One strategy for each ACSF (LLN) skill

We are often asked for the ‘one strategy’ that will make the most difference, or will be the solution for most training contexts and learners. If only there was one top tip.

Strategies relevant to your training and workplace contexts, learner cohort, delivery mode, and delivery resources may be very different to others.  Research can also shed new light on specific strategies and approaches.

This blog offers a strategy for each of the 5 Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) Language Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) skills – Learning, Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, and Numeracy.

The tips are are not  THE ONE and ONLY best strategy. They have been selected due to current available research about that aspect, or frequently asked questions.

  1. Learning
  2. Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Oral Communication 
  5. Numeracy

1 Learning: Focus on feedback

The research related to Learning is flourishing as more is understood about how the brain works. One key tip that supports  a person to learn is feedback. (Shank, P. 2017, Practice and Feedback for Deeper Learning). Feedback to learners is critical in the adult education and workplace training context. 

We have written in more detail about the value of feedback to learners through the formative assessment stage, especially feedback about the learners’ foundation skills progress. You can recap the  strategies in our blog titled Focus on formative assessment to build foundation skills.

How do you work out what you will say to the learners so that they are supported to move forward with the task and continue to develop or practice the required foundation skill/s?

Tailored learner feedback can depend on the range and depth of the ‘data’ available to you. For many trainers, learners’ assessment task responses provide the first indication of  foundation skill progress. Communication with learners may also be possible. The emphasis is usually on what else the learner could or should do.

Have you considered checking in with all learners to obtain broader information about the training delivery elements that impact learning? There may be aspects about the training delivery that could or should be altered.

The ACER offers a Student perception of teaching questionnaire. Its purpose is to improve the quality of teaching and learning. The ACER questionnaire covers the following areas:

Learning environment

  1. Respect and rapport
  2. The learning culture
  3. Managing classroom activities
  4. Managing student behaviour

Teaching practices

  1. Purposeful teaching
  2. Effective teaching strategies
  3. Student engagement
  4. Assessment and feedback

Although this survey presents with a skew towards face to face based learning – it does still happen in the VET sector!- rapport, culture, activities and behaviour also relate to on-line/remote learning delivery.

Check the student survey administered by your RTO. What feedback about the learning environment and instruction strategies does it provide? Perhaps develop your own tool to obtain learner feedback about the learning environment and instruction strategies, or explore and implement the ACER tool to obtain learners’ perspectives.

2 Reading: Focus on skills to read between the lines

It’s likely that your training and assessment requires learners to read a range of work-based texts. Some adult learners commence training with a limited range of reading skills based on the familiar ‘comprehension’ style questions. This literal approach seeks to know if the reader can identify the who, what, when, where, and why answers.

It is not unusual to hear learners say – ‘the answer is not in here’ when they attempt an inferential question or a question requiring them to interpret the text content (required for ACSF Reading Level 3 or 4)

Competent readers demonstrate the capacity to infer and interpret at ACSF Levels 3 and 4:

  • ACSF Level 3: integrate, interpret, simple extrapolating, simple inference, simple abstracting
  • ACSF Level 4: extract, extrapolate, infer, reflect, abstract

(from the ACSF variables Reading at ACSF Level 3 and ACSF level 4)

If you are after a strategy to build learners’ skills to infer, interpret, or, read between the lines, try to change the question format to require deeper thinking or comparison.

For example: add must, would, can/could, will, might or should to the simple question starters What?, Who?, When?, Where?, How? and Why? 

ACSF Level 3 (involves reading routine texts with some unfamiliar information)

  • How could this problem be solved differently?
  • Why might the author have said ….?
  • What can the purpose of …?
  • What other opportunities should this provide?
  • How would things be different if….?

ACSF Level 4 (involves reading a range of complex texts, unfamiliar and unpredictable)

  • For what purpose would someone read these?
  • What questions can these texts answer?
  • How must the concerns be raised about ….?
  • Why might there be advice about……?
  • How could the key themes be addressed?

 3 Writing: Focus on collaborative writing

Workplace writing skills are evolving. Increasingly workplaces connect with employees through www applications. Workers are expected to communicate collaboratively, and use a range of tools to communicate with colleagues and other workers. Think about the tools and strategies you use to communicate a written message with colleagues, or within your professional network.

Most training involves writing a workplace task – the report, the client note, the income and expense record, the instruction, the compliance documents.

A connected workplace means workers need additional writing skills. The writer must establish or maintain the connection and demonstrate expertise.

