The CrowdED Learning initiative began in 2017 as a startup nonprofit organization with the mission to increase awareness and use of open education resources (OER) within adult education and workforce development. Merged into the EdTech Center in September 2020, it now serves as our core OER initiative and continues this mission through ongoing implementation and testing of products and processes that make it easier for instructors, service providers and adult learners to create, locate, organize, and share free and open content relevant to their specific needs.
In March 2020, CrowdED Learning launched SkillBlox, a free, experimental platform that allows instructors and program staff to readily locate learning activities by skill and then select, organize, and share skill-aligned playlists of content with learners. Building upon this initial proof of concept, the current focus of the CrowdED Learning initiative is to collaboratively create a sustainable free and open content sharing ecosystem via project funding from the WES Mariam Assefa Fund. Through this funding, the SkillBlox platform will grow to include content resources that support a wide range of key content areas, including digital literacy, financial literacy, health literacy, and career navigation. To concurrently expand the volume of resource options within SkillBlox, the project will also support a number of EdTech Maker Space events, aimed at providing service learning opportunities for educators to learn new skills while creating, curating, and adapting open content to be freely used by others. Over time, content will be expanded beyond traditional education and workforce development areas to include resources in voter, immigrant, and workers’ rights education and advancing racial equity.