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Why adult learning strategies need a workforce plan

One of a series of blog posts relating to the Learning & Work Institute's Healthy, Wealthy and Wise: implications for workforce development report. Mark Ravenhall discusses the need for adult education to collaborate with other public services and analyses the main findings of the report. He also presents the action points that have emerged from this analysis and invites further discussion from users. 

 

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Nobody would write an organisational strategy without having a plan to support those who deliver it. Adult learning professionals are at the heart of supporting the wider workforce but who is responsible for looking after their own development? Over the years I have had the privilege of reviewing any number of lifelong learning strategies and plans across Europe, but very few have a systematic approach to developing the leaders, managers, teachers, and other staff who deliver it. 

 

Never mind the quality, feel the width

When plans do talk about ‘workforce development’ it is usually about other workforces. When they talk about the adult learning workforce, it’s almost always as a subset of quality assurance. Quality is important but it is not the only reason we develop our staff and volunteers: we do so to create strategy and innovate, to challenge government and existing ways of doing things, and to develop the next generation of adult educators. 

Adult education is changing alongside many other public services. It is being asked to work more collaboratively, on shared outcomes alongside colleagues in health, in social care, in community safety, and in cultural services. In 2018 we highlighted that as adult learning worked in more collaborative ways, there would be a demand for dual and multi-professionalism, an enhanced skillset in measuring the wider outcomes of learning, and better systems leadership across geographical leadership.  

With the support of the European Commission and the Further Education Trust for Leadership we asked ten people from across the sector to summarise their views on what needed to be done. The result were the thinkpieces in Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: implications for workforce development.

People collaborating to complete a puzzle

Common themes

The thinkpieces identify a range of approaches to developing the adult learning workforce which have the potential to nurture the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed for the future. However, a number of common themes emerged:

  1. More flexible delivery is needed. This includes the provision of increased opportunities to undertake part time training and making greater use of digital delivery to create online as well as off-line spaces for collaboration.
  2. Collaboration, inclusion and diversity should be actively promoted through more open practices in workforce participation. There is a need for a more flexible and ‘common sense’ approach, to enable those from other professions to enter the adult learning workforce, via fast track qualifications, accreditation of prior experience, team teaching, and other modes.
  3. Progression routes should be developed with appropriate linkages between different stages and levels, and opportunities for upskilling for those who want to progress. This includes support for the well-trodden path from adult learner to adult educator, often through volunteering.
  4. Coaching, mentoring, action learning sets and peer learning approaches use fellow managers and practitioners to support each other to take control of their own learning and are a powerful way to share knowledge and experience.
  5. Learning by doing together is a powerful way of achieving change. Cross-curriculum and multi- agency teams help to break down professional barriers and forge new relationships. ‘Polyvocal conversations’ (see thinkpiece 6) are a way of enabling managers, practitioners, volunteers and partners to communicate effectively, share and learn, and move together towards finding common solutions.
  6. Joint Practice Development (JPD) approaches stand in contrast to top-down, prescriptive Continuing Professional Development. As thinkpiece 2 argues JPD is a more egalitarian model, ‘an anarchic response to CPD’ and ‘an antidote to the notion of mastery.’

 

Responses from across the UK

My co-editor Helen Plant and I had the pleasure of testing out these ideas at forums across the UK earlier this year.  From these responses we drafted the final section of the publication.

Eight underpinning principles infographic

The main message was that although each part of the UK had different adult learning plans—and therefore different approaches to workforce development—there were common issues. However, each devolved administration decided to take forward its plans for adult learning, they needed to work to a framework based on common principles. 

Do you agree with these principles? Do you feel we have missed anything? 

In future blogs we will be describing how we arrived at these ideas, so feel free to ask questions below.

 

 

Mark Ravenhall

Mark’s career has spanned the public, private and voluntary sectors. He started as a teacher in further education, leading a residential adult college and an adult education service before joining the UK National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) in 2001. He worked for 12 years at NIACE becoming Director of Policy and Impact. Freelance, he works for a number of clients in the UK and Europe. Since 2013, he has been part of the UK National Coordinator team, now led by the Learning and Work Institute. As part of this work, he chairs the England Impact Forum which meets quarterly to discuss evidence on the impact of adult learning. Mark has co-authored five publications on adult education and is currently co-editing a collection of essays on workforce development.

 

 

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Pam fod strategaethau dysgu oedolion angen cynllun gweithlu

gan Mark Ravenhall 

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Fyddai neb yn ysgrifennu strategaeth sefydliadol heb gael cynllun i gefnogi’r rhai sy'n ei chyflawni. Mae gweithwyr dysgu oedolion yn ganolog i gefnogi’r gweithlu ehangach, ond pwy sy'n gyfrifol am ofalu am eu datblygiad eu hunain? Ar hyd y blynyddoedd, dwi wedi cael yr anrhydedd o adolygu nifer o strategaethau a chynlluniau dysgu gydol oes ar draws Ewrop, ond ychydig iawn sydd â dull systematig tuag at ddatblygu’r arweinwyr, rheolwyr, athrawon a staff eraill sy'n eu cyflawni.  

