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Online Course to Help Adult Learners Get Job Skills

Posted on 10/6/2020

Are you looking for free online instruction to teach adult learners in allied health programs? Good news – USA Learns just launched the Skills for the Nursing Assistant course in collaboration with the Health Workforce Initiative.

This course teaches language, academic, and soft skills to help students successfully communicate with patients and co-workers. Learners simultaneously practice language and basic skills, while preparing for their academic studies for careers in allied health programs. Students also practice job-related skills, such as how to safely complete all the steps involved in ambulating (walking) a patient.

The course, developed by the Sacramento County Office of Education's Internet and Media Services Department (IMS) includes four lessons:

  • Effective Communication
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Communication Barriers
  • Communication Strategies

Each lesson teaches listening, speaking, reading, vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar, along with the job-related topics. Students also learn how to take notes while listening to a lecture. For agencies looking to develop or augment their Integrated Education and Training (IET) offerings, this course would be a helpful resource for your allied health education programs.

This course originally launched as a stand-alone website called English for the Nursing Assistant several years ago. The website had to be retired several months ago due to the older technology. IMS staff were able to re-author the course with financial assistance from funders. Instead of only focusing on ESL learners, verbiage describing the course has been broadened to also include basic skills learners. Along with being a resource for various adult education audiences, the instruction about soft skills and communication on the job could also benefit employees in any environment, whether it's health careers, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, etc. Everyone needs to know how to communicate with clients and co-workers.

The Skills for the Nursing Assistant course now includes not only a learner side, but also a teacher side. Students register on the site to save their scores, continue studying where they left off, and communicate with their teacher. They can also practice speaking by recording their voice, writing by getting immediate feedback, along with doing all the other activities that USA Learns provides. Teachers can also monitor students' progress, track scores and time spent by creating a free account and courses on the USA Learns teacher site.

According to Wendy Deras, Regional Director of Employer Engagement at the Health Workforce Initiative, "The Skills for the Nursing Assistant course is a necessary program for all Certified Nursing Assistants in California. It is designed specifically for entry-level students to gain the terminology and soft skills that will help them be successful."

Are your students looking to take the next steps toward a job in the health care field? Please invite them to visit the Health Workforce Initiative website, which includes a user-friendly search feature to find programs at California community colleges.

If you have questions about USA Learns or the Skills for the Nursing Assistant Course, please email

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.