21 Century Learning Ecosystem Opportunities: Research and Findings

A key research goal was to identify and describe support that made it possible for front line service workers to engage in and persist throughout employer supported education and training initiatives. Our data pointed toward a few salient themes that helped us to identify aspects of support to which learners had access and saw as useful.

The findings suggest that effective supports consist of both affective and material resources that encourage engagement in learning and help learners with job advancement. Supervisors play a key role in helping learners make connections between learning and advancement. Proactive and ongoing mentoring may be needed for historically marginalized groups. Strong communication between working learners, education providers, and employers can make learning relevant and advancement paths clear. 

The research indicates that simply saying one offers supports to learners engaged in training and education initiatives is insufficient. Supports need to be delivered through an equity lens if education and training initiatives are to go beyond attracting a narrow subset of learners as targeted recipients or potential audience.