[Technology 893] NIFL study on online learning

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Mariann Fedele MariannF at lacnyc.org
Mon Mar 12 15:53:47 EDT 2007

Hello Tech list colleagues,

I'm re-sending Heidi's message to invite you to share your professional
wisdom regarding adult students' independent online learning and
internet use. Your professional wisdom will be valuable to the
development of Heidi's research project and it is a chance for you to
inform the field as a whole!

Heidi will be joining the list again toward the end of the spring to
share her findings.

If you have any questions please feel free to email the list, myself
off-line or Heidi.

All the best,


Message from: Heidi Silver-Pacuilla

Hello All !

I am very pleased to work with you as fellow researchers in learning
about independent online learning. I've been lurking on the list for a
few weeks and know that I will learn a lot by listening and engaging you
in dialogue. For the small study I'm heading up now, NIFL would like to

(a) what is available out on the web?

(b) how are adults using these online portals?

(c) what skills (language and literacy) are necessary for adults to have
in order to be successful with these activities?

We know there is a lot of online learning going on as a supplement to
class instruction and that the literature would suggest that a blended
model can be effective enrichment for students. However, this project
is most interested in what adults are doing on their own.

Currently we are doing the literature review, searching on the web, and
talking to programs that have hosted online portals that serve students
in and out of classes.

We need your help! A significant portion of the paper will be devoted to
discussing Voices from the Field - reports and stories of how
independent online learning is happening. This sort of learning - for
the most part out of class, out of programs, out of sight of researchers
- is rarely written up in journals. Do you know of learning portals
being used by adults independently? What are they learning? What are
they doing (studying for the driver's license test? citizenship test?
learning vocabulary? practicing math?) ? Who is using it (any skill
level or language proficiency data?)? If you have some leads, I would
appreciate talking to you off the list (email me at
hsilver-pacuilla at air.org or call me at 202.403.5218).

Additionally, I will plan with Mariann to guest moderate the listserv
later in the spring when I can bring preliminary findings to the group
for feedback and further input. One thing I am very interested in
articulating through this project is the features of online learning
portals that make them more accessible and usable for adult students as
well as to capture instructive stories of adult success that may make
all of us practitioners sit up and take notice. Are we preparing our
students to take full advantage of the possibilities online? Are we
prepared to do so as instructors? These are challenging questions and I
very much look forward to discussing them with all of you who are the
leaders of integrating technology in literacy.

Looking forward to getting to know you and your work -

Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, Ph.D.
Senior Research Analyst
American Institutes for Research
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW
Washington, DC 20007
202.403.5218 (Phone)
202.403.5454 (Fax)

Message: 1
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 09:39:26 -0500
From: "Mariann Fedele" <MariannF at lacnyc.org>
Subject: [Technology 885] Tech List Participation in Research on
On-line learning
To: "The Technology and Literacy Discussion List"
<technology at nifl.gov>
<6E8BC13A30982C44BCD32B38FB8F5AB8329E1D at lac-exch.lacnyc.local>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Dear Technology list colleagues,

I am happy to announce a unique opportunity for the members of the
Technology list to participate in a research study. Heidi
Silver-Pacuilla is conducting research on independent on-line learning
by adults. She will be asking for your professional wisdom to include as
part of the project overall. Heidi will be asking a few questions of
list members later in the day, and will then rejoin the list later in
the spring for a discussion of her research findings.

Following is a brief bio and short description of the study:

Heidi Silver-Pacuilla is a researcher at the American Institutes for
Research in Washington, DC. She has been working in literacy for (gulp)
over 20 years. Most recently, she was in a position as a disabilities
specialist at Pima College Adult Ed in Tucson, AZ, working with teaching
colleagues to understand their service delivery system and conducting
research with students with disabilities. Her areas of interest revolve
around adult learning, learning with technology, and learning

Intro to the study:

Through a grant from the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) she will
lead a small study on independent online learning by adults.

Ultimately, this paper will offer recommendations for portal development
and program management, but primarily a window into what adults are
already doing outside of our programs and classes.

Regards and looking forward to your participation,


Mariann Fedele

Associate Director,

NYC Regional Adult Education Network

Literacy Assistance Center

NIFL Technology and Literacy Discussion List
32 Broadway 10th Floor
New York, New York 10004
mariannf at lacnyc.org

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