Professional Development Projects

Strengthening Literacy Practices

Community Learning Network

The overall objective of the project is to build capacity within CALP-funded organizations to provide relevant and practical literacy instruction to English-speaking adult learners. The project is based on research in practice and reflective learning of CALP practitioners who will:

  • Study by reading selected articles, academic research and other learning materials over the course of the term
  • Learn through personal reflection, group discussions, and contributing to the online forum
  • Practice what is learned by finding ways to “field test” new skills, knowledge and strategies in literacy programs and with literacy learners

CALP system practitioners participate in the program both as learners and as co-collaborators, to help us learn what knowledge, perspectives, skills and strategies have the greatest impact on how we work with adult literacy learners. Each cohort is 10 months long, and includes face-to-face training, online meetings and workshops, independent study and reading, and working directly with adult learners to implement and evaluate impact of the training initiative.

Holding Safer Spaces for Adult Learners

Stettler & District Community Adult Learning Council

Holding Space, as defined by Heather Plett, is “Being willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they are on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome.” In our work in CALP, we do this daily with the adults who come to us to explore and take next steps in their own learning and life journeys; and we do it for each other as we learn and grow in our own roles and organizations.

This 11-week online course includes self-study, reflection, and online peer dialogue to support exploration, integration and application of the approaches and practices for holding space. Topics covered include:

  • ‘qualities’ of the space we hold;
  • boundaries and membranes;
  • holding space for ourselves while we hold space for others;
  • holding spaces that are safe and brave;
  • becoming trauma-informed;
  • privilege, oppression, intersectionality;
  • power, status, and rank;
  • implicit bias;
  • and more

Gathering to Learn: A Field Guide to Attracting and Retaining Adult Foundational Learners


Carya has developed a field guide that shares evidence-based practices on how to engage adult foundational learners through relevant, adaptable learning experiences, with a focus on learners with multiple barriers. The guide was developed through engagement with the CALP community, and through research of tested and proven strategies.

This resource guides readers through four key stages of the learning pathway: Find, Attract, Engage and RetainEach stage is supported by research, stories, quotes, resources, links and checklists tailored to that particular pathway. The themes stand alone making this an accessible resource that will be well used and appreciated by new and experienced CALP staff alike. CALPs can access Gathering to Learn under the Resources tab on the CALP Portal

In-Home Family Literacy Program Activities for Adult Learners

Literacy for Life Foundation

The In-Home Family Literacy Program Activities for Adult Learners is a collection of resources designed to provide CALP staff with activities that align with the five Literacy and Learning categories of the CALP Guidelines. Developed in response to the system’s transition to Family Literacy Programs as a mode of delivery, these activities reinforce the focus on the adult learner. The activities provide explicit instructions and language to demonstrate how facilitators can work with families to intentionally build adult foundational skills.

These 20+ in-home family literacy program activities are searchable by Literacy and Foundational Learning category or primary intended learning objective. While the activities were developed for use within an In-Home Family Literacy Mode of Delivery; the majority of the activities and strategies can be used in a variety of learning environments separate from the home.

Reading Assessment

Bow Valley College / Community Learning Network

This session is intended for CALP staff who currently assess adult literacy learners. We will focus on learner-centred adult reading assessment and explore why, when and how to assess learning with hands-on opportunities to use the Alberta Reading Benchmarks (ARB) and the Read Forward assessment tool.

Note: ESL learners are not the focus of this session.

Learning Objectives:

  • Increase your knowledge and skills to measure learning progress in reading
  • Practice using the Alberta Reading Benchmarks (ARB) and Read Forward tools and resources to expand your own capacity to assess reading
  • Gain practical knowledge for using assessment tools to inform learning, select level appropriate reading materials, and measure learning progress in reading

Training Your Tutors

Bow Valley College / Community Learning Network

This training is intended for Community Adult Learning Program (CALP) Operational Staff, Adult Literacy Program Staff.

This training will give CALP staff the understanding, tools and resources they need to begin training volunteer tutors to work with adult literacy learners in their community. This session will focus on Creating Learning Partners (CLP), which is a comprehensive training manual developed by literacy practitioners for Alberta's literacy and learning programs.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn the key steps, activities and strategies for delivering effective, engaging and relevant training for tutors.
  • Participants will draw on their own experiences and work together to explore the content and facilitation strategies outlined in the Creating Learning Partners manual.
  • Participants who complete this training will be able to facilitate their own tutor training for new and experienced tutors.

Tech Talk

Literacy for Life Foundation

This training will provide opportunities for the participants to gain the understanding they need to be flexible and adaptable when training others in technology. This interactive session will provide tools that participants can use to encourage learners to identify common concepts, structures and navigational methods, rather than a “step-by-step, how-to “approach”. Facilitation/instruction is based on best practice in adult learning and brain learning. Strategies and activities that can be used with adult learners will be modeled throughout the day. Participants must bring their own device (phone, tablet, computer etc.) as well as ear phone/buds. Some preparation is required (maximum ½ hour) and an email will be sent out a few weeks prior with the information. Participants should have a good background in technology.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will gain an understanding of common concepts, structures and navigation methods present across the many different technology tools found in work, play and community that include but not limited to tablets, phones and computers.
  • Participants will be able to transfer this knowledge to enhance existing classes or design new ones that better address the rapid changes occurring in the world of technology.
  • Participants will receive current relevant resources that will support their work in building technology skills with foundational and literacy learners.

Foundational Numeracy and Literacy Module Training

NorQuest College

The Foundational Numeracy and Literacy project is designed to address the needs of learners that want to prepare for entrance into GED or Apprenticeship Preparation courses. These courses are designed for adult learners at approximately a grade 5-7 grade-level equivalency. The courses will help learners build the skills required to be successful in further education (such as GED Prep, Apprenticeship Prep, and Academic Upgrading) or employment.

The Foundational Numeracy and Literacy Program consists of 2 courses – Literacy and Numeracy. Each course consists of 4 paper-based modules with multi-media supports for learners as well as a facilitator guide, facilitator training, grading rubrics, and a NorQuest support contact for the CALP participant.

The Literacy course is intended to teach literacy skills and should not be used to teach English speaking skills. It is designed for learners who are fluent in English or are functioning at a CLB 5 level.

The Numeracy course is appropriate for learners that already have basic whole number skills such as counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. It is designed for learners who are fluent in English or are functioning at a CLB 5 level.