In early 2020 we were fortunate to be selected and funded by Nesta the UK Innovation Foundation for social good. Our project was part of the Nesta CareerTech Challenge Programme in partnership with the English Department for Education. The programme had the aim of using technology to provide help for workers, such as workers in low paid, insecure work, to improve their career prospects by upskilling and retraining online, or access better information, advice and guidance to help them find work.
We proposed developing the first 5 lessons of our app into a ‘taster’ online course delivered by a smartphone to make people more confident about approaching a local literacy training provider. An in-depth evaluation of the project and an analysis of its impact on learners and possible future development was carried out by the Claire Collins Consultancy with support from the Learning and Work Institute.
The report is a substantial piece of work and research in its own right and found that the Citizen Literacy app and our approach was a viable and realistic one to take with adult beginner learners and the proposed use of technology. It also laid out the need for further research into the digital habits of low literacy learners and the importance of using people-to-people networks to reaching these learners, who are often not reached by existing adult educations services. The report also stressed the need for the continuing collaboration between EdTech innovators like Citizen Literacy and existing adult education teacher networks to develop realistic solutions.