Lesley Dunn, Executive Director
In an effort to reduce the number of potential learners on wait lists and equip all working aged Nova Scotians with the skills needed for work, family and community engagement, The Dartmouth Learning Network (DLN) is Mobilizing Adult Literacy.
Literacy takes on new meaning in a modern world to now include the functional skills necessary for attachment and retention to the labour market. These skills go well beyond reading, writing, and numeracy, to include digital literacy, oral communication, working with others, document use, computer use, independent thinking and a desire for continuous learning. These skills are vital to the financial security and well-being of all Nova Scotians, and they are also drivers of economic growth and prosperity.
For thirty years the Dartmouth Learning Network has been witness to people’s desire to learn and to improve their chances of getting a job. The challenge continues to be matching the demand for support and capacity to meet that demand.
DLN receives approximately 20 calls a week and connects with up to twelve individuals a week at the local food bank looking to enroll in upgrading programs. Attempts to meet the demand often ends with potential learners being placed on wait lists until a seat in a classroom or match with a tutor could be arranged. The wait could be six to eight weeks or longer, by that time the learner has lost their motivation.
An innovative solution was called for leading to the development of Moving on Up an eLearning platform allowing potential learners to jump start their learning. Lessons can be completed online, anywhere, anytime and are designed to enhance reading, writing and math skills, while building computer skills and digital fluency. The platform retains its integrity whether accessed through a Smartphone, Tablet, Laptop or Desktop computer. The lessons are closed captioned for the hearing impaired and attention has been paid to colour and font size to allow for easy access by persons with visual impairments. All the courses are free thanks to the support of the Rotary Club of Dartmouth and seed funding from the Department of Community Services and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
While still in its development stages Moving on Up has proven to be a vital addition to a blended learning environment, including instructor led (group and one-on-one learning), and independently by move advanced learners.
Learners from Community Learning Organization across the province have been testing the eLearning site and the feedback to date has been very positive. You can visit the new Moving on Up eLearning Platform at www.dlnmovingonup.ca new lessons are being added regularly!