Collaborative solution overcomes COVID barriers for Adult Learners in Doveton

Adult learners within the English as an Additional Language (EAL) classes were unable to complete any assessments, until a creative resolution was found.   

For many years, local community members have accessed accredited adult EAL classes delivered by a community-based registered training organisation (RTO) at Doveton College and Hallam Senior College. Classes have always traditionally been held on-site, in a family-friendly classroom environment, five days per week.  

Due to recent COVID19 restrictions, classes needed to be moved from in-person to virtual classrooms. Despite this transition, attendance and participation from students have remained high.  Unfortunately, the move to operating classes virtually resulted in limitations around students’ inability to undertake assessments online. These assessments are a requirement for students to progress through the course and for completing the course.    

When COVID19 restrictions allowed for a return to face-to-face education for primary and secondary school students, there remained a barrier for the EAL classes, as they could not return on site. The return to site for the EAL class was not possible due to the Department of Education and Training’s policies regarding no non-essential adults being allowed on the school grounds.   

In our role as the glue, Our Place facilitated discussions with Doveton Neighbourhood Learning Center (DNLC) and the community-based RTO, to enable and provide an opportunity to explore possible collaborative solutions to overcome these limitations. Through these discussions and collaborative problem solving, the emergence of a plan for EAL classes to be facilitated in person at the DNLC became a realisation and reality. This arrangement then enabled adult EAL participants to undertake assessments in person at the DNLC, ensuring that students’ progress throughout the course was no longer stalled. 

A long-term aspiration for Doveton College has been to strengthen the community’s relationship with the nearby DNLC. This aspiration is coming to fruition through this arrangement. It has enabled DNLC to become a familiar and trusted resource for participants, which is likely to lead to further engagement in additional adult education programs and services.    

Adult Engagement and Learning is one of the five evidence-based Elements central to the Our Place approach. Our Place supports opportunities for families to engage in volunteering, formal and informal learning, and link them into employment pathways. The key features of this element are:  

  • Parents and families are provided with opportunities for community participation.  
  • Parents and carers are supported to take up adult learning opportunities.  
  • Parents and carers are supported through pathways to employment.