Sensitivities are involvedLearners need to learn and practice the subtleties of collaborative writing, Others will read the message,

  • Is the message clear?
  • Will it create the right impression?
  • Could it offend?
  • Does it reflect my expertise?

Professor Lesley Farrell – a workforce literacy expert. Says

“Collaborative writing is now a fundamental workplace practiceWhen we write, things are at stake with each utterance …. This is not the kind of writing we teach or assess.”

Professor Lesley Farrell, 31/5/16 Accessed from: http://tinyurl.com/z5j4lvh 

Professor Farrell spoke at VALBEC annual conference 16/5/19. She will speak at:

At each conference, Professor Farrell  will discuss findings concerning the Literacy 4.0 project which focuses on the gig economy, the smart factory,  and the implications for literacy educators in workplaces.

4 Oral Communication: Focus on pragmatic skills

The ACSF refers to selecting appropriate oral communication strategies for different contexts. 

The appropriateness of what is said in a given context is referred to as pragmatic skills; the social language skills we use in our daily interactions with others.  In some workplaces, pragmatics matter.

Below are the ACSF Oral Communication indicators for the first indicator at ACSF Level 3 and Level 4

3.07 Selects and uses appropriate strategies to establish and maintain spoken communication in familiar and some unfamiliar contexts
4.07 Demonstrates flexibility in spoken texts by choosing appropriate structures and strategies in a range of contexts

Research by Mavromaras, K. et al, 2017 The aged care workforce reports that communication between residents/clients/patients and workers was identified as an issue by 88% of respondents 

Sometimes what is appropriate must be made explicit. Research has pointed to the benefit of direct instruction on the use of pragmatic language – i.e. cultural rules and language tools – especially where building or maintaining relationships is involved.

“They are not features of  language we pick up just by being exposed to them in daily life.”

From Mackay Pip, 2018 Pragmatic language skills for CALD carers working in aged care VALBEC Fine Print 2018 Vol 1 #1

In workplace roles where building rapport is important, for example in aged care, it is appropriate to use these pragmatic skills to develop rapport to achieve designated tasks. This sector involves both clients and workers from increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Where training people to work in this sector is involved – include the pragmatic skills to promote or build social connection:

  • small talk (cultural rules)
  • and humour (language tools).

 5 Numeracy: Focus on numeracy, it’s a critical 21st century skill

We know we advised that we will offer one strategy for each core skill. For numeracy we offer one podcast with the lot!

David Tout is an Australian expert in Numeracy. In this short podcast he provides key messages about:

  • what international research says about numeracy skills in Australia
  • the impact of numeracy on success
  • the numeracy demands of the 21st century workplace
  • skills and strategies to build numeracy skills

Access the podcast recording here.

https://aspirelr.com.au/pages/news-media/podcast-library/the-n-in-lln-why-its-a-crucial-skill

 

We hope you have found at least one tip that you can implement, or trial, or find out more about.

Share what interests you.

Where do ‘quality’ in VET, ASQA and foundation skills align?

Quality in VET – a common viewpoint

Each of us has a concept of quality in VET practice, shaped by our roles, connections, experiences, professional development, and the adult learners we engage with. Our perspectives are likely to be mixed, but is it possible that we share a common understanding or expectation?

NCVER asked representatives from 5 key stakeholder groups: learners, providers, employers and industry, government and regulators. Each person was asked a range of questions including what constitutes and promotes quality in VET? 

Responses to this question, as well as questions about barriers and enablers, a summary and outcome considerations are revealed in the NCVER  Griffin, T. 2017 paper: Are we all speaking the same language. Understanding quality in the VET sector.

A key summary message is:

“The common ground for all, including for governments and funders, is that learners are provided with the skills they are training for”.

https://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/publications/all-publications/are-we-all-speaking-the-same-language-understanding-quality-in-the-vet-sector (Summary)

Developing vocational competency is about developing the skills to perform the job.  Foundation skills are relevant to everyone in VET – they underpin the ability to perform all jobs and successfully undertake training.

Think about: “…how do you make sure that you are informed, in touch, and connected to the changing nature of an industry, and its practices, and then the interaction between the practices of that industry, and the skill component?”

The VET Era: Equipping Australia’s workforce for the future digital economy, 2016, p.37
Accessed from: http://tafeqld.edu.au/resources/pdf/about-us/research-papers/vet-era.pdf

ASQA student-centred audit approach

The purpose of the new student-centred audit approach is to follow the student experience and give students a greater voice.

Visit the links below for more information:

If you haven’t seen the ASQA summary video (introduced in 2017) – here it is.

