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Essential Education An Initiative For The Adult Learner
Over 39 million American adults lack a high school diploma, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures, and around 30 million American adults rank "Below Basic" in prose literacy, the lowest literacy ranking, according to the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL). In quantitative literacy, that number is 46 million. Even among college student, significant numbers lack prose, document, or quantitative literacy.
These are startling figures. Increasingly, our world demands complex literacies... in problem solving, decision making, using data, and understanding information. The GED Academy has developed essential literacy education to address the complex issues of literacy for adult learners. This initiative focuses on bringing fundamental skills, including reading, writing, mathematics, and critical thinking skills, to undereducated adult learners.
Essential literacy education is defined by three basic tenets:
1. Interest and Relevance
Essential literacy education involves making the connection between learning and life skills. "Rapid changes in technology make it necessary for adults of all ages to use written information in new and more complex ways," according to The National Survey of America's College Students, which cites computers, tax forms, and even shopping as everyday tasks that require more and more sophisticated literacies. Showing how skills apply to real life increases motivation, and motivation is the key to learning.
2. Student-Centered Learning
Student-centered learning means that students are actively engaged in the process of creating, understanding, and connecting to knowledge. To involve students in the learning process, the GED Academy has developed a prep program that guides students through lessons in a virtual classroom. Connecting with virtual students not only activates student interest, but it also creates a student-centered environment. Learners become involved in the ways virtual students connect to and learn material. The program also includes constant student interaction to reinforce learning.
3. Customized, Dynamic Curriculum
Customizing the learning process to each unique individual is especially important for adult learners. Undereducated adult learners typically have gaps in their knowledge, and the GED Academy considers it essential for students to target their curriculum to fill those gaps. The problem for educators is that, while one student may be bored reviewing old material, another student may need extra study time on the same material. The GED Academy's prep program is student-guided, individual study, so students can spend as much or as little time on a particular lesson as needed.
CESJ is a a Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA)