ESOL Distance Learning / Family Literacy - using smartpones and WhatsApp

Hello, everyone, below is a proposal I am introducing to adult education programs, libraries, community centers and any other organization that may have an interest in promoting literacy based on technology, and in particular the Smartphone and WhatsApp. 

The Use of Smart Phones in an ESOL / Family Literacy Technology Based Distance Learning Program


In the United States there are millions of adult

immigrants who need to learn English as a

Second or Other Language (ESOL), but there are

several problems with providing a sufficient

amount of classes, for example, budget


But the biggest problem adult learners face is

that they usually work and have families and

cannot attend classes regularly. In particular,

mothers with young children are not able to

attend classes in part due to fact that day care

is not provided.


Technology provides the answer to a number of


First, most people now use a SMARTPHONE

instead of a computer. Immigrants use it to keep

in touch with their families in their native

countries easily and at little cost, relative to

calling long distance from a landline.

At the same time people can go online and

exchange information via the smartphone.

Whats App is free and very popular and can be

used in a variety of ways.


I have been teaching ESOL at the Ventura

Avenue Library using the above approach.

The students are low income working adults,

usually women with children. There are at least

two classes per week consisting of lessons

based on my two free websites,

and I also provide


Smartphones are an integral part of the course

and I have formed several WhatsApp groups to

keep the students notified and also to send

lessons, particularly videos.

In the class there are 5 computers so that

students can learn computer basics and how to

navigate the internet to study other other

lessons, such as those for the citizenship test.

Attendance is not required so that the class

serves as a “Drop-In” center for some people.

The classes also have helped to create a Family

Literacy program. Mothers can access literacy

websites for their children and at the same time

practice their own English skills. STARFALL.COM

is very popular.

The response of the students has been very

positive, and shows that the success of this

kind of “Distance” learning program can be

reproduced anywhere so that it can be an

integral part of solving the problem of providing

English and other lessons to immigrant adults

and their families.



Hello Paul, Thanks for describing your successful program. It's great that learners can drop in whenever it suits their schedule and that they can engage through technology to keep learning.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP