Research Pick of the Day #5

February 12th, 2010 by Maria Moriarty

Today’s pick is…

Investigating the Language and Literacy Skills required for independent online learning (2008) prepared by Heidi Silver-Pacuilla for the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) i the United States

An examination of the “threshold” levels of literacy and language proficiency needed  to used the internet for independent learning.  The study drew data from three sources,    large scale surveys, a literature review, and  field surveys.  The study found that essentially “thresholds” do not exist and that learners at the lowest levels of basic skills and language proficiency can and do engage successfully with online learning content. Furthermore learners at all levels are very keen to gain and extend computer literacy skills which are widely seen as essential for work advancement.   The study points to the importance of ongoing support for learners, including distance coaching, face-to-face facilitation and readily accessible technical support  so that they can maximize the benefits of online learning,    Ultimately, the study concludes…

We have confirmation that we are headed in the right direction with the inclusion of online technologies for the instruction and engagement of adult learners, even those with the most limited skills and language proficiencies.  What the field needs now is a compass and a few strategic landmarks to chart a course forward with online technologies – our learners already inhabit the landscape” (p.34)