Building Skills and Literacy for Equitable Advancement
Technology is integral to nearly every aspect of our daily lives, including the way we learn and work. Therefore, everyone must develop digital resilience—the awareness, skills, agility, and confidence necessary to be empowered users of new technologies, actively participate in society, and adapt to the labor market’s ever-changing demands for digital expertise. To ensure that learners achieve digital resilience, educators must develop programming that integrates and applies digital skills content that’s immediately relevant yet forward-looking and designed for use in multiple contexts.
Yet research shows that nearly 32 million Americans struggle to use a computer, and half of all Americans say they are not confident using technology to learn. Moreover, many adult education instructors have not been trained in best practices for offering digital literacy instruction to learners. Persistent gaps in access to technology and opportunities to develop digital skills exacerbate societal disparities, disproportionately impacting Black learners and workers and other people of color. This digital divide threatens to impede economic recovery efforts, as more than 8 in 10 mid-level jobs require digital skills.
To help adult education practitioners improve their ability to support learners who struggle to fully engage in tasks that demand use of digital technologies, JFF and World Education, with support from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, have launched a new initiative called Digital Resilience in the American Workforce (DRAW). Through DRAW, we aim to do the following:
- Support professional development that enables teachers to be strategic and learner-focused in their lesson planning and instruction
- Support adult education programs in designing effective, flexible technology-enabled education and support services
- Provide state Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) funders and their professional development providers with models, guidance, and resources for supporting programs that sustain and expand digital literacy efforts
As part this new undertaking, we will provide the field with flexible, evidence-based, and piloted strategies and materials that help teachers build the digital literacy and digital resilience of adult learners. These efforts will help to ensure that adult learners can obtain the technical skills necessary for postsecondary education and training, employment, civic engagement, and economic self-sufficiency.
Together, and in partnership with practitioners across the country, we will do the following:
- Conduct a landscape scan to identify and curate existing resources for assessing and developing digital literacy skills and resilience
- Co-create additional resources to fill gaps identified in the landscape scan
- Develop a digital library to pull resources together in user-friendly, flexible formats with actionable strategies that work with diverse populations of adult learners, including beginning level English learners
- Train adult education professionals in how to integrate high-quality resources into their instruction
The following blog series will be sharing lessons learned from a national landscape scan conducted by the Digital Resilience in the American Workforce (DRAW) project. The goal of DRAW is to better prepare and support adult education practitioners to teach foundational digital skills and address barriers learners face when using digital technologies.
- Putting Digital Literacy and Digital Resilience into Frame - Posted April 28, 2022
- Digital Digest: The Digital Skills Library - Posted May 11, 2022
- Advancing Access and Digital Equity: Challenges and Solutions- Posted June 16, 2022
- Digital Digest: Selecting an Assessment for Digital Literacy- Posted June 23, 2022
Publications and Resources
In the first year of the Digital Resilience in the American Workforce (DRAW) initiative, Jobs for the Future (JFF), World Education, and Safal Partners launched a landscape scan to better understand what training resources and approaches are most relevant for educators seeking to increase foundational digital literacy and digital resilience for an adult learner population. To learn more about DRAW's findings and to read the landscape scan visit: lincs.ed.gov/state-resources/federal-initiatives/draw/landscape
Deep Dives and Workbooks
This series of deep dives into the Digital Resilience in the American Workforce (DRAW) findings, from our national landscape scan on adult digital literacy, offer a closer look into resources and approaches for adult educators to use in the classroom. Explore the chapters of the DRAW landscape scan for a robust exploration of invaluable resources for digital literacy, instruction, and resilience.
How You Can Get Involved
You can stay connected to DRAW through the LINCS Integrating Technology group and the Advancing Equity in Digital Learning; Employment Tech for Adults Listserv.
Fall 2023: Technical Assistance Program
The DRAW Technical Assistant (TA) Program is a training program for instructors in adult digital literacy programs whose work is funded under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), as well as state professional development leaders. The program offers participants an opportunity to engage in peer learning and develop plans for using materials created by the DRAW team to enhance digital literacy instruction and make supplementary resources available to adult education learners. This program will include a webinar, state and local courses, and coaching.
Call for Program Participants
State adult education programs that are eligible for funding under of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA)—Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act—are invited to apply to participate in the Technical Assistance (TA) Program.
Please note that only the state director (or a designee) can apply. We recommend that the state’s professional development leader help complete the application and that program leaders identify qualified instructors for participation.
Instructors and state leads who participate in the program will learn how to integrate DRAW materials, methods, activities, and tools into adult education programs and professional development trainings. The application opens on June 1, 2023, and closes on June 22, 2023.
This program is free for participating states and programs. Please review the overview document for further details. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Decisions will be announced July 10, 2023.
The application takes about 21 minutes to complete. We recommend that you draft and save your responses in a Word document like the one linked here. When you’re ready to submit your application, you can copy your responses from the document and paste them into the application.
Adult education professionals will do the following in the Technical Assistance Program:
- Learn how to navigate the wide field of digital literacy resources and how to locate the resources they need through the Digital Skills Library.
- Apply DRAW digital literacy instructional strategies and resources into their programs with the support of an instructional coach.
- Engage in the Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) community technical assistance and professional development training.
- Receive professional development support that enables them to be strategic and learner-focused in their lesson planning and instruction.
Professional Development Resources
The DRAW team will post an asynchronous webinar for state adult education directors and state professional development leaders on how to apply for this professional development opportunity. The link to the presentation and slides will be available for download on June 8th. Previous pilot webinar recordings and slides are available for your review.
World Education, Inc.
Performance Excellence Partners
Rock Creek Video Production