Supporting Adult Learning through Online Education

Nearly 30  million Americans, representing 11.5 % of the population age 18 and over, are without a high school diploma. 1  According to U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Education statistics, high school graduates earn nearly $10K more annually than do those without a diploma, experience lower unemployment, and are less likely to rely on government support.2 They’re also less likely to live in poverty, are healthier, and less likely to face incarceration.3 And their children are more likely to benefit from higher education and opportunity, while children of less-educated adults are 10 times more likely to continue their family legacy.4  

The 2020 recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic put working adults without a high school diploma at an even greater disadvantage  Today they suffer a higher unemployment rate compared to all other adult education groups and will continue to be vulnerable during future economic downturns without the knowledge and educational support needed from their communities to lift them out of a cycle of poverty. 5

Gale is partnering with libraries in communities across the country to encourage adult literacy and break the cycle by connecting them with the programs they need to prepare for jobs in a safe, supportive environment. Expanding local library resources with targeted adult education products, including Gale CoursesGale Presents: Excel Adult High SchoolGale Presents: Peterson’s Test and Career Prep, and Gale Presents: Udemy, helps these adults build strong foundational knowledge they will need to be self-sufficient in a competitive workplace. This is true whether they are interested in completing their high school education, enriching their existing proficiencies, or acquiring new skills.

  • Gale Presents: Excel Adult High School

    Launched in 2021, the Excel Adult High School diploma program is changing lives and building up communities by looking beyond traditional GED certificates to achieve adult literacy. Students of the program can graduate with an accredited high school diploma after completing coursework online through a self-paced schedule in 24 months or less for free through public libraries.

    The program accepts transfer credits from students’ previous high schools and successfully passed portions of the GED®, HiSET®, or TASC. Offering 24/7 online access, the program gives adult students the flexibility to fit their studies into a schedule that works for them—apart from other competing priorities, including family or work-life commitments.

    Students also benefit from dedicated support, not just from their community libraries but from success coaches, one-on-one online tutoring sessions to help them learn core subjects, and language translation/read-aloud tools if English is not their native language. Plus, students can get a head start earning free college credits through ACE (American Council on Education) courses.

    Product Highlights:

    • Intuitive anytime, anywhere virtual learning environment with a flexible, self-paced schedule that can be finished in 12–24 months online.
    • Accepts previously earned high school or GED®, HiSET®, and TASC credits.
    • 21.5-credit curriculum aligned to national standards, developed to promote adult literacy and future success in college or work environments, with a catalog of more than 100 core academic, elective, and college-level online courses. Both the courses and catalog are updated regularly. 
    • Students can also take college-level ACE (American Council on Education) courses and earn up to 21 transferrable college credits, acknowledged by various accredited colleges and universities around the country.
    • A success coaching/counseling team will assist with course selection and college planning or career guidance. Students can also use MyPlan software to help them learn about career interests, college admissions requirements, scholarships, and FAFSA, the Free Application to Federal Student Aid.
    • All class sessions offer built-in ELL (English language learner) tools to give non-native English speakers access to courses in other languages. Students can view content in English and their chosen language translation side by side or use an audio reader function to hear course content in their preferred language.
    • Train the Brain, an unlimited, live online tutoring program, offers student support sessions 24/7, with 1-on-1 tutoring from dedicated providers. Students can upload assignments and projects, then get help from a qualified tutor and record sessions for future reference. Academic advisors and course instructors are also available online for additional support.
    • Regionally accredited by Cognia, the parent organization for the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). Additionally, Excel Adult High School is a candidate for accreditation with the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA CESS).

     

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  • What’s Next: Continuing Adult Education

    For public libraries, lifelong learning is a core mission, which is why so many community libraries look to Gale to build their online class offerings to support their efforts. Not surprisingly, according to Pew Research, 63% of professional learners (those who are working, or 36% of all adults) have taken a course or received additional training in the past 12 months.6 Their objective: to improve their job skills or expertise and further their opportunities for career advancement.  