“Your audit will be structured around your practices and behaviours in relation to five key phases of the student experience”

  1. Marketing and recruitment
  2. Enrolment
  3. Support and progression
  4. Training and assessment
  5. Completion

https://www.asqa.gov.au/news-publications/publications/fact-sheets/asqas-student-centred-audit-approach (Fact sheet)

ASQA’s phases of student experience and foundation skills

In the rest of this post, we list each of the five key phases of the student experience as described in ASQA’s new student-centred audit approach.  For each phase, we offer questions to consider in terms of foundation skill development.  Use these questions to reflect on your RTO’s training and assessment practice, and to ensure you provide quality VET programs that build both the vocational and foundation skills your students will need to perform in today’s workforce.

1 Marketing and recruitment

Think about:

  • Does the material make skill pre-requisites clear – e.g. minimum entry requirements,  specific foundation skills needed?
  • Is it clear that a pre-training skills assessment is undertaken prior to enrolment (or close to) to identify current foundation skill competency and support needs?

2 When a student enrols

Think about:

  • does the course meet the students’ needs – Some students are unaware of the foundation skills  ‘jump’ from one AQF level to the next.
  • can the student access technology resources independently?

3 How student learning is supported

Think about:

  • Have you checked for special learning needs?
  • What foundation skills support needs exist?
  • What strategies and processes exist to offer ‘on demand’ or ‘in-time’ assistance
  • Who, or where do the students ‘go to’ if they have a problem or difficulty?
  • Who will monitor early signs of challenge – e.g. late or missing tasks, or non-attendance?
  • How are students supported to use technology and access the learning resources?

4 How training and assessment is conducted

Think about, training.  Are students:

  • introduced to new foundation skills?
  • given time to practice?
  • offered a range of resources?
  • offered feedback that targets foundation skill performance?

 

Are you challenging participants to perform the required range and complexity of foundation skills needed to ‘do the job’ you are training?

Think about assessment practices.  Are:

  • foundation skills at the forefront when assessment tasks and tools are prepared?
  • students and assessors clear about the foundation skills that must be demonstrated?
  • foundation skills stated in the assessment criteria?
  • foundation skills confirmed in the student feedback?

“… the desired outcomes for all stakeholder groups is the assumption that learners, through their training, will gain the required skills. High-quality assessment is crucial to generating confidence in this process.”

https://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/publications/all-publications/are-we-all-speaking-the-same-language-understanding-quality-in-the-vet-sector (p44)

5 How they gain the qualification

Think about:

  • have all the requirements for successful course completion been made clear
  • have you monitored, and kept the students informed about their progress?  Are the students on track?

Conclusion

In this post, we have highlighted the intersection between ‘quality’ in VET, ASQA’s student-centred audit model, and foundation skills.  In doing so, we hope to have convinced you that a strong focus on foundation skills throughout all stages of the student experience will produce strong outcomes and increase the likelihood of a compliant ASQA audit result.

We hope this post will prompt discussion with colleagues and trigger a shift from ‘thinking about’ to ‘following through’ with a greater focus on foundation skills within your RTO.

A time to reflect on 2017 and shape 2018 foundation skill practices

 

This time of year offers an opportunity to reflect and revisit those great ideas that passed your way during the year.  Sometimes changes are made to teaching, learning and /or assessment practices as a result of that insight.

Who will find time to explore the ‘must-remember this’ collection from 2017 – those useful resources and tips pinned to the ‘remember this’ notice-board? This might be that time to ask, ‘Now where is that URL?’, ‘Where did I pin that resource suggestion?’, or ‘Where’s that blog with the 6 tips about …?’ 

Some reports are released with little fanfare and limited discovery. This blog is about one report that may, or may not have passed your way. We believe it deserves some attention and reflection. It is the 2017 OECD report:

Building Skills for all in Australia Policy Insights from the Survey of Adult Skills

If you are looking for something to prompt, prod, nudge, or trigger you into a reflective mindset, then explore this report. This OECD report is relevant to each person involved with adult education and training – regardless of the context.

This slideshow reveals a summary of the key messages. The powerpoint is pre-loaded – click the arrows to progress slides.

Look out for:

  1. the foundation skill that needs the greatest ‘shout out’
  2. the NEET recommendations (NEET ** see below)
  3. literacy and numeracy skills of graduates with high-level VET courses
  4. addressing individual needs
  5. the link between literacy and numeracy skills, and quality criteria

NEET** = Young person Not in Employment Education and Training

Each of these report findings is worthy of more attention than we provide now –  it’s not the time of year for more tips and strategies – so we will finish with one or two key points, or quotes, for you to think about.

