This handbook contains information on different types of supports and interventions which can be provided to students of online Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs in order to help them persist and succeed in their programs. Section I of the handbook presents a table which lists different types of supports/interventions which can be provided by administrators and/or instructors of online ABE to students. The table also includes information on why, how and when to provide these supports and interventions. Section I discusses first the process which led to the development of this table, presents background information for supports/interventions listed in this table and lastly discusses the ways in which this table can be used by administrators and instructors of online ABE programs.
Section II in the handbook presents the revised meta-cognitive awareness inventory (MAI) which was originally developed by Gregory Schraw and Rayne Sperling Dennison in 1994 and which was piloted with students of online ABE programs in Massachusetts during the period of December-March 2009. This section discusses first the purpose of the MAI, includes some background information on MAI and different types of meta-cognitive skills that MAI seeks to assess, describes the process by which MAI was revised and condensed in order to adapt it for ABE students and discusses lastly how MAI can be utilized by instructors.
Section III presents weekly questions which can be used for online-journaling. Online journaling is an established and commonly used tool in adult basic education for helping students reflect on their learning process and enhance their learning strategies. Section III begins by presenting the background for online journaling and includes information on different roles of response and principles to govern the use of online journaling. Section III presents also some suggestions on how online journaling can be used in online ABE programs.
TABLE OF SUPPORTS AND INTERVENTIONS
What is the Table of Supports/Interventions?
The table of support/interventions which is presented in the end of this section on page 11 includes information on:
What supports can be provided to students of online-ABE education by administrators and instructors of the programs;
Why these supports/interventions are important;
How to provide these supports/interventions; who does what and which resources should be in place for providing these supports/interventions to students;
When these supports/interventions should be provided.
This table was developed by the Center for Social Policy (CSP) research team and supports/interventions in the table were chosen in a manner which heeded the individual characteristics and needs of online ABE students, the characteristics of the specific context of learning and the specific needs of the ESE funded online ABE education programs. Although little to no rigorous evaluation1has been done on the effectiveness of student support on learner persistence, particularly in the context of adult education and distance learning, the supports/interventions included in the table are based on the many years of rich experiences of educators in this field, research on learning models in general, and student surveys of expectations and needs for support services. Furthermore multiple streams of information collected during the ESE funded pilot research project conducted by the Center for Social Policy during 2008 and 2009 fed into the information presented in the table. These sources of information include:
Analyses of the information gathered from 73 interviews conducted with applicants of online learning through the pilot screening process during December-March 2009. This
1Rigorous evaluations of such interventions can be very costly; require time and careful experimental design with the availability of clear outcomes for students who do and do not participate in these evaluations.
information helped to deepen the knowledge about candidates and students of online ABE programs.
Analyses of the responses by 99 online ABE students to the revised MAI. This helped to
deepen the knowledge about students’ self assessment of their meta-cognitive skills.
Analyses of the information gathered from two focus groups with students of online ABE programs conducted during April 2009. The focus groups focused on gaining the student perspective on support.
Analyses of the students’ responses to online journaling questions. Eleven students in
online ABE programs participated in online journaling answering a set of questions weekly over a period of 16 weeks. Some set of questions focused mainly on challenges students face in studying online, the types of supports they utilize and seek when they come across challenges.
Extensive reviews of the literature on support and interventions in the context of online