Professional Development Resources



Numeracy: online article

Berghella, T & Molenaar, J 2013, Seeking the N in LLN, NCVER, Adelaide.
Literacy and numeracy skills are critical in the workplace and yet little is known in Australia about the extent of numeracy training required within a workplace. This study begins to redress this by investigating the qualifications, experience, and numeracy skills of language, literacy and numeracy specialists and vocational specialists—referred to collectively in this study as vocational education and training (VET) practitioners—working in the process manufacturing industry. A degree of mismatch is found between the skill required to address numeracy needs in the process manufacturing industries and the current capacity of VET practitioners in terms of their understanding of numeracy requirements, their qualifications, skills and experience.

Seeking the N in LLN (

ACAL recorded webinar – The benefits of longitudinal studies and consistent data for prisoner education in Australia by Ron Wilson

5 minutes on… The benefits of longitudinal studies and consistent data for prisoner education in Australia
Ron Wilson, President of the Australasian Corrections Education Association (ACEA)
Longitudinal studies overseas resulted in an understanding of the relationship between positive prisoner education programs and a productive life post-release. The data collected led to a political will to address education needs in prisons, and to significant funding.
In this 5 minute presentation, Dr Ron Wilson explains why ACEA hopes consistent data about prisoner education across the states and territories in Australia will be an outcome of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Importance of Adult Literacy.
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The Foundation Skills Literature Review Project

The Foundation Skills Literature Review Project was a partnership between NCVER and the University of Technology Sydney and the Australian Council for Adult Literacy. Funded by NCVER, the project provided scholarships to practitioners to develop their research skills through undertaking literature reviews focused on key topics relating to foundation skills. The four literature reviews produced are available on the NCVER website:

  • Cameron, L 2016, The salience of diversity in foundation skills contexts, pedagogies and research, NCVER, Adelaide. The salience of diversity in foundation skills contexts, pedagogies and research (
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  • Mayer, D 2016, Exploring perspectives on adult language, literacy and numeracy, NCVER, Adelaide. Exploring perspectives on adult language, literacy and numeracy (
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  • Medlin, J 2016, The Australian literacy and numeracy workforce: a literature review, NCVER, Adelaide. The Australian literacy and numeracy workforce: a literature review (
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  • Newton, J 2016, Foundation skills policy contexts and measures of impact, NCVER, Adelaide. Foundation skills policy contexts and measures of impact (
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VOCEDplus is a free international research database for tertiary education, especially as it relates to workforce needs, skills development, and social inclusion. VOCEDplus is produced by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) with funding from the Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments. Content encompasses VET, higher education, adult and community education, informal learning, and VET in Schools. It is international in scope and contains over 90,000 English language records, many with links to full text documents. It also provides access to several value-added resources including the VET Knowledge Bank, the Pod Network and the VET Practitioner Resource.
Visit VOCED here

Online article

2 min read: Professional development – Andragogy 101
Have you come across the term andragogy yet? You have probably heard of pedagogy when we talk about teaching children. Andragogy is a similar term, but it refers to teaching adults.
Why andragogy? Because there are important differences in how we teach adults!
Malcolm Knowles, an adult learning theorist, gave us six characteristics of adult learners:

  1. The need to know – Adults want to know why they need to learn something. They may ask: ‘Why do I need to know this? or ‘Why is this important?’ Learning is valued when it meets their needs, is relevant, and helps them achieve their goals.
  2. Learner’s self-concept – Adult learners want respect and to be seen as capable learners.
  3. Role of the learner’s experience – Adult learners already know things. They can use existing knowledge and experience to underpin new learning experiences. An adult literacy learner has a lifetime of knowledge, experience and strategies that they bring to the process.
  4. Readiness to learn – Adult learners are time poor and want to learn what they need to know to reach their goals. This is why we stress the importance of authentic tasks and real strategies.
  5. Orientation to learning – Adult learners benefit from learning experiences that they can use immediately in their lives, either to apply in their current role or to reach their next goal.
  6. Motivation – Adults have both external and internal motivators that help them stay engaged. For example, external motivators could be a better job or increased salary. Internal motivators could be increased job satisfaction, or increased self-esteem.

Thinking about your practice in terms of andragogy is useful because it helps you create an adult learning environment that fosters respect and a love of lifelong learning.
Want to know more? There are many articles and videos online that you can access with a basic internet search including:
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Adult Literacy and Numeracy papers published by Dr. Marguerite Cullity

Parliamentary, House of Representatives, Inquiry Into Adult Literacy and Its Importance (2021)

by Marguerite Cullity, and the Western Australian Adult Literacy Council:

● Marguerite Cullity Sub. #63 & #63.1 Sub. #63: “The relationship between primary-carers’ literacy skills and their children’s education and literacy skills development.”
Sub #63.1: “Five terms of [the Parliamentary Inquiry’s] reference: A summary of each.”
● Western Australian Adult Literacy Council (authored by Marguerite Cullity on behalf of WAALC members who participated in the research & submission process)
Sub. #81: “The availability, impact and effectiveness of adult literacy and numeracy (LN) educational programs in Australia and internationally.”

Submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry are available at:   

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Numeracy: online article

Gal, I., Grotlüschen, A., Tout, D. et al. Numeracy, adult education, and vulnerable adults: a critical view of a neglected field. ZDM Mathematics Education 52, 377–394 (2020).
This survey paper examines selected issues related to the intersection of three broad scholarly areas: numeracy, adult education, and vulnerability. Numeracy encompasses the ways in which people cope with the mathematical, quantitative, and statistical demands of adult life, and is viewed as an important outcome of schooling and as a foundational skill for all adults. The focus on vulnerability stems from the realization that concerns of policy makers and educators alike often center on populations seen as vulnerable.
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