Blending Apprenticeships and Online Education

Concurrent Session 9
Streamed Session Blended HBCU MERLOT

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Brief Abstract

Explore the latest tools and OER resources to blend into apprenticeship programs and optimize the mentor's teaching and the apprentice's learning in work-based learning. The Innovation Lab will demonstrate how you can use these resources and tools freely and easily.


Gerard L. Hanley Ph.D. is the Executive Director of MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, and SkillsCommons ( for the California State University, the Director for the Center for Usability for Design and Accessibility and Professor of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach. At MERLOT and SkillsCommons, he directs the development and sustainability of the international consortium and technology strategy to provide open educational services to improve teaching and learning and continues to development the US Department of Labor's open repository of educational resources for workforce development. Gerry's previous positions include Assistance Vice Chancellor for Academic Technology Services at the CSU Office of the Chancellor, the Director of Faculty Development and Director of Strategy Planning at CSU, Long Beach.

Extended Abstract

From aviation manufacturing in Seattle to health care in rural Montana, many community colleges have used their U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants to develop work-based learning (WBL) opportunities. These WBL activities—where “classroom” learning is paired with activities that occur at the workplace—are designed to train and place thousands of adults into well-paying jobs, while also helping to develop a skilled workforce to ensure American firms’ competitiveness in the global marketplace.

This Innovation Lab will highlight a variety of WBL programs of study developed by TAACCCT grantees across multiple sectors as well as a wealth of teaching and learning OER that can be used to scale and sustain apprenticeship programs.  The lab will also showcase how CSU-MERLOT can design, deliver, and sustain a customized portal of OPEN Educational Resources (OER) to provide higher education, industry partners, and 3rd party intermediaries with the following:

  • Learning content for apprentices in Work-Based Learning Training Programs for On-the-Job Training and Related Technical Instruction (classroom delivery), including content focused on workplace safety.
  • Teaching content for mentors in Work-Based Learning Training Programs for On-the-Job Training and Related Technical Instruction (classroom delivery), including an online/hybrid training program to help mentors become better teachers (Jumpstart to Successful Instruction) developed by SkillsCommons.
  • Exemplary innovations in apprenticeship and support services for program design, management, and evaluation resources produced by TAACCCT grantees and curated by SkillsCommons. Program evaluations of TAACCCT projects provided evidence of effective apprentice programs improving retention and employment.
  • Website designs that provide clear pathways of training and experiences, beginning with pre-apprenticeship programs through apprenticeships programs at the middle and high skill H1B areas. We can also provide website designs to target specific audiences from diverse learners and apprentices to mentors, industry managers, and/or professional organizations, including veterans, military spouses, women, people of color, and ex-offenders.
  • A customized repository (modeled after SkillsCommons) for your project to store, curate, distribute, rebrand, and revise the resources created by your grant, along with reliable and effective support services.

Finally, the presentation will highlight how a Competency Based Education framework can be implemented with SkillsCommons and OER by aligning open educational resources with U.S. DOL developed Competency-Based Education (CBE) standards (see pyramids of competencies at CareerOneStop for various industry sectors)

With all these tools, templates, and technology infrastructure,  businesses and community colleges can leverage SkillsCommons-MERLOT's training, education, and workforce development expertise captured by SkillsCommons.