The primary objective of this literature review was to curate and synthesize existing research on digital and distance learning in adult education. The results of this literature review informed the writing of the California Adult Education Digital Learning Guidance.
To be included in the literature review, sources were required to
- be peer-reviewed (e.g., scholarly journal article) or from a reputable noncorporate source (e.g., educational research nonprofit, government agency;
- be published within the last 20 years (2002 or later);
- focus on digital learning or distance education;
- focus on adult education (or nontraditional learners in higher education);
- use an andragogical lens; and
- support the aims of the Guidance
The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), an educational research database sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education, was used to locate sources for inclusion in the literature review.
To conduct a comprehensive search, the following search terms were entered into ERIC in various combinations:
- General terms: adult education/learners, nontraditional education/learners
- Subject terms: Adult Basic Education (ABE)/Adult Secondary Education (ASE)/High School Equivalency (HSE), Career Technical Education (CTE)/Integrated Education and Training (IET)/Vocational Education (VE), correctional education, citizenship education/ELL/ESL
- Focus terms: digital learning, distance education, distance learning, online learning, nontraditional
The final list of sources for the literature review included 25 academic journal articles and 11 research reports.