Using the Internet to Teach Workplace Literacy Skills Presentation to Annual National Summit The Sloan Center on Innovative Training and Workforce Development December 13, 2007 – Washington, DC Mary McCain TechVision21
Why Distance Learning? • Distance learning has “come of age” and has earned credibility and legitimacy as efficient and effective method for learning, through research, evaluation and testing. • Distance Learning increasingly integrated into all education levels except that for underserved adults, depriving adult education of benefit of connection to and benefit from educational institutions • Distance learning is the only method to reach this large group of workers in ways that are cost-effective, scalable and effective for adults with limited opportunities.
Workforce Crisis: Education Demand • Between 2000 and 2015, about 85% newly created U.S. jobs will require education beyond high school. • 69.8% of jobs will require work-related training: • 20.9% will require a bachelor's degree or higher, • 9.3% will require an associate's degree or postsecondary vocational award. 2006 Survey 400 senior human resource executives across industry and company size (BLS) • 49.5% said percentages of two-year college graduates they hire would increase; • almost 60% said hires of four-year college graduates would increase; • 42% percent said hires of post-graduates would increase over next five years 3
Workforce Crisis: ICT Skills Demand • Over 77% of all jobs in US will require some level of ability to use ICT by 2010. • Nine of the ten fastest growing occupations through 2014 are health or information technology occupations. • A recent survey of seven countries, including the US, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found minimal differences in the intensity of computer use in occupations ranging from “knowledge experts” to “high-skill information” to “low-skill service.” • Between 2000 and 2015, about 85 percent of newly created U.S. jobs will require education beyond high school. [i] Norman C. Saunders, “Employment Outlook: 2004-2014: A Summary of BLS Projections to 2014.” Monthly Labor Review Online, November 2005, p. 7, Table 4. www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2005/11/art1full.pdf. [ii] The Business Council Survey of Chief Executives: CEO Survey Results, February 2006. The Business Council and The Conference Board.
Adult Literacy Levels: Basic and Below Basic • Prose Literacy: 43% (93 M) at Basic or Below Basic • Basic: 29% (63 million); • Below Basic: 14% (30 million); • Document literacy: 34% at Basic or Below Basic • Basic: 22% • Below Basic: 12% • Quantitative literacy: 55% at Basic or Below Basic • Basic: 33% • Below Basic: 22% • Non-literate in English:11 million adults 5
Post-Secondary Literacy • 2006 report: Even in the best-performing states, only 65% of community college students return for their second year and only 67% of students in four-year institutions complete degrees within six years of enrolling. • 2003 Survey of Adult Literacy: Number of college graduates with the highest level of literacy in prose (proficiency), declined from 40% in 1992 to 31% in 2003. • 2005 study by the American Institutes for Research that tested graduating seniors from 2- & 4-year colleges, found prose proficiency among whites to be around 40%, but that of blacks to be under 20%. [i] & [ii]J. D. Baer, et al.,“The Literacy of America’s College Students,” American Institutes for Research (2006), cited in Kevin Carey, “The Black-White College Literacy Gap,” Education Sector, found at www.educationsector.org/analysis/analysis_show.htm?doc_id=364915.
Examples of Adult Literacy Abilities Proficient and Intermediate: • Associated with majority of non-manual labor jobs; abilities such as: comparing viewpoints in two editorials; identifying a specific location on a map; computing and comparing the cost per ounce of food items. Basic: • reading and understanding information in short, commonplace prose texts; • locating easily identifiable quantitative information and using it to solve simple, one-step problems when the arithmetic operation is specified or easily inferred; • using a TV guide to find out what programs are on at a specific time; • comparing the ticket prices for two events Below Basic ranges: non-literate to having abilities listed below: • locating easily identifiable information in short, commonplace prose texts; • locating easily identifiable information and following written instructions in simple documents (e.g., charts or forms); • signing a form; adding the amounts on a bank deposit slip
The Hard to Serve and Hard to Find • Wages track closely to levels of education; yet low wage workers face multiple barriers in acquiring the further education and training that can provide opportunities for getting and keeping jobs and for advancing to jobs with higher wages. • Individuals with low/no levels literacy, skill, ESL communication are not in typical “marketing” range • Financial, family, transportation, education credentials, other issues make it difficult to impossible to participate in place-based, time-regulated instruction.
