You’ve probably noticed that I bang on about the “local + technology + scale” model quite a lot. This is an approach that Tinder and our community partners have developed over many years and through which we’ve supported over a million people.
The premise is this:
you create some high quality online content in partnership with people and organisations who know a lot about a topic, and, you host it somewhere accessible like Learn My Way
you enable and encourage flexible use of the content with local (even hyperlocal) places and partners in communities – like UK online centres – and support them to engage people, train them and support them to progress
and then you do this over and over again to reach scale.
This model has been really successful when teaching people about digital skills and we’re now extending that to other informal learning as well. Today we’re able to announce that we will be able to apply the model to a new area of learning – English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). The project is called English My Way, and it has been funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government through their English Language competition.
In October I visited to two UK online centres – JET in Newcastle and the Mercy Foundation in South London (pics included). In both of these centres I met people who were keen to learn how to use the internet but English wasn’t their mother language and they were new to speaking English. Language was a massive barrier for them which they had to overcome before they could really learn how to use the web.
Speaking to Hilary at JET and Victoria at Mercy Foundation, and many other centres around the country, we’ve discovered that there isn’t a lot of free low level English language learning content available, and it’s clear that it’s really needed. To support our community partners and the people they work with, we’re working with two highly experienced partners – BBC Learning English and the British Council – to deliver the new English My Way project.
So now we’ve heard the great news, the hard work starts! Over the next few months – together with BBC Learning English and the British Council – we’ll be developing both online (and some offline) learning content to support people to improve their English language skills using an innovative blended learning approach. We’ll also be working closely with community experts within the UK online centres network, creating within it a smaller network of English language centres who will begin delivery in April 2014.
And of course, I’ll be sharing all of the developments with you as we go along, so watch this space!