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Innovations In Ed Tech For Adults Are Coming This Summer 

Education has gotten more and more enmeshed with technology. During the pandemic, nearly every college in America went fully remote, and right now most colleges have online classes of some kind.

Yet education technology has not yet significantly increased access to college for the 40 million adults nationwide who don’t have the degree they need to advance their careers. As a result, the higher education system is not yet equitable for working adults, or for parents and caregivers. 

Calbright College believes that new technology can help meet this need, making higher education equitable and accessible to adults striving to get the education they need through the chaos of life. Imagine how much higher education could change if we applied that same spirit of innovation to adults going to college. How different — how much more effective, how much more accessible, how much more flexible — could it be? 

This summer, we’re going to find out. Over a dozen new and innovative tools for higher education have all been selected as finalists in the “Engaging Adult Learners in Higher Education” track of the 2024 Learning Engineering Tools Competition, led by Calbright College and Axim Collaborative.

This track leverages cutting-edge technology and learning science to increase the effectiveness and reach of higher education among adult learners. At the heart of these tools is a focus on increasing equitable access to education driving retention, persistence, completion, and workforce readiness for adult learners in higher education. 

“At Calbright, we are always looking to identify and build solutions to engage our focus population of adult learners, support them in their student journey, and move the needle on learner success and workforce outcomes across higher education,” said Marisa Bold, Calbright’s Vice President of Sustainable Growth and District Development. “We are so appreciative of all the applicants and are excited to lift up these innovative tools that have the potential to enhance not only what we do here at Calbright but further equity and outcomes for adult learners nationwide.”  

In total, 340 teams submitted entries intended to use technology to equitably reach more adult learners with education specifically geared towards their needs. These tools leveraged generative AI and learning engineering aiming to support self-directed learning and workforce outcomes while also boosting community, connection, and belonging. Calbright is working at the leading edge in developing new approaches to equitable online education, and is always developing new evidence based approaches to support students.

A full list of 16 finalists, who offered proposals that focus on making college more equitable, accessible, and effective for adult students, can be found here, along with more details about the competition. Calbright looks forward to announcing the winners later this summer.  

As we enter a new era of education tech, it is vital that this technology serve the needs of diverse learners, from all backgrounds and walks of life, especially those traditionally not well served by higher education. As part of its founding legislation, Calbright – an exclusively online college – serves as a Research and Development engine alongside the entire California Community College system, finding new ways to use technology and sharing them for the benefit of adult learners across California and the nation. 

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