Thursday, February 22, 2007

Learning Express

If the police are Madison’s Finest, then surely our librarians are its wisest. One of them, Lisa Mettauer, contacted me recently about a new resource for basic skills training. Called Learning Express, the interactive website helps people achieve goals like passing the G.E.D., Nursing, U.S. Citizenship and dozens of other exams. Lisa writes,

People are now able to access Learning Express from any location through our web site. Try it: Go to the Madison Public Libraries website, click on Research tab, go to Databases, then scroll down to LearningExpress. You can set up your account and you're on your way.

You might give it a try and see if you can interest your learner. The site allows learners to go at their own pace. After setting up an account a learner can leave a learning module and return to it at a future time. Learners can see how ready they are by taking realistic practice tests.

Below is a screenshot from the web page:

It used to be the case that you had to go to the public library to use this resource, but now it is available to anyone with a computer. I registered for the course on U.S. Citizenship.

It lets you go at your own speed. You may notice that all questions give you the option "Skip this question for now." Participants have an unlimited amount of time to complete a review, which is a big issue for the adult learner with a busy schedule. Many people have been out of school for decades, and they already have enough stress in their lives without having to worry about time pressures in their studies. Because the program keeps track of what you have done every time you sign in, you can work as long as you like, then come back to where you left off when you have more time.

I took the U.S. Citizenship pre-test. Here's the thing: I assumed I would get 100%, but I missed two of the 50 questions. Still good enough to pass, but it made me think about how hard people work to earn the citizenship that native-born Americans take for granted.

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