LBS Practitioner Training

Professional development support for Literacy and Basic Skills educators in Ontario

1.2 What is LBS?

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The Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) Program provides training opportunities in literacy, numeracy and academic upgrading to adults in Ontario whose literacy levels currently fall below the Grade 10 academic standards as described in the Ontario Secondary School Curriculum. Funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, LBS is one of the key programs of Employment Ontario, Ontario's integrated network of employment programs and services.


Goals of the program

  • to help Ontario move towards a seamless adult education system which supports lifelong learning
  • to ensure adults anywhere in Ontario have access to the reading, writing, numeracy and computer skills training they need in order to help them be successful in the daily tasks of life, learning and work
  • to support literacy agencies in providing quality services that meets learners’ needs
  • to ensure accountability to government, the public and to learners in the provision of literacy services that are effective, efficient, and productive, demonstrating measurable results
  • to foster closer links between literacy training and employment

In this section, we explore the following topics:

  • LBS Program Guidelines
  • another point of view
  • provincial structure of Ontario’s LBS Program
  • LBS within the broader Employment Ontario system
  • services provided by the LBS Program
  • the new Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework
  • what an LBS program looks like

LBS Program Guidelines

The Literacy and Basic Skills Program Guidelines originally published by the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU) in 1999, revised in 2000 and revised again in 2011, provide information and overall guidelines that agencies need in order to run the program. The document defines the program’s principles, objectives and focus, and describes the program's mandated services, funding and administrative procedures. Adherence to the LBS Program Guidelines is a continuing element in the annual contract agreements between LBS delivery agencies and the funder, MTCU

Visit the LBS Program Guidelines and be prepared to spend a bit of time becoming acquainted with the following:

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 CONTEXT FOR THE LITERACY AND BASIC SKILLS PROGRAM

1.2 EMPLOYMENT ONTARIO SERVICE DELIVERY FRAMEWORK

1.3 EMPLOYMENT ONTARIO CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPECTATIONS

1.4 EMPLOYMENT ONTARIO INFORMATION AND REFERRAL NETWORK AND SERVICES

2.0 LITERACY AND BASIC SKILLS MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW

2.1 LBS BUSINESS PRIORITIES

2.2 COMPONENTS OF THE LITERACY AND BASIC SKILLS PROGRAM

2.3 SERVICE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

2.4 LBS PROGRAM PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

2.5 DIMENSIONS AND MEASURES OF SERVICE QUALITY SUCCESS

2.6 FUNDING

2.6.1 Funding Decision Process

2.6.2 Funding Categories

2.7 CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT IN THE BUSINESS PLANNING CYCLE

3.0 LITERACY AND BASIC SKILLS PROGRAM

3.1 LEARNER ELIGIBILITY AND SUITABILITY

3.2 FEES

3.3 PROGRAM SERVICES

3.4 INFORMATION AND REFERRAL

3.5 ASSESSMENT

3.6 LEARNER PLAN DEVELOPMENT

3.7 TRAINING

3.7.1 Duration

3.7.2 e-Channel

3.8 FOLLOW-UP

3.9 LBS PROGRAM PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT INDICATORS

3.9.1 Indicators of Effectiveness

3.9.2 Customer Service

3.9.3 Efficiency

4.0 ADMINISTRATION

4.1 SERVICE PROVIDER RESPONSIBILITIES

4.1.1 Agreement

4.1.2 Program Facilities and Facilities Leases

4.1.3 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities, Act 2005

4.1.4 Access to Information and Protection of Privacy

4.1.5 Promotion, Communications and Graphic Standards

4.2 LBS PROGRAM DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS

4.2.1 Information Management Requirements

4.2.2 Learner files

4.2.3 Organization Training Support Policies

4.2.4 Program Forms

JOURNAL REFLECTION   What do you think?
Based on your readings, what new insight do you have on the priorities of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities in the delivery of literacy training?

 

 

 

 

 

Another Point of View

The next link will take you to page 4 in Briefing Paper: Literacy and the Canadian Workforce, written by Sue Folinsbee – and a rather different point of view. This was a paper prepared for the Movement for Canadian Literacy with findings and recommendations based on literature research, interviews with leaders in workplace literacy, and the National Summit on Literacy and Productivity held in October, 2000.

