Building Blocks for Building Skills: An Inventory of Adult Learning Models and Innovations

Building Blocks for Building Skills: An Inventory of Adult Learning Models and Innovations

Council For Adult & Experiential Learning, 2006

Toolkit Purpose 

The intention of this report is to give readers an understanding of the fundamentals of how to design effective learning and skill development programs for adults. These fundamentals can be applied to training at any point along the Career Pathways continuum - from adult basic education to training leading to a credential in a high-demand industry to effective workplace communication. This report was produced to support the U.S. Department of Labor's Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) initiative.

U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration
Intended Audience 
Workforce Investment Boards, employers, workforce development organizations, or traditional education and training providers who are planning to develop learning initiatives that are linked to the economic needs of a region
Career Pathways Target Population 
Working adult learners
Based On 
The authors of this guide drew from academic and practice-based research on adult learning principles, training low-skilled workers, community college programs, and the corporate training field.
Summary of Toolkit Approach 

The first step to designing a learning initiative that the authors propose is "Need-focused Planning and Analysis," in which practitioners are asked to connect with local employers and other experts to define the problem the initiative is trying to solve, collect relevant labor market information, and conduct a gap analysis of existing training solutions.

This section is followed by advice on program design and implementation. Opportunities to engage the business community are highlighted throughout, such as making learning competency-based with apprenticeship programs and proving support through the use of mentors at work. A final section on "Overarching Program Components" addresses strategic partnerships with employers and local partners.

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