Central Otago REAP

Operating under demanding circumstances can be exhausting, but it can also be a source of inventiveness and creativity. Over the last four weeks, New Zealand has seen some incredibly inventive and creative solutions and developments, and many of those may even last to become “the new norm”.

In that vein, Central Otago REAP has developed a new platform to encourage people to learn, offering a range of tutorials on their site. Staff have developed tutorials, read stories for Early Childhood and presented footage from previous U3A (University of the 3rd Age) series held in Alexandra. New series will be added weekly, and the setup has the potential to last well into the future as an online learning platform.

While videos and online learning will never replace traditional learning completely, great strides have been made to ensure that distance and isolation are no longer barriers to opportunity. Check out the new Central Otago REAP video site here.

Ako-funded research by three REAPS provides resources for the sector

Three REAPS (Wairarapa, Central Otago and East Bay) recently collaborated on a research project funded by Ako Aotearoa. Their report was published in February 2017 and the REAPS involved held a workshop at the ACE Conference this year.

The main aim of this project was “to discover how successful learning is defined by learners in the ACE sector and how this can inform the programme interventions and activities offered in this learning context”. Forty-three learners, thirteen ACE tutors and fifteen other stakeholders working in the ACE environment took part in focus groups.

The research defined learner success from a learner perspective and provided indicators of learner success. Learners, tutors and other stakeholders identified challenges or barriers that learners faced. Learner support mechanisms were identified and there

is a section on ACE tutor expectations, essential qualities, and professional development.

Overall the research found that “the ACE sector promotes and facilitates the engagement of adults in lifelong learning. It offers a range of community-based education activities and programmes that are flexible in nature and responsive to the learning needs of

communities and to individual learners,” and that “a significant strength of the REAPs was the effectiveness of providing learners with a wrap-around service, that is, working in collaboration with other social services in the community.”

As a result of the research two resources have been developed. The first is a learner-centric evaluation model establishing essential learner-centric practices, and key stakeholders providing and supporting these. The model is based on a description of learning success as described by the learner participants. The second resource is an evaluation review process as an integrated tool alongside other established ACE evaluation processes that can be used by ACE training providers to determine alignment between programme interventions and activities and ACE learners’ views
of successful learning. The process encompasses three evaluation and review templates, and is underpinned by the Learner-centric Evaluation Model.

Download the report HERE

One Person’s Journey with Literacy – Central Otago

Karen was encouraged to attend a REAP Lifeskills based course with embedded literacy and numeracy in May 2016 by a local whanau group. Her goal at that stage was to meet people of a similar age and in a similar situation to herself.
Karen attended 3 Lifeskills courses which also included budgeting. Karen expressed delight at how she was now able to manage her family finances in a more positive fashion. Many of these ideas Karen took even further. As a solo mum with 5 daughters money was an issue, especially school camps. With the knowledge she has gained from her REAP Lifeskills course and some helpful tips from REAP staff Karen turned her back garden into a vegetable plot and made chutneys, sauces and jam that we sold at REAP and the funds were forwarded to her children’s school to cover costs.
As a result of discussions during class time Karen realised that she had no connection with her Māori ancestry and felt like a ‘floating island with no roots’. She did not want this for her five daughters and realised that she needed to make changes. With the REAP tutors encouragement and the confidence she had started to gain by the success in the Lifeskills programme, she enrolled in the Open Wananga He Papa Tikanga Programme, though still feeling unsure if she had the ability to be successful as she had left school at fifteen. After just two months on the correspondence course she realised she enjoyed learning and later decided to join the REAP Choices ( Intensive Literacy and Numeracy ) programme in 2017 to work towards achieving NCEA level 2.