Defining the Learning Environment

Adult education has become an important part of empowering communities with low literacy levels, particularly among specific demographics such as immigrants, minorities in underdeveloped inner-city zones and Native Americans. Crest Resource (CR) is a non-governmental interest that aims to promote literacy among marginalized adult demographics, particularly in underserved communities. The organization’s vision is to empower adults, particularly those that wish to acquire or improve life-skills for better wellbeing outcomes. 

Underpinning Crest Resource is the development of practicable learning modules that are scalable and adaptable to the targeted learning demographics. While cognitive factors play central role in the internalization and deployment of information, the use of social constructivism in adult learning makes it possible to make use of a wider range of instructional paradigms. 

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CR’s primary focus is the identification and engagement of adults that wish to enhance their life skills and competencies through reeducation and training. Consequently, CR’s geographical dispersal is contingent on a number of variables such as the academic qualifications, socioeconomic status and languages of the adult populations at target locations. Because adults are the pillars of their respective communities, CR integrates community participation in its adult literacy programs. This approach enables the organization develop and implement training programs that result in gainful practical outcomes for the recipients.

CR encourages instructors to note and make use of the learning experiences that various cultures bring to the process. So, the organization encourages its personnel to adopt a hands-on approach in the development and implementation of effective adult literacy programs. To this end, CR evaluates the effectiveness of its training programs using a number of measures and in particular, the integration of community feedback in deployment of its training programs. CR’s staff encourage training participants to submit candid responses vis-à-vis the extent to which the programs benefit them as well as suggestions for possible improvements. By integrating the participants’ feedback in subsequent program developments, CR has been able to deploy successful adult education programs in communities with varying target demographics.

At the center of CR’s human resource strategy is the use of empirically grounded strategies to develop and adapt training programs that are responsive to the target demographics’ prevailing needs. The success of an adult education program also depends on the extent to which it addresses the personal development and backgrounds of each recipient (McHugh & Morawski, 2017). Thus, experiential paradigms are crucial to the success of the CR’s education programs countrywide. Adult education programs have come to embrace a variety of target demographics with unique characteristics. For instance, adult education programs cater to couples, single parents, and immigrants with a variety of learning needs such as to those that do not speak English. Further, adult education programs also cater to incarcerated individuals, and people special needs. Adults living below national poverty definitions also benefit from education programs. Studies show that poverty, inadequate literacy levels, linguistic barriers, legal status, among other socioeconomic and policy variables characterize education programs aimed at empowering adults (He, Bettez & Levin, 2017; He, Bettez & Levin, 2017). Adult education programs also cater to individuals with high education and training levels but whose productivity is diminished as a result of incarceration, health or disability. 

Adult learners display several learning characteristics that are in turn contingent on a variety of factors. The factors include age, gender, parenthood status and therefore couples or single parents, ethnicity, disability, level of education prior to enrolment in a learning program, time invested in learning and so forth. Other adult demographics include individual with special needs such as the disabled, and veterans.  Although adults with immigrant and minority backgrounds form the bulk of CR’s target demographics, adults with special needs and designated statuses such as veterans are fast growing categories of recipients. CR recognizes there is an increasing number of adults, such those that sign in languages other than that of their host country, that challenge extant adult education paradigms. Incarcerated adults and those that have completed lengthy sentences are also a growing demographic in need of the reintegration interventions that adult learning programs offer.

Traditionally, adult education focused on either imparting or enhancing of basic skills, specifically reading, writing, rudimentary arithmetic and the teaching of various income-generating trades. Today however, adult learning programs encompass a wide range of instructional paradigms in response to the recipients’ needs and challenges. There are a variety of content knowledge paradigms that adult education programs can deliver and these include targeted interventions such as preparation for accreditation, technological proficiency and career guidance. For example, career guidance programs make it possible for the recipients to avoid legal bottlenecks and make better preparations for accreditation evaluations, among other benefits (McHugh & Morawski, 2017). 

Linguistic barriers for example pose a challenge for immigrant and minority adult learners the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries where immigrant labor is playing an increasing role in the host countries’ economic output (Batalova, Fix & Bachmeir, 2016). Relatedly, women, particularly among immigrant and minority communities enjoy lower educational attainments in relation to the national average for uneducated adults. Even among immigrant and minority women that are college educated, unemployment was high compared to native population (Batalova, Fix & Bachmeir, 2016). This contrasts with the high scholastic and employment rates among women that are legal citizens. Still, women from minority and immigrant backgrounds that are legal citizens had lower unemployment rates compared to the overall employment averages of women. 

