Edmonton, AB – Rural Alberta Development Fund Board of Directors approved $3.2 million in funding supporting a collaborative delivery model aimed at increasing access to quality learning for rural learners. Led by NorQuest College, the Collaborative Delivery of Foundational Learning for Rural Learners project will identify the learning needs of adult learners within NorQuest’s stewardship region to better prepare them for post-secondary education or employment opportunities in their communities.
“Through this project, NorQuest College will enhance the quality and consistency of learning opportunities for rural learners,” said the Honourable Evan Berger, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Without leaving their communities, individuals will benefit from programming tailored specifically to their needs while building knowledge and skills within their communities.”
The project will offer four content streams targeted to rural learning needs. Pre-high school mathematics and language/essential skills targets adults who are looking to complete their high school education. Aboriginal literacy is designed for Aboriginal learners and intercultural education targets those working in multicultural organizations. Linking together the formal post-secondary education and informal adult learning systems in communities across Alberta will create a cohesive approach to foundational learning, allowing learners to achieve their goals more quickly. The content streams will pilot a more coordinated approach to recruiting, supporting and teaching adult learners, as well as optimizing the quality of instruction through customized regional support services and a curriculum management system.
Strategic and innovative partnerships play a key role in the project’s success. This project is among the first of its kind to link post-secondary education with two major technology partners. The Innovative Communities Connecting Network (iCCAN), a SuperNet videoconferencing network linking 68 communities across Alberta, and Castle Rock Research will tailor their online platform to an adult learner audience.
“The Collaborative Delivery of Foundational Learning for Rural Learners project highlights how a combination of technologies and support services can effectively be incorporated to facilitate learning for teachers, tutors and students,” said Marie Logan, Chair of the Board of Directors, Rural Alberta Development Fund. “This project will positively impact the number of learners who complete high school credentials, easing the transition to post-secondary institutions across Alberta, building a strong, skilled workforce.”
Gaps in learner knowledge are assessed using Alberta Education curriculum and a customized learner pathway helping learners achieve their learning goals. Up to 12 communities will participate in the project by providing learning sites, tutorial and student supports and in-depth knowledge of the learning needs for adults in their communities.
Funding from the Rural Alberta Development Fund will go towards implementing the project in partner communities, staffing and training, technical support, content development and sustainability planning for future program delivery to identify continual community learning needs. The project’s anticipated completion date is December 2013.
Rural Alberta Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. In 2007, it was capitalized with $100 million by the Government of Alberta as part of its Rural Development Strategy. So far, $93.4 million has been committed to 79 projects. The remaining funds will be committed by March 31, 2012. Expressions of Interests are no longer being accepted.
For more information, contact: