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The Literacies for Learning in Further Education project is relevant to practice, policy and academic audiences and our findings continue to be of interest to local, regional and national audiences. The project embedded activities and events to engage with these users across the entire project: this strategy for impact was based on ever-increasing networks radiating out from the colleges in which the research is based (see the article on this by Ivanič and Edwards: ‘Mobilising a Network’, Teaching and Learning (Post-compulsory Edition), May 2004). A more detailed discussion of the user engagement strategy is available here.
The Advisory Group enabled input on the focus and shaping of the project from interested individuals and organisations.
Project newsletters were published twice a year and served the function of ‘educating readers’ locally, regionally and, to some extent, nationally so that they would know about the project in preparation for the announcement of findings later in the course of the research. 1,500 copies of each issue were distributed to named contacts in colleges and organisations.
At local practice level, meetings between project members and College management teams enabled project goals to interface successfully with college organisational priorities. At the start of the project, project 'advocates' were identified within the college SMT to facilitate the work of the project, deal with its financial aspects and liaise with college management, where necessary. Interviews and negotiations over the CBRCs’ secondments to the project provided the first practical steps in realising our partnership agreements with the colleges. Regular meetings took place with college senior management teams to share ongoing findings from the project. College-based researchers had regular discussions with other college staff regarding the project, and contributed to college staff and student newsletters. Research findings were presented at curriculum team meetings and other CPD events.
Towards the end of the project, resources were developed that could be used within CPD events and as resources for teacher-training courses. For more information on these resources, see our presentations page.
User engagement has also been encouraged through publication in professional journals: Adults Learning and Broadcast, and a project Newsletter. The latter was distributed to all college Principals in Scotland and the North West of England. These have encouraged responses from a wider educational community.
At national level, meetings between project members and other interested organisations have occurred. These include in England NRDC, LSDA, CfBT, and The Standards Unit; and in Scotland SFEU, BRITE, Communities Scotland and the Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning Advisory Group, which comprises representatives of public and voluntary organisations across Scotland. (Please see Acronyms for an explanation of all abbreviations used in this site).
Early in the project, team members drew on project conceptualisations of literacy to advise on the development of materials for the embedding of literacy teaching within vocational subjects in England, carried out by a consortium led by the Confederation for British Teachers. Later in the research, meetings were held with awarding bodies and the QCA to advise on the development of the Specialised Diplomas and the embedding of functional literacy within these.
Throughout the project, academic papers were publised in a range of journals (for more information, see our publications page). A major contribution of the research was in pushing forward theoretical understandings of literacy and its relevance to learning.
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