The Working Adult Learner Imperative

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The future of work is changing. While working adults were already seeking postsecondary degrees in higher numbers, the growing corporate trend of offering tuition support has created a boom, with an estimated 31 million workers eligible for tuition assistance or reimbursement. As a result, universities have increased opportunities to serve more working adult learners. However, the needs of working adult learners differ in several critical ways from those of traditional full-time students.  What can universities do to successfully meet these unique needs?

This white paper explores five key ways universities can design the learning experience with working adult students as a core focus:

Focusing on Working Adult Learners


Design comprehensive, integrated learner support systems

Create an intentionally integrated learner experience

Create the next generation of teaching and learning modules that allow for maximum flexibility and support.

Redesign legacy structures, systems and strategies that impede the ability to serve working adult learners

Move beyond employer advisories and make clear connections to the employer marketplace

Creating a new talent playbook

The integration of technology, media, and information platforms and business dependencies has triggered significant mergers and acquisitions over the past decade to control the channels, the content, and the insights about the users. This has resulted in a significant overlap in the type of talent these companies are seeking.

Combine that with the pandemic—which has accelerated digital transformation and heightened competition for talent—and business leaders are finding themselves at a pivotal moment in determining talent strategy. How can you plan for different scenarios and build a workforce that is trained for the jobs of today and tomorrow?

The key is to create the right upskilling and reskilling strategy. 

To help leaders build a strong learning function and an adaptable talent playbook, this report lays out:


The 2020 Information Industry Talent Strategy Report

Workforce Trends and Reskilling Paths

Enrollment of "traditional" aged students is projected to drop sharply after 2025


Download the report for more information.

Enrollment is projected to drop sharply after 2025

Download the report for more information.


Lisa McIntyre-Hite, PhD

Terah A. Crews

Dr. Lisa McIntyre-Hite is senior principal of learning solutions at Guild Education. Prior to joining Guild, she was vice president at Pathstream, an ed-tech start-up incubated at Entangled Solutions, where she served as a strategic advisor focused on higher education futures. McIntyre-Hite was the founding dean for competency-based education and executive director for learning innovation at Laureate Education where she developed its direct-assessment offering, seeing it through from pilot to scale.

Senior Principal of Learning Solutions at Guild Education
Vice President of Learning Solutions at Guild Education

Prior to joining Guild, Terah was a Senior Partner and head of Entangled Solution’s higher education practice where she developed strategy and advised senior leaders from across the higher education ecosystem in over 60 engagements. Through her work, she has designed and built innovation strategies, innovation labs, new programs, centers and ventures for many higher education institutions including Davidson College, the California College System, Harvard Business Publishing, John Hopkins, Southern New Hampshire University, West Coast University, and UT-Austin.