Empowering Learning: Leveraging Technology in Adult Education

For some, attending school was not a positive experience and posed several social pressures and learning challenges. This could lead children and youth to develop a dislike for education.

When we decide to improve our knowledge as adults, we have plenty more obstacles to navigate. At this stage, family and career responsibilities often impact our learning time. Sometimes, limited finances and a lack of time and transportation to attend in-person learning further affect our ability to continue our education.

However, adults also have an added advantage compared to youth: motivation. Whether it’s to secure a better job, be a great role model to our kids, or contribute more to our community, continued learning as an adult typically stems from a specific objective. We’re here because we want to be, not because we have to be.

Thankfully, technology is revolutionizing our educational systems – making learning more accessible, convenient and affordable. It’s helping adult learners achieve their academic goals in a manner that works – even amidst their busy schedules.

Below, we’ll discuss how to incorporate educational technology into your literacy organization and how it can improve learning outcomes.

Benefits of educational technology for adult learners

Educational technology is undoubtedly improving adult access to education. The Pew Research Center found that 69 per cent of employed adults with access to the Internet and a smartphone complete some professional learning, compared to 41 per cent of adults who lack access.

It’s no surprise why. Technology offers an enjoyable way for adults to learn quickly and easily, often at a convenient time. This allows adults to maintain a consistent level of learning more easily, compared to traditional learning inside a physical classroom.

With the help of online learning platforms and services, adults are expanding their skill sets, improving their employment possibilities, and discovering new opportunities to contribute to society.

Let’s further review what adult learners gain when we embrace technology in our learning environments.

  • The opportunity to learn: The first – and arguably most important – benefit of using technology in our classrooms is that more adults can participate in the learning experience. Geographical constraints, limited physical infrastructure, or the inability to attend in-person sessions can often hinder an adult’s ability to continue their learning. Modern technology allows us to educate adults who might otherwise lack access.
  • The formation of a community: Educational technology tools help engage adult learners, especially when learning remotely. These tools help them connect with literacy practitioners and peers, making it easy for learners to share ideas and ask for help.
  • More career opportunities: Rapidly evolving technology eliminates specific jobs, creates new ones, and changes the nature of work. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are commonly used in workplaces to complement human capabilities.

When we learn with technology, we’re helping adults develop the skills they need to succeed in today’s digital workforce. Learners have better career prospects and the opportunity to earn more income for their families.

  • Improved efficiency for literacy practitioners: Technology simplifies tasks so literacy practitioners can focus more on delivering high-quality education programs. It helps us streamline administrative processes, cut expenses and enhance operational effectiveness through automation. Technology also helps us stay competitive in this modern era.

Educational technology tools and examples

There’s a wide range of educational technology tools that can improve the learning experience for adults. Whatever educational technology you choose, the key is finding customizable solutions that fit the abilities of your adult learners. Some of these include:

  • Online collaboration tools: Chat rooms, discussion forums, and other online tech tools are great for engaging learners and encouraging collaboration. You can even use these online discussions as the foundation for a follow-up in-class discussion.
  • Interactive whiteboards: Efficiently write, draw and annotate content in real-time, enhancing learner participation and engagement.
  • Interactive multimedia tools: Capture and sustain learner attention with tools that allow you to create and share interactive online content, such as videos and simulations.
  • Online learning platforms: Conduct entire lessons online or ask learners to learn in their own time with learning platforms such as the ABC Skills Hub, an online learning portal of ABC Life Literacy Canada’s many adult literacy programs.

    With the ABC Skills Hub, learners can complete online courses at their own pace, save their work in progress, and download course content and helpful reminders of what they’ve learned. There are also teacher and organization portals, where teachers can set up virtual classrooms for learners, and where organizations can keep track of multiple teachers and groups of learners across a variety of courses.

Conclusion

The benefits of incorporating technology to educate adult learners at your literacy organization are significant. From forming a community to improving engagement, educational technology opens new avenues for adult learners to succeed.

Our ABC Connect for Learning program can help adults get started in an online environment. This free resource teaches adults how to use the Internet and discover other new technologies to improve their digital skills.

Contact us today for more information on incorporating educational technology at your non-profit literacy organization.