Research Report on Contextualization in Developmental and Adult Education
Posted on 10/03/2012
In July 2012, EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO (www)), a national research-based learning program in Massachusetts, published a 41-page research report, Models of Contextualization in Developmental and Adult Education. The aim of the report was to help inform the development and delivery of contextualized teaching/learning models in developmental and adult education programs.
"Contextualization" is defined in the report as "the practice of systematically connecting basic skills instruction to a specific content [area] that is meaningful and useful to students… (Deloris Perin, Facilitating Student Learning Through Contextualization: A Review of Evidence). Some examples of specific practices that represent contextualized teaching include:
- Contextualized Instruction: Teaches the basic skills of reading, writing or math within the context of a specific content area, such as a vocational area, for the purpose of meaningful application
- Integrated Instruction: Scaffolding is utilized in the classroom to move students through content areas, such as science, social students or career areas
The overarching goal of all of these practices is to accelerate and enhance student learning by building both specific content knowledge and basic skills at the same time. For adult students in particular, time is often of the essence in reaching both educational and career goals.
But do these models and practices work? The report, Models of Contextualization in Developmental and Adult Education, seeks to provide some insight into what does and does not work in this area. The research report includes a look at:
- Several different Contextualized Adult Basic Education and Developmental Education Models, including populations served, pedagogical approaches, program goals, evidence of effectiveness and lessons derived from the models
- Other models that can integrate contextualization into their programs, and a similar review of those models
- A review of two models of professional development for teaching in contextualized environments
The research report provides those in the field with an understanding of the different elements of the various models, the evidence of effectiveness and the lessons that can be learned for those who are currently developing and delivering contextualized teaching/learning models in adult education programs in the United States.
ETLO (www)) provides flexible, capacity-building courses and services to enable educational organizations to offer successful online and blended learning for teachers, administrators and students, and was the 2010 recipient of The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL's (www)) Online Innovator award for Outstanding Online Program.
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