Based on my research I now know that the poverty problem low-income single mothers and their families face, is not singularly financial and is in fact multi-dimensional and can negatively impact the mental, physical, social and financial aspects of their lives (Dill, 1998). I learned that world-wide much of what they experience is due to policy makers overlooking things like gender bias (Martin, 2015), and quantitative methods to calculate the numbers of people in poverty rather than a contestability measure to assess whether or not individuals are capable of competing in the economy (Kanji & Chopra, 2007). Each of the studies I found that focused on defining the level of poverty experienced by individuals world-wide were able to effectively point to multiple causes of poverty and to substantiate my claim that the poverty low-income single mothers face is holistic and not singular (Harbin & Goldhagen, 2013). The one thing that could be done better is for all of the studies to use one set of terms to define this holistic poverty, in order to make it easier to start new conversations about it or join the old ones. However, knowing that the poverty low-income single mothers face is holistic based on the descriptions provided in studies, allows others who research the problem to find remedies to take into consideration from the start, the idea that the problem will need to be met on multiple levels and calls for holistic remedies and considerations.
Contrary to the belief that low-income single mothers just need to work in order to rise from poverty, the research says that a post-secondary education is the best way for them to rise from poverty (Zhan & Pandey, 2004). Because of the multi-dimensional, holistic nature of the poverty faced by low-income single mothers it is difficult for them to get into or complete a post-secondary education. To get them headed towards higher education, they need tools to help them to begin dealing with each level of their poverty and focus on meeting each level with its own set of solutions (Blank, 2007). One way to find solutions that meet the individual needs of low-income single mothers is to teach the mothers coping and problem solving skills and or methods (Taylor & Conger, 2017). Design Thinking is a human-centered combination of a systematic critical and creative thinking process and action-oriented mindset, combined to find solutions to challenging problems (Burnette & Evans, 2016). By applying Design Thinking to creating an empowerment program for the at-risk group, and by teaching the group how to apply Design Thinking to their lives, facilitators holistic problems. Moreover, researchers report the transformational potential and learning enrichment possibilities of using and teaching Design Thinking to students (Watson, 2015). Design Thinking facilitators do warn that trying to teach the method instead of using the method while teaching can bring about issues (Watson, 2015). Therefore, it seems to be best to first expose students to using the process and mindsets on a project first, and then after the students have successfully used to process, walk them through the specific names of each part of the process. This helps the students to stay focused on application rather than forming wrote knowledge of the words used in the process. It’s basically a constructivist approach to learning. seeking to empower the group, provide the group with a powerful problem solving tool that have 21st century competencies built in to the overall process. Problem solving skills help mothers to develop self-efficacy (Bandura, 1994) and sets them on a trajectory towards building their own lives by solving their own
A global method of delivery
Initially, L3 considered ICT to be a set of skills low-income single mothers needed to learn, in order to compete in the workplace. However, after doing the research, it turns out that the ICT skills are what mothers can use to prove they have the 21st century competencies needed to be viable work candidates in the global/information economy (Kivunja, 2015). E-Learning delivered in a mobile environment is one way to deliver training to the students, while building their ICT skills, through the designed –in interactions, research and networking. E/ mobile learning is the method for teaching not the subject being taught. With that said, studies have shown that teaching students with homogenous technology (devices, internet access and support) allows all students to have equity in the program (Becker, Freeman, Hall, & Cummins, 2016). Because low-income students may not have the ability to provide their own devices, it would seem that programs that supplement all or a portion of the cost, will have the greatest success in offering all students both access and equity in the learning environment. Adult learning programs from Philippines (Commission on Information and Communications Technology, 2009) to South-Africa (Kriek & Coetzee, 2016), to Australia (Bradshaw, 2009) highly value the game changing power of ICT and e- learning for adults and recommend their use.
Leap , Learn, Live Take-aways
With all of the good information out there, it would be a very poor choice, not to use the lessons learned by others to the benefit of L3.
First lesson - Instructional Design: L3 will be sure to apply Design Thinking to the design of the program. We will keep the students at the center of all instructional design and we will remember that one size does not fit all. We will make sure all lessons are relevant to the learners. We will design-in, problem solving skills, 21 century competencies and social learning networking. We will also design-in appropriate PD, using the Five Principles for Effective PD, for the facilitators to ensure everyone is aware of their roll and is up-to-date in the use of technology.
Second Lesson - Facilitating: We will facilitate the program in an online environment, made available through mobile devices. First we will introduce a project and work our students through the project, then we will teach them about what they just did and then we will have them apply to learning in their own ways.
Third Lesson - Technology and support: We will employ a supplemental program providing cost of technology support for those who cannot afford devices on their own. This is to ensure all participants and the facilitators are using the same technology and internet connections.
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