 

Cyn meddwl am ansawdd, ystyriwch yr ehangder

Pan fydd cynlluniau'n sôn am ‘ddatblygiad gweithlu’, maent fel arfer yn cyfeirio at weithluoedd eraill. Pan fyddant yn trafod y gweithlu dysgu oedolion, mae bron bob tro yn is-set o sicrwydd ansawdd. Mae ansawdd yn bwysig, ond nid dyma’r unig reswm dros ddatblygu ein staff a gwirfoddolwyr: rydyn ni'n gwneud hynny i greu strategaeth ac i arloesi, i herio llywodraeth a ffyrdd presennol o wneud pethau, ac i ddatblygu’r genhedlaeth nesaf o addysgwyr oedolion. 

Mae addysg oedolion yn newid ynghyd â nifer o wasanaethau cyhoeddus eraill. Mae gofyn iddo weithio’n fwy cydweithredol, ar ddeilliannau a rennir ynghyd â chydweithwyr ym meysydd iechyd, gofal cymdeithasol, diogelwch cymunedol, a gwasanaethau diwylliannol. Yn 2018 fel amlygom (dolen allanol) wrth i ddysgu oedolion weithio mewn ffyrdd mwy cydweithredol, y byddai yna alw am broffesiynoldeb deuol a lluosog, seilwaith sgiliau uwch wrth fesur deilliannau ehangach dysgu, a gwell arweinyddiaeth systemau ar draws arweinyddiaeth ddaearyddol.  

Gyda chefnogaeth y Comisiwn Ewropeaidd a’r Further Education Trust for Leadership, fe ofynnom i ddeg o bobl ar draws y sector i grynhoi eu barn ar beth oedd angen ei wneud. Y canlyniad oedd yr ysgrifau ystyriol yn Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: implications for workforce development.

 

Workers completing a jigsaw puzzle

Themâu cyffredin

Mae’r ysgrifau ystyriol yn nodi amrywiaeth o ddulliau i ddatblygu’r gweithlu dysgu oedolion sydd â’r potensial i feithrin y sgiliau, gwybodaeth ac agweddau sy'n angenrheidiol ar gyfer y dyfodol. Fodd bynnag, fe gododd nifer o themâu cyffredin:

  1. Mae angen mwy o hyblygrwydd. Mae hyn yn cynnwys darparu mwy o gyfleoedd i ddilyn hyfforddiant rhan amser a gwneud mwy o ddefnydd o ddarpariaeth ddigidol i greu gofodau ar-lein yn ogystal ag all-lein ar gyfer cydweithredu.
  2. Dylid hyrwyddo cydweithredu, cynhwysiant ac amrywiaeth yn weithredol trwy arferion mwy agored mewn cyfranogiad gweithlu. Mae yna angen am ddull mwy hyblyg a ‘synnwyr cyffredin’, er mwyn galluogi’r rheini o broffesiynau eraill i gael mynediad i'r gweithlu dysgu oedolion, trwy gymwysterau llwybr carlam, achrediad profiad blaenorol, dysgu mewn tîm a moddau eraill.
  3. Dylid datblygu llwybrau cynnydd gyda chysylltiadau priodol rhwng gwahanol gyfnodau a lefelau, a chyfleoedd ar gyfer uwchsgilio’r rhai sydd eisiau symud ymlaen. Mae hyn yn cynnwys cefnogaeth ar gyfer y llwybr poblogaidd o ddysgwr oedolyn i addysgwr oedolion, yn aml trwy wirfoddoli.
  4. Mae dulliau hyfforddi, mentora, setiau dysgu gweithredol a dysgu cyfoedion yn defnyddio cyd-reolwyr ac ymarferwyr i gefnogi ei gilydd i gymryd rheolaeth dros eu dysgu eu hunain ac maent yn ffordd rymus i rannu gwybodaeth a phrofiad.
  5. Mae dysgu trwy wneud ar y cyd yn ffordd rymus i gyflawni newid. Mae timau traws-gwricwlwm ac amlasiantaethol yn helpu i chwalu rhwystrau proffesiynol a sefydlu perthnasau newydd. Mae ‘sgyrsiau amryw lais’ (gweler ysgrif ystyriol 6) yn fodd i alluogi rheolwyr, ymarferwyr, gwirfoddolwyr a phartneriaid i gyfathrebu'n effeithiol, rhannu a dysgu, a symud gyda’i gilydd tuag at ganfod datrysiadau cyffredin.
  6. Mae dulliau Datblygu Ymarfer ar y Cyd (JPD) yn cyferbynnu gyda Datblygiad Proffesiynol Parhaus o'r brig i lawr, rhagnodol. Fel y mae ysgrif ystyriol 2 yn dadlau, mae JPD yn fodel mwy egalitaraidd, ‘ymateb anarchaidd i DPP’ ac ‘yn wrthwenwyn i’r syniad o feistrolaeth.’

