New online self-study course for Work Welsh
Dona Lewis, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Planning and Development at the National Centre for Learning Welsh, talks about a new feature of the Work Welsh scheme.
An extended online self-study course – equivalent to 60 hours of Learn Welsh lessons in the classroom – is the latest addition to Work Welsh, the scheme to strengthen Welsh language skills in the workplace.
This is the first time for the National Centre for Learning Welsh to offer a self-study course of this type, and this exciting development meets the increasing demand for flexible learning methods and the challenges of the public health crisis.
The new course, suitable for beginners, has been tailored for the workplace. It combines reading and listening comprehension with exercises and tasks to be completed and documented. It includes relevant vocabulary and phrases and the emphasis is on using Welsh in the workplace right from the very beginning.
While this is a self-study course, a tutor is on hand to monitor learners’ progress and offer advice and support. The tutor will also hold virtual conversation and language Q&A sessions.
At the end of the course, the learner will receive a completion badge and plans are underway to introduce a further self-study continuation course.
Almost 250 people working for seven employers, including health boards and the emergency services, have already signed up for the course. As it is possible to follow this course at a time convenient to the learner, it’s proving popular with people who work shift patterns – a traditionally hard-to-reach audience when it comes to delivering courses.
The Centre is planning to conduct research into the self-study method in order to recognise the benefits, compared with other aspects of online learning. There will also be a questionnaire for learners.
Once the course has been trialled and tested, it will be possible to adapt it for different sectors and employers, as we have done with our 10-hour online taster courses, which are also part of Work Welsh.
The public health crisis has shown we need to be flexible with our provision in order to offer the best possible choice to our learners. With cuts to the Work Welsh budget resulting from the crisis, we’ve had to respond creatively in order to ensure workers can continue to learn in their workplaces.
This new course paves the way for introducing similar courses at other learning levels, enabling the Centre to reach new audiences.