Tomorrow's Tutors Lairg & District Learning Centre

The Gathering 2018

Lairg & District Learning Centre

Charity registered in Scotland SC033900

Lairg and District Learning Centre was established to meet demand for learning at local level and opened to the public for the first time in April 2004. Since then, our learner numbers and our range of classes and workshops have expanded year-on-year.
The learning centre is run by three part-time staff and governed by a Board of Directors with considerable local expertise. All of our Directors act in a voluntary capacity. We are also digital charter signatories and have worked extensively to develop our digital inclusion approach.

  • From 1st June 2017 to 15th March 2018
  • Award: £2,550 via Call 4
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Project plan

Project description

The Tomorrow’s Tutors project will be delivered by Lairg Learning Centre and will seek to embed digital across their varied class timetable by training tutors in all subject areas in how digital can enhance their learning offer – be that gardening, patchwork, cake baking, or basic literacy. Improving tutor skills will then allow them to support learners in digital at their point of passion. The aim is to develop tutor understanding of digital inclusion, and to look at key basic digital skills and how to embed them. They will offer a series of four workshops for tutors, enthusing them about how digital can enhance their teaching, encouraging each tutor to explore the wide range of online opportunities and create a basic resource for learners to enhance their engagement with their learning. They will also support tutors in enhancing their own digital skills and create peer sharing opportunities.

Project milestones

Phase 1

Course Development

Phase 2

Tutor cohort intake and training

Phase 3

Resources Completed

Phase 4

Learner Development Monitored

Evaluation

Updates

We're now reaching the end of our Charter Fund period and it's been brilliant - we've trained a high proportion of our tutors in how they might use their own digital skills to help others in a community learning context (which doesn't always lend itself obviously to digital skills!) But importantly, this is only the start of the journey. Our plan is to offer digital training on an ongoing basis for tutors and staff- to help keep confidence levels high and enable them to share their skills further.

We've offered localised training and development in a peer support environment and we've been thrilled at how the tutors have taken on this role as digital champion and widened out the way they can share their skills. We're particularly pleased that we have a new Facebook group for our Plarn and Tarn class, and we also have students in hyper rural areas participating in learning using video. Both of these opportunities can be replicated by other tutors, to reach more people - reducing social isolation.

Tutors also now have digital resource sheets - with lots of ideas which might motivate people to get online for the first time. This resource is something staff and tutors will build on across the learning centre as it emphasizes the ways in which students can then move forward with digital, motivated by their community learning experience.

Lairg and District Learning Centre is in the central planning stage for the delivery of our Charter project. Part of our first tranche of development is internally focussed: we've been developing our own staff's personal digital skills, to ensure that everyone working in the centre on a day-to-day basis is able to pass on the basics. We have recently engaged two new members of staff, taking the number of staff to five, so it's a great time to be making these changes and we've been looking at using digital to improve what we do, trying new tools such as Trello to help us shape the work we do, and Twitter to share our story.

We're also working hard to engage as many of our community-based tutors as possible into the Charter programme to give them the key digital skills they need to act as digital champions, embedding digital skills sharing into the work they do every day. This is an exciting time for the Learning Centre, as we've also been lucky enough to receive a Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund award, and for the coming year we have more classes and workshops running than ever before- including cookery, sewing, glass painting, wood work, arts and crafts, decoupage, upholstery, gardening, and others with an upcycling theme with the aim of encouraging the community to save all types of household waste by re-using to make new items thereby reducing their carbon footprint, so we have plenty of tutors across Sutherland ready to act as digital champions!

We've chosen to work with Mhor Collective to implement training in late August with around fifteen tutors engaged in the first sessions. These sessions will cover:

-An introduction to Basic Digital Skills
-Looking at personal digital skills, with peer to peer learning and knowledge sharing
-Identifying training needs
-Becoming a digital champion
-Building digital resources
-Monitoring and evaluation

In the last few months of the project, we have offered training to a significant number of our community based tutors, enabling them to become digital champions in their courses. The training firstly focussed on their own digital skills, and highlighted the importance of digital, as well as looking at the impact of digital exclusion.

Our digital work is delivered in partnership with: