The Wayfinders Studio is a creative, imaginative space for literacy practitioners.

The Wayfinders are people just like you – and perhaps you – who are exploring, experimenting, piloting and reflecting on how digital technology can enhance learning.

  • Are you a literacy practitioner thinking about how you can respond to the ways that digital technologies are changing how we learn, work and engage in daily life?
  • Are you wondering about what colleagues in other programs are doing?

Visit The Wayfinders Studio to see what others are doing and thinking about and to make connections.

Join us this Fall to create, collaborate, empower learners
– and, most importantly, have fun.

Contact Tracey (tracey@alphaplus.ca) to find out more and to join the Wayfinders Mailing list.

What we’ve been up to

Wayfinders 2020-2021

Wayfinders 2022-2023

Wayfinders 2023 – 2024

  • Interactivity Makerspace – Creating interactive activities for learner autonomy, independence and empowerment – coming this Fall

What some Wayfinders are saying about the 2020-2021 studio

It has been a great move towards creating a community of practice among literacy instructors who have been experiencing a new challenge that was forced by Covid-19.

Besides the valuable information and experiences, it is great to know various instructors’ perspectives.

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) contracted Contact North | Contact Nord and AlphaPlus to:

The goal of the digital capacity building consultation is to enhance the LBS system’s capacity to deliver more services remotely and expand blended learning opportunities to serve more learners. It will support and inform a broader ministry objective to develop a digital learning strategy that responds to the opportunities and challenges created by the program structure, streams and sectors.

Blended learning is an approach where educators leverage technology and digital access for learners to create, communicate, collaborate and apply critical thinking skills to construct knowledge in a connected world.

Blended learning is a foundation of AlphaPlus services for instructors and program planners.

Through eNet, technology coaching, workshops and tech support services, AlphaPlus helps literacy educators employ blended learning methodologies.

What does AlphaPlus mean by blended learning?

Our position is that blended learning in adult education is not only about the use of tools and resources. Instead, it’s a way to think about program and curriculum development, including learning design and delivery.

Why do we take this position?

Using digital technology isn’t just learning how to operate digital devices and navigate the internet. These are important skills that enable participation in a digitally connected world, but a curriculum that focuses only on these operational tasks doesn’t meet learners where they’re at and doesn’t meet the changing needs of people learning, working and engaging in 21st-century life.

Join the discussion

We believe that the discussion about blended learning in adult education needs to extend to the realities of adult basic-education programs that operate in an individualized educational context as well as those that are course-based and use a fixed curriculum.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas

Read the full paper to learn more about the principles and benefits of blended learning in adult literacy programs as well as our recommendations for program development and why AlphaPlus supports people-first strategies.

Read an online version and more about AlphaPlus and blended learning here: The Blended Learning Collection.

The full paper is available in American Sign Language.

As Ontario’s only organization focused on helping adult literacy education professionals to incorporate digital technology, we recognize the need for a more comprehensive and coordinated approach—an approach that respects individual program, sector and cultural differences and also provides a system-wide foundation.

Based on extensive review, consultation and our first-hand experience working with programs, we have identified these eight strategies to build a more equitable and inclusive LBS system that can provide learners with lifelong and lifewide digital instruction opportunities. We have taken a comprehensive approach, recognizing how elements within the LBS system interact and create conditions that both suppress and support digital literacy and technology integration.

The report contains details of each strategy along with examples of possible changes. We also frame the strategies with a research informed rationale focused on broader digital inequities.

  1. Collaborating to ensure affordable data and devices for all learners.  
  2. Developing an integrated and informative learning framework.  
  3. Developing a blended learning approach and various models.     
  4. Sharing diverse knowledge and innovation.  
  5. Making sustainable investments in e-learning infrastructure.
  6. Building people’s capacity for technology integration.
  7. Designing responsive and equitable services, data collection and reporting.
  8. Choosing performance measures (success indicators) that work for everyone.  

The strategies are not definitive and are a starting point for discussions that we plan to have this year with stakeholders inside and outside the LBS system.    

During the spring of 2020, all educational sectors, including Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS), made the shift to remote learning. The LBS shift was managed primarily at a local level. Comprehensive training, widely accessible instructional design expertise, tech support and additional funding to purchase data and computers for learners was not available. Each program made its own decisions.

