The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills has defined 9 skills needed for work, learning and everyday living. Continuous Learning or lifelong learning examines the requirement for individuals to participate in an ongoing process of acquiring skills and knowledge.
Continuous Learning examines the theory that more and more jobs require continuous upgrading, and that all workers must continue keeping up with the explosion in information and technology in order to keep with the growing demands of their jobs. Lifelong learning is equally important for the growing number of older Canadians who may or may not be actively employed as learning is the key to longer, healthier, more satisfying and productive lives.
If this is true, then the following will become Essential Skills:
- Knowing how to learn;
- Understanding one's own learning style; and
- Knowing how to gain access to a variety of materials, resources and learning opportunities.
In the school setting, students have to learn how to learn and how to generalize this skill beyond the school setting. The following examples of technologies can help support with continuous learning outside the classroom setting:
Color Coded Jump Drives: transport data from one computer to another; personalize a color-coding system to keep track of various sets of information.
Computer Accessibility Features : customize your computer to fit your learning needs. Adjust the contrast and enlarge print and graphics on the screen; adjust contrast and background color schemes; adjust keystroke and mouse controls with "StickyKeys" and "MouseKeys" settings; create macros that automatically fill in commonly typed information (address, signature block, etc.).
Digital Recorders: allow you to document impromptu spoken instructions or other audio; the audio file can be downloaded onto a computer or mp3 player.
Google Desktop: is a desktop search application which makes searching your email and computer drives for files and folders much easier.
Headphones: manage distractions and concentration with soft music or white noise played through headphones.
Information Management and Communication Software: organize e-mail messages, schedules, tasks, notes, and contact information, receive alerts for meetings and timelines
Personal Digital Assistants (PDA's) and Smartphones : These devices have a range of features such as alarms, calendars, calculators, and some even have global positioning systems. Combination PDA-Cell Phones are available, eliminating the need to carry two separate devices. Initial assistance may be required when programming a PDA or cell phone to meet personal needs; users should ask sales representatives or tech support (from the vendor) to help customize the features and for demonstrations of how to use them.
Portable Spell Checkers: check spelling on the go; many also have a dictionary and thesaurus, and some read text aloud
Portable Word Processors: draft documents or take notes with the support of spell check and other editing capabilities, some quite lightweight
Reading Pens: scan and read aloud single words or lines of text from a page, also equipped with a dictionary
Speech Recognition : convert dictation to text if you experience difficulty typing or writing
Spell and Grammar Check : try various ways to use the spell and grammar check on the word processor; if it is distracting while writing, turn it off until the document is in draft
Talking Calculators: use as a standard calculator with the addition of reading the numbers and functions aloud
Text-to-Speech Software : read electronic text, highlight words as they are being read, proofread your own writing.
Word Prediction Software : get assistance in spelling and typing with a list of predicted words after a few letters have been typed.
Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) is a Canadian organization focused on improving the literacy and essential skills of adult Canadians. OLES provide expertise, project funding, and a wide range of learning tools and other resources.
CAMO Québec (French resource): The Committee for the adaptation of labor for disabled persons is a national organization (Quebec) whose mission is to promote access to training and employment of disabled people.