Virtual learning environments for adult literacies learners
Hi everyone ...
I'm keen to find out more about online learning with adult literacies learners, particularly if anyone has any experience of using a Moodle or other virtual learning environment. I've qualified as an online tutor and have used VLEs in the past, so I'm reasonably familiar with the concept.
I have a GLOW account (as do my colleagues) and we use GLOW mainly for email at the moment but I know there is a vast store of resources on the site and I've also participated in GLOW Meets myself in the past and could really see this working with our learners, especially as our service operates in four localities around South Lanarkshire and it would provide an ideal opportunity for learners to work collaboratively and share learning.
* Is anyone using a Moodle with their ALN learners?
* Does anyone use GLOW with their ALN learners and if so, do your learners all have their own GLOW accounts?
* Would you be able to recommend any other type of VLE if you're currently using a specific service?
Any information gratefully received - thank you!
I work in North Lanarkshire CLD in Wishaw and Shotts and I am not aware of that type of approach. However I am keen to know as well, as this crossed my mind, as Wishaw and Shotts Locality is a mixture of urban and rural communities and it had crossed my mind to explore Virtual Learning Environments. However, I am not sure about it due to the nature of our work involves engaging individuals new or just returning to learning, that this is best achieved through community based approach at local groups not VLE.
What are your thoughts Julia?
Good luck and keep in touch!
I am involved with the North Alliance and we have tried a few VLE/MOOC's for practitioners.
In terms of learner VLE's I know LEAD Scotland have done a few online courses with learners around creating digital artefacts - Emma Whitelock would be the person to speak to there.
I have experience of moodle VLE from my work with the Open University. From my experience in the OU, I'd say that actual numbers of participants are important which may limit its usefulness when working with adult literacies. In my experience if you've a group of 20 people only 1-2 of those will actively post on forums, many more will read of course. It also depends on how digitally literate your learners are. For successful forum participation you often need several hundred learners.
The Open University in Scotland have had some success on small scale pilots where learners undertake an access course but are supported in their local community (i.e. using IT in a local community centre) and having access to a tutor for that time (e.g. two hours a week).
Perhaps a national forum covering all of Scotland for literacy learners would be more useful? Then community workers would be able to support their learners to read posts and share information. I'm not sure if this exists in GLOW as I don't have a GLOW account.
Hi Avril ...
Yes - I can see that the numbers of participants are really important, and that also calls into question whether literacies learners are fully able to participate; some obviously will but others may struggle because the level of literacy required is beyond them at that point.
I like the idea of learners being able to access an online course ... we may have scope for that here because we have high numbers of learners who are either already engaging in computing classes or who are interested in doing so.
I really like your last point about a national forum for ALN learners. I don't think it exists in GLOW but I'll check - and I think that the forum idea merits consideration from the likes of Education Scotland.
Hi Robert ...
Thanks for replying - my own area (Cambuslang and Rutherglen) is definitely urban but what had sparked my interest in VLEs was the idea that as a service, my ALN colleagues and I could link learners up via the use of a VLE, since community learning in South Lanarkshire covers the north of the authority area where I'm working right down as far as Abington and beyond, much of which comprises either small villages or very rural areas.
I had been mulling over the possibility of learners collaborating on projects which could be shared on a virtual learning environment, and since we have GLOW accounts, perhaps also using a medium like GLOW TV so that learners can take turns to host a session where other learners could "drop in", virtually speaking, and chat about what they're learning.
You're right, of course - the bulk of my work also takes place out in the community, engaging learners face to face and I wouldn't have it any other way - I just feel that there is untapped potential in VLEs and both types of provision could probably run successfully alongside each other, encouraging learners to become more digitally aware and confident with technology.