The ongoing conversation about the future of work and talent trends continued to shape our focus and drive our curiosity at OISE Continuing and Professional Learning (CPL), especially in the following areas:
Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
This year advanced the discussion of workflow automation and AI technologies in education. ChatGPT amplified the public conversation about technology and education, bringing forward more thoughtful questions about student learning and assessment and how educators will have to revisit pedagogical methods. Further, with educator shortages worldwide, education (like all other sectors) is also determining how AI can augment educator capabilities. OISE CPL is well-connected to this global conversation with our OISE researchers and InnovED entrepreneurs who are all actively contributing to our understanding of the role and application of AI in Education.
Upskilling and Lifelong Learning
With technological advancements come evolving job requirements that demand new skills. Lifelong learning and “upskilling” offer important ways for individuals to be relevant in the job market. Continuous learning platforms, online learning, and vocational training are all playing an integral role in equipping professionals with the skills needed across their work-career lifespan. In this context, there is an increased demand for education professionals with advanced knowledge and expertise in adult learning as well as continuing education, career development, and vocational education expertise. We’re responding to the upskilling needs of educators with new programs like our Continuing Education: Enabling Lifelong Learning program for educators and we also wanted to better understand work-integrated learning and education pathways and processes that improve upskilling and lifelong learning goals and outcomes.
Remote and Flexible Work Means Shifts in Organizational Structures
Cross-functional / interdisciplinary work continues and requires highly diverse working teams. For an organization to improve and advance its goals and objectives it requires talent with diverse backgrounds and perspectives to drive creativity, which also requires fostering cultures of inclusion. While automation may replace some tasks, we need to maintain our emphasis on human skills such as creativity, critical thinking, problem solving wrapped up in emotional intelligence, and effective interpersonal communication. These are the skills that are less susceptible to automation and are very much needed to enable and foster diverse and equitable learning, work, and community environments. While we introduced standard tools to enable Universal Design for Learning (UDL), we also wanted to create the space for education leaders to both navigate this work context and develop systems thinking capabilities with the launch of our Professional Learning Fellowships.
Reviewing and understanding these trends in the context of education has underpinned our collective work throughout 2022-2023. This year’s Annual Review shares the spectrum of work-integrated, continuous, and lifelong learning we researched, practiced, and provided last year at OISE Continuing and Professional Learning.
A talented team
Celebrating Our Talent – Heather Friesen
Heather Friesen was the 2022 recipient of the OISE CPL Award of Excellence.
Heather embodies professional excellence as an exceptional course facilitator in our Certificate in International Education for International Baccalaureate (IB) program, as a colleague to our administration team, and as a generous collaborator with our Customized Programs team. Her deep commitment to mentoring the leadership and practice of others – with great passion and authenticity – is always evident.
Heather has significant IB subject matter expertise and in addition to facilitating, she is the Program Coordinator for our International Education for IB program. Heather ensures the courses within our certificate program meet the quality standards of both OISE CPL and the IB Organization, and her ability to identify and refer collaborators allows us to strengthen our delivery of the program and provide options and opportunities for our learners. Heather was also instrumental in the creation and initial launch of the International Education for IB certificate program at OISE.
Over the 2022-23 fiscal year, we welcomed 17 new sessional facilitators to the OISE CPL community and welcomed back 155 facilitators to support the delivery of our courses.
Our administrative team had the pleasure of hiring 6 work-study students through the University’s Career Learning Network (CLN) who helped support our operations throughout the year.
Inquiring Minds – Facilitators’ Applied Inquiries
Applied inquiries are an important part of our professional learning ecosystem. They support our facilitators’ professional growth, contribute to our own programs and research, and in turn, support our learners’ growth. Ultimately, the results of this work-integrated learning can also feed into our broader learning, products, and services. Our applied inquiries are informed, enabled, and guided by our Learning Innovation Coordinator, Samantha Presutto, who coordinates various continuous improvement priorities and initiatives across OISE CPL and InnovED.
Each four to six-month applied inquiry includes:
- A literature review and environmental scan
- A related active project that puts the inquiry into practice
- A final report detailing recommendations and considerations for leveraging the learning methodology, design, development, delivery, technologies, etc.
- In some cases, additional, related assets/tools available to the community
Here are some examples of applied inquiries pursued by members of our team:
Podcasting as a Pedagogical Tool
Kristi Ivan is co-founder of the Extraordinary Experience Lab, a seasoned learning & development professional and consultant, and long-time sessional facilitator and program lead at OISE CPL for the Adult Learning and Development and Learning Experience Design certificate programs.
Kristi inquired into podcasting as a modality for professional learning. Her active project was a pilot – The InnovED Exchange Podcast (produced by InnovED member Cited Media) – co-developed with Samantha Presutto. Kristi also produced a report for implementing podcasts as a supportive learning tool, along with a podcast scripting template.
Simulation-Based Learning as a Modality for Professional Learning
Alyssa Filippi is an instructional designer and consultant, and sessional facilitator at OISE CPL in the Adult Learning and Development and Learning Experience Design certificate programs.
Alyssa’s applied inquiry was into simulation-based learning as a modality for professional learning. Alyssa’s active project investigated and assessed high- and low-investment options for simulation-based learning in programs that have highly experiential learning objectives. She also produced a checklist for determining whether simulations are appropriate, and a simulation development and facilitation checklist.
