Maryland Adult Education

Virtual Training Institute

December 6-9, 2021
Become Inspired

The Fifth Institute

Four Days of Learning
December 2021

Twice annually, June and December, the Maryland Department of Labor, Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning hosts a series of professional development training sessions targeted to support all stakeholders in adult education. These opportunities are innovative and thoughtful professional development offerings for instructors and program leadership. Sessions will be one-hour in length unless otherwise indicated, and and cover all topics specific to adult education and aligned with WIOA. Sessions are facilitated by seasoned instructors and experts in adult education. Ultimately, the goal of the VTI is to increase adult literacy and improve student outcomes both in Maryland and where you are. Participation is open to all and the content is offered at no cost. All sessions are recorded and available in The Archive.


During an active conference: Each session requires individual registration. Click the "Registration" link for each session of interest. Proof of participation will be provided upon request after attendance in a live session. Proof of participation requires registration and attendance using personalized link. All sessions will be recorded. Recordings and handouts for each session can be found on this site at the completion of the Institute.

To be notified of VTI updates, session information, and registration availability:

use this form to sign up for more information


The Sessions

Outcome Driven Professional Development - Explore the Opportunities
Content from previous Institutes can be found in "The Archive" tab above

Dec 6 ● 10 - 11 am

Implementing the ABE Framework and CASAS GOALS to Improve Measurable Skills Gains
By Jessie Thompson, Rhonda Davis, and
Beth Johnson

The presentation will share the implementation of strategies to increase the measurable skills gains at Harford Community College ABE/GED program. The strategies include pre-assessment orientation and pre-class TEAMS orientation. Further, it explores and focuses on the lowest CASAS skills GOALS by using spreadsheets, lesson planning, and exit ticket documentation. Lastly, a complete redesign of the ABE 2 and 3 curriculum examines the CASAS section of the MD Labor ABE Framework and Digital Literacy Elements.

Dec 6 ● 1 - 1:30 pm

Using the ABE Instructional Framework for TABE
By Ramona Kunkel

The ABE Instructional Framework was created to assist instructors in developing lesson plans to align with TABE testing. 

Dec 6 ● 2:30 - 3:30 pm

Motivating the Adult Learner -- What Do We Know? What Have We Learned?
By Lynda Geoffroy

After extensive personal study in adult learning theory and theories of motivation, the presenter taught a GED class that would allow her to use her research in an attempt to increase her students’ motivation to learn. With an eye to improving student motivation and retention, she contextualized her research in order to study what works and what does not in getting students engaged and motivated to succeed in class.  Over the course of four months, the presenter gained a great deal of information – specifically in looking at her own curriculum, teaching methods, and the way new material is presented to students. What can we learn from things that go wrong? What is in our control to change? The presenter will share successes and, of course, situations where everything seemed to go wrong in order to show areas of instructional growth and opportunities where all instructors can work to improve adult motivation for learning.

Dec 6 ● 6 - 7 pm

Creating In-person, Virtual, and Blended Lessons for Adult Basic Education
By Nicholas Hobar

In a simulated real-world challenge, participants will observe a demo on how to develop CCRS-based in-person, virtual, and blended lesson plans for adult basic education using LearningFRONT integrated social and professional learning tools. Participants will gain insights into how a virtual professional learning community supports dynamic learning, collaboration, and shared results among ABE instructors, specialists, and stakeholders.

Dec 7 ● 10 - 11 am

Release Your Inner Administrator
By Rachel Riggs and Michelle Wichman

Whether you’d like to start on the career pathway toward being an administrator or you’d just like to understand better “what do my Adult Ed administrators WANT from me?” this session is for you. Two Adult Education administrators who moved from teaching to administration and don’t regret it, yet, will facilitate an exploration of where teaching and administration intersect. In this interactive session, you’ll learn ways to level-up your administrative skill set. Join us! 

Dec 7 ● 1 - 1:30 pm

Using the ABE Instructional Framework for CASAS
By Ramona Kunkel

The ABE Instructional Framework was created to assist instructors in developing lesson plans to align with CASAS testing. 

Dec 7 ● 2 - 2:30 pm

Boosting the Effectiveness of Digital Literacy in Adult Ed Settings with LCMC's Bootcamps
By Raul Marin and Ahu Moser

This presentation will focus on effective methods that target the digital literacy skills that adult learners need, and how an innovative digital literacy BootCamp can prepare students for success inside and outside of the classroom.

