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ALTA Online: Here we Grow Again

i Jun 10th No Comments by

Our June articles continue to explore ALTA’s new offering – ALTA Online. This web-based programme of literacy instruction is built around Caribbean life skills content and designed for independent use by persons aged 10 and over who have low level reading and spelling skills.

In the first phase of the ALTA Online pilot, support from the UWI Campus Office of Planning and Institutional Research allowed for the creation of a Survey Monkey survey through which students were able to provide pointed feedback. This showed ALTA Online was well received by users.

Some key findings included 100% felt improved reading and spelling skills and are interested in continuing once more content becomes available. Over 90% would recommend ALTA Online to others to improve their reading. Specific pluses found were the ability to work from home, at their own pace and the ability to re-do activities.

This positive feedback shows that ALTA is on the right track, and we expect even more happy students as we continue to enhance the features of ALTA Online. In addition to adding Book 2 of Level 1, ALTA has added a game at the end of each lesson. These are modelled on the modified card games we have used successfully for years in our community classes.

Terry Ann Dickinson, one of our teen users, says that ALTA Online sparked her interest in learning. “ALTA helped me. I never really liked to read and the whole learning to read process used to make me kind of upset, but ALTA Online made reading fun to learn and the little games it had in between the videos made me interested in wanting to learn more, so I’m actually way better than I was before in my reading. I would really like to continue to improve even more!”

ALTA Online is expanding its support to students, continuing to make learning fun for them just as it has been for Terry Ann. ALTA has used the lessons learnt during the pilot to shape on-site implementation when schools and public spaces reopen, as well as continued individual home-based use.

ALTA now has a trained user support specialist to guide on-site mentors and directly assist students with sign up and log in, as well as act as a first point of contact for troubleshooting and linking to the development team.

But ALTA Online is intended for independent use, so ALTA has produced “How to Use ALTA Online” videos. These are sent by WhatsApp to users and have proved effective.

The ALTA Online Assessment Book, a tool developed to be used by prospective students to determine their starting level in ALTA Online, was successfully piloted with 128 users. This pilot confirmed:

  • Prospective students were able to use the Assessment Book independently with the aid of the ‘How to Use’ ALTA Online video
  • The Assessment Book efficiently places prospective students in the three ALTA literacy levels – Beginner (not offered by ALTA Online), Level 1 or Level 2 (2022).

ALTA Online is ready for school students to get their literacy skills up to par for the new academic year. As students continue to grapple with screen fatigue from the last year of remote learning, and in the continued absence of in-person schooling, ALTA Online would be best received during the July-August vacation.

Our next article will give details of the vacation plan for ALTA Online to reach school students.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining an ALTA-V class, enhancing their literacy through ALTA Online Level 1 or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email altapos.tt@gmail.com.

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