An update: LLN links for vocational trainers

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Why this post?

If you are a VET practitioner, you will know of the many recent and ongoing changes to Australia’s VET sector.  As a result, there have been changes to how to access LLN (and foundation skills) information online.

In this post, we list up-to-date links for LLN and foundation skills information, resources, and tools. 

Of course, we also hope you’ll visit the resource links pages of our website, which have the links we’ll post here, and much more!

All links listed below are current at the time of writing.

See LLN teachers in action – video links

Ideas that work

Ideas that Work is an organisation that produces a range of professional development videos for use in a variety of industries.  A series of short LLN-targeted videos, called What Works for LLN is available for free online viewing.

What Works for LLN videos offer something for everyone—for trainers and assessors, for other RTO staff, for LLN specialists, and for people studying how to address LLN in training.

National Foundation Skills Strategy Project

One outcome of the 2014-2015 National Foundation Skills Strategy (NFSS) Project was a set of four video resources demonstrating different approaches to building foundation skills in a vocational context.

The different contexts and learner cohorts provide a valuable source of planning and delivery approaches.

National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults (New Zealand-based)

You may be wondering ‘why a New Zealand site’? New Zealand’s National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults provides a valuable source of strategies and resources to support the development of foundation skills within workplace training. You can read the latest outcomes of the NZ Adult Literacy focus here

One resource example is a You Tube channel that contains an extensive library of videos. There are 86 videos addressing aspects of Literacy! Below is just one example from their suite of videos covering Numeracy:

Self-paced online activities to build LLN skills

BBC Skillswise website

This site features various self-serve, self-paced activities that help people develop:

  • English skills
  • Literacy skills
  • Numeracy skills.

You may want to direct your learners to this site.

Khan Academy

This is a great site to help you or your learners build numeracy skills.

The Khan Academy is particularly good to watch and hear someone explain mathematical concepts and processes, from simple to complex. Learners can practice, check their attempt, and get immediate corrective instruction.

Examples of how to conduct ACSF assessments

Example 1 IBSA Pre-training Assessment Video on the IBSA video channel

Observe how these trainers approach  an LLN pre-training assessment.

Example 2 – videos created by Linda Wyse and Associates, in conjunction with Great Southern Communications

These videos let you observe how ACSF core skill assessments may be conducted. You will see:

  1. An ACSF assessment interview of an adult learner (Paul or Zoe), conducted by LLN specialists. As you watch this interview, consider how the learner responds to questions.  Identify the level of ACSF core skills you think the learner demonstrates.  Then watch the second video:
  2. A video of a discussion between LLN specialists as they discuss the levels of each core skill demonstrated by the learner. This video gives you an insight into how LLN specialists reach decisions about the core skill levels held by a learner.  You can also compare your thoughts with those of the specialists.

These videos are copyright (©) to the Commonwealth of Australia.  Please read the terms of use you’ll find when you visit each link.

ACSF assessment of Paul (Paul works in industry)

  1. View Paul’s ACSF assessment interview
  2. Listen to foundation skills specialists as they discuss the ACSF core skill levels demonstrated by Paul

ACSF assessment of Zoe (Zoe wants to learn English)

  1. View Zoe’s assessment interview
  2. Listen to foundation skills specialists as they discuss the ACSF core skill levels demonstrated by Zoe

Where to find LLN assessment tools

Precision Consultancy

Precision Consultancy has produced a suite of freely-available, LLN industry-validated ACSF assessment tools.  Some tools are generic (i.e. relevant to any industry) and others are industry-specific.

Each tool includes instructions for assessors on how to use the tool and lists the core skills and levels covered.  These tools also give terrific examples of what you might expect at each core skill level. So even if you don’t need them as assessment tools, you may use these as examples to help you write your own instructions for learners.

Other LLN assessments

At the time of writing, the Precision Consultancy ACSF assessment tools were the only tools that meet our criteria of being BOTH free, and validated by the adult literacy industry.

Keep your eye on the horizon for the Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT).  We are waiting for the Department of Education and Training to release it (hopefully soon).

General LLN information and research

If you’re interested in staying up to date with latest research on LLN and foundation skills, we suggest:

Foundation Skills POD by the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research (NCVER)

NCVER has set up this POD as a ‘hub’ of information and resources relevant to foundation skills and LLN skills in vocational education and training. The POD offers a collection of recent research across the different foundation skills related aspects. You will also see links to key international bodies also tuned into the development of ‘essential skills’, ‘adult literacy’ skills, or ‘foundation skills’.

