Accessibility – ensuring content is Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust. Zooming in on the U part of that and considering the cross over of supporting learners to upskill Language Literacy and Numeracy skills has been a big part of my thinking and reading as of late.
It should be. There are some surprising statistics about Australia that shows about half of our working population needs some sort of help with LLN. It’s not that people cannot read or add up numbers – it’s that sometimes their work environments make demands that even the most educated can find challenging. Consider doctors who may not be native English speakers or a recently retrenched factory worker having to go back to school and learn how to learn again – or me, who is hopeless with the metric system when it comes to weights and measures!
To help crystallise my thinking and to address a stated need by my colleagues, I set out to research what online resources existed. I was looking for ones that would provide a level of interactivity, good, useful information and would meet standards of accessibility for people who are differently abled and across various devices. I didn’t find much quite frankly.
Some colleagues asked me to create learning objects on formal and informal writing and writing complete sentences. I worked very hard on them and finally published them yesterday (YAY me!).
But today, I find myself not as pleased with my efforts.
The Queensland VET Development Centre’s Symposium report “What’s happening with language, literacy and numeracy in vocational education and training (VET)?” was a bit of a wake-up call.
Specifically this:Oh damn. What I should have done is explored what sort of writing these people are going to be doing in their work and drawn from that – report writing, emails, filling in forms – and created my learning objects based on THAT. What I’ve created isn’t bad, it is just unplugged, a thing apart.
‘Built in, not bolted on’
While learners with very low level skills can benefit from stand-alone delivery to prepare them for vocational learning, at most AQF levels, contextualisation in VET makes LLN skill development more meaningful and effective. As Skills Australia point out in their discussion paper on the future of VET:
Connecting LLN to a student’s core VET program enables the student to address their poor LLN skills in a meaningful and relevant context.
In creating resources for students, I need to create resources that would go into their courses – not sit in the Help Centre on their own. I focused on the output, not the problem, and in doing so created two pretty,shiny things that will in all likelihood rust away unused and unloved.
So glad I learned it now before I churned out more pretty, shiny things that are completely irrelevant. Don’t let this happen to you!