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Non Formal Learning and Literacy Sally Thompson Chief Executive Officer Adult Learning Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "Non Formal Learning and Literacy Sally Thompson Chief Executive Officer Adult Learning Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Non Formal Learning and Literacy Sally Thompson Chief Executive Officer Adult Learning Australia

2 How Do Adults Learn to Read and Write? “Literacy is socially situated, culturally constituted and actively mediated by the local everyday demands of work and life. Like it or not, uses of literacy and numeracy cannot be generalised across cultures, nor taught as isolated technical skills (even though they can be taught as distinctive routines or procedures). Meanings depend upon the social context in which they are embedded.” Sue Shore, University of South Australia, Jean Searle, Griffith University Literacy and lifeskills in Australia: implications for policy activism, 2010 Paper to AVETRA Conference

3 Lifelong Learning and Literacy All forms of learning contribute towards the development of literacy skills in adults: Formal – learning that leads to a formal qualification Non-formal – learning that is organised and includes a teacher or instructor but which doesn’t lead to an accredited outcome or qualification Informal – self directed learning via mentoring, internet, library or civic participation eg volunteering, sporting and social clubs, men’s sheds etc

4 Participation in Learning and Literacy For both prose and document literacy, 58% of people who had participated in learning in the 12 months prior to the survey achieved scores at Level 3 or above. In comparison, for people who had not participated in any form of learning in the 12 months prior to the survey, 19% and 18% achieved scores at Level 3 or above for prose and document literacy respectively.” Source: ABS Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey, 2006

5 Who has the most access to Adult Learning opportunities? 1) Those who already have formal qualifications. Source: ABS, Australian Social Trends, Adult Learning, Australia,

6 2) Those who are already working. Source: ABS, Australian Social Trends, Adult Learning, Australia,

7 Who has the most access to Adult Learning opportunities? 3) Those with the highest incomes. Non-formal learning ----     Informal Learning  Highest Income Quintile  Lowest Income Quintile Source: ABS, Australian Social Trends, Adult Learning, Australia,

8 International Comparisons Source: ABS, Australian Social Trends, Adult Learning, Australia,

9 In Conclusion 1.Australia has relatively high levels of participation in adult learning, however those with the highest skills have the most access and those with the lowest skills have the least. 2.We have “closed the gap” significantly between the employed and unemployed when it comes to access to formal education but there are significant disparities of access to informal and particularly non-formal learning. 3.Those with the highest levels of literacy take part in formal, non-formal and informal learning, mainly through their workplaces. 4.Those countries with the highest levels of adult literacy don’t just plan to increase uptake of qualifications but to build cultures of lifelong learning. 5.The overwhelming body of research around adult learning suggests that adults develop their skills through purposeful engagement with other literate adults i.e. through informal and non-formal means.


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