From 2014 to 2016, VALUEUSA and Research Allies for Lifelong Learning conducted a rigorous two-year, mixed methods leadership study, Adult Learner Leadership in Education Services (ALLIES).  

ALLIES Year 1 Executive Summary

ALLIES Final Year Quantitative Report 1

ALLIES Final Year Qualitative Report 2

ALLIES Final Year Critical Thinking Report 3

ALLIES Final Year Outstanding Leaders Report 4

“We Are the Voice to Speak up”: Cultivating Adult Learner Voice Through Leadership  (2019)

  • The purpose of the ALLIES study was to evaluate how adult learners can benefit a program as they pursue their own learning and leadership goals
  • In 2014-15, the first year, 21 programs in multiple states were selected at random as either participating or control programs, and baseline data were collected from both types of programs. Thirteen participating programs received VALUEUSA leadership training and mentoring support as they developed a learner-led project; eight control programs continued to run their programs as usual
  • Adult learners took surveys on educational experiences and perceptions of leadership, followed by critical thinking and writing assessments. Their interactions with staff were also observed onsite
  • Staff took electronic surveys on their perceptions of adult learner leadership and provided program-level data

Data collection was completed in 2015-16, and followed up on changes that occurred with participating programs and learners in contrast with those in the control condition. The Year 1 Executive Summary shares findings from the evaluation’s first year. Part 1 of the Final Year Report, Key Quantitative Findings, was released in September 2016, as the first in a series of reports from the full evaluation. Part 2,  Qualitative Summary, was released in December 2016, and Part 3, Connections of Critical Thinking Measures with Learner Experiences, in January 2017. Part 4 evaluated Outstanding Leaders in February 2017.

In November 2019, “We Are the Voice to Speak Up” was published in the COABE Journal’s Leadership special issue.