ADULT EDUCATION & LITERACY: PROVIDING & MANAGING AN ONLINE SERVICE DELIVERY IN THE LIGHT OF COVID-19 (AND FUTURE PANDEMICS)
Even in normal times, providing Adult Education and Literacy services to students/adult learners can be challenging. This is because many of the providers of adult education are often small organizations (or small units in larger school districts or community colleges). The main system they have access to is student systems, which do not begin to handle the data collection, workflow and process needs of Adult Education.
Adult Education and Literacy is focused on understanding the level of literacy, barriers and goals of each individual and then building a plan to help address their training needs and provide or refer individuals for services that will help them stay on track and achieve their goals. In order to achieve this, Adult Education schools and local community colleges, along with the workforce board, are organized into consortiums where students can be referred to transition to college or workforce services to help them get to employment. Currently, the process is mostly done via paper forms and a number of in-person sessions, starting with orientation sessions, that often bring in groups of students who can be instructed about the process and can fill forms. And referrals are made verbally or via email for in-person visits to other organizations.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are having to reduce large gatherings to smaller groups (which means increased number of sessions and therefore costs), cancelling these orientations altogether or look to moving this to an online process.
There are a number of aspects of the working interaction that can be managed completely online:
- Registration: Registering as a new customer/student.
- Initial orientation: Changing the in-person to an online process can be accomplished. A delivery mechanism and validation of what the audience has learned is important here.
- Gathering information from students
- Guiding students step by step through what they need to do next
- Enabling staff to see what has been done, and track additional interactions
- Communicate with clients, staff and partners
For many organizations, this may seem like a difficult task. It requires a careful analysis of your current process, and this is greatly facilitated by having a consultant/external person walk you through your current process, analyzing it and providing recommendations on how to optimize it. Putting things online forces an organization to think through the process, the real end goal and purpose of the data being collected (this can be information or forms required for compliance, notifying/informing people, to trigger action, for reporting purposes, etc.), who does what, when and also to question the steps and why they are done that way. Maybe COVID-19 can be used as an opportunity to start the transformation you knew needed to happen.
We at Empyra are happy to facilitate this journey for you through our consultative implementation process and our OneFlow platform provides customers with the online platform that can help manage the process for all stakeholders, including providing online access for clients to all their next steps.