Teaching Skills That Matter-SkillBlox Instructional Support Pilot

Led by American Institutes for Research and the EdTech Center @ World Education, this CREATE Adult Skills Network research team is exploring the rollout of the Teaching Skills That Matter (TSTM) framework developed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) and will develop and pilot test instructional resources for TSTM, delivered through an online platform called SkillBlox.

The TSTM framework focuses on skills, topics, and teaching approaches that match adult education instruction with learners’ needs outside the classroom. It focuses on nine intra/interpersonal competencies (such as communication, critical thinking), five topic areas (civics education, digital literacy, financial literacy, health literacy, workforce preparation), and three teaching approaches (integrated and contextualized learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning. OCTAE has been supporting the rollout of TSTM using a train-the-trainer model, in which a small set of teacher leaders in each state receive training and then train other instructors.

The TSTM-aligned version of SkillBlox will build off an emerging SkillBlox platform that organizes instructional content according to adult education topics and skill levels. SkillBlox is a free online platform in which instructors organize education resources by skill for lesson planning. SkillBlox lets instructors offer an increased range of learning options for students. These options can be personalized based on learner preferences and skill needs.

Project Activities: The research team will use what they learn about challenges in implementing TSTM to develop TSTM-SkillBlox. Through an iterative design and testing process, they will work with instructors to improve SkillBlox’s usability and develop content matched to TSTM. The resulting pilot version of TSTM-aligned SkillBlox will be designed to allow instructors to easily locate a TSTM-aligned skill they want to teach; select relevant lessons and high quality OERs, such as articles, videos, games, simulations, and assessments they wish to use to teach that skill; and then assign skill blocks to students through the platform. They will then pilot test the fully developed platform and conduct a cost analysis of TSTM-aligned SkillBlox.

Visit the TSTM-SkillBlox Project Site to learn more about this research project.

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