1. Raise the numeracy profile

“One Australian in 5 performs below [ACSF] Level 2 in Numeracy, which means that around 3 million Australians struggle with the numerical reasoning necessary to cope with everyday situations (such as reading a petrol gauge).”

 Building Skills for all in Australia p48

Teach Numeracy Differently – keep it in context

Hot off the press – a new resource from one of Australia’s Numeracy experts – Dave Tout – Numeracy: teaching maths in context. Go to http://multifangled.com.au/wp/?page_id=70

Include numeracy in teaching and learning conversations.  Point out where numeracy exists – it’s everywhere. Numeracy relates to every workplace role in some way – either explicitly or implicitly – ‘How long does it take you to …?’, and it relates to many areas of life.  Here’s something relevant to most learners: What Happens in an Internet Minute 

2. Engage NEETs 

NEETS (aged 16 – 29) may be unemployed, outside the labour market and may not be looking for a job. This makes it a challenge to engage with them via usual policy and promotion.

“Almost 40% of NEETs are [school] dropouts.”

“NEETs have lower levels of non-cognitive skills than non-NEET youth…(openness, extroversion, emotional stability, conscientiousness, and agreeableness).”

OECD 2017 Building Skills for all in Australia  p.74

3. Build foundation skills for learners in high-level VET courses

Our VET system is inclusive and caters to adults with different needs.  This is a hallmark of the Australian education sector. We have a strong focus on identifying learners’ existing skills, prior to training, or as close to the start of training as possible. We use this information to plan support approaches to build foundation skills for those learners’ with identified foundation skill needs.

“For many [higher level VET] students, the problem of  basic skills is not resolved at the point of graduation”

OECD 2017 Building Skills for all in Australia p.58

4. Address individual needs

“Helping adults to improve their basic skills remains a challenge nearly everywhere and there are no easy answers. But the alternative – of doing nothing – is even worse.”

OECD 2017 Why it matters if you can’t read this accessed 12/12/17

5. Embed foundation skills within quality processes

“Some institutions may accept students with poor basic skills with no intention or capacity to address this challenge.

Basic numeracy and literacy should therefore underpin all post-secondary VET qualifications.”

  OECD 2017 Building Skills in Australia p.11

ASQA made two subtle shifts this year, each intended to strengthen the focus on quality training delivery and assessment – this includes attention to foundation skills.  ASQA:

  1. introduced a student-centred audit approach.  The summary video is here
  2. sharpened their focus on foundation skill requirements for units of comptency. See the second half of the ASQA 2017 Trainer Provider Briefing PowerPoint .

Perhaps you will be prompted to:

  • take on a new strategy
  • be more rigorous with observation
  • initiate a new approach
  • develop or revise a plan
  • increase tactic discussions
  • think, “How can I tweak my training and assessment practice to address this?”

Enjoy any time you have to reflect!

Season’s Greetings

 

 

Learners and industry employers, need YOU!

If you are preparing people for the workplace, then you have a critical role to build the bridge between the learners’ knowledge and skills, and the workplace skills demand. Learners need your expertise and guidance to make informed decisions about the range of skills graduates they will develop through delivery.

Consistent messages, like this one from the OECD (2013), signal the importance of preparing graduates with a range of skills – workplace specific and more:

“In addition to mastering occupation specific skills, workers in the 21st century must have a stock of information-processing skills, including literacy, numeracy and problem-solving, and ‘generic’ skills such as interpersonal communication, self-management, and the ability to learn, to help weather the uncertainties of a rapidly changing labour market.”

OECD Skills Outlook, 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills,
page 46.

The purpose of this post is to provide current, relevant data with compelling information designed to stimulate discussion, guide decisions and prompt action to ensure your training will be as effective as possible at preparing learners for the demands of modern workplaces. These reports offer similar messages about the predicted disruption to industries, workplaces, and workers, from broad to specific skills strategies and suggestions.

Based on current Australian research and reports, this post offers three focus areas that your learners, and employers need you to ‘tune-in’ to:

  1. Tune-in to what is expected of workers – the industry and employers’ perspective
  2. Tune-in to the range of foundation skills workers and learners need
  3. Tune-into the skills demand of your industry

To facilitate discussion, here are 48 critical thinking questions to use in any context (including training!). 

