A look back at three years of research on adult education, edtech, upskilling, and the importance of math
Shifting demographics, along with the rise of technology and automation, are changing the way we work and learn — putting greater pressure on education to prepare younger students for the jobs of tomorrow while simultaneously helping the current workforce upskill and reskill for the jobs of today.
Employers and educational institutions are developing solutions to address the skills gap — from apprenticeships and next-generation credentials to edtech platforms and open educational resources — but millions of American adults lack the advanced literacy and numeracy skills they need to succeed. Math skills are often a prerequisite for any certificate, credential, distance learning, or apprenticeship program. If we can’t help American adults gain proficiency and confidence in math, we won’t be able to help the most vulnerable workers access resources and learning opportunities.
Over the past three years, we have produced Power in Numbers on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education; the initiative has explored how technology can transform outcomes for adult learners. In our first research report, “The Math Gap: Implications for Investing in America’s Workforce,” we examined the potential for technology to serve the unmet needs of adult math learners and educators. The second report, “Multiplying Impact: Five Frameworks for Investment in Edtech for Adult Learners,” built upon this thesis to identify opportunities for edtech investors and developers who want to make an impact. Our third report, “From Creation to Adoption: How to Develop and Deploy Successful Edtech,” examined the critical role of collaboration in the edtech development process.
In the latest Power in Numbers report, “Changing the Equation: Empowering Adult Learners with Edtech,” we present insights from the past three reports, accompanied by three case studies that illustrate how organizations have implemented best practices in the real world. These case studies demonstrate that there is not a single prescriptive path to supporting successful adult learning:
- Affordable Learning Georgia’s state-wide OER initiative has saved an estimated $55 million in textbook costs for University System of Georgia students.
- Investment fund ETF@JFFLabs has supported the scaling of seven adult workforce technology companies.
- Professors at Wake Tech Community College piloted Project COMPASS, an award-winning distance learning model that has improved minority students’ course performance.
Coming soon: education, future of work, STEM, and the space economy
- Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship
- Distance learning and competency-based education
- Cybersecurity training
- CubeSats, SmallSats, and High Altitude Balloons
- Preparing students for the space economy
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- Problem Spotlight: Upskilling and reskilling America
- Videos: What does a ‘math person’ look like?
- Case study: Designing and launching the Illinois Digital Learning Lab
- Reading list: Automation, education, and the future of work
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