|Accommodating learners requires awareness among staff and volunteers about disabilities as well as adult literacy. One of the easiest ways to build awareness is to have an information-sharing meeting between your program and disabilities or literacy organizations, and/or cross training among staff and volunteers from both organizations.|
|Learning Plan and Goals||
Learning Plan and Goals
The second part of the initial assessment is to begin to develop the learning plan and goal. This is done cooperatively between the learner and tutor or instructor. This may take a few sessions to complete. Some learners need to become familiar with the program, learn about the various tools and materials that they can use, and build rapport with the tutor or instructor to help them to know what specifically and realistically they want to aim for. Some learners however, are very clear right at the outset about their goal.
It is important to support learners to be specific about their learning goal.
Use: I want to learn how to write a story about my life.
Instead of: I want to write better.
Depending on the learner's skill level, writing a story about her life may be a paragraph of less than 10 sentences or it may be a number of pages with many details. Learners can identify more than one goal. (See Appendix F: SARAW Student Learning Plan). The learning plan can identify how the learner will work towards this goal, including what materials and tools she or he will use.
The learning plan is the first signpost you and the learner will use to measure progress over the time he or she is in the program. The plan must feel realistic, and must consider necessary supports and pace. It is important to revisit and adjust the goal and plans over the time the learner is in the program. Learning is not linear and sequential. For many adults with intellectual disabilities learning is circular. Repetition and relevant topics are important (Lockert and Coombe 2000). Effective elements for learning include a slow and flexible pace, frequent breaks or pauses from the activity, and the activity is of interest to the learner. See Appendix E: Working with Adults with Intellectual Disabilities.
Here is an example of how learning goals are developed in one program:
When a learner first starts in the SARAW program at Bow Valley College, the tutor and learner are given a copy of the learning goals form to think about, talk about and fill in over the next several weeks. Once the learning goals are identified the tutor is supported to learn teaching strategies, including activities and materials that will best facilitate learning toward those goals.