1 Tune-in to what is expected of workers – the industry and employers’ perspective

Australian reports suggest that in coming years, we will observe and experience a range of subtle to significant changes across industry workplaces, and the workforce. Two recent publications reveal compelling rationales and considerations for VET—ways of working, delivery approaches and the foundation skills focus to align with an evolving industry environment. The reports are:

  1. CSIRO & TAFE Queensland (2016). The VET Era: Equipping Australia’s workforce for the future digital economy
  2. The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC), (2017) Future skills and training: A practical resource to help identify future skills and training.

The VET Era: Equipping Australia’s workforce for the future digital economy

“It’s time to bring the VET sector back to the forefront as the key strategy to ensuring Australia’s workforce has the skills required by employers and industry and that individuals have the skills needed to continually adapt and advance in new and unfamiliar circumstances” (p 1)

  • Read employer and trainer experiences & issues
  • Look at Implications for VET – Future Skills for Learning and Educational delivery (pp. 54-55)

Future skills and training: A practical resource to help identify future skills and training.

“This project gathered and analysed data on
Australian and international skills trends and
megatrends to build an understanding of the
potential impacts on Australia’s workforce in
the future, with particular emphasis on the
implications for the VET sector.” (p 5)
Read the range of ESSENTIAL Skills (pp. 28 to 30)

Refer to these reports, and ask:

  1. how does the training you offer enable learners to be relevant to contemporary and emerging skill needs?
  2. what scope is there to innovate delivery practices?

2 Tune-in to the range of foundation skills workers and learners need

The skills mix required by industries is evolving. Employers need workers with a broader skills base, particularly in the range of foundation skills.

Yes – the foundation skills used to perform the workplace tasks remain important. An addition,  so are the foundation skills that enable workers to contribute to the enterprise objectives.  These  may be referred to as:

  • Essential skills (in the AISC report above)
  • Enterprise (Foundations for Young Australian)
  • Smart Skills (Foundations for Young Australian.)

These reports reveal the range of skills employers value, and provide clear considerations for a strong foundation skills focus throughout delivery:

  1. Australian Industry Group (2106) Workforce development needs survey report
  2. Foundations for Young Australians (2017) The New Work Smarts: Thriving in the New Work Order

Workforce development needs survey report includes employers’ current observations and concerns, eg

“Employers express some dissatisfaction with the skills of VET graduates especially problem solving, initiative and enterprise (14.4 per cent), self -­‐management, planning and organisation (13 .6 per cent) and basic numeracy (12.6 per cent).” (p. 4)

Look at the Key Findings (pp. 3-5) and Section 4: Specific Skills issues.

 

The New Work Smarts: Thriving in the New Work Order

This report focuses on what it means to be work smart. It is the fifth in a series by the Foundation for Young Australians. Although it is future focused, they note, “Some of this shift is already underway” (p. 6)
Read more about the skills needed to be Smart workers (see p. 7):
  • Smart Learners (p. 14)
  • Smart Thinker (p. 15)
  • Smart Doers (p.18)

Refer to these reports to:

  • initiate discussion about the key foundation skills messages.
  • inform the skills focus and adjustment of delivery approaches.
  • inspire others to focus on a broad range of foundation skills through training.

 3 Tune-in to the skills demand in your industry

Learners and industry employers need you to be on top of the changes to workplace roles and demands in your industry. You represent the industry area the learners are interested in—you are the expert. There is evidence that the skills mix is evolving. So…

“…how do you make sure that you are informed, in touch, and connected to the changing nature of an industry, and its practices, and then the interaction between the practices of that industry, and the skill component?”

TAFE Queensland
The VET Era: Equipping Australia’s workforce for the future digital economy, 2016, p. 37
Accessed from: http://tafeqld.edu.au/resources/pdf/about-us/research-papers/vet-era.pdf

Remember, to be competent means having the range of skills and knowledge to perform particular workplace tasks and duties expected in the workplace.

In the industry you represent:

  • what subtle or significant changes to workers roles and workplaces have you noticed?
  • how can the underpinning skills be incorporated or strengthened through delivery?

 

Prepare graduates with numeracy skills for 21st century workplaces

Workers perform sophisticated functions which require them to be confident to use mathematical skills in problem-solving situations and to see the consequences of the mathematics related procedures.” 

(2014. p. 2 Identifying and supporting quantitative skills in 21st century workers )

Workers need to interpret, use, and report mathematical information within most industries and most workplace roles. The change in workplace practice is generating new numeracy demands. To be ready for the 21st century workplace graduates require strong foundation skills – including strong numeracy skills.

