Data on American adults' digital skills

Hello colleagues,

You all already know how important it is for adult learners to have digital skills, or you wouldn't be part of the Integrating Technology LINCS group. But I wanted to share a few of National Skills Coalition's recent publications in case they may be helpful to you as you make the cast to *others* about why teaching digital skills matters.

In the past few months, we've put out a full-length report, The New Landscape of Digital Literacy, and a shorter fact sheet, Applying a Racial Equity Lens to Digital Literacy

But perhaps the fastest and easiest peek at our data is in these PowerPoint slides.

You are warmly invited to use ANY of these charts, graphs, and facts in your own publications and presentations. Just credit NSC.

Would love any thoughts or reactions that folks want to share.




Thanks Amanda,

For teachers of adult learners who want to, or must, work -- in most adult programs and schools the majority of  students -- A 10-minute examination of these slides will make clear how important digital literacy skills, especially work-contextualized digital literacy skills, are for their students to get and keep even entry-level and low-paying jobs.

I am interested to hear how teachers are addressing helping their students to learn these important skills.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group



Good day, Colleagues! 

Hope everybody is keeping well during this time! 

I am currently leading a year project with VOXY that is an English self-learning platform with the concept "study anywhere any time".

I am working with a terrific group of female leaders that shows terrific results. We are almost half way through and I am noticing it is more difficult for them to stay motivated of using the platform at least 3 hours a week. 

I am interested in learning some successful practices that you have had with such a learning mode.

Would be great to hear from you! 



Anya Enright 




Thanks Anya, for raising this important topic, motivation.

There are likely many factors that erode adult students' motivation, especially during the pandemic when facing lack of income, food insecurity, rent or mortgage payments due, caring for children who may be at home all day, and frustrations with Internet access, especially if many people in the household are using the Internet at the same time. These are huge challenges.Yet, some students persevere; why? I hope some teachers here have insights about why those students persevere to overcome all obstacles, and that they will share those thoughts here. Anya, you may have some thoughts about that, too.

In addition to removing some of these serious barriers to persistence, which may be very challenging, there is learning motivation itself which needs nurturing.

Adult learners need to set goals, and get help from teachers in breaking them down into objectives. Some software, perhaps Voxy, helps with this. Students may just need to be reminded how those objectives, and those units or lessons, are all connected to their achieving their learning goal(s). Technology can help in other ways, too. For example, there is software, sometimes referred to as "nudge" tools that can be used to automatically remind students of objectives they have set, and of the deadlines they have set for themselves. Some online curricula, courses and apps also have built-in ways to acknowledge learning progress and to reward it for example with badges or certificates. In January, we plan to have a guest in the Integrating Technology CoP, Anthony Burik, with OTAN in California, who will be available to describe some of the software he recommends for goal setting and nudging, and some of the other aspects of helping students' to sustain their motivation. Look for an announcement in December or early January.

Finally, learners, including ourselves, can often benefit from physical and mental breaks, some of which may involve playing games, doing relaxing or stimulating physical exercises, and of course humor. One of my team members, who is a current participant in the Illinois Digital Learning Lab, which you are very familiar with Anya, is Joanne Telser-Frere. She has coined a term for what she used to call homework; now, it's home fun! She tries to make sure every practice assignment is not just useful, but also enjoyable for her students.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS Community Integrating Technology group


Thank you for supporting and sharing some good points, David! 

I really love the idea of focusing on goals and revisiting them. Like you said, it is very easy to lose that laser focus between everything participants have to deal with daily. 

As for 'why some persevere', I still work with some "strong motivations" as getting a job, advance a career, be successful at the citizenship interview but pandemic and virtual learning brought a new one - "this is my connection with the outside World". Having a very limited network on the first place, participants are happy to connect 6 hours a week with their classmates on ZOOM and learn. This also became a part of their self care, in some cases even family bonding time. So, I totally agree with Joanne that homework is now "home fun". 

I feel like it all brought a huge reevaluation of learning in general and I see more appreciation overall. It definitely makes me happy! 

Like we said at our IDLL closing event, David: " Learning not as obligation but as a life style", especially with platforms like VOXY. I see it is coming. 




Great observations Anya!

Social inclusion has always been a motivator for some adult learners, particularly for isolated older adult immigrants who both want to learn English and be included in their community. You are certainly right to point out that social inclusion as connection to the outside world is now an important motivator for many more adult learners. Real-time and asynchronous social interactions are also good for mental health!

I wonder if others here have observations about the importance of social inclusion as a motivator for active, regular participation in online education, especially during the pandemic.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS Community Integrating Technology group

Hello Integrating Technology colleagues,

Amanda Bergson-Shilcock suggested that "the fastest and easiest peek at our data is in these PowerPoint slides."

If you haven't yet,  please look at the slides. Then, ask yourself, who needs to see (some or all) of this information: your students? Your (potential) funders? Your program or adult school's practitioners, or board members?  Local, state or national policy makers? If so, why?

Then, please tell us here what you learned from looking at these slides, what more you would like to know, and if you would like me to invite Amanda to our discussion here to answer your questions.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS Community Integrating Technology group