A majority of adults that enroll in literacy programs have familial and professional obligations that limit the extent to which they can commit to the aforementioned programs. Studies from a number of universities across the United States show that on average, adults that enrolled in various education programs were 24 years or older (Batalova, Fix & Bachmeir, 2016). The cultural backgrounds of adult education recipients result in differing learning behaviors. Western education for example is orientated towards individualized learning strategies. In contrast, adults from immigrant and minority groups are inclined to draw from collective or societal paradigms. Therefore, for education programs aimed at immigrant and minority adult populations that draw on the communal acquisition of knowledge are more effective compared to those that focus solely on cognitive processes and content internalization. 

The linguistic background of adult learners is crucial in delivering content knowledge in a manner that the recipients can readily relate to and importantly, utilize. Learners from different languages differ in the way they conceptualize and utilize information (Seals & Peyton, 2017; He, Bettez & Levin, 2017). In order to mitigate the linguistic differences for example, the delivery of content knowledge in bilingual format can accelerate the understanding of instruction among recipients that speak English as a second language (McHugh & Morawski, 2017). The bilingual delivery approach enables instructors tap into the unique understanding that comes with various linguistic backgrounds, allowing the recipients to draw conceptual equivalents between their native and adopted languages. 

Self-motivation premises the individualized learning processes that characterize western education. In contrast, the immigrant, special needs, and minority adult learners tend to rely on collaborative learning strategies in the acquisition and advancement of knowledge (He, Bettez & Levin, 2017). Collaborative learning, in turn, is dependent on the extent to which the learner draws from societal input to acquire knowledge. A good demonstration of the differences between the individualized western approach to learning and the communal approach is observable among Asian Americans where familial input plays an active role in the acquisition of knowledge. Equally, other minority and migrant populations rely more on communal resources to drive the learning experience. 

CR believes in a holistic approach in deploying adult education programs and central to this approach is addressing the challenges that the adult learning ecology present. To illustrate, it is not sufficient for an adult education program to impart further skills and other refinements. A pragmatic adult education program takes into consideration linguistic, cultural, economic and social circumstances of the program’s recipients. Redressing linguistic barriers, particularly among adults that speak English as a second language, requires that the concerned education program improve the recipients’ first language (Seals & Peyton, 2017). Additionally, a program aimed at mitigating linguistic barriers would also strive to translate the key concepts it imparts into the recipients’ language. Accordingly, a bi-lingual paradigm can be crucial in not only improving language competencies, but also enhancing professional performance and wellness.

The underutilization of expertise available among the educated minority and immigrant communities is the result of a number of challenges that include legal and linguistic barriers. Hence, successful adult education programs cater to the evaluation and application of content knowledge to specific real-life contexts. A prerequisite to the development of effective education programs is the evaluation and incorporation of the skillsets and attitudes adults bring to the learning process. Because adults have established life-long patterns, it is imperative to not only recognize but also tap into the capacities they have already developed. This approach makes it possible for instructors to determine learning patterns and implement effective intervention strategies to overcome the challenges recipients contend with in understanding content knowledge. 

Time constrains and financial limitations often impede the adoption of long-term learning and career strategies among immigrant and minority populations (McHugh & Morawski, 2017). One of the primary functions of adult education is readying immigrant adult learners, particularly those with prior professional experience, by filling in skills and coursework gaps. A primary driver of knowledge gaps among professional immigrant and minority adults is linguistic barriers. Linguistic barriers make it difficult for the target demographics, most of whom are proficient in languages other than that of the host country (Batalova, Fix & Bachmeir, 2016). 

In conclusion, the delivery content knowledge constitutes the basis of any instructional endeavor, yet content knowledge per se is not sufficient to bring about desired outcomes, particularly in adult education. Thus, taking into account the processes and backgrounds that characters the learning preferences of adults can impact instructional outcomes significantly. For this reason, the incorporation of variables such as cultural dynamics, linguistic characteristics and socioeconomic factors 

Works Cited

Batalova, J., Fix, M., & Bachmeier, J. D. (2016). Untapped Talent: The Costs of Brain Waste among Highly Skilled Immigrants in the United States. World Education Services

Graduate Student Inctructor teaching and Resource Center.

He, Y., Bettez, S. C., & Levin, B. B. (2017). Imagined community of education: Voices from refugees and immigrants. Urban Education52(8), 957-985.

McHugh, M., & Morawski, M. (2017). Successful initiatives for integrating foreign-trained immigrant professionals. Washington: Migration Policy Institute.Seals, C. A., & Peyton, J. K. (2017). Heritage language education: Valuing the languages, literacies, and cultural competencies of immigrant youth. Current Issues in Language Planning18(1), 87-101.

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