This post includes four (4) key messages about numeracy and developing numeracy skills. The first comes from the AIGroup/AAMT report Identifying and supporting quantitative skills in 21st century workers. Followed by a quick reminder about what numeracy involves,  some numeracy-based resources , and numeracy-centred questions to identify the learners’ thinking . Look out for:

  1. Check – what must graduates be aware of, equipped with, and ready to do?
  2. Check your understanding of what numeracy involves
  3. Check out 4 resources that introduce numeracy concepts
  4. Check learners’ numeracy understanding

What must graduates be aware of, equipped with, and ready to do?

The Australian Industry Group and the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers partnered to explore the mathematics workers do in 11 different industries. The purpose of the project was to:

  • identify numeracy skills used in the workplace
  • identify how these skills were acquired
  • consider how the findings may influence future teaching approaches.

The 21st century workplace needs workers who tune in to the bigger picture of how and where numeracy matters, and how they, the worker, matters to that enterprise. The report providess specific numeracy skills workers are expected to perform – you may be surprised with the range. This is an interesting read. We think it will make you think about if, and how, your graduates demonstrate the skills identified. In summary, gradauates must be:

  • Aware and familiar with a broader expectation of their role and the skill repertoire.
  • Equipped with a strong focus on HOW TO (concepts, strategies and skills). In the head techniques and using tools. Identify when accuracy is critical, or estimation is ok.
  • Ready to use the outcomes to contribute to workplace, provide solutions, use an inquiry approach. THINK about what’s going on here? What is the consequence, who needs to know?

“It is now more important for teachers to consider how they teach rather than what they teach “ (2014. p. 2)

Check your understanding of what  numeracy involves

Is numeracy just the LLN word for mathematics? Most people associate numeracy with the applying mathematical knowledge – the second part of the process (the green circled aspect). But it’s more than that.

Numeracy is influenced by , and situated in Language and Literacy” 

(Dave Tout, 2015 ACER presentation,  How do the L, L and N in LLN intersect? Some connections between language, literacy and numeracy).

The first part of the numeracy process is to interpret. We use our language radar to think what is this about and what is involved? To do this we relate the contet to what we know about the context and information.  We then use literacy skills to read the information and identify key words or details.

The second part of the numeracy process is the use of mathematics – number and calculations – to find out or answer the question. We may use in the head, or paper-based, or calculator techniques.

The third part of the numeracy process is to communicate the solution. To communicate we use our language and literacy skills again. Language skills help us to respond in context and use appropriate words/sentences. Literacy skills enable us to write, speak, or indicate with a diagram the solution.

Check the language and literacy demand required to interpret the numeracy task.

Check out 4 resources that introduce numeracy concepts

Victorian Adult Literacy and basic education council (VALBEC) Beth Marr Introduction series designed for trainers. They offer tips and advice to progress these numeracy aspects:

  • How to get students talking about numeracy
  • Sense of Volume
  • Volume 2: metric units of volume
  • Making sense of fractions
  • Making sense of subtraction
  • Guess, estimate and measure

Khan Academy

Trainers can use this to, check own understanding,  demonstrate concepts to learners, or observe helpful ways to explain concepts. Each mathematics area has practice examples, and a video to explain the concept or process. Learners will need some introduction to navigate the site easily, and their own password.

Learners may need some introduction to navigate the site, and their own password.

Numbers: The context is Construction and plumbing services.  These key mathematics concepts are introduced: calculations, area, volume, ratios and measurement – and include  practice examples.

Fliplets is a hospitality resource with a strong language, literacy and numeracy focus. It can be used to introduce language and literacy across a range of kitchen related aspects.

There are 9 areas – from kitchen types and tools, to measurements, food groups, menus and recipes. Each section has a glossary – visual and audio. No practice examples but the format is is interactive.

Introduce numeracy concepts in context a variety of ways. Follow-up with examples.

Check learners’ understanding

Unpack the numeracy question – ask learners:

  • What exactly is the question asking?
  • What data is involved?
  • What calculations are involved?
  • How confident are you to work this out?

Unpack the working out – ask learners:

  • How did you work this out?
  • Explain what you are doing as you do it.
  • Does this approach make sense?
  • Are there other ways to work this out?
  • How confident are you with the answer?

Make communicating about numeracy the norm

We hope the information, suggestions and resources enable you to help graduates develop strong numeracy skills to equip them for the 21st century worklace.

 

ACSF Pre-Level 1 Supplement: 2016 version

First…
A quick reminder that our very short, online survey closes COB this Monday, 31 October 2016.  The survey asks for your feedback about our site – what works, what doesn’t, and what to feature in 2017.  We’d be grateful for your feedback.

