Literally, the entire world has changed in just a very short time. While the outcomes of the novel coronavirus pandemic are still being determined, we see the resilience and ingenuity of people making changes that could lead to better future practices. Some of these ingenious ideas are coming from adult educators. As schools and businesses close across the globe, adult educators face some unique challenges. Many adult learners are parents and workers. Now they face childcare, unemployment, homeschool and stress. Keeping them engaged and motivated is tough.
Recently, KET hosted a group of Kentucky-based adult educators to ask what was working for their learners and programs. “It is very encouraging to hear the way adult educators continue to step up no matter the challenge,” said Sarah Wilkins, Director of Adult Education at KET.
During the virtual meeting, attendees announced that students continued to pass GED® exams. A participating instructor shared that a one of her learners, on track to complete the GED® exam shortly, is considering nursing school due to her desire to respond to needs highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another instructor shared that her program recognized the need to be available on a regularly scheduled basis so they are implementing “Talk to us Tuesdays.” During a certain time period on Tuesdays, instructors are available to talk to learners about anything they want to share. Most importantly though, the instructors are available to listen. The instructor said, “Everyone has a story and they want you to know their story.”
Another adult educator said her program uses social media to keep learners engaged. She uses Facebook and Facebook Messenger to connect and encourage learners. Most of her learners have responded to her messages and continue to work toward their goals.
Other states have implemented innovative practices, too. An adult education program from Georgia Northwest Technical College recently organized a distance learning plan for adult education as their schools began to close. They contacted every adult learner to gather information on their interests and accessibility for distance learning. They developed distance learning plans tailored for each student, assigned learners to teachers with corresponding schedule availability and connected learners with appropriate resources based on needs, preferences and daily responsibilities.
What is working for your adult learning program during these challenging times? We want to hear YOUR story. Please share it with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.