Posted: Fri, 03/25/2022 - 11:53 am EDT
The CREATE Adult Skills Network (the Network) is a resource for all who work to improve adult foundational skills. Network stakeholders include adults who are enhancing their skills and people involved in adult education practice, policy, and research. Our goal is to serve our diverse stakeholders by building knowledge about using technology to support instruction and learning, and then translating research and sharing what we learn.
The need to improve adult skills and educational outcomes is clear. Millions of adults in the U.S. struggle to attain the literacy, numeracy, and English language skills needed to achieve their goals. They may experience significant economic challenges, including barriers to employment and economic mobility, as well as ensuring their children’s education.
Skill-building programming that relies on a traditional classroom approach can only reach a fraction of the adults who need it. Not only are resources for classroom instruction limited, but adults with jobs and families also face practical difficulties in participating in-person instruction at fixed times. Some adults also need more intensive instruction than others.
Digital technologies use online tools and strategies to make learning available to a wider population of learners. They offer flexibility in meeting the learning and participation needs of many adult learners. However, many learners and adult education instructors need support using technology effectively, and there is little research available on effective digital technology practice.
The Network was designed to fill this gap. It is a national initiative to develop and evaluate promising digital technologies for teaching and learning. The Network is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and includes research and leadership teams.
The Network’s research teams focus on a variety of approaches to using technology to improve and measure adult skills development:
- The Adult Numeracy in the Digital Age (ANDA): Adaptive Technology for Quantitative and Digital Literacy research team is developing and testing a personalized learning course to develop numeracy and digital literacy.
- The Adult Skills Assessment Project (ASAP): Actionable Assessments for Adult Learners research team is creating and validating an online assessment system for measuring adult literacy and numeracy skills.
- The AutoTutor for Adult Reading Comprehension (AT-ARC) research team is refining and pilot testing an online reading comprehension program for adult literacy students with low levels of reading proficiency.
- The Content-Integrated Language Instruction for Adults with Technology Support (CILIA-T) is creating and pilot testing a curriculum that integrates teaching the English language into adult education U.S. history/civics courses and include components to improve digital literacy.
- The Teaching Skills That Matter (TSTM) – SkillBlox Instructional Support Pilot research team is scaling up use of a skills-building instructional framework paired with an application that helps teachers organize and evaluate open education resources.
- The Writing in Adult Secondary Education Classes (W-ASE) research team is adapting and testing a technology-supported adult developmental education writing course.
American Institutes for Research (AIR) leads the Network in collaboration with its partners, Abt Associates, Jobs for the Future, and the EdTech Center @ World Education, Inc. As the Network lead, my partners and I will add to the already invaluable work of the research teams in several ways. We will:
- Bring together research teams and a diverse body of stakeholders to help inform, translate, and disseminate network findings in a way that will meet their needs.
- Help build the knowledge base ourselves by producing a practitioner-friendly review of the research on using digital technologies for adult learning.
- Collaborate with research teams and stakeholders to develop research and learning agendas that will help guide next steps for moving the field forward.
Please join us in this effort to meet the needs of all adult learners and those who serve them by exploring this website, share our blog posts, briefs, and resources with your colleagues and engage with us through social media.
It will take our collective efforts to ensure that Network research influences the field. We welcome you!
Stephanie Cronen, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator, CREATE Adult Skills Network