May 2018

Getting it right for every young person

10 May 2018

Action for Children

Action for Children is one of the organisations developing a Digital Reach programme. Action for Children's pilot will digitise their current paper-based content across three employability programmes in severely deprived urban areas of Scotland.


3 minute read

 

As part of Nominet Trust’s Digital Reach programme, we have spent the last 9 months developing an interactive platform to digitise the content of our employability programmes in Scotland.

The Digital and Innovation team have been working with service leads, support staff and the young people currently enrolled in the Employability Services programme to design an interactive platform and supporting app to meet the needs of the young people enrolled in the programme.

Watch this short film to see what happened:

As we approach the end of our journey, we are keen to share some reflections on our research.

 


What have we learned?

  • The young people in our programme don’t lack digital skills as much as they lack digital confidence. Young people don’t see ‘digital’ as an entity, because it is everything they do. Delivering digital skills by default whilst delivering coursework is the best approach to reaching them.
  • Service design is no easy task, and there really is no silver bullet. Lots has to change to adopt a new way of working and if there is an appetite for it, a new service delivery model.
  • There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to learning, each individual learns in their own way, and has unique requirements as a result.
  • Measuring impact is more important than measuring numbers. Just because a high number of users come to the site, doesn’t mean they find it useful. We’ve put site tests in place to measure interactions and test assumptions, so that we can continue to develop the user experience over time and improve the employability of the young people in the long term.

What does the platform offer?

Our platform provides the young people on the programme with access to:

  • a service that works across desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones
  • access to Microsoft Office products (such as Word to create a CV and covering letter or PowerPoint slides to prepare for an interview)
  • interactive content which helps those with learning difficulties or a preference for more creative learning to thrive
  • an app that can be used offline (for use when access to mobile data or WiFi is not available)
  • video conferencing and instant messaging to give those entered in the programme the ability to complete coursework independently of a tutor and classroom

The coursework being online also makes roll out to rural communities possible. This means the service can have greater reach in areas where this has previously been difficult to access, either because the young people can’t afford to travel, or because there are no service staff based in that region.

So far, it’s getting great feedback from staff and students, but there is more work to do.


What next?

A number of staff have been selected to champion the new service, and have attended course creator training to help them get started with building their coursework online.

They will continue to work their magic, and the Digital and Innovation team at Action for Children will be on hand to support them to roll out of the platform until it becomes a fully embedded service.

We hope to:

  • explore the use of online classrooms and integrating them into the current service
  • develop even more content designed to be used in a variety of learning settings in a self-directed way
  • work towards the possibility of self-referral into the programme for young people

What does the future hold?

Our research shown that there is a gap in the current qualifications market, which could mean we are leaving the most vulnerable people behind.

Currently, there are limited resources for those teaching adults with low literacy. Many of these are designed for primary school children, high school children or designed for the US curriculum.

We want to challenge the idea of a ‘one size fits all’ approach to learning and we would like to work with awarding bodies to tackle this.

People who do not learn in a traditional way, could be missing out on obtaining vital qualifications, simply because of format or proximity. We hope to explore the possibility of roll out beyond this, to a service that could reach out to all alternative learners.


How do I get involved?

We offer a small range of courses at the moment, which are designed to deliver training in a number of topics such as from CV building to health and wellbeing.

If you would like to use the site within your service or network, visit Action for Children’s employability services website for more information.