For almost a quarter of a century, Copian (the former NALD) has been an innovative leader in connecting Canadian literacy and learning organizations, in both official languages, to information, tools, expertise and each other, through the use of technology.
Copian’s Feature of the Month gives us the opportunity to shine the spotlight on a new initiative, a document, organization, program, event or website that we’d like to recognize for its contributions to learning and essential skills in Canada. (See also our archived features which go back to September 2008)
Our feature this month shines the spotlight on a new document from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC). The practical guide is designed to assist practitioners in their work of developing essential skills and increasing participation and success among groups who fare poorly in the labour market.
National Framework: An Integrated Approach to Developing Essential Skills (2013) is an important new work that identifies and organizes the elements of ES practice that have proven to be effective in a variety of settings.
Produced as part of a participatory action-research project led by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) and funded by the former Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, the practical guide has been informed by ES experts and practitioners from 12 colleges and institutes working in eight provinces, in English and French. Testing of the approach took place in 17 pilot sites, including nine colleges and eight workplaces.
In addition to practitioners, the document has relevance for policy-makers, institutional managers and curriculum developers. It presents a unified approach to ES practice that consists of nine separate but complementary elements - needs analysis; partnering; awareness and engagement; identification of pathways to employability; assessment; training/learning; feedback and follow-up; organizational/institutional capacity, and practitioners’ skills.
Colleges across the country conducted ES projects to validate the approach the aim of which is to strengthen learner success. It is hoped that, used in its entirety, the integrated approach will lead to increased employability for college students, workers and job seekers.
Readers can refer to the case studies, written by college practitioners accompanied by specialists, by visiting the ACCC website. Abstracts of each case study are collected in a booklet that can be viewed on this page: http://www.accc.ca/essentialskills2011/index.php/en/eshome/essential-skills-project-news.
Key issues highlighted in the case studies include: learner retention, learning and succeeding strategies, graduation rates, adaptability to change and responsibilities, and learner success in their lives and careers.
The purpose of the main report was “to give practitioners the opportunity to validate their practice, identify their interventions and capture the essence of their work and their relationships with learners, colleagues, employers and partners in order to share their expertise with beginners in the field of ES,” the acknowledgements read.
Special mention was made of Wendy Magahay, program coordinator at Camosun College, and of Anne-Josée Tessier, education advisor at Collège Lionel Groulx “for their dedication, their rigor in documenting each step of the Integrated Approach and for providing a user-friendly guide for practitioners and decision-makers in institutions and organizations.”
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