OECD survey in 7 countries (US included) of adult literacy found that in each, people who used computers consistently scored higher on average on the prose literacy scale than those who did not.
Technology- Enabled Learning: It’s Going On All Around Us • Social context of knowledgeis often overlooked, especially in the context of work. • Participation in communities often closely aligned with actual work of community members, so the knowledge exchanged is likely to be timely and highly relevant to immediate knowledge needs. • Information and communications technologies can enable continuation of face-to-face interaction among individuals working remotely, or provide an extension of this interaction with colleagues in other regions and nations. [i] [i] Eilif Trondsen, “The Business of Digital Game-Based Learning. Learning on Demand: SRI Consulting Business Intelligence, December 2005, p. 2.
Mobile Learning • More than 233 million cellular subscribers in the US at the end of 2006, an increase of approximately 25 million over the 141 million subscribers at the end of 2002.[i] • Hispanic-speaking food service workers in Sodexho, McDonald’s, and other restaurants are learning English via a portable electronic device that enables them, by pointing at a picture on the screen, to record and hear English pronunciation as many times as they need to help them master their speaking skills. • Marriott International is developing bite-sized training podcasts so a worker can download information to cell phone, laptop and iPod as needed. • Young people and adults with limited means, limited time and limited education, can use Internet-enabled cellular phone or games to access information as text, video, image or the help of a teacher or mentor often can make the difference between staying with a program or dropping out. [i]CTIA-The Wireless Association®, CTIA Semi-Annual Wireless Industry SurveyCTIA Semi-Annual Wireless Industry Survey. http://www.ctia.org/advocacy/research/index.cfm/AID/10316
Characteristics for Effective Online Learning for Workplace Literacy: • Multi-media. • Mimic through simulation or stories a real-time/real-place learning situation. • Offer tailored responses to an individual’s answers or choices. • Provide opportunity for repetition and practice. • Reference or take place within a workplace and/or real life context. • Supported with print materials. • Aligned, when relevant, with state and/or federal education, language, or other standards (such as SCANS or CASAS). • Engaging and non-threatening. • Focus on possibilities (in outcomes, in jobs, in abilities) rather than on limitations (low literacy, unemployment).
Additional Useful Characteristics Include Factors that Enable Success • acquiring skills for getting a job, • negotiating the workplace, • finding useful information using computers and the Internet, • managing practical aspects of daily life and culture, • developing the self esteem and motivation
Digital Literacy:Microsoft’s Digital Literacy Curriculum www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/citizenship/giving/programs/up/digitalliteracy/default.mspx • Five course curriculum that provides a foundation of basic computer skills to learners with little or no prior computing experience. • Combines eLearning, assessments and a certificate test in an adaptable format that can be used in an instructor-led classroom environment or as self-paced study. • The five Digital Literacy eLearning courses offered include: • Computer Basics; The Internet and World Wide Web Basics; Productivity Software Basics; Computer Security and Privacy; Digital Lifestyles • Computer Basics requires a literacy level appropriate to read a local newspaper. Remaining courses require mastery of Computer Basics, or similar experience. • Each course includes an online assessment of 30 randomly generated questions linked to the key course topics.
