Teaching skills for success in an integrated way

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AlphaPlus has kicked off 2023 with a full roster of offerings and several initiatives underway. Today, I’d like to share information about two projects that are funded by the Ontario Skills for Success program supported by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

If you’re familiar with the Skills for Success model, you know it includes nine skills “needed to participate and thrive in learning, work and life” listed here:

  • Reading
  • Numeracy
  • Writing
  • Digital
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Creativity and innovation

While it’s quite common to focus on and teach these skills individually, we can’t ignore the fact that they overlap and interact. When we think about how learners will have to apply these skills in different contexts —learning online, accessing government services and digital communities, understanding online security, using social media, online shopping and more — it’s clear that multiple skills are applied to succeed at the task at hand.

As AlphaPlus takes on the responsibility of directing available Skills for Success resources within our sector, we’re exploring ways to help educators stimulate the interaction of the nine skills in different contexts.

New training series: Building digital skills

One of the first initiatives we’ve rolled out to support this integrated approach is our Building Digital Skills With Google training series. You may have already heard about this opportunity when we announced it in the fall. It’s a short-term capacity-building opportunity to apply this integrated concept, using Google as an applied learning space to demonstrate and model how things can be done with adult learners.

While the first cohorts are underway, spots remain available in the final few. Learn more and register here: https://pd.alphaplus.ca/

Curriculum and materials development

The training series complements the deeper work we’re undertaking to consider how literacy and numeracy activities can be integrated with digital skills and how they’re applied in different digital spaces. For this project, we’re reaching out to educators to support curriculum-planning and development of educational materials — two priorities identified in the digital capacity-building consultation. The educators in the field are helping us to understand priorities, needs and interest in trying new, integrated approaches, exploring questions like:

  • Where are you now, after the pandemic? Where would you like to go?
  • What difference would you like to see in your programs as a result of using AlphaPlus tools and supports?
  • If you envision doing things differently, what would that look like?
  • What type of things would help you to make that change?

When this consultation is complete, we’ll use what we’ve learned to co-create actionable, implementable tools and supports, giving teachers ways of doing practical work with learners in their everyday work. Starting in April, we’ll form working groups to lead us through an iterative process to explore:

  • Opportunities to create new knowledge.
  • Service offerings that stimulate the interaction of the nine skills listed above.
  • Learning experiences that cultivate these skills and are accessible and inclusive of learners and their contexts.

We’re here to support a more integrated approach

You might be questioning whether discrete training on compartmentalized skills is the best approach for your learners. You might feel that things can be different and there’s value in working through it, but you know that this type of change won’t necessarily be easy.

We’re here to do the work and explore that change alongside you. Consider joining us in our current training series or stepping forward in April to co-create new curricula or materials.

As always, I’d love to hear directly from you, so please email me with your responses or questions at acherwinski@alphaplus.ca. Thank you.

Alan Cherwinski
Executive Director



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