How can digital skills support foundation skills?

accessed under creative commons license from https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1439219970881-3727d2e3402a?q=80&fm=jpg&s=892a23f2aff428670fb78e821072b97d

We know the digital world will continue to influence our lives into the future. We also know there is a vast array of digital tools and applications useful to the training context. Keeping abreast of developments and possibilities is a challenge.

There are so many possible links, examples and tools that there was risk of the content and quantity becoming overwhelming. The aim is to suggest online and e-tools, ways of using them, strategies and case study examples etc. that would have potential for supporting highly diverse students in a Foundations Skills context – it is not about how Foundation Skills practitioners could create “one-size-fits-all” courses, nor is it about testing students to determine individual needs. Finding solutions to support Foundation Skills development is not formulaic so the intention is to provide a range of examples, tools and ideas to enable practitioners to dip in and try things that resonate with them and/or their students.

Flexible Learning E-Standards for training Foundation Skills Toolkit introduction.

If you are:

  • interested in using digital tools, and are unsure where to start?
  • looking for more digital learning tips and strategies?
  • watching your learners using digital tools, and you want to build on that platform?
  • pondering which tools could support which foundation skills?

Then, have a look at:

  • this eWorks article could be just what you need to kick start or reinvigorate digital activity
  • a webinar series : Teaching Tips to build your learners’ foundation skills (digital strategies included)
  • the popplet clusters tools into three groups; for collaboration with and between learners , for gathering feedback, and for presentation
  • technology assisted links at Resource Links, Teaching Strategies 2 on this site

You may have ideas and feedback about strategies you have tried – share them with others  by adding a comment to this post.

Overcoming the first sentence syndrome

accessed from https://download.unsplash.com/1/irish-hands.jpg 210715 under creative commons license

Writing can be hard work, especially getting started. Finding  the words to write the first sentence can pose a challenge and potentially block the flow of ideas and actions to complete the writing task.

Start a sentence v2The first sentence provides the expectation of what’s next, or indicates what the text is about. The audience (reader) refers to the style, complexity, grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary as clues to gain meaning. Learners can stumble at this important writing stage.

How can we assist learners to overcome the first sentence syndrome?

If your learners need to write –reports, procedures, policies, business letters, abstracts, conclusions, introductions, summaries, emails, personal journals, opinion pieces, WHS reports, narrative pieces, blog posts, learning reflections …………and they are challenged to get started, then providing focused and direct scaffolding can enable learners to progress independently.

It’s easy to assume that scaffolding writing skill is usually necessary for learners with limited foundation skills capacity and higher level learners don’t need this type of support. When faced with writing an unfamiliar text type, learners may feel like a Novice, or Advanced Beginner (CSfW) uncertain about how to get started. Regardless of the text type and complexity, learners appreciate knowing how to approach writing for the intended purpose.

If you are introducing new writing genres or text types, reveal:

  • the text purpose and audience: what message is intended, and who will be reading this?
  • the text type: what is the expected vocabulary, language and text format?

Encourage learners to:

  • spend time planning (key points, heading sub-headings): gathering ideas or specific information, and locating resources
  • edit and rearrange their writing: know it is normal to redraft, many writers visit and revisit
7 Sentence Writing Strategies

The following strategies:

  1. can be used within different text types and complexity.
  2. adapt to different delivery models and web-based tools.
  3. support foundation skill development across ACSF and CSfW levels.
  4. are accessed from different sources:
  • Teaching Adults to Write to Communicate: located on this site in the Resource Links Teaching Strategies  (page 2)
  • QCAL Tutor Tips:  located on this site in the Resource Links Teaching Strategies  (Page 1)
  • Gelman, H. Everyone can write: A Guide to get you started  (book details see below)
Strategy
Source

Running Dictionary. A skill building activity featuring relevant grammar , punctuation or vocabulary features.

For a detailed description, access QCAL Tutor Tip Running Writing

Sentence Soapbox. Learners individually write a sentence for a specific purpose. Sentences are redistributed anonymously, read, shared and edited by peers.  

 For a detailed description, access QCAL Tutor Tips Sentence Soapbox

A shared (or guided) approach to writing. This enables the trainer to discuss and model writing strategies as the learners try independently.

