World Education is dedicated to improving the lives of the poor through education, and economic and social development programs.

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21st Century Learning Ecosystem Opportunities (21CLEO)

Geographic Scope: Nationwide

Client(s): Portland State University, Walmart

Expertise: Career Pathways, Integrating Technology in Learning, Learner Persistence


Required use of technologies have made more intense the pace of change in the workplace. In response, employers offer both staff training and more comprehensive educational opportunities to equip employee to success and advance. The EdTech Center @ World Education and the Literacy, Language, and Technology Research group (LLTR) at Portland State University are conducting a multi-phased study that to identify the factors that motivate frontline service workers to engage and persist in learning activities that support development of workplace skills and adult basic skills.

This research responds to the need for employers, educators, and policy makers to better understand the characteristics of learning opportunities currently available to frontline service workers and how to best engage these workers in the development of digital problem solving necessary to succeed in the 21st Century workplace. Central to this study is elevating the voice of the worker-learner. An advisory group of frontline service workers will consult with researchers to shape the data collection and support interpretation of findings. A unique feature of the study is frequent and regular communication about process and findings published in a blog called The 21C LENS (Learning Ecosystem NewS), to be posted on the EdTech Center @ World Education website.

The defining characteristics of our approach ensure that research remains relevant to stakeholders and, therefore, will make it possible for us to describe both the effective affordances and the barriers to learning that working learners face. With this work, will strive to impact instructional strategies and the policies that shape their implementation.