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V6I3: Every Learner Everywhere: Promoting Equitable Outcomes for Students Through Digital Learning and Evidence-Based Teaching

Karen Cangialosi, Director, Every Learner Everywhere  

Patricia O’Sullivan, Manager, Content Development and Special Projects 

Every Learner Everywhere is a network of partner organizations that work collectively to help institutions use a variety of digital learning technologies to enhance teaching and learning, with the ultimate goal of improving student outcomes for Black, Latino, and Indigenous students, poverty-affected students, first-generation students, and other marginalized students. We provide expert advice, coaching, professional development, and resources that are squarely centered on serving learners first in higher education institutions. Every Learner facilitates collaborations and connections amongst partners that emphasize the expansiveness, diversity, contextualization, opportunities, and challenges of equitable digital learning. Success for our network is a higher educational landscape in which race and income cease to be predictors for academic achievement. 

Digital learning is the use of technology to enable pedagogical practices and strategies in teaching and learning. It includes a broad range of tools to engage and assess students across all learning modalities, including face-to-face, blended, and online learning environments. Equitable digital learning takes an anti-deficit approach to teaching and learning, course design, and classroom climate. It prioritizes a sense of belonging in the class, in the discipline, and in the field for students historically excluded from these spaces. Equitable digital learning designs courses for inclusion, access, and success and utilizes teaching and assessment strategies that benefit racially minoritized and poverty-affected students.

At Every Learner, we promote equitable outcomes for students through digital learning and data-driven approaches. Here are some key areas of our work: 

Building a Network of Expertise 

Our network of 13 organizations includes partners who provide specific services to institutions as well as partners who provide thought leadership through resources, webinars, policy briefs, and data analysis. Every Learner also functions as an external network connecting institutions, educators, and researchers working on digital learning and equity in higher education. This network fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the development of best practices for promoting equitable outcomes through digital learning and data-informed approaches. We’ve engaged with 1073 institutions in all U.S. states and territories, including 143 members of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, along with institutions in 46 other nations. In addition, our work has been mentioned in the media 1,075 times. 

Developing Resources for Equitable Digital Learning 

Our searchable resource library holds over 250 print and video resources to support institutions’ use of digital learning tools. Every Learner believes that well-designed and well-integrated digital learning tools can personalize the learning experience, cater to individual needs, and offer targeted support, potentially leading to better outcomes for students from diverse backgrounds, including Black, Latino, Indigenous, poverty-affected, and first-generation students. Every Learner partners with institutions to implement and assess these tools effectively, aiming to close equity gaps in crucial gateway courses. Our resources have been viewed and downloaded nearly 270,000 times and cited by academics 550 times. Our resources feature contributions by over 250 faculty and nearly 100 undergraduate students.  

Providing Professional Development Services 

Since 2019, we have offered over 130 services, including long-term deep engagement with institutions, faculty communities of practice, workshops, webinars, and coaching sessions. You can browse our past and upcoming workshops and webinars on our website. Our network has contributed over 200 presentations, expert panels, and interviews at higher education institutions and organizations. 

Our deep engagement services, offered through our partner organizations, can be tailored for cohorts of institutions.  

One example of our work was theLighthouse Institutionsproject. In this project, we engaged a significant number of gateway course instructors (over 182) in 12 lighthouse colleges and universities. Our activities nurtured instructor awareness and appreciation of courseware products in their subject areas, and influenced the nature of instruction experienced by over 26,000 students over four academic terms.[1] During this time period (2019-2021), the gap between course success rates for racially minoritized students compared to non-racially minoritized students narrowed from 14 percent to 10 percent.[2] 

We are continuing to add to our services. Our current service menu includes services in the following categories: 

  1. Course Design and Delivery 
  2. Planning for Professional Learning 
  3. Leadership, Budget, and Policy 
  4. Evaluation and Analytics 
  5. Student Success for Digital Learning 

These services are offered virtually and in person as well as synchronously and asynchronously. Services can also be combined, with elements of two or more integrated into a custom service to meet institutional needs.

We are also building a series of courses that will be offered both synchronously and self-paced. Our first offering, Digital Learning 101, will be available in summer 2024. Future courses will include a deep focus on Artificial Intelligence and Open Education.  

Promoting Evidence-based and Equity-Centered Teaching 

Our network has identified eight evidence-based practices that support student success:   

We provide written and video resources, webinars, coaching, consulting, and professional development services to help educators develop these practices and create inclusive learning environments for all students. 

Incorporating Student Voice and Feedback 

Every Learner engages with students regularly through our student internship program, our student panels at webinars and live events, and through special projects designed to engage students. Recognizing the value of student perspectives, Every Learner encourages institutions to gather and incorporate student feedback in shaping teaching and learning practices, as well as including students on committees and other institutional decision-making bodies whose work impacts students. This helps ensure that educational approaches are responsive to students’ needs and experiences, contributing to a more equitable learning environment. As of this writing, our network has worked with nearly 100 students, engaging them as panelists, content developers, researchers, analysts, reviewers, and thought leaders.  

Conclusion 

Every Learner Everywhere is at the forefront of promoting equitable outcomes for students through digital learning and evidence-based teaching practices. By prioritizing a sense of belonging, inclusion, and success for historically marginalized students, the network aims to transform higher education into a landscape where race and income are no longer predictors of academic achievement. With our combined expertise, resources, professional development services, and consulting, Every Learner is actively working towards closing equity gaps in education. By engaging with students directly and incorporating their feedback into educational practices, Every Learner ensures that student voices are heard and valued in shaping a more inclusive and equitable learning environment.

[1] Digital Promise. (2022). Supporting Student Success at the Course Level: Lessons from Change Efforts During a Pandemic. Digital Promise Global. Pg. 20. 

[2] Digital Promise. (2022). Supporting Student Success at the Course Level: Lessons from Change Efforts During a Pandemic. Digital Promise Global. Pg. 25. 

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