ASDAN is a pioneering curriculum development organisation and awarding body, offering programmes and qualifications that explicitly grow skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life.
ASDAN’s skills-based approach to learning perfectly complements the predominantly knowledge-based focus of the national curriculum. The emphasis is on using practical activities as the template for personal growth, and young people are required to think ahead and to be engaged in the design of the activities they choose. Through a process of action-planning and reviewing, they are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning.
At the heart of all this is the importance of the relationship between the worker/teacher/mentor and the young person. The foundation levels of the ASDAN framework are designed around straightforward tasks, which represent small steps of achievement. At this level challenges may take no more than an hour to complete, such as “plan a journey using a map”. At the upper levels, challenges are more complex and may be as much as 30-40 hours in length, for example “organise a fundraising or celebration event...”
Some features remain constant: that young people enjoy doing things, learning from them and improving their skills; that there are many settings in which young people can learn; that most would welcome greater recognition for what they achieve; and that, for too many, the existing processes of certification are inadequate. The range of materials offered by ASDAN can help by providing resources which stimulate ideas for programmes and can be adapted for particular individuals, groups and settings.