    Another interesting statistic: More than half of all jobs, or 54%, in the U.S. today are middle-skill jobs that require more education and training than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree. Many of these jobs pay family-sustaining wages in growing fields, yet only 44% of adult workers are trained to a middle-skill level.7 Millions of these Americans could be candidates for these jobs if they had access to high-quality adult educational resources and skills training that Gale Presents: Peterson’s Test and Career Prep, Gale Presents: Udemy, and Gale Courses offer.

  • Gale Presents: Peterson’s Test and Career Prep

    Millions of Americans are aspiring adult learners—individuals without college degrees who are looking for additional educational opportunities. More and more, in addition to traditional college degrees, they are considering nondegree pathways to advance their job prospects. Yet only 1 in 3 of these adults understand available pathways to continuous learning, as well as the valuable skills and details about potential education programs they will need to succeed.7

    Gale Presents: Peterson’s Test and Career Prep helps students sharpen their career-preparation skills through online exam and test prep as well as other online career resources to make the most out of academic and business opportunities.

    Product Highlights:

    • Information on postsecondary and graduate programs and career-oriented test prep as well as intuitive search capabilities on more than 4,000 accredited schools, with results detailing location, costs, majors, as well as available vocational, undergraduate, and graduate programs.
    • Clear-cut information on resumes, cover letters, interviewing, and job networking, including videos, articles, best practices as well as personalized career assessments and resume-editing software with a full complement of resume and cover letter templates.
    • Reviews fundamental concepts in a straightforward format so adults can master basic reading, writing, and math skills, with interactive tutorials and quizzes to teach reading comprehension, sentence skills, writing, and math.


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  • Gale Presents: Udemy

    Our employment world has flipped upside down because of COVID-19, with many people looking for flexible work options, better-paying jobs, or reevaluating their priorities altogether. At times like these, career guidance and educational support remain a vital service for community members with many pressed to find access to appropriate education and training they feel they will need to make their next move. With an increased interest in nondegree and skill training options, Gale Presents: Udemy offers adult workers professional development and lifelong learning opportunities, to gain the knowledge and new skills they will need to advance their career prospects.

    Product Highlights:

    • Offers access to thousands of on-demand video courses for instruction in the most in-demand skills across business, technology, and personal interests.
    • More than 10,000 courses are taught by instructors in their native language (Arabic, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish).
    • To keep the content fresh, courses are replaced monthly with new material addressing emerging topics. In fact, 85 percent of the collection has been updated in the last two years, ensuring learners are developing skills in the most relevant areas.
    • Instructors are world-class thought leaders, subject matter experts, bestselling authors, and award-winning professors who are working and making advancements in their fields.


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  • Popular Gale Courses for Lifelong Learners

    Gale continues to break down barriers to learning by offering more than 360 instructor-led courses in community libraries across the country. These six-week-long classes offer online opportunities for professional development, the chance to learn new technology, or for personal enrichment. Each month students can choose from a new group of courses taught by college-level instructors. Each course assigns lessons twice per week that are designed to meet learners where they are, using images, videos, and games to support different learning styles.

    Some of the more popular Gale Courses in adult education include:

    • Discover Sign Language
    • Speed Spanish
    • Accounting Fundamentals
    • Introduction to Microsoft Excel 2019/Office 365
    • Grammar Refresher
    • Drawing for the Absolute Beginner
    • Stocks, Bonds, and Investing: Oh, My!
    • Keys to Effective Communication
    • Introduction to Microsoft Excel 2016
    • Beginning Conversational French


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  1. U.S. Census Bureau, 2016–2020 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
  2. McFarland, Joel et al. Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2019 (NCES 2020-117). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
  3. See Note 2.
  4. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education. “Making Skills Everyone’s Business: A Call to Transform Adult Learning in the United States,” February 2015.
  5. Falk, Gene et al. “Unemployment Rates during the COVID-19 Pandemic: In Brief,” Congressional Research Service, January 12, 2021.
  6. Pew Research Center,Lifelong Learning and Technology,” March 22, 2016.
  7. National Skills Coalition, https://m.nationalskillscoalition.org/resources/publications/file/9.26-NSC-AdultEd-factsheet_final.pdf
  8. Strada Center for Education Consumer Insights, “Public Viewpoint: Interested But Not Enrolled: Understanding and Serving Aspiring Adult Learners,” September 16, 2020.