent expectation and what that means to the I guess to the norms of ourhigher edupation industry. I'm grateful for the research work that you're doing,because a lot of very, very interesting a has came out of this work. I'm RORticicus off. Can you give us just kind of that high level overview on thegoals and methodology behind this...

...specific recent survey, the state ofContinuing Education, two thousand and twenty one, exposing the Modern Learnerengagement gap? Absolutely well. This is our second year running this stateof CE survey and basically, I guess the root of the survey or in the lack ofdata living in the non degrean continuing at space. There's a hugeamount of data on on the traditional higher education side, but one of thethings that we've noticed is as continuing education and nondegreelearning in general becomes increasingly important. There's almostno data around what the standards of the industry are what's happening inthe space. What Challenges Higher Ed leaders are facing when they're workingin the continuing ator, not degrees space, so funeventually, that's what wewanted to solve. So we ran our first day TOCE survey last year, published atlast February I leave and in this year's survey again it's basically asurvey of our of our subscriber base. Anyone who's the evolution subscriberwith a Dodi Youra, dot, ca eneiladres of the cafoty to answer answer ourquestions and yeah. What we're basically trying to do is it get to thebottom of what's happening in the nondegree, an on traditional higheredspace? You know we found that to aluded to and pretty amazing stuff. You knowthe very fact of the matter is that more and more higher ed institutionsare really prioritizing non degree or continuing education, but very fewinstitutions are really relorcing those division to make Substanca change. Youknow we have highered leaders who recognize the importance of the digitalexperience to engaging the learners that they're serving, but also don'treally believe in their own infrastructure to deliver theexperience their students expect. So it's been interesting with this year'ssurvey kind of seeing, I guess the ideal state for what highre cootershould look like and then the you know facing the reality of where we are yeahand I'm grateful for the longitudnal nature of your survey that nothingcrazy happened in the past year. So I'm guessing these are just you know verysame as Olddata, but but I'm Riah you...

...actually teased out. I think that t ecouple of things that was the most excited to to dig in with you, so let'sstart digging into some of these learnings or what you do with this data.So I admit that I was a bit surprised that sixty eight percent of adults,considering going back to school, would prefer a non degree alternative program,talk about this broader trend toward nondegree programming and where youbelieve e learners are at with this demand versus where higered is at withofferings to match it. So to give appropriate credit to that CACENFICthat came from STRAWTA network, and that was part of their public viewpoint.Surveys from from the two thousandand twenty were basically what they weredoing with surveying the American public on their higher and demand. Sowhat we found particularly fascinating about that sixty percent that D, Thereason why we wanted to integrate it, or at least highlight it as part of thestate of CE- is to give a sense of the fact that you know the interesting nondegree and continuing education isn't something that's happening in thevacuum. You know in backroom the colleges and universities its somethingthat the market actually wants, and it makes a tun of fense nearly fifty eightpercent of students. When they're asked, with their primary reason for enrollingin a degree program, they say to achieve career outcomes, O professionallowcomes, I believe Ucla recently did a survey of their incoming freshman classand something like eighty percent of students highlighted the value of theireducation to crear outcomes. So a desire for career impact is nothing newfor any higher education student. The problem is that they're, recognizingthat you know the more traditional Pathwa is to education. T that Wev sortof forged out aren't leading there. A burning glass survey that was releasedtoward the end o last year pointed out that nearly two and five bachelor'sdegree folders are underemployed in their first job and when you considerthe fact that the majority of students are enrolling because they want careeroutcomes, something what is that forty...

...percent of students teing underemployedin their first role, is borderline unacceptable. So you know looking atthat in conjunction with the expense of a traditional degree program, and youknow the promise of it, of most nondegreed programs being veryspecifically around carier outcome. It makes a ton of sense that students arestarting to recognize that maybe there's another way, so that's yeah,like that's sixtyeigh percent stat on its face, can be a little surprising,but I'll tell you. I mean, as someone who has who has managed the publicationfocused on non degree, education for the past decade. It was really almostabropt fresh air yeah. To see that you know this thing that we've all beentalking about in in sort of generalities is in fact very much o thecase when the rubber hits the road you know. At the end of the day, it's a ourrecession playbook as an industry is bastly outdated, we're not meetingstudents where they are, and it's the reason that there was a free percent inrolment depth in a period of massive unemployment, which generally leads tobetween a one point, nine and two point: five percent in Roment increase fordegree program, yeah, I'm right. What did this survey tell us about internalconcerns with our institutions, abilities to add new programs to chasethese trends at the pace of market demand? You know it's reallyinteresting. So one of the things that we found, obviously when we asked aboutthe biggest challenges to scaling or expanding on degree, AD folks pointedto to the things that you depect. So you know they were concerned around themarket demand. So they wanted to make sure that programming actually needslapor market expectation, gills expectation, the administrative burdenof simply developing and launching new programs. The cost of launching youprogram the time to market for new programs, like all these things that weunderstand is being commony roadbox, especially the non degree programlaunches, because for the most part you know, schools aren't really set up todo. Programming outside of a semester. Schedule School, Sren't, really stet upto do programming that have to go to...

