21st Century Learning Ecosystem Opportunities

Twenty first century Learning Ecosystem News (lens)

Welcome to our interactive blog for the 21st Century Learning Ecosystem Opportunities project. Here you can take part in discussions and keep up to date on this three-year research project. The project responds to the need for employers, educators, and policy makers to better understand the characteristics of learning opportunities available to frontline service workers.



This collective effort seeks to identify the factors that incentivize frontline service workers to engage in workplace-sponsored learning activities that support development of 21st century skills, including specific workplace skills, digital literacy, English language and literacy, problem solving, and adult basic skills.  Central to this study is elevating the voice of the working learner.

Individuals need to recognise that learning activities and related social practices can extend across a range of education, training and employment contexts, so learning needs to be seen as an activity which actively crosses boundaries

Barnes & Brown, 2016, p. 235

21st Century LENS Blog Feed

Equity Journey to CRT

Equity Journey to CRT

As education researchers and practitioners, we’ve long been committed to furthering adult education as a way to build toward a more just and equitable society. We believe that although education often is seen as a portal to success, it is not an individual journey of...

A Note on Methodology

The study includes an expansive and iterative approach. Data include semi-structured interviews of frontline service workers and employers, analyses of learning opportunities, and digital surveys. The iterative nature of our data collection and analysis ensures that our questions and processes are relevant to stakeholders and working learners.

The 21st Century Learning Ecosystem Opportunities (21CLEO) research was supported by a grant from the Walmart Foundation. The opinions and ideas expressed in writing about this research do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Walmart.

Jill Castek, Ph.D

Jill Castek, Ph.D

Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of Arizona

 Jill examines digital literacies and learning across the lifespan in classrooms and in the community. Her research addresses how digitally-mediated learning can support digital problem solving, language development, and knowledge acquisition. Jill is a member of the Literacy, Language and Technology Research (LLTR) group and is an Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of Arizona.

Kathy Harris Ph.D

Kathy Harris Ph.D

Director of the Literacy, Language and Technology Research (LLTR) Group

Kathy Harris, Ph.D. has been interested in adult learning for more than 20 years, especially adults learning English as a second language and learning digital skills for work, play, health, education, and life. Kathy teaches in the Applied Linguistics department at Portland State University where she is also the director of Learner Web, a learning support system developed by the Literacy, Language and Technology Research group.

Gloria E. Jacobs, Ph.D

Gloria E. Jacobs, Ph.D

Research Associate, Literacy, Language and Technology Research (LLTR) Group

Gloria E. Jacobs, Ph.D. has been interested in digital technology and learning since the mid-1990s. In the past few years, she has focused on digital literacy acquisition and digital problem solving among adults. Gloria is also a research associate with the with the College of Education at the University of Arizona.

Jen Vanek, Ph.D

Jen Vanek, Ph.D

Director, Digital Learning and Research, EdTechCenter @ World Education

Jen’s work centers on teacher professional development, technical support, and research on the topics of digital literacy, adult learning, English language learning, and online learning. As part of this work she supports teachers and administrators to implement effective distance and blended learning, conducts field testing of learning technologies; and supports several English language and literacy education projects

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