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ERIC Number: ED505199
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 52
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 65
Investigating the Language and Literacy Skills Required for Independent Online Learning
Silver-Pacuilla, Heidi
National Institute for Literacy
This investigation was undertaken to investigate the threshold levels of literacy and language proficiency necessary for adult learners to use the Internet for independent learning. The report is triangulated around learning from large-scale surveys, learning from the literature, and learning from the field. Reported findings include: (1) Understanding the interrelatedness of the task, skill, and supports necessitates research and development to guide the design of learning environments and activities that are flexible and that can differentiate on all three dimensions; (2) The centrality of work readiness to adults' learning lives provides a key leverage point for programming and content design to address this goal more directly and, through it, more basic literacy and language skills; (3) Adults' existing family and social networks that have proven critical to learning pursuits with technology provide another leverage point that could be tapped with community-based, authentic learning environments, activities, and products; (4) Self-directed skills valued in lifelong learners can be nurtured by providing facilitated access to online, independent learning environments; (5) Evaluation data are needed to determine how users are interacting and learning with online material and whether these sites are or could be stepping stones into more formal courses of study; (6) Rates of access and connectivity in the low-income community are definitely growing, yet high-quality equipment and broadband or wireless access are far from ubiquitous; and (7) Although use of emerging technologies to deliver learning content is only beginning to be reported in the research, technology enthusiasts believe that consumer electronics, interactive Web 2.0 platforms, and the convergence of media have the potential to reach new populations and provide authentic learning and communication. Two appendixes are included: (1) Scenario Shared with Expert Panelists; and (2) Posts to the National Institute for Literacy Technology Listserv. (Contains 2 charts and 6 tables.) [Original analysis for this report was completed by Stephen Reder.]
National Institute for Literacy. 1775 I Street NW Suite 730, Washington, DC 20006-2401. Tel: 800-228-8813; Tel: 202-233-2025; Fax: 301-470-1244; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Basic Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Institute for Literacy