TAELLN411 Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills

The basic knowledge and skills required to address adult language, literacy, and numeracy (LLN) skills in the Australian VET system is covered by the TAELLN411 Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills unit.

This article has been primarily written for people studying for their TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment qualification. However, qualified VET practitioners may still get something from the content or the way the content has been presented.

Analysis of the TAELLN411 unit

An analysis of the TAELLN411 unit reveals five fundamental activities that relate to addressing adult LLN skills:

  1. Identify LLN skill gaps
  2. Implement strategies to address the LLN skill gaps
  3. Use resources to address the LLN skill gaps
  4. Seek assistance from LLN specialists
  5. Arrange support services.

The following diagram shows that the identification of LLN skill gaps is central to everything else we do in regards to addressing adult LLN skills.

Some important notes before we begin

I have previously published four articles that provide some essential background information:

The TAELLN411 unit describes the skills and knowledge a VET trainer or assessor requires to:

  • identify LLN skill requirements of the training and work environments
  • use strategies and resources that meet the needs of learners.

Competence in this unit does not indicate that a person is a qualified specialist LLN practitioner.

Developing the the LLN skills for children and adults is different. Therefore, addressing the LLN skills for children is outside the scope of VET and is not covered by the TAELLN411 unit.

1. Identify LLN skill gaps

Our starting point is to identify the type and severity of LLN skill gaps. The two occasions when LLN skill gaps are identified are:

  • Before the training program starts
  • During the training program.

1.1 Before the training program starts

An RTO will usually conduct a pre-training review (PTR) before enrolment into a training program. It will consist of a diagnostic assessment of a person current LLN skills. Also, a person’s computer or digital literacy skills are usually assessed. The person’s current LLN skills are compared with the LLN skills required for the training program to identify any LLN skill gaps.

The Australian VET system uses the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) to identify LLN skill levels. For more information, go to:

The conduct of a PTR supports compliance with Clause 1.7 of the Standards for RTOs. And most programs delivered with state government funding will also require a PTR to be conducted.

1.1.1 Validated ACSF tools

When a diagnostic assessment tool is ‘validated’, it simply means that the developer of the tool or instrument has come to the opinion that it measures what it was designed to measure (with some assurance that the result is accurate). Therefore, when a validated ACSF tool gives the result that a person has a reading skill at the ACSF Level 2, then it is reasonably assured that the person’s reading skill is at the ACSF Level 2

The Australian Government’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment has published information about providers of validated or approved LLN assessment tools.

1.2 During the training program

It will be common for trainers and TAFE teachers to discover learners who have poor LLN skills during the delivery of a training program. Learners may be observed struggling to learn training program content or complete assessment tasks. Some learners can become frustrated or angry because they are struggling. Some learners can become quiet or withdrawn. And some may become disruptive and display challenging behaviours.

It is a good idea to encourage learners to:

  • be self-aware of any learning difficulties they experience
  • ask for help as soon as they become aware of their struggles.

This will require the trainer or TAFE teacher to establish and maintain an emotionally safe and supportive learning environment.

2. Implement strategies to address the LLN skill gaps

Once an LLN skill gap or gaps have been identified, the trainer or TAFE teachers will need to take action. Considering options, selecting strategies that meet individual needs, and preparing to deliver strategies to develop LLN skills can be time consuming activities.

However, I know from first-hand experience that not all trainers and TAFE teachers will be allocated time to support LLN skill development. A VET practitioner may be ready and willing to provide support but unable to deliver this support due to the lack of available time.

There are two broad areas for action that that can be taken by trainers and TAFE teachers:

  • Select and use instructional strategies
  • Select and use assessment strategies.

This is the terminology from the TAELLN411 unit. You may like to translate the term ‘instructional strategies’ to be ‘training strategies’. An RTO’s training and assessment strategy (TAS) for the delivery of a particular qualification may give some general guidance. However, the general guidance may not be appropriate or adequate for all individuals with LLN skill gaps.

