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.