ESL EnglishForAll http://www.myefa.org/login.cfm Multi-ethnic Web-based and CD-ROM program includes five compelling, real-life stories in twenty, fifteen-minute episodes. The site includes interactive student activities, streaming video (for broadband connections), Flash-based audio, and a course management system for teachers to track student progress. Print materials are available in PDF and downloadable without charge from the Web site. The lessons track to the student’s answers as well as to the episodes, which become progressively more difficult. The student may review his/her answers with those that are correct and view the videos and lessons repeatedly. The content is based on the California ESL standards and skill areas identified in the Latino Adult Education Services Project, and it is correlated to CASAS and SCANS competencies. The site also includes Spanish a translation of most of the online text. A link to an online translator accommodates speakers of other languages. Sed de Saber (Thirst for Knowledge) Handheld device that uses storytelling, voice recording, games and review exercises to enhance the English language skills of Spanish-speaking employees in Hospitality and Construction Industries, as well as for Everyday Life. In use by major restaurant chains and by Marriott Intl., as well as by Home Builders Institute. www.retentioneducation.com
Selected Online Learning Programs:Work Readiness, Literacy, ESL TV411- www.tv411.org Dynamic, pedagogically sound material using media and print available on public TV stations, video, online, downloadable print materials To enable people to use on their own, or in classes, or with families to improve basic reading, writing, and math skills. Idea is to help people become learners. Structure: • Weekly, half-hour episodes consist of discrete segments hosted by both fictional and real-life personalities and a cast of entertaining TV411 characters who walk the learner through the math and literacy topics of everyday. • Each episode has an accompanying 12-page workbook which further explores concepts presented in the show and provides opportunities for practice. • Online components include interactive lessons and articles addressing the themes of money, parenting, people, and health. • Web site has a bulletin board to provide users with personalized support and a forum to share their writing and ideas. Content and skills are at a pre-GED level, articulate well with most state curriculum and crosswalk well with EFF, CASAS and SCANS.
Selected Online Learning:Work Readiness, Literacy, GED PBS Workplace Essential Skillswww.pbs.org/literacy • Helps adult students advance toward their GED and improve those basic skills needed at the workplace, either through classroom-based or independent Web-based instruction. computer technology. • Video, print, online • Individuals at 4-5th grade reading levels • Extensive pilot and evaluations in multiple states • [see ProjectIdeal]
Selected Tech-Enabled Programs:ICT Skills for the Office Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential Program www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/citizenship/giving/programs/up/ • Cash, software, curriculum, and technical expertise to nonprofit 501c3 CBOs, CTLCs • Enables individuals to learn about technology and gain the information technology skills needed for employment in the IT field or other industry sectors. • 8 modules provide content for the community (nonmatriculating) learner that focuses on real-world skill development in the areas of: • Computer Literacy; Computer Fundamentals; Information Literacy - Using the Internet and World Wide Web; Digital Media Fundamentals; Productivity Applications; Word Processing Fundamentals; Spreadsheet Fundamentals; Presentation Fundamentals; Web Design Fundamentals; Database Fundamentals. Files available in Microsoft Word format, so instructors may customize lessons. English, Spanish, French, and German. Russian, Arabic, and Simplified Chinese in development.
Selected Online Learning:Everyday Needs and Interests • The Learning Edge http://thewclc.ca/edge/ Image, voice, text newspapers • E-Square http://alri.org/esquare/ This is an "electronic square" or village designed for adult learners with low basic literacy skills. There are a number of storefronts (health center, jobs center, library, family center, computer center, early childhood center, community arts center, library, and home buying and rentals center) with low-literacy content inside, much of it written by adult new readers and writers.
New Initiatives/Reports • National Commission on Adult Literacy www.nationalcommissiononadultliteracy.org/pandp.html “Dare To Dream”, Chapter on Technology, Media and Distance Learning • Center on American Progress, “Lifelong Learning” (Brian Bosworth) www.cap.org
Online Learning for Adults:Research and Evaluation • National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) – Harvard Graduate School of Education • National Center on Adult Literacy (U Penn) • www.literacydirectory.org; www.literacy.org • Project Ideal (Improving Distance Education for Adult Learners) www.projectideal.org
Research and Evaluation:California Distance Learning Project • http://www.cdlponline.org/fivepercent.htm • http://www.cdlponline.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=teachers