 For a detailed description, access Teaching Adults to Write to Communicate, page 28.

Provide a writing frame.  For example ask questions, or provide a short description of what should be included within the sentence.

. For a detailed description, access Teaching Adults to Write to Communicate, page 31

Provide example sentence starters for different text types.

Gelman, H. (2014) Everyone can write: A guide to get you started Exisle Publishing PTY Ltd

Build Word Maps. Explore learners’ known relevant vocabulary, introduce new vocabulary, demonstrate linkages, antonyms, synonyms.

  For a detailed description, access Teaching Adults to Write to Communicate, page 36.

Encourage learners to collect samples of opening sentences for particular text types or text sections. These can be shared, building a group collection or resource.

Gelman, H. (2014) Everyone can write: A guide to get you started. Exisle Publishing Pty Ltd

Building foundation skills through vocational training: first steps

 

If developing learners’ foundation skills is important to you or your RTO, this post will give you:

  • some practical ways to get started, and

  • links to information about our forthcoming workshop titled:

“Build it in: How to merge foundation skill development with adult education and training”

 7th August 2015, in Sydney.

Access the details here or download the workshop flyer

Before we start, if you are new to foundation skills, background information about the national agenda and the current foundation skills description, is available here.

Focusing on foundation skills within training is a National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults priority..

Building foundation skills through vocational training:  fact vs myth

VET ad FS togetherMyth: By teaching the vocational task (e.g. hairdressing), all learners build competence in both the vocational task and in the foundation skills needed to perform that task.

Fact: To develop foundation skills, some learners need explicit foundation skill-building strategies merged into vocational programs

So what are explicit foundation skill-building strategies?

The key word here is, ‘explicit’.  To be explicit is to be proactive and make foundation skill development in our vocational training both obvious and

highly visible

… i.e. explicit.

We can’t just hope that if we concentrate on teaching the vocational task, foundation skills will come. They may, but with many learners they may not.

How can I get started?

To get started, adopt a dual-delivery focus to your vocational training programs.  Focus on:

  1. How to build vocational skill – e.g. ability to cut hair, AND
  2. How to build the foundation skills needed to perform the skill at work – e.g. speaking and listening skills needed to converse with clients while cutting hair; numeracy skills needed to calculate the bill for the hair treatment.

Devise training strategies that cover both vocational skill and foundation skills.

Here’s a 2 step process to consider

  1. Explore the training content foundation skills

  2. Explore how you can reveal the foundation skills ‘how to do it’ steps’

1    Explore the training content foundation skills

What do the learners need to do?

Look at the task from a different perspective. Instead of focusing on the task only from the perspective of the what you intend to deliver, align your reflection towards the foundation skills and ask, when the learners do this, what will they actually need to do? What skills or knowledge are involved with this task?

For example, what is involved with:

  • recording case notes?
  • developing spreadsheets?
  • completing this project?
  • costing electrical installation?
  • analysing policy documents?
  • preparing a speech?

Ask, what will the learners actually need to do to complete the tasks? What skills and knowledge are involved to be able to perform that task? If you find examples helpful, here are some resources describing foundation skills within a mix of industry, and government roles.

2    Explore how to reveal the ‘how to do it’ steps

You may think it’s obvious, but for many learners the foundation skill ‘how to do it’ steps are invisible. It may feel odd, or uncomfortable, but finding your voice, or a resource, that reveals the foundation skill ‘how-to-do-it’, can make all the difference to learners really ‘getting it’ and being able to apply, and transfer the foundation skills, or not.

Tasks seem so natural to us, we forget that we have a subset of procedures, strategies, specific skills and knowledge enabling us to do the task so seamlessly. Have the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) and Core Skills for Work (CSfW) easily accessible. The performance descriptions will help to clarify what is involved – the skills and knowledge.

Locate resources that reveal the skills and knowledge involved. For example this Youtube focus shows and explains the fundamentals of  writing a paragraph. The Queensland Council of Adult Literacy Tutor Tips provide a range of foundation skill ‘how to do it’ strategies for trainers. For example, if your learners need to develop report writing skills this report writing pdf reveals the structure, features, purposes of this text type.

The workshop details again …

If you would like to know more about building foundation skills through vocational training, then check out our workshop…

“Build it in: How to merge foundation skill development with adult education and training”

 7th August 2015, in Sydney.

Access the details here or download the workshop flyer