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Socioeconomic Status (SES) refers to an individual or family's social standing as compared to other families. It is usually measured by a combination of factors, including a family's education, occupation, and income, as well as access to social and cultural resources. Socioeconomic Status and educational attainment are tightly interconnected, and adult learners are often seeking to improve their Socioeconomic Status through continuing education and training opportunities.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 30% of adults living at or below the federal poverty line have not completed their high school credential. Many adults who are experiencing poverty struggle with basic reading, math, and digital skills, and having a high school credential does not guarantee that basic skills are in place.
In addition to inequitable access to high quality education and training opportunities, people who experience poverty or earn less than a family-sustaining wage may also be impacted by: housing insecurity, food insecurity, and job insecurity.
Additional factors such as the cost of continuing education, childcare, and transportation may also prevent individuals with lower SES from participating in adult and continuing education opportunities. The cost of digital devices and reliable broadband internet access may also widen what is often referred to as the digital divide. For many individuals, the childhood trauma associated with economic hardship and lack of access to financial, social, and educational resources at home and in the community can have long-term effects on academic achievement, health, and well-being into adulthood.
Using language that is accessible and appropriately leveled for each student allows all learners to feel successful and participate in learning.
When annotating, learners engage deeply with a text and make their thinking visible while reading, which supports Foundational Reading Skills.
Experts can answer questions and provide vocabulary, processes, feedback, and scaffolds to help learners deepen their understanding.
When adults can connect and communicate with authentic audiences about their interests and values, learning becomes more personally meaningful and relevant.
Case studies support authentic, active learning experiences centered around real world situations that present an account of a particular set of circumstances for learners to engage with.
When designing instruction for adults, expectations and goals should be clearly outlined to help learners focus on the material and make plans for success.
Adult learners can self-organize into groups called communities of practice to engage in longer-term examination of a topic to build deeper understanding.
Competency-based learning is self-paced, focused on mastery, and centered around demonstrating learning outcomes and skills rather than where or how they were attained.
When learners process and express information visually, they are activating more cognitive processes while Problem Solving.
Networking and supporting adult learners in expanding their social networks provide access to additional resources and Social Supports, which can impact their trajectory and Motivation.
Experiential learning is learning by doing, which may include self-directed learning activities.
Giving learners the opportunity to explain their thinking process aloud helps them to solidify their comprehension, and move knowledge into their Long-term Memory.
In an increasingly digital world, adults who struggle with using technology can benefit from direct instruction for an array of digital tools.
Teaching learners how to effectively search the internet is critical for helping them learn how to find accurate and relevant information and aids in developing information literacy.
Direct instruction in math strategies may support some adult learners once conceptual understanding is in place.
Research shows that, along with traditional reading comprehension strategies, learners use unique strategies to read the non-linear, hyperlinked structure of online texts.
Adult learners who are struggling with Foundational Reading Skills, including decoding and phonemic awareness, can benefit from explicitly learning phonics skills in an educational setting.
Seeing and using new words repeatedly and across contexts is critical for vocabulary acquisition.
Formative assessment is "assessment for learning" rather than "assessment of learning".
When adults are aware that learning involves effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement of strategies, they are more resilient when they struggle.
Game-based learning is an active learning experience with clear objectives and measurable outcomes designed to be intrinsically game-like.
Setting overall goals with actionable steps for achievement can help learners feel more confident in their abilities and help minimize procrastination-related behaviors.
Opportunities for students to practice skills in context, with instructor support and also independently, helps to move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
Visual reading aids, such as handouts and online guides, help learners to maintain Attention and serve to support the learning process.
Immediate feedback can improve a learner's confidence, self-awareness and enthusiasm for learning, which leads to increased Motivation.
Inquiry-based learning is centered around open-ended questions posed by instructors and/or the learners themselves and fosters a Learner Mindset.
Adult learners benefit from knowing there is an instructor available to provide support as needed, especially during asynchronous learning.
Journaling allows learners to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know and their practical experiences.
Intentionally incorporating voice and choice into adult learning experiences is critical for making learning meaningful and relevant.
Giving learners the opportunity to share their knowledge, skills, and understanding with others strengthens learning and increases Motivation while also building Social Supports.
Mindfulness is a practice to create internal balance and a sense of being present in the moment.
For adults, the Composition process can become more robust when learners can express ideas through multiple media, which includes visual, audio, and digital production.
Instruction and training presented in multiple formats allows learners to activate different cognitive skills and Background Knowledge that are necessary to remember procedural and content information.
The opportunity to observe peers or experts in action or participate in shadowing can provide a unique and authentic learning experience that often involves questioning, metacognitive thinking, and Problem Solving while providing Social Supports.
Learning in social contexts has been shown to have significant effects on comprehension of material and retention of new information into Long-term Memory.
When learners provide constructive feedback on each other's work, they reflect on their own understanding, learn to give relevant suggestions, receive specific ways to improve, and engage in Metacognition.
Perspective seeking is different from perspective taking as it involves communication with the purpose of gaining insight into the nuances of alternate views.
Positive self-talk can support self-efficacy, optimism, Self-regulation, and a Learner Mindset.
When instructors ask questions or have learners create questions before introducing a text, they activate interest, increase Motivation, and help them assess what they already know about a given topic.
Problem-based learning (PBL) is a learner-centered multidisciplinary approach focused on real world applications using active learning methods.
Process-based writing focuses on how learners brainstorm, outline, draft, and revise their writing and is most effective when paired with feedback, especially for English language learners.
Reflection can take place throughout learning, supporting critical thinking and Problem Solving skills when learners actively question assumptions, and after learning experiences to support Metacognition.
Creating a quiet space free of distractions is critical for adults to be able to focus on learning.
When instructors are able to provide context, and connect math concepts to an adult learner's world, math can be seen as relevant and applicable to their daily lives and work- a core aspect of adult Numeracy.
Simulations and immersive virtual environments provide authentic learning at a level that can spark curiosity and deeper understanding by engaging multiple senses in exploration.
Learning and studying information across multiple sessions that are spaced, or distributed in time, can promote learning and long-term retention of both basic and conceptually complex facts and concepts.
Bringing learners' everyday literacy practices such as text chats into instruction provides regular, low-stakes practice communicating with authentic audiences.
Analyzing short video clips, replays of important aspects, and videos of oneself applying what has been learned can improve Metacognition and Long-term Memory while fostering a Learner Mindset.
Analyzing and discussing solutions to problems helps students develop a deeper understanding of Problem Solving processes and Numeracy skills.
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