Data from the following national 2014 survey provides insight into the opportunity for technological innovations to take hold in the US adult education field.
The overwhelming finding is that the vast majority of adult education program administrators and practitioners are enthusiastic about the potential for technology to support instruction. Administrators and practitioners are open to and interested in thoughtful, appropriate deployment of technology to meet the needs and goals of their students.
This finding alone should encourage suppliers and entrepreneurs to take a more careful look at the adult education market, which today supports nearly $800 million in annual instructional resources spending.
In addition to adult education professionals’ receptivity to instructional technology opportunities, several other key demand-side findings emerged:
• Technology infrastructure is strong across the adult education system; more than 80% of survey respondents reported consistent access to the Internet and on-site availability of computers
• Most adult education program instructors reported that they are comfortable using technology and believe they have the ability to leverage technology in a professional setting; fewer than one in ve adult education professionals feels that technology can be challenging or difficult
• Investing in technology is a budget priority for the majority of program administrators, even as funding constraints limit their ability to pursue more robust technology investments
• Almost 90% of adult education programs leverage free, open educational resources to support instruction; these technology solutions are more prevalent and are viewed as more important to instruction than any other type of instructional technology solution
• At least 55% and as many as 75% of adult education students own smartphones, and the majority of program administrators and instructors believe that these devices have the potential to improve engagement and instruction