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Thank you!  And now, back to our regularly-scheduled post!

acsf-pre-l1-supp

Hot off the press!

The Department of Education has released a new version of the ACSF Pre-Level 1 Supplement.

This new supplement will make it easier for us to meet needs of our learners.  Learners working at pre-level 1 need time to build skills, and usually progress in small steps.  The new pre-level 1 supplement describes these small—and now more recognisable—steps that learners working at pre-level 1 may take towards pre-level 1 exit level.  This will make it easier for us to more accurately identify, develop and report on the capacity of learners at ACSF pre-level 1, and identify ways to link from pre-level 1 to higher ACSF levels.

Make sure you access the 2016 DET updated version, rather than the previous PDF version

What’s new about this version?

The new ACSF Pre-Level Supplement offers, for each core skill, the same sections and structure as the 5 LLN core skills levels 1 to 5. This includes…

“… a detailed set of Indicators, Focus Areas, Performance Features and Sample Activities by which learner core skill gains can be determined and reported.”

(Department of Education and Training 2016 ACSF Pre-Level 1 Supplement, p1)

Stages are new!

At first glance, it may seem that the pre-level 1 information in this new supplement is presented in the same way as for core skill levels 1 to 5.  But this isn’t quite true.

For the first time, the new ACSF Pre-Level 1 Supplement describes two stages of progress—Stage A and Stage B—to represent the incremental progress learners may make.

The table below explains how each core skill is described in the new ACSF Pre-Level 1 Supplement:

Indicators Indicators are provided for each core skill.

Most of these start with, “Begins to …”

Focus Areas The focus areas that learners are likely to be able to demonstrate have Performance Features included.
Performance Features Performance features now describe two stages of skill development—Stage A and Stage B.
Sample Activities Sample activities are not divided into the three Communication Domains.  This is because at this level learners will need to develop their skills from highly familiar, personally relevant, and immediate contexts.

Sample activities for Stages A and B are provided.

Variables One set of variables applies to both stages.
Here’s an example

The example below shows Pre-Level 1 Writing Indicator 0.05: Begins to produce basic written text Performance Descriptions – stages A and B:

pre-level-1-3

Why should we bother using this Pre-Level 1 Supplement?

SBS’s Insight program recently aired an episode called Reading Between the Lines (first aired on 23/9/2016), which highlighted the challenges some adult learners face with developing LLN and foundation skills.

reading-between-the-lines

This episode is an important reminder of the many people in our communities who may have limited LLN/foundation skills but who sincerely want to participate successfully in today’s world. We have a responsibility to do what we can to facilitate this.

We feel that this new Pre-Level 1 Supplement will help us identify a way forward.

Extra reading… preparing pre-level 1 instruction or assessment activities

  • The Pre-Level 1 Supplement offers good practice approaches (within the Theoretical Underpinnings section, page 1)
  • The Performance Features  and Sample activities for each LLN core skill  provide a range of skills and activities that are highly useful to preparing instruction and assessment strategies and approaches
  • If you want to see some examples of instruction or assessment tasks, have a look at the  Precision Consultancy ACSF validated tools. Two examples are shown here.
Example 1:  Making numbers work

pre-l1-numeracy-eg-1

Example 2: Make a Sling

pre-l1-reading-eg1

Focus on formative assessment to build foundation skills

Formative Assessment

For this post, the Formative assessment refers to  the training stage sandwiched between Diagnostic assessment and Summative assessment. The stage of training where learners generally practise the foundation skills used to perform the workplace task.

Training Phase

Type of foundation skills assessment

Pre-training, or start of training Diagnostic assessment: check for learners’ existing foundation skills
During training
Formative assessment: check learners’ progress with learning how to perform the foundation skills embedded in the workplace task. Assessment for learning.
Completion of training Summative assessment: assess competency to perform the foundation skills embedded within the workplace task.  Assessment of learning.
The benefits of formative assessment to Build learners’ foundation

A typical training program follows the pattern:

  1. instructions about the workplace task (and the underpinning foundation skills)
  2. activities to practise the foundation skills required to perform the workplace task
  3. assess the learners’ competency to perform the workplace task with the embedded foundation skills

For learners who commence with enough workplace and foundation skills knowledge, this process may be sufficient.

But, if you have learners who:

  • are new to the workplace skill, or embedded foundation skill (Novice performer)
  • have some prior experience with the skills, but are unsure  (Advanced Beginner)
  • may need some skill revision, or a prompt to perform independently (Capable performer)

……… then, how will you know the instruction is sufficient to enable the learners to perform  independently and confidently at the time of final assessment.

