What is the overall impact of the initiative and how is this measured?
Our program is still in the developmental stage, and we plan to have outcome data by the end of August 2019. The program’s performance indicators will include increased Essential Skills, employment, entry into targeted job-preparation programs, and registration into secondary school or college. Our program develops reading text, document use and numeracy Essentials Skills, and therefore the education outcomes are the same as the criteria listed by the Essential Skills Profiles.
What challenges have you faced and how were these overcome?
Since we are still developing ESonline, we anticipate the possibility of encountering several challenges and have ideas on how we might overcome them. We recognize it is not possible to predict all the challenges.
|Resistance to computer-based learning
||Technology and program support provided by the program facilitator and learning centres/organizations
The program is phone, tablet and computer friendly
|Insufficient connectivity, especially in rural and remote populations
||A flexible program schedule
Option of completing parts of the program outside of the classroom setting
|Failure to reach representative sub-groups
||During the program pilot, collect feedback from organizations, participants, and communities about the authenticity, impact and interactiveness of the program. Their feedback will be implemented for the official launch of the program with continual development of program materials and implementation when necessary.
||Although the program plans to be rolled out by the end of summer 2019, the initial size of the program depends on funding, which we are continuing to apply for.
What are 3 key lessons you learned from developing or delivering your initiative? What advice from those lessons would you share with others?
Here are three lessons we have learned while developing our program:
1) Consultations with educational institutions and literacy organizations indicated programs for low ES learners express an enormous desire for targeted online learning resources.
2) As ESPORT intends to be a national program, a lot of research been done to diversify the task topics in order for the program to be more meaningful and authentic to learners. This effort will continue during the program pilot.
3) Creating online pedagogical tasks can make the program more accessible and attractive. This comes with challenges such as deciding on an answer format to questions. Initially, we wanted learners to type their answers, however, for the website to automatically mark an answer involves creating code for each possible response. For example, if the answer was about time there are many different ways to write the time such as 3:00, 3, three o’clock, 15:00, etc. We don’t have the resources to make this happen. Therefore, there is a range of response styles such as multiple choice, drop down menus, and matching.
What have participants, stakeholders and partners thought, felt and/or said about your initiative?
Since our program is still in the developmental stages, we have not yet received feedback. However, colleges, provincial and regional literacy organizations in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia have expressed interest because they find there is a short supply of ES learning materials at the high level 1 / low level 2 and delivered in a workplace scenario context.
Incorporation of Essential Skills
Which Essential Skills are covered by the initiative?
How are the Essential Skills integrated into your initiative?
Each task includes an occupational scenario based on the competency level 1 of the National Occupational Classification. To complete each task, at least one of the following Essential Skills must be used: Reading Text, Document Use, or Numeracy.
How do you assess participant Essential Skills?
The Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) is used.
What are the components of the initiative?
Career and/or educational planning
How do you support participant success in the program?
How was Indigenous culture integrated into the program content or delivery?
Each task is accompanied with supplemental activities for learners who require extra assistance with a task or an Essential Skill. These materials provide the flexibility for the program facilitator to incorporate aspects of the community such as local examples or reach out to community members. These lessons are designed using Indigenous pedagogical approaches such as having individualized learning plans and guided learning.
What do you think are the most important competencies and attributes for staff involved in this initiative to have?
Important attributes staff should have include knowing and understanding the community. In other words, they know the common occupations and resources within the community. Having knowledge in these areas will help ES practice be more meaningful to learners. Having knowledge in adult basic education and Indigenous pedagogy would also make the program more successful. The competency level of the staff’s Essential Skills, particularly in reading text, document use, and numeracy, should be strong. Having confidence in using technology would also be helpful.
Who are your partners, and what is their involvement in the initiative?
The program is being created by CEP Consulting with cooperation from Eskilon and DataAngel. We are also consulting with ESPORT clients who employed ESPORT when PLATO Learning Inc. provided learning materials.