3 strategies to reach rural learners

Without the option to attend a physical location, adults located in rural areas of the country may experience additional barriers to learning. Even so, this doesn’t need to stop them from acquiring the necessary knowledge to lead successful lives.

The following three strategies can help you increase the number of learners enrolled in your literacy programs – especially for those living in rural settings.

1. Embrace technology

Luckily, some type of internet is typically available in most rural communities. As a result, adult learners can partake in your programs regardless of where they live.

Encourage non-traditional learning that takes place outside of a classroom to increase your rural learners’ attendance rates. Learning from afar doesn’t need to be limited to a desktop computer, either – promote flexible learning that caters to multiple devices (such as tablets, cell phones and computers). Remind rural learners about the benefits of using technology, such as acquiring digital literacy skills and preparing for higher education.

Use the abilities of technology to create a stimulating learning environment. For example, incorporate sound, colour, animation and interactivity into a slide presentation rather than only text.

2. Connect with learners outside of class

As a literacy practitioner, spending time getting to know each student can help them achieve academic success. Positive teacher-learner interactions involve both social and academic matters. Take the time to connect with learners’ lives and personal interests in and out of the classroom.

Showing devotion to each learner can help them achieve academic success. This can be done by holding high expectations for each learner’s progress, ensuring they’re learning as much and as quickly as possible, and requiring them to perform up to their capabilities.

Depending on where a learner is located, they may have a different outlook on the world and its possibilities. Expand their knowledge and increase their educational goals by showcasing possible paths after program completion.

3. Keep them motivated

Keeping your learners engaged is often a challenge, regardless of whether they’re from rural, urban or suburban areas.

When learners think that the skill level being taught is high, and the challenge is low, they may be bored and display a half-hearted attempt. But when the opposite is true – and the skill level is lower when the challenge is high – they may become anxious and avoid learning the material completely. As a program instructor at your literacy organization, you’re faced with the difficult task of setting educational goals that are challenging enough for each learner yet still attainable.

Research shows that motivational beliefs usually result from learning experiences. Practitioners must first and foremost display an enthusiasm for learning and the specific program material to motivate learners. They must present the material clearly, directly teach the content, and regularly interact with learners.

In addition, they should supply proper encouragement and positive feedback to keep learners focussed on their educational goals.

The bottom line

As an adult educator, you know the critical role that literacy plays in health issues, financial matters, work opportunities and more. Although acquiring these skills can be more difficult for rural learners, they’re equally important to leading fulfilling lives.

To help engage rural adult learners on all areas of literacy, check out our free programs and resources.

Interested in learning more about reaching the hard-to-reach? Watch our Innovation Learning Lab.