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.

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.    

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.

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.

Topics include

Finding Our Way: Digital Technologies and E-Learning for Adult Literacy Students, Educators and Programs Literature Scan: 2005-2011, presents a global snapshot of how technology has been used to enhance teaching, learning and professional development.

Given the ubiquity of digital technologies in today’s world and the pressure on educators to keep up, the report explores how they are and could be supported to integrate technology into their practice.

Ultimately, the report aims to spark a national discussion about what is happening, what needs to happen, and how AlphaPlus can, in collaboration with the adult literacy field, begin to harness the full potential of digital technology and e-learning in the service of adult literacy teaching and learning.

Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments

Additional Resources

Use Digital Technology Instructional Resources

ESO Sample PS-TRE Activities

The recording is no longer available but you can view the slides.

Additional Resources

Use Digital Technology Instructional Resources

ESO Sample PS-TRE Activities

The recording is no longer available but you can view the slides.

From June to July 2013, the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) On-line Field Trial was undertaken by the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC)1 and the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU) in Ontario.

PIAAC On-line is also known by the title The Education and Skills Online Assessment. It was developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as “an assessment tool designed to provide individual-level results that are linked to the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) measures of literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.”

In September 2013, AlphaPlus gathered feedback from participants in the Field Trial, specifically to explore the perspectives of adult literacy practitioners on the impact of digital technology in individual assessment on-line such as PIAAC On-line.

Project officers from MTCU and CMEC indicated their interest in general feedback from participants. A short survey was designed that included items related to the perceived impact of technology as well as items based on communications provided by MTCU during the PIAAC On-line Field Trial.

This short report summarizes the results of two independent surveys.

The first was undertaken by AlphaPlus, surveying literacy practitioners about their own and adult learners’ experiences participating in the PIAAC On-line Field Trial.

The second was undertaken by PTP Adult Learning and Employment Programs, surveying the learners in their program who participated in the Field Trial. We hope to contribute to the discussion about PIAAC On-line by providing some quantitative but foremost qualitative data that speaks to the data collected through the Field Trial.

The report explores the following four themes:

A report on a short-term project conducted in partnership with four self-selected, community-based, adult literacy agencies in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Although over the years we have worked closely with many adult literacy programs across the province, we wanted to look more closely at the realities of using digital technologies for adult literacy teaching and learning.

Specifically, we wanted to: