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Research Domain: Group Two - Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

Title of Project: Research in Learning Factors: OFL - Basic Education and Skills Training Learning Practices

Start Date: April 1, 1997
Academic Co-Investigator: Dr. Jack Quarter (OISE/UT)
Partner Co-Investigator: Debra Hutcheon (OFL)
Student Researcher: Jennifer Stephen (OISE/UT)

The OFL-BEST Program has developed and delivered workplace-based basic skills programs to workers in unionized workplaces for the past 10 years. BEST uses a peer-trainer model which emphasized both the context and purpose for worker-based adult education, recognizing that workers learn best from peers in an environment that reflects the principles of union solidarity and worker control.

The current political environment is characterized by fundamental restructuring of public educational policies and programs. The federal government is withdrawing form the delivery of labour market training. The current provincial government has withdrawn from workplace-based basic skills training and adult education generally.

At the same time, the focus of adult education is undergoing substantial change as educators, workers and their unions are pressured to take up the mantle of corporate culture training. These pressures challenge the integrity and autonomy of labour education programs that are designed by and for trade union members, reflecting the needs and priorities of working people and their communities.

This study will document the development and delivery of the OFL-BEST program, curriculum and delivery model from the standpoint of program participants, trainers and administrators. In addition, the views of selected employers will also be solicited. In this way, the study will provide a comprehensive overview of current practices, including the following: instructor training, evaluation and empowerment; participant outreach, assessment and empowerment; program development and evaluation; curriculum development; program delivery models; workplace outreach and development, including working with joint training committees; program administration and regional co-ordination.


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