Drop-in IT learning offers the opportunity for people to develop IT skills based on their own interests rather than having to join classes.
Many are supported by housing organisations' digital inclusion officers (these could be staff who adopt this role as part of their remit, or could be full time staff dedicated to the role as employed by Queens Cross Housing Association and Thenue Housing Association), but such services are also supported by Glasgow Life libraries' volunteers and through the Glasgow Kelvin College Wider Access programme (also provided in learning centre venues with support from the Wheatley Group's 'Click and Connect programme).
Various forms of drop-in sessions are possible, but generally, smaller sessions will be completely informal, and sessions supported by colleges will aim at certificated outcomes.
Most such services are aimed at adults, but exceptions include Glasgow Kelvin College's Youth Access programme which provides drop-in youth services, mostly in the context of learning centres, for young people, and Thenue Housing Association's partnership with CoderDojo.
who are they aimed at?
how are they funded?
These services are mostly staffed with volunteers supported by housing associations, housing association staff with digital inclusion roles, or by external partners like Glasgow Life or Glasgow Kelvin College.
housing organisation resources provided
Staff with digital inclusion roles, support for volunteers, premises or partnerships
what partners were involved?
The partnerships required to support drop-in IT services vary according to location and availability. Some may be run for most part independently of partners, some are run in a partnership in which the housing organisation recruits or works with a community organisation to recruit people, and the learning support service is provided by an external agency such as a college or local authority funded service such as Glasgow life..
The staff or volunteers supporting drop-in sessions have no prospect of preparation in advance for all the questions which may be asked, and so require to be confident in their own problem-solving and on-the-fly research skills.
Attendance can be difficult to predict.
Support from colleges requires likely typical attendance of 10 - 12 people to warrant the deployment of tutors.
The advantage of drop-in services is informality and responsiveness to customer interest, but they can be less successful for complete beginners who are seeking a structured introduction unless supported by standardised learning support materials, and unless supported by colleges are less likely to support employability through certification.
For success, the housing organisation or its community partners have to effectively promote the service - and this is particularly important if external partners are delivering it.
Drop-in services will often include supporting people wishing to bring their own devices and problems specific to them.
Queens Cross Housing Association drop-in learning support: Hattie Kennedy, Digital Inclusion Co-ordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Thenue Housing Association drop-in learning support including CoderDojo: Shay Anderson, Digital Inclusion Officer email@example.com
Glasgow Kelvin College's Wider Access Programme: Marie Woods, Curriculum Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Glasgow Kelvin College's Youth Access Programme: Stuart Lowe, Senior Youth Worker email@example.com