Launching a research initiative to explore graduate and adult education
When EAB first launched the Professional and Adult Education Forum in 2011, the world of graduate, adult, and online education looked different than it does today. Southern New Hampshire University was just starting to invest in national ad campaigns to promote their online programs, MOOCs were only beginning to go mainstream, and short-format providers such as Coursera didn’t yet exist.
What 1,000+ adult learners shared
How has COVID-19 impacted the adult learner mindset?Download
But even in the fast-paced and innovative world of adult education there are a few things that haven’t changed. Much like in 2011, today’s leaders of graduate, adult, and online programs face heightened pressure to grow enrollments and develop new partnerships as institutions pursue alternative revenue streams to offset expected declines in traditional undergraduate enrollment.
Both in 2011 and now, our researchers and enrollment experts are committed to deeply understanding the challenges facing our partners and to providing robust data, practices, and support to help you keep pace. Regardless of institution type, size, or location, our work is framed by one central question: who are adult learners and what are the key characteristics motivating them to go back to school?
Expanding into marketing services
Soon after launching the Forum, our researchers explored the “search and shop” habits of the adult learner student and identified best practices to reach and recruit (or re-recruit) these prospects. Partners encouraged us to look out of industry to companies like Coca Cola and Nike with best-in-class marketing capabilities to understand shifts in consumer behavior and which techniques were translatable. One of the core marketing capabilities these companies had in common was the use of big data consumer analytics to understand, identify, and reach prospective buyers. We asked ourselves, why can’t we bring big data into higher education marketing?
Driven by this question, in 2017 we launched our Adult Learner Recruitment initiative. As our team has grown to serve more than 100 partner institutions, we’ve worked closely with enrollment and academic leaders to not only grow adult learner enrollments but also provide research from our Professional and Adult Education Forum to fast-track smart program design, develop sustainable employer partnerships, and catalyze organizational improvement for long-term growth.
Bringing research and recruitment strategy together—on this blog
To reflect the expanded ways we’re serving institutions, and the expanded learnings we want to share with you, we’re retitling the Adult Student Marketing blog as the Professional and Adult Education blog. We want this blog to be a place where higher education leaders can find holistic insights about all aspects of recruiting and serving adult learners. The need to expand the scope of the blog became obvious when we realized partner institutions were already relying on both our research and marketing services to support their adult learner growth strategies.
Across the coming months and beyond, we look forward to sharing more research and actionable recommendations on the Professional and Adult Education blog, including:
- Insight into the adult learner mindset in light of COVID-19, based on our recent survey of current and prospective adult learners
- Research on the local and national nature of competition in the graduate space
- Recommendations for developing market-savvy certificate and other non-degree programs
- Strategies to reach and recruit adult degree completers
We hope you’ll subscribe (if you haven’t already) and consider sharing the blog with a colleague. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or topics you’d like to see explored on this blog.
Learn more about our offerings
Our Professional & Adult Education Forum provides employer-focused market research, marketing and recruiting strategy studies, and implementation resources to help you compete in a crowded market while supporting institutional goals. Our data-focused approach will empower you to make informed decisions across a wide range of areas, including:
EAB’s Adult Learner Recruitment initiative combines consumer analytics, intent marketing, market research, and strategic consulting to fuel smart growth for graduate, online, and degree completer program unlike online program management companies, we work with you to drive growth without assuming control of core academic functions like curriculum design. And unlike digital marketing agencies, we are a full funnel enrollment solution—with 30 years of expertise generating results from brand awareness to lead generation—all the way through application marketing and yield management.