Why Distance Learning and Digital Literacy?
Technology pervades the workplace, post-secondary institutions, and all aspects of daily life. To be literate in this changing world requires digital literacy skills. SPCLC has prioritized enhancing, expanding, and enhancing distance learning and digital literacy in response to changing needs.
How can distance learning help Adult Basic Education students?
Many low-skilled adults have never participated in Adult Basic Education. Others leave because of personal circumstances such as having a child or getting a job. Distance learning helps learners who have not yet had opportunities to utilize Adult Basic Education services, and can help learners stay connected once they begin. Learners are empowered to take charge of their education when they can make choices about how they learn. In 2013, SPCLC delivered 47,931 hours of distance learning (a 327% increase over four years) to 1,947 adult learners (a 437% increase over four years).
Digital Literacy - a crucial piece of the equation
SPCLC has led the effort to develop and implement the Northstar Digital Literacy Standards Project, which defines basic skills needed to perform tasks on computers and online. The project allows adults to assess their ability to perform these tasks through online, self-guided modules. SPCLC members utilize Northstar as a means of teaching digital literacy skills, and of integrating digital literacy into all levels of instruction (both in the classroom and through distance learning).
How does Minnesota Adult Basic Education view distance learning?
Offering more distance learning opportunities will expand programming and help recruit more adult learners, as well as provide additional options for current learners. DL programs have the potential to raise state enrollment rates and improve access to education and training, which can increase participant earnings and employment rates. The ABE Supplemental Services Project maintains a comprehensive website providing information on all aspects of distance learning and digital literacy in Minnesota Adult Basic Education.
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