Dec 7 ● 3 - 3:30 pm

Flexible Grouping Strategies for Online and In-Person Instruction
By Shauna Egan

Working with students in small groups can help teachers gain valuable insight on their students' strengths and needs.  There are some questions to consider before getting started.  How can the students in each group be determined?  What will students do when they aren't working with the teacher?  How can the pacing of the lesson be managed?  This presentation will address each of these questions and show how the use of small groups can help teachers differentiate instruction.  

Dec 7 ● 4 - 5 pm

Survivor: Virtual Education Edition
By Tricia Berry

Did the forced transition into virtual education leave you feeling like you are alone on an island? Are you hoping for an immunity idol? If you don’t have an immunity idol, good tools for building success are the next best thing! This session will help you fill your tool box. We will discuss how to build positive relationships in the virtual world, the intersection of learning design and student engagement, and some ideas for technology to help with relationships, delivering content, and engaging students. This interactive session will be designed to show you resources available on the island and provide you with suggestions for how to use them.

Dec 7 ● 6 - 7 pm

Teacher Think Tank: Integrating the Digital Literacy Framework
By Jennifer Bonsteel and Stephanie Smith

Ready to integrate the MD Digital Literacy Framework, but not sure where to start? Start here! In this presentation, we will review the seven elements of the framework, share some of our favorite strategies, and brainstorm and collaborate with instructors from around the state. 

Dec 8 ● 10 - 11 am

Applying Adult Learning Theory to Professional Development
By Owen Silverman Andrews, Sharon Ultsch, and Linda Neuman

We have begun to reimagine our professional development at AACC to be more flexible, instructor-driven, and informed by adult learning theory. As a community of practice, please join us to explore alternative ways to design PD for adjunct faculty in adult education. The question we will explore: how might we reimagine professional development to be flexible, asset-based, and self-directed?

Dec 8 ● 11:30 am - 12 pm

NEDP Coaching Program
By Carolyn Berlin

Navigating through the NEDP can be overwhelming for many NEDP students, even very well-qualified students.  Technology issues, online research, frustration with the program, and even difficult vocabulary for ESL students can sometimes completely derail our students.   Our coaching program has been very successful at helping students complete the program.  Learn the role of a "coach" and the coaching do's and don't's to help your students achieve their goals of earning a high school diploma.  

Dec 8 ● 1 - 2 pm

Building Effective Teams
By Stacy Taylor

Understanding professional identity and organization attributes through the lens of appreciative inquiry, inspires and facilitates retention and growth for educators and students through aligning your "why" with the organization's vision and mission. Participants will explore their why, understand the alignment with their organization, and develop an action plan for improving team efficacy that will increase student engagement and retention.

Dec 8 ● 2:30 - 3 pm

Using Perusall to Create Interactive Reading Activities for Online ESOL Learners
By Lama Masri

The aim of this presentation is to share this presenter's experience using  Perusall to keep ESOL learners engaged while doing reading activities in online classes. Learners were not completing the required reading and the limitations on the synchronous classrooms made reading activities cumbersome and time consuming. Uploading the assignments to Perusall created an opportunity for students to engage with the text asynchronously while allowing the instructor to respond to students' input and track their participation.

Dec 8 ● 6 - 7 pm

Digital Journaling to Support Student Writing
By Kalie Borries

Good old-fashioned journal writing + technology = digital journaling! This session will provide applications for math and language arts, model easy ways to provide feedback to students, and highlight the many benefits of digital journaling for both instructors and students! Take your students from typing fragmented phrases to being able to compose multi-paragraph essays! This second half of this presentation will focus on how to use Google Drive to organize, view, and interact with your digital journals.

Dec 9 ● 10 - 11 am

Adult Learners and Fostering Career Readiness
By Karolina Belen

In this session we are going to focus on the 'why' behind career readiness for adult learners, examine the factors that lower workforce involvement, and focus on solutions to help foster professional growth for our students. While doing so, we will overview SkillsUSA Framework as an example of an immensely helpful resource that can be used as an aide to create career readiness skills within your instructional delivery.

Dec 9 ● 1 - 2 pm

Instruction for the GED Math Test
By Ramona Kunkel

The GED Math test is usually to most difficult section to pass. This requires instruction targeted to the topics covered on the GED Math test.

Dec 9 ● 2:30 - 3:30 pm

Professional Development Q & A
By Rachel Riggs and Denise Kline

Join us for a Q & A session in which we will address various aspects of providing program-wide professional development (PD). Bring your questions and ideas about planning and delivering PD for instructors. We will also discuss ways to follow-up with instructors to see how they have implemented the strategies introduced in PD. Guidance and resources will be provided for identifying high-quality PD options. 


Contact Us!

Having issues registering for an event?
Do you need additional assistance?

Dr. Ellen N. Beattie

Chief, Adult Instructional Services

Maryland Department of Labor