Sharing delivery approaches used in CL-funded programs that reflect best practices in adult foundational learning theory.
Adult foundational learners return to the classroom in hopes of developing the skills and confidence to fully participate in their lives – whether that be in relationships, employment, community involvement or further learning. Calgary Learns funded programs are creative and intentional in designing and meeting adults where they are at, but how do we know if these learning experiences are effectively engaging their needs?
Our Community Adult Learning Program (CALP) Guidelines use Outcomes-based Measurement Evaluation (OMEs) to capture how we address adult foundational learner needs. They are collected in different ways, and each of them is associated with strong programs. Note: they are intended to be collected throughout your programs, versus only at the end. Their value is often in pointing to where delivery can be adjusted based on learners sharing their experiences throughout the program.
Three of those measures are highlighted below, and in the next TFTF we will highlight the other three OMEs we ask our funded programs to collect. We hope this helps with your program delivery and evaluation practices!
- OME #1 – Skills Use
We know from research that adult learners who use new skills outside of the learning setting are more likely to increase their proficiency in the skill.
92% of adults in Calgary Learns funded programs reported they were using foundational skills in their everyday lives as a result of participating in a CALP learning opportunity.
- OME #2 – Learner Progress
Research suggests that adults who can see, feel and/or measure their own progress build their personal identity as a successful learner, and identifying progress is a key motivator for many adult learners.
94% of adults in Calgary Learns funded programs reported they were making progress towards, or meeting, their learning goal as a result of participating in a CALP learning opportunity.
- OME #3 – Increased Confidence
Adult learners often report an increase in confidence as an indicator of success even before they make significant gains in building their foundational skills. Increased self-confidence has been shown to be a strong predictor of many positive outcomes, in learning, health and other areas of life.
96% of adults in Calgary Learns funded programs demonstrate increased self-confidence as a result of participating in a CALP learning opportunity.
To translate these statistics into stories from practitioners, we introduce you to Lee Pilkington from Gateway. Lee coordinates and facilitates Gateway’s Digital Inclusion program, which supports adult learners who self-identify as having a disability. She is extremely creative when it comes to inviting adults to build the skills and confidence needed to engage. For Lee, it all comes down to presenting material in a way that is meaningful to learners. Two specific practices she pays attention to include:
- what the learners in “that particular class” relate to/are interested in, and
- activities that have a social aspect of fun built in.
The result? Adults who started the program cautiously are requesting more and more!
“One of our activities is creating a portfolio or personal website. The topic or content of the website can be on any subject the learner chooses; a hobby, skill, or interest they have. Learning digital skills is embedded within the project. As learners build their sites on a topic they are already confident in, they are also building essential digital skills. All of the digital skills learned while building their project are transferable to other aspects of engaging in the digital world. During class, learners are excited to show each other how to use the skills. For me, this makes the teaching more than just about tools. They are confident and able to participate in the community at large, without even realizing it.”
How To Collect This OME: Lee has added a column for OMEs to her attendance sheet. When a learner shares in the informal conversations about how they apply the learned skills outside of class, and about their progress, she records their self-evaluation. No one feels evaluated, and the evaluation information comes directly from learners.
“By encouraging learners to share their self-evaluations throughout the program, I know when to offer additional support, modify the materials or adjust the pacing of the class.”Lee Pilkington
Calgary Learns has created videos to support your learning about OME’s, etc. Check out this link: https://www.calgarylearns.com/funding/funding-tutorial/
Do you have tips from the field that you would be willing to share? We would love to hear them! Please get in touch with Heidi (firstname.lastname@example.org).