Publication - Progress report

Learning Connections Adult Literacies Phase-Two Pathfinders: Evaluation Framework

Published: 13 Nov 2007
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
ISBN:97807559

This report describes the development and support of an evaluation framework and evaluation tools for the eight phase two Pathfinder projects.

Learning Connections Adult Literacies Phase-Two Pathfinders: Evaluation Framework
Appendix IV

Appendix IV

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ADULT LITERACIES (2ndPHASE) PATHFINDERS

PROJECT PROFILES

Challenge Dad

Background

Challenge Dad is based in Aberdeen and provides opportunities for men to build upon existing literacies skills and develop new ones. The project's activities focus on dads working with their children - helping learners to increase awareness of their own and their child's learning. Challenge Dad has developed existing partnerships and established new links across Aberdeen City.

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Practice

The project organises fun events for fathers or carers and their children. Events incorporate literacy-related activities to help parents build their skills and develop ways to support their children's learning. The project has used sport, outdoor activities, ICT and participative short courses to engage a wide group of men. Challenge Dad has committed itself to a learner-centred approach, developing learning resources with participants to contextualise the experience within their lives and taking time to build quality relationships based on trust and respect. Innovation comes in the target group for the project.

Challenges

  • Partnerships and time have been the most prevalent issues during the project.
  • The project has found that effort is needed from all partners to develop and sustain new work - successful partnership work has been through a matched effort.
  • Time is vital when working with disengaged groups, time to build relationships is most important.

Learning points

  • A learner-centred approach takes time to develop
  • Not enough services are focussed on men
  • Men are difficult to engage and need support
  • Appropriate funding is essential
  • Practice should be informed by research.

Countdown East End

Background

Countdown East End focuses on sustainable community development. It runs alongside the PEEPS project, which provides a variety of adult learning courses for parents of primary school children in the East End of Glasgow. Countdown East End supports the PEEPS project by identifying unstated literacy and numeracy need and addresses this need through a system of Peer Educators.

Countdown East End was specifically designed to build upon the existing skills, knowledge and experiences of learners. Peer Educators encourage all participants to become actively involved in the wider social justice issues of their communities.

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Practice

Aims:

  • To increase the community's ability to identify and tackle literacies problems where they exist
  • To build the confidence and skills of individuals to allow them to participate in community activity
  • To promote lifelong learning
  • To develop an effective monitoring & evaluation system.

After consultation with the local community, a wide range of innovative course programmes were designed, including:

  • Build Your Skills

The aim of the course is to teach new skills and encourage teamwork. The course utilises the practical element of building a doll's house, however each aspect of the "build" is underpinned with a literacy element. The course also builds practical skills such as budgeting and internet use.

  • Peer Educators Course

The aim of this course is to give the Peer Educators an insight into the decision-making processes that affect people in the East End and in the wider community. Participants visited Council and SIP meetings and looked at the work done by Credit Unions, Citizens' Advice Bureaux, Community Councils and individual SIP projects. The literacy element included reading agendas, minutes and documentation, the use of the internet for research, interviewing decision makers and writing reports.

  • L- PADS (Learners Partnership Agreement Diary)

The L-Pad document has been designed by the learners. It contains all the information normally contained within a traditional ILP but also records the soft indicators that can be difficult to monitor.

  • Reflective Diaries

All learners keep a reflective diary. A diary can do more than simply record what happens in a session. It also provides an opportunity to be reflective, to ask questions, and to consider ways in which we might change what we do in future sessions.

Challenges

  • Adapting courses to meet the needs of literacies learners
  • Developing an effective monitoring and evaluation system
  • Developing a method of recording ILPs that took into account the needs of not only the learners but those of other partners - L- PADS (Learners Partnership Agreement Diaries)
  • Developing a Peer Educators course that is relevant to the Peer Educators and to the other learners
  • Ensuring an effective and reactive method of engaging with the community.

Learning Points

  • Consult effectively with the community to understand their learning requirements
  • Meet with individual learners on a regular basis to discuss their progress and learning needs. L- PADS
  • Staff and tutors should be aware of the individual and local issues that can affect learner progression
  • Utilise existing resources available within the community
  • Ensure effective partnership working.

Farm Plus

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Background

Research confirmed that there is a need for ALN support within the agricultural sector - and that the intensive seasonal nature of the work and long hours make normal patterns of delivery problematic. The remote rural locations of many employees in this sector doesn't allow for the traditional group work learning experience.

Through Farm Plus literacy and numeracy learning is delivered to individuals within the agricultural sector in Dumfries and Galloway, particularly those who live in remote rural areas. This is a combination of one-to-one tutor support, telephone and e-mail support and learning materials developed for, and accessed through, the Farm Plus website.

This research project aims to identify the learning mode, or combination of learning modes that best supports delivery in remote rural areas. This will inform future delivery locally and nationally.

Practice

Main activities

The project provides the following:

  • 1:1 tutor support to learners in their home of up to 40 hours face to face learning time per annum
  • each learner works to identified personal learning goals negotiated through a personal learning plan with progress being recorded through records of work
  • learning is centred on improving learners literacies and IT skills
  • a dedicated website - www.farmplus.ac.uk - which contains downloadable contextualised materials, a news section, texts with audio, an audio glossary of key words with definitions and sample sentences, interactive crosswords, word searches and cloze exercises, and a discussion forum for learners and tutors
  • a folder of paper-based contextualised learning materials for learners
  • a PC, printer and dedicated phone line installed in each learner's home.

Innovations

  • Farmplus is the only literacies project and website to be solely contextualised in the farming sector
  • The level of audio support provided is much higher than any other comparable website or project
  • The quality of visual materials: photographs of actual scenes and activities are used whenever possible as opposed to computer-generated graphics
  • Farmplus is the only website literacies project which also provides 1:1 tutor support to learners
  • The provision of a PC and 24/7 dial up in the learner's home is also unique
  • Farmplus takes the learning to the learner, thereby targeting a hard to reach group and overcoming the barrier of rural isolation.

Challenges

Key Challenges

  • Identifying and engaging with individuals with ALN needs within this sector
  • The remote rural locations of learners with demanding working lives
  • Meeting the original design of the project, which was over-ambitious in terms of technological specifications
  • Identifying tutors and training them in terms of technology and learning materials
  • Co-ordinating a small number of learners over a region that covers 2,500 square miles.

Significant Issues

  • The technology at our disposal was not adequate to meet the original aim of producing web cast broadcasts
  • The location of the learners meant that we were not able to use Broadband
  • Responding to the demand for materials from the learners within the hours allocated to project team.

Learning points

  • More lead in time to set up infrastructure
  • Additional hours for the development of literacies materials should have been allocated earlier in the project
  • The need for a broad range of learning modes that learners can access and use. Learners require their individual blend - the range of materials and modes needs to be broad so that the most effective blend for the individual can be created from this
  • Pilot projects of this type require a flexible and adaptable approach.

Healthwise Aberdeen

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Background

Healthwise Aberdeen aims to:

  • raise literacy awareness in the health sector
  • provide integrated literacies / health courses and 1:1 learning opportunities
  • support the production of easy to understand health information
  • increase the number of literacy referrals coming from the health sector
  • promote the use of health literacy in everyday tutoring practice by Adult Learning tutors.

The project aims to engage local people from the target areas, local health staff, Public Health staff and Adult Learning tutors.

Practice

Throughout the project we have worked in new ways to build links between Adult Learning, the health sector and local communities. We have developed our activities in response to feedback from local people, health staff and Adult Learning tutors.

Raise literacy awareness in the health sector

We have worked to develop strong relationships with the local health sector:

  • conducted a baseline survey into literacy awareness within local health sector
  • attended and gave presentations at health meetings and forums
  • provided informal advice to health staff through contact with the Learning Advisor Service
  • produced awareness raising resources for health staff

Provide integrated literacies / health courses and 1:1 learning opportunities

The project has developed and provided group and 1:1 learning opportunities in response to feedback from local people. New groups include Log on to Health, Lunch and Learn, Food for the Family, Able with Labels and Family Health groups, as well as general literacy and numeracy provision.

Support the production of easy to understand health information

  • provided advice on making health resources more accessible
  • have rewritten health information and publicity for health services to make it more accessible, at the request of Public Health staff
  • produced a Clear Communication pack for health staff
  • worked with local people to develop health resources.

Increase the number of literacy referrals coming from the health sector

The Learning Advisor Service was based in local health clinics to engage local people who access health services, in order to provide information on local learning opportunities and Healthwise Aberdeen groups.

Promote the use of health literacy in everyday tutoring practice by Adult Learning tutors

  • established a Healthwise Aberdeen resource section in the Adult Learning Resource Library following consultation with staff and tutors
  • held a resource launch night for tutors
  • attended regular tutor meetings and training courses to talk about the project.

Challenges

  • Time issues

Every one of our aims could have been a full time project in itself. We therefore had to prioritise and be realistic about the amount that one project worker could achieve. It is important not to underestimate the amount of time needed to effectively meet local needs. It takes time to coordinate effective provision.

  • Need for flexibility

Partnership working requires a flexible approach. The original plan of delivering formal awareness raising sessions to health staff had to be adapted to an informal approach due to the training structures in place within the NHS and the time constraints on health staff.

Learning points

  • Health literacy is an important area of work

It has become clear how important health literacy is - there is real demand from health staff, tutors and local people. It has the potential to improve health care, the communication of health information, and understanding of health issues.

  • Health literacy is an excellent way to engage new learners

It is relevant to peoples' lives and has been successful in attracting new learners who do not traditionally attend community services.

  • There is interest in health literacy and a demand for the approach used

We are currently using all our resources to meet demand from potential learners, health and community staff.

  • A targeted health literacy project has been a worthwhile thing to do

Having a specific project to concentrate on health and literacy has enabled us to target work and resources in a way that would not otherwise have been possible. The results provide ample evidence that this has been worthwhile.

Homing In on Literacy

Background

Homing In on Literacy aims to reduce the number of adults and particularly young adults facing homelessness by addressing the issue of sustainable tenancy. The project provides those who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation with the literacy and numeracy skills necessary for dealing with tenancy matters. Homing In on Literacy helps learners to maintain their tenancy and thus avoid the revolving door of homelessness.

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Practice

The most innovative approach adopted by this Pathfinder has been to take learning opportunities to learners where they are. An open and informal view of engagement has supported an open door approach.

  • The project has provided one to one dedicated literacy support to learners
  • 'Skinflints' resettlement programmes
  • Provided in house learning opportunities within hostels and housing projects
  • Used a multi media approach to engaging learners through film and creative writing.

Challenges

  • Meeting the objectives of a multi agency steering group
  • Publicising the project - appropriate networking
  • Raising awareness of literacy and the barriers faced by people with low levels of literacy skills
  • Developing user led services.

Learning points

  • Working with a transient group, the project has had to respond by providing transient learning sessions. These enable learners to produce a piece of work within one or two day workshops
  • Learning opportunities have to tap into learners interests
  • Short fix approach is not most effective with this particular learner group
  • Have to recognise limits to 'move on' options - eg. college not always appropriate.

Links to Literacies

Links to Literacies logo

Background

Links to Literacies is about the development of a model to increase the communication, collaboration, representation and partnership between statutory and voluntary partners, to ultimately increase the number of literacies learners.

Links to Literacies aimed to identify how the links between voluntary groups and literacy provision could be strengthened through the model of a Link Worker and local networks of voluntary organisations. Many people engaged with voluntary groups have literacies needs. Links to Literacies aimed to establish better systems for reaching excluded learners - and engage the voluntary sector in literacies planning and delivery mechanisms.

The target groups were local and national voluntary organisations in seven pilot local authority areas: Angus, Argyll & Bute, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Inverclyde, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire.

Practice

A literacies Link Worker operates in each of the local authority areas to improve collaboration between the local Adult Literacies Partnership ( ALP) and a local network of voluntary organisations (an average of 10). Link Workers were recruited and trained from the voluntary sector.

Information on literacies provision and planning was cascaded through the Link Worker at regular meetings and in newsletters. Training and development opportunities and resources (books, materials, etc) were made available to the Link Workers and member organisations through the Links to Literacies Co-ordinator.

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Challenges

At the start of the Project, it was discovered that the majority of voluntary organisations encountered knew little about the literacies plans of their local ALP. The Key Contacts of the ALPs were similarly unaware of many of the local organisations and their work. Almost all of the voluntary organisations wanted to be more involved with adult literacies.

The other common obstacle that organisations faced was the pressure of time and the lack of resources, including staff, to enable full involvement in literacies.

The key challenges therefore were:

  • To increase the flow of information between the ALP and the voluntary sector
  • To raise awareness of literacies in the wider sense among voluntary sector organisations
  • To facilitate awareness raising training for voluntary organisations
  • To encourage the sharing of good practice, knowledge and experience among voluntary organisations in the pilot areas
  • To facilitate involvement of the voluntary sector through effective representation (via the Link Workers) on the ALPs.

Learning points

The network approach of Links to Literacies has proved highly effective as indicated by the following statistics:

  • 87 per cent of voluntary organisations (surveyed after being involved with the project for around 12 months) indicated that they were aware of clients with literacies needs. Not all of these are referred to literacies provision - many clients are supported by the voluntary organisations themselves
  • 67 per cent of respondents reported that their level of awareness had increased since engaging with Links to Literacies
  • 78 per cent were more aware of other literacies providers who could support their organisation or clients
  • 53 per cent of respondents felt that they had stronger links with the local Adult Literacies Partnership
  • All Key Contacts noted an increase in the number of voluntary organisations involved in the local partnership.

Stirling Partnership - Challenge and Change

Background

The Stirling Pathfinder aimed to establish literacy and numeracy programmes which effectively meet the changing needs and aspirations of people with learning disabilities.

The project builds on a strong history of partnership working in Stirling - in the fields of learning disability and adult learning. We became more and more aware that new opportunities were opening up for people with learning disabilities, as a result of national and local initiatives. We felt very strongly that to make the most of these, people needed a chance to develop literacy and numeracy skills relevant to their developing opportunities - in short, acknowledging in curriculum terms that people with learning disabilities are people, first and foremost.

