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Technology-Based Learning (TBL) in the Workforce System


  • Research is lacking on use of technology for workforce development
  • We interviewed state- and local-level workforce representatives from across the country
  • TBL strategies are widespread, but their implementation varies widely at all levels
The Challenge

TBL, or educational technology, is dramatically altering the delivery of education, employment services, and training at all levels. Technology has expanded the geographic reach of learning opportunities, reduced costs and individualized the learning experience. While an extensive research literature has considered the role of technology in traditional K-12 or higher education settings, there is little research in the context of workforce development and nontraditional education.

The Approach

The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration hired Abt to review the literature on TBL strategies for workforce development and explore the prevalence, viability, and effectiveness of TBL across several segments of the public workforce system. Segments included state-level planning, local implementation in American Job Centers (AJCs) and remediation of basic skills in the Job Corps program. We conducted interviews with state- and local-level representatives from across the country and surveyed the national network of Job Corps centers.

The Results

In general, TBL strategies are widespread across the workforce system, but the approach to selection and implementation of technologies varies. Barriers to expansion include cost, technological literacy, and limited access to high-speed broadband internet in rural areas. But respondents reported TBL helps close client skills gaps, provides states and AJCs with greater flexibility to respond to local and clients’ needs, and allows Job Corps instructors to personalize learning for students.

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