How did programs adapt? What were their priorities? What were their challenges? This report, based on a short survey delivered during the last two weeks of June 2020, provides some answers, identifies challenges and raises concerns about the uneven impacts on learners and sectors and uneven access to resources that could be mobilized to manage the shift. The findings provide a basis for discussion and planning at both the local and provincial levels.

Fast Facts From the Survey Results

How does inequitable access to the internet affect adults in Ontario? What are the layers and impacts of our province’s “digital divide”?

We explore the answers to these questions in our research overview Ontario’s Digital Divide: A Spotlight on the Differences in Online Connection, Activity and Benefits.

Research highlights

Ontario’s Digital Divide was completed in early 2020 and is based on an analysis of the Canadian Internet Use Survey (CIUS) and other information. It looks beyond infrastructure, highlighting the ways in which income, age and level of education contribute to the digital divide. The overview reveals three interrelated layers of the digital divide, involving differences in:

  1. How people connect to the internet.
  2. The types of online activities in which they engage.
  3. How they benefit from their interactions with services, resources and networks that are only available online.

If the Ontario government is to achieve its goal of making this an “inclusive, equitable and accessible digitally enabled province,” these three layers must be addressed.

Using this research overview

The ongoing and entrenched digital divide directly impacts adult literacy learners and others who could benefit from learning and training programs. Ontario’s Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) program works directly with digitally excluded adults with limited internet access and has a role in digital inclusion efforts.

This paper summarizes and highlights issues that are well-known to practitioners in the adult literacy education space. You can use it as a tool that supports your local advocacy efforts. 

In 2018, we decided that a guide on writing effective case notes for digital literacy training services would better support our work as coaches. 

We hoped that our guide and our record of how we developed it might be useful to others working in literacy and basic skills (LBS) as they develop, enhance or extend their own system of sharing information through case notes.

Our main finding was that case notes on their own aren’t a solution to the dilemmas in our work, but there are two outcomes of the project that will make a positive contribution to the field: case studies and reflective practice.

Case studies became the Wayfinders Studio and reflective practice became the Educator Network (eNet).

eNet

Join eNet to collaborate with inspiring educators and explore blended learning tools and approaches.

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Wayfinders Studio

Join literacy educators who are experimenting, piloting and reflecting on how digital technology can enhance learning.

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In 2017, AlphaPlus was asked by a sector membership group for information on options for digital literacy and basic skills (LBS) learner files and cloud – based storage.

The sector members identified a primary driver for the investigation as the burden of physically storing more than seven years of learner files. Space in multi-service facilities and school boards is in high demand , and file storage space allocated to LBS service providers can be significantly constrained, causing operational tensions and issues .

This investigation and report is only an initial foundational step. As stakeholder engagement and consensus building takes time, proposed models for thinking about how data is gathered, recorded, confirmed and stored have been provided as a starting point for the discussions.

An environmental scan of LBS programs indicated that a number of different tools and processes were being used to track data across all three sectors, and while the tools worked, duplication and inefficient data sharing was a concern.

Sioux-Hudson, a community-based literacy program, procured and implemented a student information system called Orbund and found that the system meets their needs for case management and that they could successfully customize it to align with ministry data requirements and their own internal needs.

The cost of Orbund is prohibitive for an individual program but is more manageable if individual programs can share an enterprise license. AlphaPlus provided a three-year license to pilot programs who are willing and able to help identify gaps/issues and work with AlphaPlus and Orbund to work through these issues before rolling it out to other programs.

After seeing Orbund in action, staff in the pilot programs felt it will help streamline and advance case management administration. Read the report to learn how Orbund worked for these organizations and the next steps for the implementation of Orbund.

AlphaPlus engaged 10 English-speaking literacy practitioners from community-based programs to explore the ways that LinkedIn Learning might fit into individual professional development plans for literacy and basic skills (LBS) managers and instructors.

Read the report to see what we learned about how LBS practitioners are learning in order to strengthen their practice and better support colleagues, program participants and community partners.

Our exploration of a particular platform led us to a wider look at how literacy practitioners engage in professional learning, what makes it effective and what they’d like to see in the future. 

We think that their insights and recommendations are a powerful guide to creating effective professional learning opportunities that amplify scholarship in the field.