Where is Everybody?
From our personal experiences as literacy practitioners, from our knowledge
of our local communities and from the results of provincial and national
surveys, we know there is a need for literacy programs. Literacy agencies
spend considerable time and effort recruiting learners using a variety
of promotional tools. However, despite the need and our efforts to respond
to that need, learner recruitment is often a challenge for many literacy
For example, Community Literacy of Ontario (www.nald.ca/clo.htm) delivered
live, online training workshops to 50 Ontario literacy practitioners
in May 2006. During those workshops, practitioners answered the following
question: how important is learner recruitment in your agency? Here
are their responses:
- What we do now seems to work well. There are always new learners.
- We used to be able to attract new learners quite easily,
but lately there are fewer and fewer. (33%)
- It's becoming a serious issue. Our numbers of new
learners are down. We need to do something about
- It has been a problem for quite some time. We have
tried a number of strategies but nothing seems
to work. (12%)
- Code Red! We are in desperate need of more learners
in our program. (6%)
Where are they are all? Why aren’t adults with low literacy skills
banging down our doors? What can the current research tell us? Could
we be better at recruiting students and designing our programs around
their needs? What are the barriers to attending programs, and what can
we do about it? What typically motivates learners to upgrade their skills?
What effective recruitment strategies are other literacy agencies using?
Are there useful tools and resources that can help literacy organizations
with recruitment? In this online training module Community Literacy
of Ontario explores these key questions.