The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills has defined 9 skills needed for work, learning and everyday living. Continuous Learning or lifelong learning examines the requirement for individuals to participate in an ongoing process of acquiring skills and knowledge.
Continuous Learning examines the theory that more and more jobs require continuous upgrading, and that all workers must continue keeping up with the explosion in information and technology in order to keep with the growing demands of their jobs. Lifelong learning is equally important for the growing number of older Canadians who may or may not be actively employed as learning is the key to longer, healthier, more satisfying and productive lives.
If this is true, then the following will become Essential Skills:
- Knowing how to learn
- Understanding one’s own way of learning
- Knowing how to gain access to a variety of materials, resources and learning opportunities
In the school setting, students learn how to learn and how to generalize this skill beyond the school setting.
Continuous learning supports and strategies
The following list of technologies and strategies could help support continuous learning outside the classroom. Add to the list by thinking about what has helped you, a student or a parent support continuous learning in the classroom or home:
- Digital Recorders: document impromptu spoken instructions or other audio; the audio file can be downloaded onto a computer or mp3 player.
- Headphones: manage distractions and concentration with soft music or white noise played through headphones.
- Personal Digital Assistants (PDA’s) and Smartphones: These devices have a range of features such as alarms, calendars, calculators, and some even have global positioning systems. Combination PDA-Cell Phones are available, eliminating the need to carry two separate devices. Initial assistance may be required when programming a PDA or cell phone to meet personal needs; users should ask sales representatives or tech support (from the vendor) to help customize the features and for demonstrations of how to use them.
- Reading Pens: scan and read aloud single words or lines of text from a page, also equipped with a dictionary
- Talking Calculators: use as a standard calculator with the addition of reading the numbers and functions aloud
Software and Apps
- Computer Accessibility Features: customize your computer to fit your learning needs. Adjust the contrast and enlarge print and graphics on the screen; adjust contrast and background color schemes; adjust keystroke and mouse controls with “StickyKeys” and “MouseKeys” settings; create macros that automatically fill in commonly typed information (address, signature block, etc.).
- Information Management and Communication Software: organize e-mail messages, schedules, tasks, notes, and contact information, receive alerts for meetings and timelines
- Portable Word Processors: draft documents or take notes with the support of spell check and other editing capabilities, some quite lightweight
- Portable Spell Checkers: check spelling on the go; many also have a dictionary and thesaurus, and some read text aloud. Spell checkers are built in to word processing apps that are available on smartphones and tablets as well as computers, such as google docs or MSWord.
- Speech Recognition: convert dictation to text if you experience difficulty typing or writing
- Spell and Grammar Check : try various ways to use the spell and grammar check on the word processor; if it is distracting while writing, turn it off until the document is in draft
- Text-to-Speech Software: read electronic text, highlight words as they are being read, proofread your own writing.
- Word Prediction Software: get assistance in spelling and typing with a list of predicted words after a few letters have been typed.
Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) is a Canadian organization focused on improving the literacy and essential skills of adult Canadians. OLES provide expertise, project funding, and a wide range of learning tools and other resources.
CAMO Québec (French resource): The Committee for the adaptation of labor for disabled persons is a national organization (Quebec) whose mission is to promote access to training and employment of disabled people.