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Celebrating the Rich Landscape of Adult Learner Leadership: Final ALLIES Evaluation Findings

  • AAACE Conference 330 Tijeras Avenue Northwest Albuquerque, NM, 87102 United States (map)

Room Fiesta 1 (24)


This session presents final evaluation findings of a two-year student leadership evaluation, Adult Learner Leadership in Education Services (ALLIES). ALLIES survey, assessment, and observation data were collected in 7 states. Learners received leadership training and ran a project. Learn how it benefited their leadership skills, learning outcomes, and local programs.


The target audience for this session includes adult learners, adult basic education administrators and instructors, educators working with English language learners and workplace programs, researchers, and individuals interested in supporting adult learners as they find their voice in education and contribute actively to the programs where they learn. The session would also be of interest to employers and postsecondary educators who want to set up leadership programs for adult employees or learners.


Adult learner leadership is believed to benefit adult learners and programs of adult basic education, English language learning, and workplace education. This belief has not been tested experimentally until the ALLIES evaluation was commissioned by VALUEUSA, the national organization of adult learners. ALLIES uses a mixed method approach and an experimental design to determine the effects of adult learner leadership. Thirteen participating programs were selected at random, from 21 interested programs across the USA, to receive VALUEUSA's leadership training for their learners and to establish a learner-led project that would benefit the program as well as the learners. This session describes the collected data and the effects of the intervention on participating programs and learners, in contrast with control programs and learners that did not receive the intervention. Measures from the evaluation include observed growth in staff-learner interaction, growth in assessed critical thinking and writing approaches among learners, and growth in leadership characteristics and experiences. Program-level measures will also be presented. The goal of the session is to provide participants with sufficient information on the findings of the evaluation so that they can determine their own next steps in planning for and establishing a leadership program involving adult learners/employees.


Dr Margaret Patterson, Research Allies for Lifelong Learning


Marty Finsterbusch, VALUEUSA