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.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

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

ACER 2015 NALLNAC Conference: ‘take-aways’ and reflections

 

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Ann and Chemène (we) attended and co-presented at ACER‘s National Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Conference (NALLNAC) held in Adelaide on 14 and 15 May 2015.

We got a lot from the conference and wanted to share our reflections and insights in this post.

Summary

This was not the first year we have attended NALLNAC, and this year we were pleased to see even more workshops dedicated to helping VET practitioners assess LLN skills and build foundation skill development into vocational training:

  • Chemène relished the chance to hear from foundation skill ‘gurus’ such as Philippa MacLean (writer of the ACSF), Dave Tout (Numeracy Guru and NALLNAC organiser), and Ros Bauer (Australian Training Awards Winner – Excellence in Adult Language Literacy Numeracy Practice Award), just to name three.
  • Ann re-united with long-standing LLN colleagues and networked with VET practitioners to learn more about the challenges and opportunities presented when incorporating foundation skills into VET.

This conference truly offered a meeting place between LLN and VET practitioners.  Thank you to the 2015 ACER National Adult Language Literacy and Numeracy Conference team for this opportunity.

Our workshop

Our workshop was called,

Within VET Training, where are the opportunities to EMBED (Explore Moments to Bring Explicit LLN Development into VET)?

As luck would have it, ACER scheduled our workshop for the last time slot on the last day of the conference.  So, we were prepared to deliver to a small, tired group.  Instead, we were delighted by a large group of motivated and energetic LLN and VET professionals who were prepared to share experiences and ideas.

It’s hard for VET practitioners to get started or make progress building learners’ foundation skills within VET–trainers know their training content, and prepare to deliver it effectively. So how can building foundation skills fit within the time available?

Our workshop aimed to help VET practitioners do just that:  to identify ways to monitor, support and build Foundation Skills within vocational training sessions.

We used a case study as the basis for group discussions.  We gave participants:

  • an example of a vocational session plan (a real example, donated by a skilled and very nice trainer we know).
  • a profile of a typical learner group for this session.

Participants worked in small groups to identify ways to adapt training delivery so that in addition to covering vocational content, the session delivery could also:

  • Support learners
  • Upskill learners and help them build foundation skills
  • Monitor foundation skill development.

Although the suggestions focus on foundation skill development, the vocation or workplace content remained at the forefront.

So what ideas did participants come up with?  See for yourself!

We collated the ideas participants came up with in a post-conference takeaway pdf resource.  We also added a few ideas of our own.  Participant ideas were so good that we thought we’d make it available to anyone wanting to get ideas for how to build foundation skills within vocational education sessions.  We hope you find it useful and welcome your feedback.

DOWNLOAD RESOURCE HERE

ACER 2015 NALLNAC Conference Reflections

NALLNAC left us reminded of, exposed to, and encouraged by the array of authors, papers, reports and workshops with impacting messages about LLN development in Australia.

The following comments and links are also relevant to the current national foundation skills agenda, each with a focus on the trainer/teacher. The authors either remind us that how and what we do are critical to learner outcomes, or suggest there are stages and phases progressed as we integrate LLN into VET training.

1    We were reminded of:

For example, The US Gordon Commission’s paper, To Assess, To Teach, To Learn: A Vision for the Future of Assessment, reminded us that where Foundation Skills are concerned, critical to progress is assessing the needs and capacity first, then implementing a continuous loop of teaching, reflecting, feedback and assessing. The key take-away teaching model Assess, Teach, Learn fits harmoniously with building learner foundation skills where knowing current learner capacity is the starting point.

2    We were exposed to:

For example, the Les Retford Integrating LLN into VET Practice research findings  expose perspectives of  VET practitioners as they transition towards embracing foundation skills within VET teaching. The spiral metaphor (image) suggests that trainers progress through five stages: commencing with awareness and progressing towards influencing practice. If you support VET trainers , be mindful that the journey is a challenge and consider the support available.

3    We are encouraged by:

Revisiting two ‘gems’. For exmple,  John Hattie’s Visible Learning ranked teaching and learning approaches that affect learning. Hattie’s emphasise on the teacher as the change agent, and teaching from the perspective of the learner can’t be overlooked.

Also, Dr. Jackie Gerstein’s Growth Mindset has become a popular model for educators and reminds us that if we have the Growth Mindset we will be prepared to continuously adapt and grow as educators, and therefore achieve better results.

Teaching is a work in progress.