Learner support is the educational system that focuses on the student and tutor relationship with the main emphasis on the teacher’s role (Wolfson & Brady, 2009). The teacher is supposed to give the student more than can be given to an average student. Therefore, learning extends beyond the formal methods and focuses on intensive learning and skill development (Bates, 2014) According to various research and scholars, the teacher-student relationship is very important and the presence of the tutor mainly influences the success or failure of the student. (Sheridan & Kelly, 2010)
One major advantage of learner support is the ability of the instructor to deal with the various challenges associated with the different needs of the students (McDonald, 2008). The tutors are able to engage the students on a more basic level providing the necessary educational recommendation and training. Secondly, the tutor is able to receive direct feedback from the student and consequently provide the response in a more direct form (Baker, 2010). These feedbacks are mainly associated with project activities, writing and reading assignments. The end result is that the student is in a better position to understand. Thirdly, learner support includes the supportive efforts of other students. The teachers can enhance this by providing platforms through which various students can collaborate in order to help the challenged. Students working together is more beneficial than individually. Finally, learner support is also beneficial because of the counseling tag associated with it (Baker, 2010). The students are provided with academic as well as guidance and administrative support.
The main drivers for ETD in South Africa include high rates of labor turnover, shortage of labor, and outrageous rates of unemployment (Coetzee, et al., 2007).However, a proper learner support program has to be defined in terms of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. To begin with, learner support has been viewed as a way of enhancing the skills and capability of the human resource in an organization. This is useful because of the lack of skilled labor. As a matter of fact, it been applied in both the informal sectors in South Africa. On the other hand, the major threat is attributed to the cost of EDT initiatives. They are very expensive and as such, the practitioners are required to deliver their EDT interventions in a strategized manner (Coetzee, et al., 2007).
The major strength lies on the cost saving measures that are employed.EDT initiatives reduces the expenditure by enabling the human resource teams to continue working during training. On the other hand, weakness may lie on the ability to effectively manage classes as well as the training. The training employed has to consider the individual needs and If the needs of the individuals are not considered, the system may be ineffective.
In my case, I have had the privilege of helping out some of my colleagues at work. Helping out these individuals entails proper planning, discussion, and training. The major problem observed with these two individuals, Lucy Mathuloane Kumane and lennox Mkhonto, is on their reading and writing. The problem was mainly associated with their educational background where both started as sales assistant working their way to the manager’s positions. The situation is aggravated by the fact that they have very low educational qualifications, grade 7 to be precise. Therefore, they are constantly faced with the challenge of reading and writing. This can be a thorn in the flesh during training because some of the time I had to help them out with the training. Therefore, I had to ensure that I provided learner support tuition which were mainly one on one, and more to this, extended the half class schedule to full day schedule.
In line with providing help, the first step involved understanding the background. People have different backgrounds that affect their learning. The two backgrounds were similar because of the relatively shallow qualifications they had when joining the organization. All that understood, the challenges were mainly in reading and writing.  Finally, because of the relatively shallow reading and writing skills, I extended the half a day classes to full time classes. For lennox, I provided three classes whereby the first was on effective management and an introduction to the policies and procedures of training, the second was on actual training and the third was mainly a group training. Grouping learners’ enables the less privileged to learn from the whole group and in turn ensures proper learning. The third class ended with an assessment whereby he was declared competent but till requires support. On the other hand, I provided Lucy with the first two classes.
I can therefore conclude that, based on my interaction with both Lucy and Lennox, that I was able to communicate effectively using visual, and language skills in oral and written presentation. Secondly, I was able to organize and manage myself in a very effective and efficient manner. To begin with, the training was very organized in the sense that there was a step by step learning with Lennox going through three classes while Lucy going through two classes. However, Lennox was able to gain more from the final class because of the group set up organized in the final class. The management encompasses the ability to organize training classes with learners of different capabilities which I was able to do with Lennox.
On the aspect of proper communication using, visual and language skills, the training involved rigorous reading and writing. It is important to understand the writing and reading skills of the individuals and as such, extended the half day class to full day. By doing so, the lessons were step by step using visual aids whenever required. The two are instances of application of critical cross curriculum outcomes and in looking at the final outcomes, their application was effective in the reading and writing skills of the two.Moreso, the aspect of communication entails representing complex information in a more simplified manner and with their relative shallow reading and writing skills, I was forced to use simplified terminologies in providing them with the most complex of learning.
The use of the two has enabled me to understand the needs of those with reading and writing challenges in a detailed manner. Lennox and Lucy have a challenge in reading and writing and by proper communication and organization, they have benefited from the training. Proper communication and using visual aids improves the presentation skills while effective organizational and management improves the team building skills. Team building skills are essential in group organizations while presentation skills are vital during training and teaching.
Baker, C., 2010. The impact of instructor immediacy and presence for online students’ Affective learning, cognition, and motivation. The journal of educators online.
Bates, T., 2014. Why learner support is an important component in the design of teaching and learning. [Online]
Available at: www.tonybates.ca/2014/08/26
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Coetzee, m., Botha, J.-A., Kiley, J. & Truman, K., 2007. Practicing education, training, and development in South African Organization. s.l.:s.n.
McDonald, J., 2008. Blended learning and online tutoring: planning learner support and activity design. s.l.:s.n.
Sheridan, K. & Kelly, M., 2010. The indicators of instructor presence that are important to a student in online courses. MERLOT Journal of online learning and teaching.
Wolfson, L. M. & Brady, K., 2009. An investigation of factors impacting on mainstream teachers beliefs about teaching students with learning difficulties. Educational psychology.