On February 9, 2023 AlphaPlus hosted another in our series of Community Gabfests.

We started by asking people about where they like to learn best.

The conversation starter was: If there were no barriers to running a program, what program would you want to run?

We talked about

We moved into break out rooms to discuss the three questions.

Here is what the groups shared on the Jamboard.

We wrapped up by thanking each other for their contributions and generosity.

On January 12, 2023 AlphaPlus hosted another in our series of Community Gabfests.

We started by asking people to share the things that they were proud of from 2022.

The conversation starter is: New Year’s Blended Learning *Aspirations

We talked about

*not Resolutions – the things that are still in dreams, wishes and ambitions phase of planning.

We had a an amazing conversation about

It was inspiring and interesting.

We wrapped up by thanking each other for their contributions and generosity.

On November 24, 2022 AlphaPlus hosted another in our series of Community Gabfests.

We started by asking people to share the things that people love about them.

Our conversation starter was: Learner identity (and blended learning)
Here is what Wayfinder Evan Hoskins said:

Each learner has a connection to the past to be considered. All teachers know … every student comes to learning with a different backstory … and you have to know how to adapt your teaching methods quickly. For example, one day we’ll be talking to a learner about how they learn while dealing with anxiety. On another day we will have to talk about what happened in their world before they dropped out of high school in grade nine. What made them not feel comfortable on the computer? We as teachers learn how to help the learner work through that emotional pain in order to gain the confidence needed to learn how to use the computer, to get their fingers moving again.

What do you think? How do you navigate this terrain and support learners as they develop their learner identities and confidence?

We had a an amazing conversation about

It was a lot. And it was inspiring and validating.

We wrapped up by thanking each other for their contributions and generosity.

The Digital Inclusion Playbook is filled with ideas, information and resources you can use to support local digital inclusion efforts. We hope the site builds awareness at a provincial and national level on behalf of all literacy and basic skills (LBS) programs and the many learners who find themselves excluded from full and equitable participation in a digital society. 

Resources, articles and mini-infographics you can use

Digital inclusion and literacy development work together, and LBS plays a key role in digital inclusion as a provider of digital learning opportunities for adults. LBS educators, volunteers and program co-ordinators are on the front lines of digital inclusion work and often address issues — such as access to devices for learning and low-cost internet plans — that go beyond everyday teaching and learning work. The playbook’s facts, resources, articles and mini-infographics can be used to:

Information, ideas and strategies to help build awareness

Digital inclusion is bigger than LBS and involves affordable and adequate broadband internet service, internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user, quality and affordable technical support along with applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration. The playbook contains information, ideas and strategies that explore the following topics:

We invite you to explore the site and share your feedback with us. We’d also love to hear about your digital inclusion initiatives and stories.

You can also contact Christine (Christine@alphaplus.ca) or Alan (Acherwinski@alphaplus.ca) directly. 

When students receive their own computer  and it’s really theirs  it sends a strong message. You don’t just own the computer; you own your education and your own future.

Alison Canning, executive director of Let’s Get Together

Access to Technology

Literacy practitioners know that limited access to technology can create insurmountable barriers for lifelong learners in Ontario.
Learn more about the issue of access to technology

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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.

AlphaPlus curated a collection of shareable, free and high-quality learning materials that adult literacy educators can use to enhance their personal and program collections. 

Learning materials

The collection is divided into five sections for learners working at Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF) Levels 1 and 2:

  1. Reading texts
  2. Practice tasks and writing
  3. Numeracy and mathematics 
  4. Professional learning and how-to guides
  5. Creating, modifying and analyzing your own materials


We looked for materials that could be copied, printed or posted in online and offline environments. This means you can add materials to a website or learning management platform, attach them to an email or share them with learners in Google Drive. They can also be printed. In addition, some materials are templates or permit adaptations, allowing you to build and modify materials for your own use. Copyright information and Creative Commons licensing details are included for all materials.

Download a PDF version below or click here to open the collection in your Google Drive.

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. 

A cross-case analysis of six community-based programs in Ontario’s Literacy and Basic Skills system

In 2018, AlphaPlus oversaw a cross-case analysis of digital inclusion and digital literacy development in six community literacy centres in Ontario, which receive funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) program. The literacy centres, situated directly in small towns, cities and remote communities throughout Ontario, play a key role in supporting the province’s digital transformation initiative and its commitment to ensure an “inclusive digitally enabled province.” The centres provide various learning opportunities for digitally marginalized adults — adults living in poverty, the unemployed or precariously employed, those with limited education and some older adults. They use various models of digital literacy development to respond to learners’ array of digital literacy experiences and aspirations. However, this work is not currently part of a broader provincial digital inclusion strategy. In addition, professional development opportunities and educator training are inconsistent across the system. LBS eligibility criteria and enrolment targets can interfere with the ability of community organizations to be fully inclusive and responsive to digitally marginalized adults, particularly older adults and those not actively looking for work.

Wondering what the research says about equitable digital access and learning opportunities for the adults we work with?

AlphaPlus recently completed a comprehensive report focused on equitable access to technology for all Ontarians. During the webinar, Christine Pinsent-Johnson, one of the authors of the report, shared some highlights and a few takeaways that programs may find useful as they develop their own digital literacy workshops, courses and overall strategies.

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