One of the things we try to implement in our workplace literacy and numeracy courses is creating opportunities for learners to transfer the skills they are practising in our classes to their workplace.  We believe that if transfer opportunities are set up explicitly in class and learners leave the classroom with permission and direction to try things out at work and make changes, then there is far more chance of transfer actually happening.  Other things that are important are that learners feel confident that what they are doing is right and they are good at it.  Practising in class and getting feedback really helps this.  It’s also helpful if the people at work (supervisors and colleagues) understand what the course is about and are supportive!  We also see it as a cycle and we see ‘trying it out at work and talking about how it went’ as a really important learning process. So, this is how it works…

  • In class, reflect on workplace practice.
  • Get some input, some feedback and develop skills.
  • Then go back to the workplace and make a change.
  • Think about how it went.
  • Come back to class and talk about it.

We presented examples of some of the transfer tasks we’ve designed for our current classes at The Selwyn Foundation at the 2015 National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Symposium at the Wellington Stadium in early July. Yvonne Bruce from The Selwyn Foundation co-presented. She gave some background from an employer’s perspective and then in the workshop, participants considered issues around encouraging transfer and looked at the tasks. The tasks we featured focus on a range of aspects of workplace practice in a residential care setting: speaking up at meetings, measuring and recording fluid intake, reading policy documents, observing and noting behaviour and reading graphs and charts at work.

Photo: Doc Searls from Santa Barbara, USA