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Learner Variability Among Adult Learners: Strategies for Programs and Practices

Monday, January 25, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST


Presented by Todd Windisch, Assistant Professor, English as a Second Language, College of San Mateo; Elizabeth Walsh, Student, English as a Second Language, College of San Mateo; Brendaly Drayton, Ph.D., Scholar in Residence, Learning Communities, Pennsylvania State University; and Medha Tare, Ph.D., Director of Research, Learner Variability Project, Digital Promise
Moderated by Barbara Pape, Director of Policy and Communications, Learner Variability Project, Digital Promise

Sponsored by Digital Promise

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Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.
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Life-long learning continues to be an integral part of our everyday lives and requires agility to keep up with current and changing workforce demands. At the same time, adult learners are unique in their skills, needs, and backgrounds, and research shows that many different factors affect how they learn and adapt in different environments. This edWebinar presents the new Adult Learner Model created by Digital Promise’s Learner Variability Project (LVP), which highlights how adults’ literacies, cognitive abilities, social-emotional learning, and personal experiences interact to develop the essential skills needed to survive and thrive in today’s world.

In this edWebinar, the presenters:

  • Walk through LVP’s Adult Learner Model
  • Present actionable research-based strategies that promote active learning, collaboration, and creativity to engage and motivate adult learners
  • Discuss personal experiences supporting adult learners to set and reach their goals, particularly during the current upheavals in health and economic conditions in the United States
  • Address topics such as supporting students’ self-reflection and metacognition, creating a sense of community remotely, and supporting English language learners

This recorded edWebinar will be of interest to teachers and school and district leaders of the high school, higher education, and adult learning levels. 


Todd WindischAbout the Presenters

Todd Windisch has been an ESL educator since 2013 and is currently an assistant professor at College of San Mateo in San Mateo, CA. He also has taught at credit and noncredit post-secondary programs throughout Southern California, including Mt. San Antonio College, Saddleback College, and California State University, Fullerton. Todd graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in French and francophone studies and from CSUF with an M.S. in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). He believes that learning a second, third, or even fourth language opens one’s mind to limitless new possibilities and ways of thinking, broadening perspective as well as being an important skill to improve one’s quality of life while living and working in the United States.


Elizabeth WalshElizabeth Walsh is an industrial engineer and project manager (PMP) from Colombia. She is a graduate of the University of Antioquia in Colombia.

Elizabeth immigrated to America in 2019 and is studying ESL at San Mateo Adult School and College of San Mateo. She believes that creating true connections with other students and teachers helps foster a sense of safety and security that encourages and motivates students to keep learning.


Brendaly DraytonDr. Brendaly Drayton received her B.A. in history from Vassar College and Ph.D. in adult education from Penn State University. Currently, she provides managerial oversight of the guided study groups program for Penn State Learning and is a co-creator and co-instructor of the academic peer mentoring program. Dr. Drayton has several publications and has served as a reviewer for various journals including Adult Learning, Adult Education Quarterly, and Journal of Research in Rural Education. Her interests include the social context of learning, supplemental instruction, educational equity, and qualitative research.


Medha TareMedha Tare, Ph.D. is the director of research for the Learner Variability Project at the education nonprofit, Digital Promise. She leads the synthesis of research on the factors that affect children and adults’ learning (content, cognition, social emotional, and background) to inform an open-source web app, the Learner Variability Navigator. This work bridges the gap between the scientific literature and educators who are working to support students with different strengths and challenges. Medha earned her doctoral degree in developmental psychology at the University of Michigan and has published in journals such as Language Learning and Technology, Journal of Cognition and Development, and Science Education. She is also currently a Learning Science Exchange Fellow through New America.


Barbara PapeAbout the Moderator

Barbara Pape is the policy and communications director for the Learner Variability Project at Digital Promise. She has 20 years’ experience in strategic communications, writing, and policy analysis, primarily in education. Previously, she served as the executive producer of the award-winning Teaching & Learning conference, sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, where she developed content and oversaw outreach and communications. As a writer, she has written for numerous publications, including Harvard University, the National Education Goals Panel (U.S. Department of Education), and Parents magazine. Barbara also served as editor and publisher of the first electronically delivered education newsletter, the Daily Report Card. She served on the Advisory Board of the Kennedy Center’s Intersection of Arts Education and Special Education Committee, serves as a judge for the Milken-Penn Graduate School of Education Business Plan competition, and is on the Boards at the Education Writers Association and Potentia. She earned an Ed.M. at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and launched her career as a middle school language arts teacher.


Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

Join the Personalize Learning for Learner Variability community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Digital PromiseDigital Promise was created with the mission to accelerate innovation in education to improve opportunities to learn.

Digital Promise


Monday, January 25, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST
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