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Student Retention | Origin: ED209

This is a general discussion forum for the following learning topic:

Students as Customers --> Student Retention

Post what you've learned about this topic and how you intend to apply it. Feel free to post questions and comments too.

Hi all, 

    I've learned that several factors come into play when dealing with retention issues for adult learners.  One major factor that I see here where I teach is the set of outside responsibilities the adult learner must cope with outside of school. Many of our studetns have jobs, families and other tasks that must be completed; and, while we can't remove these responsibilities, we can make efforts to show them that the attitude, behavior, and problem solving skills we cover here can help them in these daily tasks as well. 




The most important thing that I learned is the consideration that a professor must have with the adult learner.

Not only aging is a factor, but the many other responsabilities that adults have with their family and the community.

They can not be treated the same as a young full time student without so many other things to care about.

What i feel is the most effective is that we get to "know" the student/s, what IE, hobbies, family, interest etc, once we get to know our students it will allow us to better help them inside and outside the classroom. As a professional we should be able to identify struggling students quickly and interact in a positive manner. SHOW THEM THAT WE TRULY CARE.

What I've learned in my adult learners is they are easily distracted from the outside challenges they face, that is keeping them from a complete focus in the class. They also have a difficult time in the learning due to being out of school for such a long time they don't remeber how to study, take notes and so on. They become frustrated and want to give up and eventually drop out.

We often assess academic barrier. I have learned the importrance of assessing nonacademic barrier in the adult learner as well. 

As Instructors, we must remove barriers.  


It is important for us as instructors to light pathways for academic success for adult learners. We tend to focus only on the academic barriers however both academic and non-academic barriers can work together to inhibit a students success. If we can be cognative as to what those barriers are and try to customize our teaching (within reason) in a student by student basis we can better lend to the retention of our adult stsudnet learners. 



I learned that adults learn differently than children and that techers need to account for that when developing thier lesson plans. 

What I learned is adult learners are complex.  I consider myself more of a facilitator than a teacher.  Each student brings to the classroom their own experience, knowledge, and perspectives.  By being intentional about really understanding each student's unique circumstances I can better assist them in developing a personalized roadmap for success.


Ive learned that instituions need to take outside factors into consideration when looking at the students success.


Being transparent and letting  students know that they can come to me anytime is a path I have taken with my students and it works for us. I get to learn situations they are in, and I try to accommodate to make learning an easier tool for them.

Reply to pete mata's post:


Adult learners will have challenges and with all of the outside distractions and responsibilities, the balance of school and outside is too much to handle. It may be percieved to quit is the only option.  A visit to the reason 'why i came to school' often helps. With a renewed focus on the why clarifies the importance of school. Next is to bring more attention to the benefit of the school and stress the importance of that focus needed. And third, stress that it is ok to temporarly disengage from normal activities so that the new focus on school can be made. The reassurance of the temporary 'hold on life' as a student participates in school helps when confidence is low.

I have learned that there are many contributing outside factors, everything from age to social standing that can effect student retention.

It is a priority to talk with each student and find out why they chose to be in school, what are their goals, and what responsibilities outside of school do they have. Then help them by creating a schedule to be able to focus on schoolwork. Also, provide information regarding resources available at the school and contact information for their questions. 


Retaining Students is good.  The ideas of how to maintain the retention are great and i learned a lot.

Students come from different backgrounds/circumstances and are seeking to improve themselves.  We need to be aware of the potential for barriers and be able to adjust as best we can.  "One size should not fit all", by being aware of this we will able to identify how to better serve our students, thus improving retention.


It would be helpful for Admissions to provide adult learners with resources to help with their particular situation if it arises during the admissions interview


There are many factors which play a role in the retention and academic success of the student.  With real life issues occuring, on top of working to advance in higher education, some students may have difficulty juggling these things, and staying in the game. This is why it is important to take time with each student, to understand what their goals and needs are, in order to encourage them through the completion of what they started.

We as instructors need to understand that outside factors can be challenging to adult learners.  Adult and younger student do learn differently and we need to make sure we everything in our power to we eliminate barriers that can hinder the adult student.

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