Giving Compass’ Take:
• The U.S. Department of Education published a report explaining why adult learners need specialized edtech tools to teach them necessary skills.
• How can donors provide capital for adult learner programs and technology?
• Read about this promise program for adult learners.
To help adult learners, edtech tools should be designed for their needs and goals, support them in virtually communicating with instructors and classmates and offer them a smooth mobile experience, according to a new report published on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education.
Called “Changing the Equation: Empowering Adult Learners with Edtech,” it’s the culmination of three years of research commissioned by the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education through its Power in Numbers initiative.
The goal of the project has been to better equip instructors with techniques, tools and open educational resources that will help them teach adults the advanced math skills needed for modern jobs, says Christina Ward, engagement manager at Luminary Labs, a consulting firm the government hired to oversee Power in Numbers.
“People tend to have ‘math trauma,’” Ward says. “It’s a sticking point for a lot of adult learners that we elevate in the reports.”
Edtech developers have focused more on building tools for children than adults, according to the Power in Numbers research. While grown-ups may be able to adapt children’s resources, these may not adequately address adult circumstances, like the competing time demands of education, job duties and family obligations.
Many online classes and tools suffer from low student retention. The research suggests that participation is improved when digital education systems integrate communication tools that help learners collaborate and get feedback from their instructors. The extent to which learning tools “contextualize” instruction with real-world and job-focused applications matters too.
Read the full article about tools for adult learners by Rebecca Koenig at EdSurge.
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