Accelerating Change: How Education Technology Developers Can Jump-Start a New Adult Education Market - Digital Promise

Accelerating Change: How Education Technology Developers Can Jump-Start a New Adult Education Market

This report argues that this is a promising time for entrepreneurs and developers to enter the adult learning market. Economic and labor trends are applying unprecedented pressure on policymakers to think differently. Federal, and in turn state, policies are shifting. The adaptation of K-12 and postsecondary education technologies (ed-tech) to the unique needs of adult learners is only beginning to shape the delivery of adult learning. It is not a matter of whether technology can improve adult learning outcomes at scale, but how.

Getting there will require a thoughtful conversation about both the potential and limitations of technology for adult learners. It will require careful consideration of policy-driven barriers and opportunities. We hope that this paper gives entrepreneurs and investors a window into the policy environment that shapes the adult education landscape and, in doing so, helps to inspire a thoughtful, collaborative conversation about what’s possible.

The Opportunity section identifies the market potential. It describes the pace at which emerging technologies have been adopted within our existing system of adult education and sizes up the opportunity.

In Today’s Federal Framework, we explain the policies and funding streams that shape the market today. In many ways, the adult education market is in flux. Shifting demographics and employer demands are forcing creative thinking, resulting in the emergence of policies that reflect the potential for technology to improve outcomes at unprecedented scale. This is followed by three short sections that look at emerging opportunities at the federal, state, local and philanthropic levels.

The Tailoring Ed-tech Solutions shares perspectives from the field to help entrepreneurs understand the real world demands of practitioners, and think about use-cases and solutions. We provide illustrations from across the ed-tech sectors to inspire and challenge our discussions.

Like all learners, the unique challenges of adult learners are not limited to the transmission and acquisition of content. Success requires wraparound services and expertise that should fuel Innovative Partnerships within the adult learning sector—including thoughtful collaboration with the public and private institutions that govern its success.

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Accelerating learning for adult education
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