2.1 Select and use instructional strategies

Instructional strategies are actions that support the development of LLN skills, and these include:

  • General instructional strategies
  • Instructional strategies that target a specific LLN skill.

2.1.1 General instructional strategies

The following are some general strategies we can used when we design and deliver a training program:

  • Allow more time to learn new knowledge and skills
  • Provide time or opportunities to practice
  • Increase the number and duration of breaks between training sessions
  • Provide more feedback and guidance
  • Acknowledge attainment or progress towards attainment of knowledge and skills
  • Deliver a foundation skills qualification before or at the same time as the vocational qualification.

The FSK Foundation Skills Training Package consists of three qualifications that can be used to develop a person’s LLN skills.

A strategy, such as ‘deliver a foundation skills qualification’ is likely to be outside the scope of a trainer’s or TAFE teacher’s responsibility. However, a trainer or TAFE teacher can raise this with a person who does have the appropriate responsibility within the RTO.

2.1.2 Instructional strategies that target a specific LLN skill

The following are some strategies that target a specific type of LLN skill:

Reading

  • Explain and help the learner develop reading strategies such as skimming or reading for gist
  • Give the learner time to read and process the information
  • Identify and explain terminology, jargon, abbreviations, or acronyms
  • Encourage the learner to develop their own glossary of terms.

Writing

  • Explain and help the learner develop writing strategies such as paragraph. sentence structure, spelling, and grammar
  • Give the learner time and opportunities to practice writing
  • Provide constructive feedback and suggestions for improved writing
  • Encourage the learner to proofread or read aloud what they have written.

Oral communication

  • Give examples of words or phrases that can be used when communicating with others
  • Demonstrate the communication techniques and standards required
  • Use role plays for the learner to practice speaking, listening, and interacting with others
  • Build confidence by starting with simple role play situations before moving onto more complex or challenging situations

Numeracy

  • Only cover the numeracy skills required to perform a particular work skill or activity
  • Cover underpinning mathematical principles, concepts or methods, and explain how it relates to the work skill or activity
  • Cover one mathematical principle, concept or method at a time
  • Give the learner time and opportunities to practice the math.

2.2 Select and use assessment strategies

Assessment strategies are actions that support learners when being assessed, and these include:

  • Apply reasonable adjustment
  • Provide detailed instructions before commencing the assessment
  • Allow opportunity for the candidate to ask questions about the assessment
  • Allow adequate time for the candidate to prepare for the assessment
  • Arrange for assessment to occur at a different time or place.

Note: These support strategies should apply to all learners being assessed, not just offered to learners with a low level of LLN skills.

3. Select and use resources to address the LLN skill gaps

As previously mentioned, I know that not all trainers and TAFE teachers will be allocated time, or sufficient time, to support the development of LLN skills. A VET practitioner may want to provide support but unable to deliver this support due to the lack of available time.

Another time consuming activity can be searching, selecting, developing and customising resources. Again, the VET practitioner may be ready and willing to produce resources but unable to do this due to the lack of available time.

3.1 Search and review available learning and assessment resources

It is relatively easy to conduct a internet search for available learning and assessment resources. Use your internet browser and enter search terms, such as:

  • [Unit code or Topic] training resources
  • [Unit code or Topic] workbook
  • [Unit code or Topic] worksheets
  • [Unit code or Topic] activity sheets.

Also, try filtering your search by selecting ‘Images’. For example, if you use Google to search images for ‘sandwich making activity sheet’ you get the following result.

If you find a resource, then it will need to be reviewed for:

  • Relevance
  • Currency
  • Readability
  • Usability
  • Ability to be purchased or freely used without breaching copyright.

An internet search may not get you exactly what you need but it may give you ideas for creating your own resource.

