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Since 2003 we have been working on the use of multimedia for adults with a low level of education. In september 2016 we changed our name ETV.nl into Oefenen.nl. Our programs are specifically aimed at the wishes, requirements and backgrounds of lower educated adults and of people with insufficient proficiency in the Dutch language (L1 and L2). Our focus is not on formal education. Oefenen.nl aims at individual adults in non-formal and informal settings.
Portal for basic skills
Oefenen.nl is a portal, specifically developed for lower educated (young) adults who want to improve their basic skills regarding language. These basic skills are embedded in subjects such as Health, Work, Internet, Parenting and Money. From this portal people exercise reading, writing, numeracy and digital skills. The exercises are visually attractive, accessible and reliable and the navigation is simple. The materials are embedded: language related to practical and functional situations and actions. So as learners improve their basic skills, they also learn about subjects they can relate to, for example money, work, health and upbringing. Oefenen.nl makes the programs themselves by using the Program Tool with over 60 types of exercises.
Quality and accessibility
The power of the Oefenen.nl programs is not only its (educational) quality. It is also its accessibility - a key requirement for the target groups it aims at! - and the flexibility of its application in multiple settings: as course software or as an individual training, in a library or at home.
Individual work at home is free of charge. Organisations that want to work with Oefenen.nl, must buy a license. This licence not only provides access to the exercise material. It also gives access to the tracking system that supervisors/teachers can use to guide the learning process: by making learning routes for their learners, by following their progress and through direct contact. The tracking system includes additional material such as working sheets for various programs and User/Teacher manuals. Workbooks also support these programs. These books can be bought separately.
Oefenen.nl wants to be the medium through which people can develop themselves. Users can choose their own programs, depending on their needs. For instance for people without a job or for people for whom a course (be it out of shame or insecurity) forms too great a step. The materials are being used in non-formal education by a wide variety of social sectors and institutions. They are even the most important non-formal materials that organisations use. Almost 400 organisations use the tracking system.
The majority of learners use programs to improve their language and internet skills. The three most frequently used series of programs are Lees en Schrijf! (Read and Write), Taalklas.nl (Language Class.nl) and Klik & Tik (Click & Tick). With the Lees en Schrijf! programs you learn about spelling, grammar, reading, writing and a bit of numeracy. Some programs are general and some have a theme, like food, health or work. Most Lees en Schrijf! programs consist of video, internet exercises and workbooks. Learners can choose to do whole chapters or just one skill, e.g. grammar.
Taalklas.nl is the most popular program. Over half of all users practise with one or more of these programs. In the first quarter of 2015 the site was visited nearly 250.000 times. Taalklas.nl aims at migrants who learn Dutch as a second language. The level of the first two programs is about A1, Taalklas.nl Plus is going towards A2. The internet program is very simple to use. Even learners with no education and very low language levels work with Taalklas.nl. Additional to Taalklas.nl Plus there is an app (you can install from Google Play and iTunes).
We have developed three Klik & Tik (Click & Tick) programs teaching digital skills for low-educated adults and people with insufficient language proficiency: Klik & Tik. Het internet op (2009) (Go online), Klik & Tik. Samen op ‘t web (2016) (Together online) and Klik & Tik. De basis (2014) (The basis). The programs are very popular.
Many libraries have embraced Klik & Tik. It is perceived a smartly designed programme that serves people with diverse knowledge levels. The Klik & Tik series help to gradually build up people’s abilities (getting to know the computer, finding their way on the Internet, etc.). Libraries offer Klik & Tik courses and complement this with informal learning possibilities, e.g. a tablet cafés where you can learn how to work with your iPad or tablet computer, ‘digital clinics’ where you can get answers to your ‘computer tech questions’, maker spaces etc. So people can practice what they have learned in the courses they attended. The library sector has acquired licenses for Oefenen.nl, and hence every library in the Netherlands can develop their own services based on the Oefenen.nl products.
Use and results 2017
In 2017 480,000 people have an account at Oefenen.nl 93.232 of them are new accounts.
202,000 people work at home (for free) 278.000 people work under the guidance of someone else.
With 200,000 visits per month, Oefenen.nl is an important learning tool in the field of adult education.