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Practice

  • Consultation events with learners, and those who had previously been learners, but opted out
  • A residential event exploring different ways of enabling people to articulate their ideas - for example, using drama and creative writing
  • Programmes delivered in response to the needs identified - including campaigning (using Powerpoint to produce a presentation on rural transport issues), and literacies for work (which will end with learners on work experience in a local supermarket)
  • Support staff trained in PDAITALL, and assisting in literacies programmes
  • Pilot of awareness raising training
  • Production of curriculum.

Innovation

  • People with learning disabilities have led the direction of the Pathfinder's activities
  • Linking the task of developing the curriculum with delivering learning opportunities
  • Consultation with learners , and with others involved in the learners' lives
  • 'Learn by doing' - challenged how people thought (staff and learners)

Challenges

For us, the most significant issue was in relation to staff recruitment, which in the initial stages proved very difficult. In the longer term we were fortunate that the blend of skills and experience from staff we were able to attract was the right mix at the right time.

Initially, there was some reluctance to accept the need for a bilingual approach, although this has been overcome.

Learning points

  • Partnership is essential - because so many individuals and agencies impact on and have influence over the lives of people with learning disabilities, it is crucial that we work together, and that we have a shared value base
  • All of us need to raise the expectations that we have of what people with learning disabilities can achieve. We've learnt that great things can happen when people are supported - and have access to the right kinds of learning opportunity. We need to think about people with learning disabilities first and foremost as people, with the same hopes, fears and aspirations as everyone else
  • We need to engage those who support people with learning disabilities, so that they understand and maximise the learning opportunities provided by everyday activities
  • We need to take a wide view of 'literacy and numeracy' in the context of learning disability - for example, sometimes it might be easier for someone to enact through drama than to articulate through a visual medium, the written or spoken word.
  • We need to recognise the importance of a variety of resources and the need to work with specialist practitioners, for example in assistive technology. A limited view of the potential of resources limits the potential of learning opportunity
  • We need to think creatively about how we deliver programmes. The learning may be more effective if a programme is delivered over three days in one week, than for a few hours once a week for ten weeks.

The Welcoming

Background

The Welcoming brings together refugees, asylum seekers, Scottish and local minority ethnic communities. The aim is to socialise, share cultures and learn together. Newcomers learn about Scots society and culture, and practice their English speaking and writing.

The project is based in the Adult Learning Project ( ALP) which has been delivering adult education services in Edinburgh for over twenty years.

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Practice

  • The Welcoming takes place each Wednesday from 11am till 3.30pm at the Methodist Central Hall in Tollcross, Edinburgh with an office in the ALP Tollcross Centre
  • ESOL / literacy groups discuss a theme, followed by more detailed work including writing, discussion, arts work, drama in small groups
  • The morning has 15-20 people dropping in, and we provide childcare
  • ALP participants, volunteers, speakers, artists and other participants join the morning groups for lunch and then all join the afternoon sessions. We regularly have between 35 and 50 for lunch
  • The themes have been chosen by the participants. They have included such topics as Festivals, Marriage, Education, Health Visual Arts, Drama and Personal Safety.

Innovation

  • There is a celebratory element to the day with some music, singing or dancing
  • The project is unique in facilitating a dialogue between the local ALP students, including literacy students, and newcomers to Scotland
  • We have a Welcoming newsletter
  • There are regular outings to community events and places of interest, links with arts organisations and an extensive information and referral service
  • The Welcoming employs three bilingual outreach workers
  • The numbers attending have been consistently rising over the period and are maintained between 40 and 50
  • We hold mass planning and evaluation sessions
  • There is a Steering group and a subcommittee of the ALP Association
  • The Welcoming was one of 32 projects selected to represent the communities of Scotland at "The Riding of the Scottish Parliament"
  • We have established The Welcoming as the principal gateway into the communities of Edinburgh for newcomers
  • The Welcoming created an evening class "Scotland for newcomers".

Challenges

  • To contact and involve ethnic minorities
  • To develop a literacies practice on a drop in basis
  • To create space for the participants to get their voices heard
  • To involve and deploy 8/10 volunteers per session
  • To move as part of the ALP project to a new community
  • To maintain an effective staff team

Learning points

  • The close relationship to a "Mother" project is crucial. The ALP association was very supportive
  • Volunteers are abundant and willing but need careful, clear deployment, preparation and training
  • Dealing with a wide range of abilities in English and literacy requires dedicated and highly skilled workers - and lots of preparation
  • The well structured but highly dialogical thematic approach is very effective in fostering warm and productive relationships across cultural difference
  • Eating, singing, dancing, making artworks and drama together has a powerful and highly valued role in humanising the educational space, and building real community.