In today’s world, digital literacy is just as essential and fundamental to our professional and personal lives as basic reading and math skills. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy recently joined Digital Promise to share a new resource guide, Promoting Digital Literacy for Adult Learners, during an edWebinar. This resource offers research-based guidance on supporting and coaching adult learners in developing and applying digital skills.
Our guest speakers for this webinar, Presenters Barbara Pape, senior director for the Learner Variability Project at Digital Promise; Jyoti Schlesinger, vice president of Mission and Programs at the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy; Sarah Cacicio, director of Adult Learning at Digital Promise; and Rajinder Gill, co-founder and CEO of the Essential Skills Program, delved into the topic, providing educators with strategies and resources for meeting the diverse digital literacy skill needs of adult learners.
As discussed during the webinar, understanding each student’s learner variability is key to ensuring education curricula and instructional strategies can best meet each learner’s needs. Learner variability is the recognition that each and every learner—including adult learners—has a unique set of strengths and challenges that are interconnected and vary according to context.
The Essential Skills Program (ESP), an organization that develops free, online, soft skills development and training modules, leveraged the learner variability model to design customized skills content where any learner can earn digital badge certificates that employers value. ESP is now using the digital literacy guide to help them determine how to format their online trainings to customize their learning experiences to meet the diverse needs of adult learners. The webinar also introduced attendees to Digital Promise’s Learner Variability Project’s Adult Learner Model, a free and open source framework that covers the whole learner, including background experiences; social and emotional skills; cognition; and adult literacies. This model includes information on how to teach digital literacy to adult learners, as well as learning factors that impact learning and strategies to support each of those factors.
During the webinar’s Q&A portion, the presenters addressed a variety of topics, including the complexities of keeping adult learners motivated. One way to build and maintain motivation is to foster a sense of community and belonging. For instance, the educator can seek feedback from the learner to understand what strategies are and aren’t working for them, and then incorporate that feedback into their teaching style. Doing this will allow the learner to see that their perspective is valued.
Check out the full recording here to learn more.