Learning Activities, Strategies and Resources

Once you have set the learning objectives with the learner, you can plan how you are going to help the learner meet those objectives. You will need to consider the methods, strategies, activities and resources that you will use to enable the learner to accomplish their learning objectives.

Once you have determined suitable, goal-related learning activities, a list of resources is needed to put the plan in motion. What tools will you use to teach the skills and task-completion abilities the learner must acquire? These tools might be books, worksheets, online training materials, videocasts or real-life materials.

To help compile resource lists for individual learners, some programs have developed generic resource lists for the various goal paths. The Learning Centre for Georgina has created supplemental learner plan resource forms relative to each of the five goal paths. These forms include resource lists of materials relevant to the goal path. They have developed lists for

  • Task-Based Resources (see the Employment Goal Path sample in the Sample Forms section)
  • Computer Programs
  • Paper-Based Resources
  • Additional Reading Comprehension Resources
  • Additional Resources

Task-Based Activities

The Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework is task-based and goal-directed. It is important that you include task completion as part of your learning strategies. Tasks should be related to the learners’ goal paths and goals.

Let’s consider a learner whose goal is clerical work (employment) and whose sub-goals (OALCF competencies) include

  • Find and Use Information
  • Communicate Ideas and Information
  • Use Digital Technology

Example activities might be:

  • researching clerical work using the Internet
  • writing a newsletter article of 200 – 300 words about clerical work and why it is a good choice for the learner
  • desktop publishing the article, including 1-3 photographs, using MS Word

It may seem like a big effort to think up tasks for all the learners’ plans, but help is available. There are a number of excellent resources available from which to draw. See the Additional Resources section of this module for suggestions.

Although the OALCF is task-based, learners still have to develop the skills to perform the tasks. “Skills are discrete descriptors of literacy and numeracy development, such as decoding, sentence structure and locating information. Tasks emphasize more than skills, as they consider purpose, context and culture to reflect actual use.” from OALCF: Selected Assessment Tools (www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/publications/OALCF_Selected_Assessment_Tools_Mar_11.pdf)

Together, skills development and task performance make up half of the four aspects of literacy learning as defined in OALCF: Selected Assessment Tools.

skills development -> task performance -> social practice -> change

An excellent tool to help you break tasks down into their foundation skills is the Embedded Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes Reference Guide for Ontario (ESKARGO). ESKARGO is a part of the OALCF Implementation Strategy Resource available on the LBS Practitioner Training website http://lbspractitionertraining.com/component/content/article/349-eskargo-and-oalcf-implementation-strategy-resource. You can download individual ESKARGO pages of embedded skills and knowledge by competency, task group and level or ESKARGO as a whole manual.

Literacy Council York Simcoe has created Competency and Related Tasks Sheets for each of the goal paths. A copy of the sheet for the Independence Goal Path can be found in the Sample Forms section of this module.

For more information on learning activities, strategies and resources, see the Literacy Basics Training module.

Timelines

Would you head out on a long bus, train or plane trip with no idea of how long it would take to get to your destination? No, you would expect a schedule and estimated time of arrival. So, too, do the learners have a right to know when they can expect to finish the Literacy and Basic Skills part of their journey. They need to have a timeline.

A timeline is a timetable or a schedule of events. Timelines are usually divided into blocks or sections with each section ending in a milestone. Timelines show events and activities in the order in which they will happen or have happened.

The Learner Plan timeline is the chronological map of the learners’ time in our program. It shows when blocks of learning will be completed and which milestone or other assessment strategy will validate the learning in that section. We can think of each plan item as a block. These blocks are the time in which the learner will complete activities to develop the skills to manage tasks at task group levels. Each plan item should have an expected start and end date. When all the blocks are put together, we can estimate the overall time it will take the learner to reach their LBS goal and be ready to transition to their next step.

Estimating how long it will take to do something is often very difficult. Here are some tips for creating a realistic timeline:

  • look at each sub-goal and plan item
  • analyze the various activities and tasks you have planned
  • determine the order in which the activities, tasks and plan items need to be done
  • estimate how long each activity, task, or plan item will take and then plan a little extra time for each
  • plan for an extra activity or two in case the learner experiences difficulty
  • add all the times to get an estimate of the total time for each plan item, sub-goal, etc.
  • be flexible – adjust the plan and timelines to the learner’s needs to keep it current and relevant.

Try using a Gantt chart to help you track the various pieces and to provide a visual for you and the learner. Gantt charts are commonly used in project management. However, as they show activities (tasks or events) displayed against time, they are also useful for planning learning. Each activity is represented by a bar. The bar represents the start date, duration and end date of the activity. This allows you to see at a glance:

  • what the activities are
  • when each activity should start and end
  • how long each activity is expected to last
  • where activities overlap with other activities, and by how much
  • the start and end date of the whole plan

In the example Gantt chart below, there are numbers representing the tasks. Providing details of the tasks and activities would make it easier for the learner to visualize their learner plan.

gantt

You can create a Gantt chart by hand on graph paper or use downloadable Excel templates. Microsoft Project or other specialized software have Gantt chart views.

Planning for Learning Demonstration and Validation

Assessment is a critical part of the Literacy and Basic Skills program. We need to ensure that assessment of learning is built into the Learner Plan. Without assessment at various stages along the timeline, how will any of the stakeholders – the learners, the funder, our transition partners or ourselves – know that the training is working?

For the learner to feel ownership of their plan, they need to know how to tell when the plan is complete. They should know

  • what success will look like
  • how success will be determined
  • who will be the judge of success

The Learner Plan Template includes fields for recording tasks and other learning activities to demonstrate learners’ progress towards completion of their goal path and their readiness to transition beyond the LBS Program.

Within the OALCF, milestones are the main tools used to demonstrate completion of plan items. “Milestones are goal-related assessment activities that learners complete to demonstrate their abilities to carry out goal-related tasks. Learners and practitioners work together to choose milestones that are meaningful and appropriate, given both the learner’s literacy skills and the learner’s goals.” (Employment Ontario Partners’ Gateway, Milestone Tasks and Culminating Tasks or www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/programs/lbs_oalcf_milestones.html)

You are not to show the learner any milestones until the learner is ready to attempt that milestone. However, you should share the overall concept of milestones and the general description of the individual milestones selected.

Selected milestones should be entered into EOIS-CaMS at the time you enter the learner’s service plan. As a result, the milestones will print out on the downloaded Learner Plan.

“Another indication of learner achievement is the successful completion of goal-related culminating tasks. These are more complex than milestone tasks and aligned with the Curriculum Framework. Culminating tasks draw together multiple competencies which may be at different levels of complexity. The successful completion of a culminating task is an important demonstration of the learner’s ability to manage the kinds of tasks they will encounter once they transition beyond the LBS Program.” (Employment Ontario Partners’ Gateway, Milestone Tasks and Culminating Tasks www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/programs/lbs_oalcf_milestones.html)

Milestones and culminating tasks are not the only means of demonstrating learning. You and the learner should work together to plan what other means can be used to show acquisition of skills and ability to complete goal-related tasks. Task-based activities like those found on www.taskbasedactivitiesforlbs.ca or integrated tasks are two examples of other ways to assess learning. For more information on assessing, go to the Literacy Basics module on Assessment.

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