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Ontario colleges test adaptive learning to fast-track skilled trades training

January 7, 2020
By Talent Canada Staff

Eight colleges across Ontario are testing adaptive learning platforms in an effort to make training more effective — and potentially faster — for students looking to enter the trades, welcome news for employers facing a shortage of skilled workers.

Adaptive training is billed as a “modern, individualized approach that provides efficient, one-to-one instruction,” according to eCampusOntario, a provincially funded not-for-profit.

David Francis, dean of the School of Applied Sciene, Skills and Technology at Loyalist College in Kingston, Ont., says “our trades and apprenticeship students benefit from adaptive learning by allowing them to build core competencies more quickly and progress successfully through their programs.”

How it works


The digital technology targets exactly where students need more training, and bypasses subject areas in which students already show mastery. Adaptive training uses guided practice and detailed feedback to address individual learning gaps, and the personalized pacing reduces learning time only to what each student needs.

Durham College, Loyalist College and St. Lawrence College are working with the adaptive training platforms by Area9 Lyceum (Rhapsode), and Humber College is working with InSite Systems Corp. (Shift iQ), to create technical learning modules that will be ready for user testing this month.

To support module design, subject matter experts are mapping out trades standards for training electricians, automotive service technicians and plumbers.

In addition, technical programs at Algonquin College, Collège La Cité, George Brown College, Loyalist College and Sheridan College will be developing and testing technical communications modules using adaptive platforms by Area9 and Desire2Learn (LEaP).

Advantage to students

Richard Lamarche, co-ordinator and professor, plumbing programs at Durham College in Oshawa, Ont., adds that the adaptive approach will offer an advantage to students as they obtain employment credentials.

“This learning platform enables our apprentices to focus on building the knowledge and skills necessary to complete their in-school training as well as pass their Certificate of Qualification examinations.”

Funded by the province of Ontario, eCampusOntario promotes innovation in teaching and learning at Ontario colleges and universities. This multi-site pilot project will be the first of many in the province to improve learning in technical subject areas through adaptive training strategies, it says.

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