 

 

Ymatebion ar draws y Deyrnas Unedig

Cafodd fy nghyd-olygydd Helen Plant a minnau y fraint o brofi’r syniadau hyn mewn fforymau ar draws y Deyrnas Unedig yn gynharach eleni.  O’r ymatebion hyn, fe wnaethom ddrafftio adran derfynol y cyhoeddiad.

 

WYTH EGWYDDOR GREIDDIOL

1 Mae’r gweithlu dysgu oedolion yn cefnogi addysg a hyfforddiant pob oedolyn, gan ddefnyddio'r ystod lawn o fathau o ddysgu (ffurfiol, heb fod yn ffurfiol, anffurfiol).

2 Mae dulliau ar gyfer ddatblygiad gweithlu yn canolbwyntio ar y dyfodol ac yn ddeinamig er mwyn ymateb i dystiolaeth esblygol am anghenion a chyfansoddiad y gweithlu yn y dyfodol.

 

3 Mae datblygiad gweithlu yn cofleidio pawb sy’n cefnogi dysgu oedolion: gwirfoddolwyr, staff cefnogi, cynghorwyr, gweinyddwyr, athrawon, rheolwyr, aseswyr, broceriaid ac arweinyddion ar bob lefel.

4  Mae mynediad galwedigaethol a llwybrau cynnydd yn hyrwyddo cydraddoldeb, amrywiaeth a chynhwysiant, yn cynnwys meithrin cynnydd ar gyfer dysgwyr o ddysgu cymunedol i wirfoddoli a chyflogaeth yn y gweithlu dysgu oedolion.

 

5  Mae ymarfer proffesiynol a datblygiad gweithlu yn ymgorffori dulliau cymdeithasol gyfiawn sy'n adlewyrchu gwerthoedd ac ymarfer dysgu oedolion (democrataidd, cynhwysol, wedi cynllunio ar y cyd, seiliedig ar asedau, meta-wybyddol).

 

6  Mae ymarfer proffesiynol yn berthynas ddeinamig gyda darpariaeth, wrth ddod yn fwy seiliedig ar sgiliau meta fel dysgu i ddysgu, ac arweinyddiaeth gydweithredol.

7 Mae ymarfer proffesiynol a datblygu gweithlu yn seiliedig ar weithio amlasiantaethol a sgyrsiau amryw lais gydag asiantaethau, cymunedau a dysgwyr eraill.

8  Dylid cynllunio dulliau ar gyfer datblygiad proffesiynol i fod yn gynaliadwy ac i wneud defnydd o'r modelau cyflawni mwyaf cyfeillgar i’r amgylchedd fel sy'n briodol.

 

 

Y brif neges oedd er bod gan bob rhan o’r Deyrnas Unedig wahanol gynlluniau dysgu oedolion—ac felly dulliau gwahanol i ddatblygu’r gweithlu—roedd yna faterion cyffredin. Fodd bynnag, penderfynodd pob gweinyddiaeth ddatganoledig ddatblygu ei gynlluniau ar gyfer dysgu oedolion; roeddynt angen gweithio i fframwaith yn seiliedig ar egwyddorion cyffredin. 

Ydych chi’n cytuno â'r egwyddorion hyn? Ydych chi'n teimlo ein bod wedi hepgor unrhyw beth? 

Mewn blogiau yn y dyfodol, byddwn yn disgrifio sut penderfynom ar y syniadau hyn, felly mae croeso i chi ofyn cwestiynau isod.

 

 

 

Mark Ravenhall

Mae gyrfa Mark wedi rhychwantu’r sectorau cyhoeddus, preifat a gwirfoddol. Dechreuodd fel athro mewn addysg bellach, gan arwain coleg preswyl i oedolion a gwasanaeth addysg oedolion cyn ymuno â Sefydliad Cenedlaethol dros Addysg Barhaus i Oedolion (NIACE) y Deyrnas Unedig yn 2001. Fe weithiodd am 12 mlynedd yn NIACE gan ddod yn Gyfarwyddwr Polisi ac Effaith. Yn weithiwr llawrydd, mae ganddo nifer o gleientiaid yn y Deyrnas Unedig ac Ewrop. Ers 2013, mae wedi bod yn rhan o dîm Cydlynwyr Cenedlaethol y Deyrnas Unedig, sydd nawr yn cael ei arwain gan y Sefydliad Dysgu a Gwaith. Fel rhan o'r gwaith hwn mae’n cadeirio Fforwm Effaith Lloegr, sy'n cwrdd bob chwarter blwyddyn i drafod tystiolaeth ar effaith dysgu oedolion. Mae Mark yn gyd-awdur pum cyhoeddiad ar addysg oedolion ac ar hyn o bryd yn cyd-olygu casgliad o draethodau ar ddatblygu’r gweithlu.

 

 

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