Keep in mind... this article has a national focus. The purpose of the paper was to provide:

  • a synopsis of the major issues and trends with respect to the issue of literacy and the Canadian workforce,
  • recommendations for government policy makers.

It was expected that the Movement for Canadian Literacy (MCL) would use the perspectives and recommendations in this paper in continuing national discussions on the development of social policy. Take a few minutes to skim through parts of this document. It may be interesting particularly for practitioners working in LBS at this time given the ongoing development in LBS on Workplace/Workforce training. Here's the Follinsbee Brief.

JOURNAL REFLECTION   What do you think?
What did you think of Sue Folinbee’s article? In your opinion, what impact should the findings of this report have on the government’s literacy reform plan in Ontario?  What can we in LBS learn from this paper?  What ideas in this article are important to our work with adult learners?

 

 

 

 

 

The Overall Structure of Ontario’s LBS Program

The goal of the Literacy and Basic Skills Program is to make literacy training accessible for all adults in Ontario who wish to upgrade their literacy skills. Currently, school boards, colleges and community agencies consisting of over three hundred sites across the province deliver LBS to over 61,000 adult learners. By supporting literacy upgrading for Anglophone, Francophone, Native and Deaf learners, the LBS Program reflects the diversity of Ontario and improves access to literacy services.

Sectoral and cross-sectoral bodies provide ongoing support, and facilitate networking opportunities for delivery agencies. They also give leadership to co-operative planning and literacy field development. Take a few minutes to view the PowerPoint presentation, New to Adult Literacy in Ontario”, developed by Literacy Link South Central. This will give you a good picture of the infrastructure of the LBS Program and how the program is organized across the province. It’s quite awesome.

TIP: If necessary, use the Page Up, Page Down keys to move from slide to slide. NOTE: This presentation has been recently modified slightly to reflect recent changes that have taken place in the LBS Program.


LBS Within the Broader Employment Ontario System

Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) is one of seventeen free programs and services available to residents of Ontario through EMPLOYMENT ONTARIO - Ontario's integrated employment and training network.

Employment Ontario helps individuals build a career and keep learning throughout their working life. It's a one-door of entry to information about jobs, job search, skills, training, education and access to available programs and services that seek to connect people who are looking for work with employers looking for workers.

The illustration below represents the various components of the Employment Ontario network. The LBS Program is positioned within "Other Employment Ontario Programs".

The Employment Ontario Partners Gateway website provides information and support to partners and agencies delivering Employment Ontario programs and services, and it is the primary vehicle for communication from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for LBS agencies. Take a moment to visit http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/ now to get a sense of the kind of information you can find on that site.

LBS agencies can stay current and well-informed about developments in Employment Oitario by frequently checking New Postings


Services Provided by the LBS Program

The primary responsibility of the LBS program is to help adults in Ontario develop the skills they need in order to be successful in life, i.e. in the workplace, in other places of learning and at home and in the community. To fulfill this mandate, MTCU contracts with school boards, colleges and community based programs to deliver the following five LBS services:

  • Information and Referral
  • Assessment
  • Learner Plan Development,
  • Training
  • Follow-Up

Information and Referral

This service ensures that information about the program and the opportunities provided by the agency is made available to all interested parties including learners, potential learners, Employment Ontario partners, other LBS agencies, community agencies and any other person who has questions about the program. If the program is unable to meet the needs of a potential learner, appropriate referrals are made to another program or service.  Information and referral services support appropriate placement and direction for clients to ensure learners receive the best possible training and services for their particular needs and goals.

Assessment

As described in the OALCF document, Foundations of Assessment, “Assessment in adult literacy contexts is any process or procedure that gathers information for making decisions about a learner’s knowledge, skills, and behaviours. Assessment is a critical component of everyday activity in literacy programs as decisions are made throughout the learning process to determine how best to meet learners’ needs.

Assessment is also carried out at certain critical points throughout the instructional process. There is, for example,

  • intake assessment to establish a goal, identify training needs and determine starting points for learning
  • ongoing assessment to monitor and track progress towards the goal
  • exit assessment to confirm the learner has developed the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours that will be required for success at the next step.