3.1.1 Copyright

Not everything we can find on the internet can be used by us. We must think that everything is copyright and we should avoid breaching copyright. Sometimes we can find resources on the internet that can be used but they must be appropriately acknowledged. For example, government departments or regulatory authorities publish relevant documents and video resources to be used for training purposes, such as:

Example of documents that can be used without breaching copyright

Example of videos that can be used without breaching copyright

3.2 Customise learning and assessment resources

Some learning and assessment resources may need to be customised before being used. Customisation may include:

  • Improving readability or usability of the resource
  • Simplifying language used in the resource
  • Explaining terminology, jargon, abbreviations, or acronyms
  • Adding images or increasing the visual impact of information.

3.3 Design and develop learning and assessment resources

Some learning and assessment resources may need to be produced. Resources may include documents, PowerPoint slides, videos, web pages, etc.

I am currently writing a series of articles that cover the design and development of basic documents:

4. Seek assistance from LLN specialists

Sometimes a trainer or TAFE teacher is unable to address an LLN skill gap because of a lack of time or lack of capability in regards to supporting learners with LLN skill gaps. This is why we might need to seek assistance from an LLN specialists.

What can an LLN specialist do?

  • Conduct detailed analysis if a learner’s LLN skills gap
  • Work directly with the learners to close LLN skill gaps
  • Provide advice to the trainer or TAFE teacher.

Some RTOs may employ an LLN specialist, while other RTOs may use a consultant to provide LLN specialist support. To find an LLN specialist, you may need to contact your local TAFE or adult and community education provider.

5. Arrange support services

Learners may experience a range of issues that can be a distraction or impede their learning progress. A learner may benefit from a support service, such as:

  • Youth services
  • Mental health services
  • Drugs or alcohol services
  • LLN support services.

You may need to suggest, encourage, support, or arrange for your learner to connect with a support service.

5.1 Reading Writing Hotline

The Reading Writing Hotline is a free national phone referral service for adults looking to improve their reading, writing, maths, or computer skills. It is funded by the Australian Government and managed by TAFE NSW.

5.2 Cultural and social sensitivities

Someone who is told that they may need help from an LLN specialist or a support service may feel a range of emotions, including disappointment, embarrassment, or shame. We need to speak to the person confidentially, and with sensitivity.

In particular, we need to be aware how people from different cultural and social backgrounds may feel or respond to an offer of support or assistance when they lack the required LLN skills.

Some people have developed strategies to hide their lack of LLN skills. And sometimes these people have been hiding their lack of LLN skills for a long time.

In conclusion

There is a high chance that all trainers and TAFE teachers will frequently have learners with LLN skills lower than what is required. It is important for VET practitioners to be ready, willing and able to respond when LLN skill gaps are identified. But more important is for RTOs to be ready, willing and able to provide adequate resourcing to address LLN needs of enrolled learners.

The following diagram shows the essential activities covered by the TAELLN411 Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills unit.

The first thing is to identify LLN skill gaps. Then we need to take action to address the LLN skill gaps, for example:

  • Implement strategies to address the LLN skill gaps
  • Use resources to address the LLN skill gaps
  • Seek assistance from LLN specialists
  • Arrange support services.

Evaluate effectiveness

It is good practice to evaluate effectiveness of the actions we have taken to address LLN skill gaps. We can continuously learn from our experience. And we may uncover areas for our own ongoing professional development as a trainer or TAFE teacher.

I hope you have liked this article. And I hope you will ‘like‘ it.

LinkedIn adds celebrate, love, insightful and curious reactions to spur  more engagement | TechCrunch

I welcome your feedback and comments. Also, it would be great to hear about your experience addressing adult LLN skills.

TAE Tutoring service

Are you a TAE40116 Student struggling with your studies?

Do you want help with your TAE40116 studies?

Ring Alan Maguire on 0493 065 396 to discuss.

Contact now!

logo otws

Training trainers since 1986

Author: Alan Maguire

35+ years experience as a trainer, instructional designer, quality manager, project manager, program manager, RTO auditor, RTO manager and VET adviser.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s