For both trainers and learners it is valuable to find out as soon as possible, if learners need:

  • re-direction with ‘how-to’
  • revisiting strategies or resources
  • alternative strategies or approaches
  • alternative resources or support

……………to build foundation skills.

Adult learners:

  • can easily go off-track
  • may need to ‘un-do’ or re-learn a strategy, concept, or understanding
  • will benefit from confirmation of their approach
  • seek timely feedback

Formative assessment:

  • enables trainers to check the strength of instruction (‘how to’  …) and support strategies
  • enables the learners’ to become active participants in the learning process.

Think about ………….the implications of assuming learners are developing the necessary foundation skills, and don’t check?

We recommend an active and planned approach: Make formative assessment a priority…………..
1 implement an Assess to Learn approach

Assess Learn cycle_learningfirst.org.aublog05022016 Develop a feedback-driven learning environment where you are tuned-in to the foundation skills progress made by the learners and use this to influence the guidance and the instruction you provide, or the delivery plan overall.

  • Assesses learners’ needs – what are the learners’ skills, what do they need to learn ‘how to do’ now?
  • Select the strategies and approaches to develop the learners’ foundation skills
  • Evaluatethrough formative assessment –  the effectiveness: check progress, understanding, confidence to perform the task independently What progress have learners made?

Think about …….. how might formative assessment influence your instruction approaches to build foundation skills?

2  Where possible, stretch the Practice phase out

Formative assessment cropped

‘Dip-into’ learners’ foundation skills progress during the ‘practice’ stage of delivery. Build into the practice stage frequent opportunities to capture what learners CAN do, and the  challenges they face. Be open to their reflective comments.

The benefits of collaborative activity

“Beware of the lonely learner: they are at risk of making less progress”

Denise Meyerson  2016 , Emerging Trends in Learning ACPET webinar

For learners: Working with others or responding to the thoughts and ideas of others helps to shape the learning and provides an ‘informal’ formative assessment.

For trainers: Providing feedback to a group is effective and impacts all learns involved – it may also be less time -consuming.

Think about ………when are the timely opportunities to check in with learners as they practise the foundation skills independently, or with others?

3 Tune-in to learner’s skill development, some suggested etools

Some etools to assist formative assessment:

Other approaches: 53 Ways to check for understanding
4 make the check in worthwhile for you and the learner

The type of feedback can make the difference between the learner moving forward or not.

  1. Accessed from www.freeimages.com under creative commons licence 8/8/16
    Accessed from http://www.freeimages.com under creative commons license 8/8/16

    Clarify steps, reveal the foundation skill nuances for this workplace context, expose common mistakes, or misunderstandings.

  2. Confirm progress, strengths and what’s needed
  3. Construct clear benchmarks/checklists/rubrics with what is expected or required

 

If you are interested in:

How to build LLN assessment into VET training (including formative assessment):

  • join us as we deliver a webinar via Velg on 30 August, 2016.
  • contact us to answer your questions

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Learners’ Week 2015 – Unlocking Learning

 Get ready. The time to celebrate is almost here.

ALW2015_20yearsSeptember signals two United Nations (UNESCO) endorsed celebrations; Adult Learners’ Week and International Literacy Day. It’s a time to promote the opportunities you offer to enable adults to continue to learn. It’s also time to celebrate their achievements. 2015 is a twenty year milestone for Australian Adult Learner’s Week Celebrations.

 

What is the purpose? What is celebrated? adl ild

The 2015 theme: Unlocking Learning

I remember a song by The Whitlams – Keep the Light On – with these words that neatly express the challenges we and the adult learners sometimes face in the challenge and goal to search for the key to unlock learning:

We stumble into each other’s lives and we knock some things over, Try not to make a sound, Each time you reach out, a new shout or shine-on, We run in and fall out, fumble around for the key ………….

Purchased from Stocksy 4/8/15
Purchased from Stocksy 4/8/15

 

Regardless of the adult learners’ age, or the teaching context, it is a privilege to facilitate adult learning.

 

 

 

If you’d like strategies and ideas to unlock learning and build learners’ literacy (foundation skills), then you might like to:

  • participate in the LLN and VET Meeting Place Teaching Tips to build your learners’ foundation skills Webinar series.
  • communicate with a Foundation Skills Champion in your state, or a similar workplace context. The National Foundation Skills Strategy Project provides details.
  • ask questions and obtain ideas on the FS Teach Facebook group.

Participate in Adult Learners’ Week

If you’d like to find out more about, or be involved with Adult Learner’s Week, then you might like to: