From Advanced Education: CALP Professional Development Renewal

Ben Hartt, Advanced Education

1 4 17 May 2016

Professional Development Renewal

We are thrilled to be making our first blog post on the Portal, and equally thrilled to be able to highlight the excellent work being done by our Professional Development (PD) partners to support the renewal of the Community Adult Learning Program (CALP).

Since 2011, as you know, the Community Adult Learning Program has been undergoing a process of renewal. A significant part of this process has been looking at how the CALP PD system can more effectively support funded organizations to be successful in meeting the CALP mandate for Literacy and Foundational Learning. We really wanted to understand the PD needs of the system and the effectiveness of current PD mechanisms to ensure that we are making the strongest impact possible.

New Model for CALP PD System

We have a new way of doing business when it comes to professional development. Our model for the CALP PD System (below) shows a new structure that we think will be more transparent and ensure greater coordination of all PD initiatives and providers. (Click the image below to download as a PDF.)

With the new model, Advanced Education will continue to support existing PD (e.g. Literacy and Learning Symposium, delivery of Family Literacy models, etc.), as well as to support the development of new resources or mechanisms for the system.

You will note in the visual that all decisions around investment in PD will flow through the Professional Development Advisory Committee (PDAC). Late last year, our team convened this committee to bring CALP-funded organizations and PD providers (including Comprehensive Community Institutions) together to:

  • Share perspectives on the PD needs of CALP system staff
  • Share perspectives on the effectiveness of current system investments to meet those needs
  • Provide advice to Advanced Education on priorities that could advance the system vision

The committee brings perspectives that span across the regions and includes the outlooks of urban, rural, and Indigenous communities. These perspectives will help us understand what’s working, what could be improved, and determine where we need to go next.

The Community Learning Network (CLN) will continue its long-standing role in the coordination of CALP PD, and will be the first point of contact for professional development and support across the province.

And finally, the CALP PD system is fortunate to have such a high-quality network of delivery providers and resource developers, all of which have a seat at the PDAC table. This ensure that all players will be aware of the many different pieces of this complex puzzle, and can align our work so we’re all moving in the same direction.

Impacts on CALP Organizations

This new model means the way PD has been developed and delivered to you in the past will change. With the support of PDAC, we will hold all PD investments up to scrutiny to ensure that they meet your needs. This means we need to hear from you, whether directly, through PDAC, or through the Regional Support Staff (RSS). Our team wants to know if PD is meeting your needs, and if available resources and events are helping you to drive foundational learning forward across the province.

Government does not plan to make cuts to the CALP PD system. We are not looking to spend less, but to spend better.

To give you an example, for years, we have heard from many of you that PD needs to be timelier, more cost-effective, and more locally accessible. For organizations located in remote areas in particular, it is a significant drain on resources (time and money) to travel to get the training they need, particularly if they are always having to go to larger centres.

Therefore, in 2016/17, we will be ramping up regional training. This means that Introduction to Adult Foundational Learning, Introduction to Family Literacy, and family literacy models will be made available to you within your regions so that you do not need to travel to Edmonton or Calgary. But there’s a cost to this change. Without additional funding, we are only able to fund one provincial event that brings everyone together, so the Training Institute will not be taking place in the spring of 2017. We will still have one provincial event in the fall, the Literacy and Learning Symposium. As you know, these events are about more than training – it is an opportunity for networking and connecting with other organizations, and recognizing the great work being done across the province at the awards banquet.

Successes of PD Renewal

Renewal has been a highly collaborative process: we recognized at the outset that changes to the program, including the PD system, would not be effective if they were to be made in isolation. Throughout all phases of renewal, we have sought your input so that any changes would be sure to benefit your organizations and ultimately, learners. The PD system has been strengthened by the following four exciting additions:

1. Regional Support Staff

Over the years, we have heard from many of you that regional support is vital, and having access to full-time regional staff would create an invaluable and unprecedented support structure. As a result, last year, the CLN hired a RSS person in each of the five CALP regions to assess the PD needs, coordinate training, and to provide one-on-one supports and mentorship. We’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback on this model and have appreciated having the RSS present at many of our discussions on CALP Renewal, to share regional on-the-ground perspectives.

2. CALP Portal

Another common thread in our discussions of PD renewal was the need for a centralized online platform for information sharing. As a result, last fall, the CLN launched the CALP Portal, which centralized a number of key features intended to support you in your daily work. The Portal houses hundreds of PD resources, including documents, micro-learnings, and webinars. It also provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for event registration and system-wide platform for communication with peers and colleagues that fosters a community of practice. Now that we have the Portal in place, it is difficult to imagine how we lived without it for so long!

The CALP team has been having conversations about how we can use the Portal to connect with organizations in new ways. The CALP FAQs tab is one place where you are invited to submit your questions to our team. We are planning to do monthly polls to check in with you on different issues. These polls are a quick and easy way of getting a sense of the perspective from the field. We are also planning to post blogs on topics of interest, such as the Renewal of the PD system.

3. Introduction to Adult Foundational Learning

We know there are significant PD needs across the system, particularly related to the delivery of Literacy and Foundational Learning. The Introduction to Adult Foundational Learning (IAFL) project is the starting point for creating standard training for all CALP system staff. We wanted to ensure that all staff have the same basic skills and knowledge to work with adult foundational learners as a jumping off point to further PD. Through the training, you will learn about:

  • Creating transformational adult learning
  • Learner diversity
  • Measuring success
  • CALP Community of Practice

The IAFL training will roll out to the system at the Literacy and Learning Symposium in September.

4. PD Logic Model

Shortly after developing the CALP Logic Model to strategically guide the whole program, we recognized that we also needed to be more strategic when making decisions about the PD system. Last year, our team worked with the CLN and Ed Marchak, an independent evaluator, to bring together CALP staff and other stakeholders to develop a PD Logic Model and Outcomes-based Measurement and Evaluation (OME) framework for the PD system. The PD Logic Model shares a vision that: CALP staff drive relevant, quality adult learning.

The three outcomes for the PD system include:

  • CALP staff demonstrate excellence in priority areas
  • CALP staff focus on continuous improvement
  • CALP staff are leaders and innovators in community adult learning

With these new pieces in place, we will be able to ensure PD investments are making a difference for you and your organizations.

We opened this blog by expressing how thrilled we are to highlight these incredible successes from the past few years, and we hope you share our excitement as we look ahead to where we can go from here.

We welcome your feedback below.


The CALP Team at Advanced Education


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