Assessment of learner progress and learner success is an important measure in program accountability.

Learner Plan Development

During Learner Plan Development, practitioners work closely with learners to make decisions that will shape the learner’s training during his or her time in LBS. Together they create a document that identifies the learner’s goals, lays out the requirements of the goal, sets out a plan of action for the learner to follow and provides a means of tracking progress as the learner achieves each milestone towards the goal completion.

Training

The training element of the program includes all the planning, collection or development of training materials, active instruction and learning activities that take place throughout the course of the day to help the learner develop the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours for successful goal achievement.

Follow-Up

This service includes 3-month, 6-month and 12-month check-ups with exited learners via telephone or email for the purpose of

  • encouraging continued success,
  • offering additional literacy services if they are needed,
  • tracking longer term effects of the program, and
  • learning anything that would help improve current program delivery.


The Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF)

In April, 2011, MTCU launched the new, competency-based Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF) for LBS.  With the OALCF, programs are introducing a task-based approach to program planning and delivery. This constitutes a shift in primary emphasis from skills development to task performance. The new competency-based curriculum framework helps practitioners and learners make clearer connections between literacy development and the real life tasks learners encounter ay work and in other learning and community contexts. The OALCF now provides a common and easy to understand language for all learning that takes place in LBS regardless of the learners’ goals, backgrounds, and interests. In turn, common language supports a common understanding among all stakeholders, both internal and external, of what individual learners can do or need to be able to do in order to be successful. To learn more, you can view a number of short OALCF PowerPoint presentations on this site.

More recently, Community Literacy of Ontario also developed two series of online video presentations: The OALCF - An Overview and Introduction to Task-Based Programming, and The OALCF and Key Service Delivery Functions. Take a look at a few of these. You may want to scroll past the first slide which tends to be lengthy and is virtually the same for each video. (Don't forget to turn on your speakers!)

1. LBS, the OALCF and YOU - an Overview

2. Working with a Task-Based Approach

3. OALCF and Information and Referral

4. OALCF and Intake and Assessment

5. OALCF and Learner Plan Development

6. OALCF and Training and Program Planning

7. OALCF and Training Delivery

8. OALCF and Assessment

9. OALCF and Exit and Follow-Up


What an LBS Program Looks Like

We know that literacy agencies in Ontario are funded to deliver LBS programming that:

  • follows a particular approach to instruction
  • provides particular and specific services
  • adheres to particular program guidelines
  • leads to particular results

LBS programs across Ontario are many and varied depending on program sector and cultural and linguistic differences.  The LBS Program is delivered across the province in three distinct learning sectors:

  • school boards
  • community-based agencies
  • community colleges

LBS is also provided in four cultural streams:

  • Anglophone,
  • Francophone,
  • Native
  • Deaf/Deaf/blind.

Because of the obvious differences that exist between and among these diverse cultures, you would expect the look and feel of LBS to be very different in each – and, of course, they are. The more fascinating thing about LBS is that even within each of the particular linguistic or learning cultures, no two programs are alike. LBS was designed to be flexible so that each agency in each sector and stream is able to provide customized programming for particular individuals in particular settings and particular situations. This means, within each individual sector and stream, the actual training content and mode of delivery can vary widely program to program.

For example...

in one community, specific LBS training may be provided to help people prepare for jobs in a proposed new shopping mall or industry while in another community, specific programming is created to help people who are recently laid off as a result of a plant closure. In some locations, the predominant demand and need is for training to prepare adults for entry into adult secondary school credit programs, while in other places, the greater interest is for training related to increased personal independence. Naturally, in these various scenarios, the focus and instructional content of LBS programming will be vastly different.  At the same time, however, no matter what the setting, situation or client needs may be, every LBS program will be characterized by the following four precepts:

  • address learner needs first and foremost
  • provide training that is directly related to the learner's chosen goal
  • emphasize successful, goal-related task performance
  • move the learner towards goal completion and successful transition to the next step.

We move on now to learn more about specific factors affecting LBS programming in the school board sector.


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