...market extremely quickly and cannot.You know literally fall off the fiht at someone's desk in an approval process,so we certainly saw those, but one of the really fascinating things that cameout was you know that there were multiple choice, options tor thatquestion, and then we also askd folks, if there's anything else, that they'dlike Toa in terms of obstacles just killing depending on degree and lookingat that and doing a Qword analysis on the responses we kind of lumped it intofour buckets. So you know, Acceptan to support of nondegree programming fromfrom the main campus is lacking right, the capacity for staff to actually doinnovative work, they're challenged, there's a lack of budget and financialsupport, so you know really non degree program. Continuing an units aregenerally cost recovery, so being able to commit additional fi additionalresources to innovative programming can be a challenge and then ait court. Youdon't technology it at the base being completely insufficient when it comesto actually delivering on these high expectation. These are all things thatkind of stem from a lack of practical supports from senior leadership when itcomes to the role and capacity for continuing eddivisions to help keeptheir respective institution competitive onright. How about digitalgaps? What are our most common digital gaps, preventing easy, enrollment, highoutain, high value learning experience specifically for these CE learners?Absolutely well. I mean continuing that learner and frankly, every learnertoday is an experience season. Consumer. You know this is someone who shops onAmazon with incredible regularity. This is someone who consumes media throughNetflix or Amazon, prime or you know any of the other five hundred tremingservices that are adaible. This is someone who's given up on on taxis,because UVER allows you to do it so much quicker and easier right, so thes,regardless of IG year, forty, eight and...

...looking for upskilling or sixfteen andtrying to find your first school every learner today is basically a digitalnat. Every learner today is fundamentally a technological expertwhen it comes to how they want to engage with major service providersright like. Why is the university behind the banks or the cable companieswhen it comes to delivering a customer experience? So I'd say: That'sfundamentially, our first and biggest gap is students. have this expectationfor an experience? That's going to be soenless for experience, ats, going tobe straightforward for a website. That's going to you know, provide themsome sense of what it is that they need based on past browsing history based onyou know, previous envolvements, based on any of the things that any othercompany takes into account when someone lands on their home pace. But we don'tdo that in hire. You know we very much have this expectation that you know thestudent is fortunate to even be considered Vius and- and so you don't behave that wayand as a result, but cans have done very, very well rightand and mooks. Youknow, despite the fact that people look at them and say: Oh look at theircompletion rages. Have we ever considered that we're applying atraditional hierad standard to a fundamentially, nontraditionaleducation providing mechanisms? Maybe students don't want to take all twelvemoots? Maybe they wanted a specific piece of information and they managedto log and find that information and go right. So maybe the question isn't: Didthey do the thing we wanted them to do? Maybe the question is: Did they do thething they want to do and I think fundamentally like if you look at wellwhat' what the thing that higher ed institutions need to do the close oedigital divide. I mean that's basically what you're asking I would say. First,an foremost: Why don't we think about students like people and then treatthem that way? I'm er, there's so much good stuff in this survey, anyspecifically additional Aha moments for you things that surprised you and yourcolleagues. I would think you know...

...relatedly. It was the thing about thewebsite, so you know not to give too much away. Obviously wewant books, OO, research, but here's to stat that if you're going totake anything away from the survey, take these two stafps away with you allright, stot one. Seventy three percent of respondence say the institutions webwebsite should play a leading role in deeply engaging students andfacilitating their registration right. So the website itself should be high quality. It should be personalized.It should provide some clear sense of what the consumers looking for and whathe, what the service provider in the case institution, is able to do toaddress their expectations in meet. Seventy three percent, only ten percentof respondenct rate, their website as very effective at driving studentengagement in moments and retemption yeah right. So three quarters of folkslook at the look at their website and say: Wow. You know what what amazingthings the website could do with an engagement intention and only one inten fat and our website does that you know it's a startling divide,because when chush comes to shove, we recognize that every consumer isdigital. First, we recognize that the majority of folks find our institutionsonline. We recognize that people want to use the website of a way tofacilitate their n moment process. They want to pay online with a credit card.They want to. You know go to the website and have an immediate sense owhether it's actually going to help them get to their endpoint. They wantto find the website on their phone start, building a shopping, cart andthen go on the conputer to finish the purchase like you would on Amaton O onwayfare or any of these other services, but we just don't let them do it. So Iwould say, if we're looking at well what what's the ideal studentexperience right if s start at the first impression and that's the website.So that's I say that's the major...

...takeaway from me and I apologizebecause I know that's more tactical than I think folks might be looking for,but some fact also the problem. We cannot think of the website as beingthis cactical thing that only ten percent of the the staff atanintitution need to worry about yeah right. The website should be first inforemost to or our way of communicating with every stakeholder coming to theinstitution. If you're an alumni- and you want that individual to eitherenrolling continuing education or donate to the school, they should havea home page when they go to compass point university dot at you. Right,then, should be able to see Paly, specifically designd for them to get tothe outcome. The institution knows they should be moving toward right. Justlike again, any other company with any other sete of persinente wil have aclear sense of who the people are coming to their website and how theywant that person to progress right and fundamentally, if that's, not strategic,and if it's not strategically designed around the outcome that you, theinstitution, are trying to put into place for your learners, then then we,the institution it failed because again, we expect the student to feel fortunatethat theyre they're being considered by US as opposed to the the alternative,which is that you know fundamentally weedy, instiution or fortunate that astudent is considering us some ar it such such creat stofh. Finally, anynext steps advice for institutions who are looking to shrink that gap thatyou've talked about today, that gap between post taritional student trendsand the institution's own offerings. Where should they start? First?Absolutely? Well I mean again- and this is a shameless pea to the research, butbut the last page dog outlined about ten actionizins, but we feel areincredibly relevant for folks, given some of the stocks that we bring out insome of the finings that we unearse in the research, but I would say at itsvery core senior intitutional leaders need to, I guess- need to ship thethinking two ways right. One is the continuing education division and it Al.So this is not a unit that you know...

...sits on the peripery of the institutionand does some interesting stuff and generate a not I mean they do do thatBu. We need to recognize the role of continuing education is more of astrategic comparative for the intitution of Self, a need to resourcethem appropriate right again. Now one of the things that we found was thatseventy six percent of respondent said that they had senior leadership buyhimto scale and expend on degree courses in prograss. Seventy six percent ofrespondence say Damn Senior Leadership Buyin to scale and extend on degreeprograms and courses. But if you'll recall the octicle that I arehighlighted earlier kind of all rute back to a lack of genuine seniorleadership support when it comes to buyin when it comes to resourcing andwhen it comes to maybe a little bit of true support around the engagement tocontinuing education in the name campus, the fact that cannibalization is stilla concern for foks when it comes to expanding online education programmingin a major major concern. We should all be worried about that. So I would say,first and foremost, you know senior institutional leaders need to recognizetheir role in strategically supporting and resourcing continuing education todo the great work that we expect continuing education units to do yeah.You know what that's the major takeaway. I think. That's that's the mostimportant thing and again I had to highly recommend downloading the report.There's a lot of great information in there we do lay out a number of otherrecommendations and and opportunities, especially around you know, types ofcredentially hat. That seems to be on the horizon and teazer. It looks liketactable credentials, micrel credentials, a e, our major areas ofopportunitys that folks are identifying, but you cannot achieve that outcome andlest continue, an education is supported and resource appropriate andwill, of course, put a link to that survey in the show notes. UMOR. Thankyou against so much for joining us. What's the best place for listeners toconnect with you if they have any followup questions for sure, I'm onlink, then you'll see how my name is Balton in the show notes and Weecan,certainly connectd with me there. You...

...can enail us at Inso, at evolution withthree Ollscom that' again info at evolution with three almscom, those ellby the waystant, ar lifelong learning, just a fun fact o folks and then, ifyou do want to download the research again, I know that the show notes willhave this link, but just in Cay you can visit modern Campuscom Fla ctwenty. Onethat's again: Modern Tampuscom flashtwenty one awesome thanks so muchfor joining a today. I'm right! Thank you for having Mee ben a lot of funattracting today's new post. Traditional learners means adopting newenrolmant strategies. Heliks educations data driven enterprise, wide approachto enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universitiesthrive in this new education, landscape and Helex has just published the secondedition of their enrollment growth playbook, with fifty percent brand newcontent on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enromant growthchallenges download it today for free at helocs, Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromantgrowth university from helicks education to ensure that you never missan episode subscribe to the show in hitunes or your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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