Minnesota Webinar PowerPoint Presentation

Distance Learning
In Minnesota ABE
Tom Cytron-Hysom & Renada Rutmanis
• Prior to 2010 – Scattered DL in a few
Minnesota ABE programs
– Growing awareness at state level that DL was
increasingly important
– Emerging interest at the program level
• Minnesota designates 3% of state ABE funds
for Supplemental Services grants – projects
that build capacity statewide
St. Paul received first Distance Learning
Supplemental Services Grant, to:
– Convene and support services to foster the
development and use of effective Distance
– Begin developing distance learning content for
occupational prep courses
– Provide technical staff support
• Comprehensive online survey of Minnesota
ABE programs
• Extensive report summarizing DL in ABE
nationwide, with recommendations regarding
Best Practices for Minnesota
• Creation of Virtual Task Force, to make policy
recommendations to state ABE office
• Grant renewed annually
• DL hours have grown significantly – over
181,000 last year.
• Steady growth each year since the first grant.
Professional development
– Project IDEAL’s DL 101 and 102
– Summer Institute – DL strand
– Regional and other trainings
– Development of self-paced online courses,
“Distance Learning Basics” and “Integrating
Digital Literacy in the ABE Classroom”
• Policy recommendations and vetting of DL
platforms for proxy hours, through VTF
• Communication
- Comprehensive website, responding to email requests
from the field statewide, etc.
- Development of promotional materials
- Collaborating with other statewide initiatives
• Digital literacy – now seen as intrinsically related
to DL
- Northstar
- PD (see above)
• Data development and improvement
- MABE – development of DL reports, naming
conventions, etc.
- It has been challenging to obtain accurate
statewide information because of local differences
in how contact hours are tracked and categorized,
as well as inherent limitations on the reports we
could run.
- There has been substantial improvement over the
past year in both areas.
– Students in integrated classroom/DL programming do
better in terms of NRS attainment than those in just
one or the other
– Most ABE learners do not do well as ‘pure’ DL
learners; and not all ABE learners do well with DL even
in a hybrid setting
– Teacher screening, orientation, and ongoing support
for DL students is essential
– DL cannot be done effectively on the cheap – it does
not ‘save money’
Metro North ABE sites…
– Level Gains 2013-14:Adults enrolled in DL
approx. 76%
– Adults not enrolled in DL approx. 50%
Rosemount/Apple Valley/Eagan ABE…
Adults enrolled in DL or hybrid had 13-14% more
level gains than adults not enrolled in any DL
Digital literacy (basic computer skills,
information literacy, etc.) is a key part of DL
– Northstar Digital Literacy Benchmarks development and adoption as statewide standards
– Best taught when integrated into classrooms,
rather than as stand-alone computer classes
Bottom-up perspective increases acceptance
and use of DL
– VTF – the field feels sense of ownership
– Broad approach to vetting of DL platforms for
proxy hours important
But – support at the state level (financial, policy,
etc.) is also crucial
• Minnesota allows use of many DL platforms,
as approved by VTF, based on applications
from the field
• This fosters buy-in across the state
• State supported: i-pathways; Skills Tutor
• Free platforms: Core Skills Mastery; Mindquest,
USA Learns
• Fee-based platforms: A+dvancer; Apex Learning,
Inc.; Crossroads Café; Easy ESL; GED Academy;
KeyTrain; Learner Web; My Foundations
Lab/Accuplacer; Novanet; Plato Learning
Environment; Putting English to Work; Reading
Horizons Elevate; Rosetta Stone; Teach Me
English in ESL
PD is key
– Lack of PD leads to poor DL implementation,
which can lead to lack of support for DL
– Must be comprehensive and embedded
Greater Metro
- St. Paul (DL 101/102)...1,828 DL learners generating 52,298 hours
- Minneapolis (no PD)...43 DL learners generating 2,257 hours
Minnesota Cities
-Mankato (DL 101/102)...267 learners generating 5,179 hours
-Duluth (no PD)...49 learners generating 252 hours
-Rochester (no PD)...15 learners generating 440 hours
Minnesota Regions
- SW ABE Marshall (DL 101/102)...283 learners generating 9,224 hours
- Northwest Service Coop (no PD)...61 learners generating 929 hours
- AEOA (no PD)...52 learners generating 905 hours
Adequate resources are important
– Technology infrastructure - Computers and other
– Additional time for teachers
– Managerial support and direct knowledge
– Involvement and support among state ABE staff
– Funding for statewide coordination, policy
development, etc.
DL is essential for students
– Expectations of familiarity and comfort with
technology and DL on the job and in Higher Ed.
– Particularly important in career pathways and
transitions programming
• WIOA strengthens and expands technology
expectations - how will this be implemented?
• Alignment with CCRS (College and Career
readiness) standards and ACES (Academic,
Career & Employability Skills)
• Development of new platforms which
dynamically match resources to students
present challenge to proxy hour model
• Student preference for/access to mobile
devices vs. lack of compatible content from
• Alignment of specific DL curricula, platforms,
etc. to ABE target areas – GED, adult diploma,
ELL, etc.
• Moving beyond Early Adopters and making DL
expertise an expectation for ABE instructors
and managers
• Need for financial resources to support DL –
computers and related infrastructure
• Designated funding is needed
• Obtain buy-in at the state staff level
• Listen to the challenges and needs of local
• On-going communication is important
• Show how DL can enhance learning for ABE
• Offer PD and other supports
Contact info
Tom Cytron-Hysom – thysom@gmail.com
Renada Rutmanis – renada.rutmanis@spps.org
Website: http://mnabe-distancelearning.org/