How to Help Adult Learners Learn the Basics
H. C. Windisch, from the OECD Direcorate for Education and Skills, talks about the issues raised in her recently published OECD education working paper “Adults with low literacy and numeracy skills: A literature review on policy intervention”, which examines the current evidence on policy interventions for adults with low literacy and numeracy skills to clarify which targeted policy levers could best enhance socio-economic returns. Her literature review attempts to bring together the analytical insights from research and practice to provide a broad picture of what has so far proven to motivate low-skilled adults to join and persist in literacy and numeracy learning. The paper shows that low basic skills levels of adults are a complex policy problem that has neither straightforward causes nor straightforward solutions and successful interventions are relatively uncommon. The paper identifies formative assessment, e-learning, and contextualisation and embedding (especially in the workplace and family context) as effective approaches to basic skills teaching. The central challenge is now to put the evidence to work.