Josie Di Vincenzo is an instructional designer, learning & development consultant and sessional facilitator at OISE CPL for the Adult Learning and Development and Learning Experience Design certificate programs.
Many of our courses were recently converted from blended to fully online delivery. With this shift in mind, Josie inquired into self-directed learning, recognizing the need to identify course design components and facilitation practices that enable successful self-directed learning. Josie’s active project determined the design components and delivery/platform options for on-demand, self-directed technical education additional qualifications (AQs), and later extended her investigation to consider self-directed learning in cohort-based instructional courses and cohort-based inquiry-driven courses. Josie also produced a learner application template as an ongoing self-assessment tool.
Researcher in Residence – Evaluating Work-Integrated Learning
Our team members use the applied inquiry methodology to inform our insights into many aspects of continuing and professional learning. For example, one of our goals this year was to gain knowledge about the effective development and delivery of work-integrated learning experiences.
Our researcher-in-residence, Dr. Fatima Samji, (OISE PhD 2022, M.A., M.Ed) engaged in an applied inquiry that started with a literature review and environmental scan of work-integrated learning microcredentials for small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Ontario. Based on her findings, she developed a qualitative study of the Mitacs-InnovED work-integrated learning (WiL) program Improving Learning Experience Design to assess the program’s WiL conditions, identify strengths, and make recommendations for developing and delivering work-integrated learning experiences effectively in the future.
We’re informing our program design and facilitation approaches based on the insights we gained from Dr, Samji’s review and subsequent evaluation to enable more efficient and scalable work-integrated learning solutions.
This experience has already informed our professional learning fellowship design and current implementation. It has also furthered our appreciation and understanding of SME employer and employee learning, leadership, and workforce development needs.
Designing for Difference and Accessibility – The UDL Template
Our programs are for adult learners at different stages in their professional development and from diverse backgrounds. Our commitment is to lifelong learning and to the sustainable development goal (SDG) 4 – to provide inclusive and equitable quality education – in a space where everything is readily and easily accessible to all types of learners. Our reality is that we can’t know everything about our learners or their individual experiences or needs, such as their ethnic/racial, socio-economic background, or learning disabilities (identified or not). And we don’t know how they learn.
Reviewing CPL’s courses on the online Quercus platform, Dr. Gabriela Pawlus Kasprzak was struck by how often courses were set up differently, even within the same program. Learners were unnecessarily challenged – to learn how to navigate Quercus, and how to identify what’s important to them on the page – rather than able to focus on the actual course. In response, Gabriela developed a standardized template for all programs based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
UDL promotes inclusive practices to increase accessibility and creates an experience where learners drive their own learning. Recognizing that there is no “average learner,” the templates let learners take different pathways (scrolling linearly, clicking on buttons, watching videos with close captioning, etc.).
The result is reduced cognitive load for learners since each course looks – and operates – similarly. Introducing the template has led facilitators to reflect on how they structure their learning, and provided the impetus to review, consider best practices, and assess through the perspective of the learner. Organizationally, the template improves our administrative capacity by reducing course queries. We’re continuing to roll out the template gradually and adding supports to make the process easier for facilitators.
Programs and services for education professionals
Enabling Lifelong Learning – Certificate Program for Continuing Education Professionals
Following a pilot year, our Certificate Program for continuing education professionals – Enabling Lifelong Learning: OISE Continuing and Professional Learning – was well underway in 2022. The program orients education professionals to the field and helps them develop continuing education learning solutions within post-secondary institutions in a context of shifting, diverse lifelong learners’ needs, and ongoing pressure to train and retain talent.
The certificate program’s five courses explore all operational aspects of a continuing education unit, including a deep dive into the facilitator talent lifecycle, an exploration of the various types of continuing education solutions, consideration of continuing education planning mechanisms and the steps of a program implementation cycle, examination of learning solutions, and much more.
The program is underpinned by an understanding of the environmental influences shaping the needs of lifelong learners. Professionals learn to apply tools and resources to lead and contribute to the administrative responsibilities of a continuing education unit.
Learn more about the Enabling Lifelong Learning certificate program for continuing education professionals.
Making Space for Inquiry – Professional Learning Fellowships
How can seasoned professionals articulate, test, and hone a work area of inquiry – with expert input and professional coaching – and return to work with an evidence-based presentation and solution to implement in their workplace?
In 2022 we developed the OISE Professional Learning Fellowships to meet this need. The 14-week fellowships are designed for seasoned professionals in diverse fields in education who are taking on bigger projects, leading teams, and increasing their degree of accountability at work. Professionals begin the fellowship by articulating their project or inquiry and doing a contextual analysis of their workplace environment. They’re aided by the Fellowship facilitator, well-versed in organizational development process facilitation, who coaches and oversees the learning process. They also gain from an expert-in-residence, who provides concrete information and challenges, influences, and informs the assumptions the professional is making. In the second half of the program, professionals focus on their plan, honing it into an evidence-based, well-formed initiative, ready to take back to the workplace and implement. Professionals are introduced to different mental models and means for effective research to help stretch their cognitive range and diversify the approaches.
Interested in learning more? Find out about our Professional Learning Fellowships, including four we piloted in 2022:
Employees, Employers, and Educators
– Mitacs and InnovED
Mitacs connects private sector companies with post-secondary institutions to power research and development creation and solve organizational challenges. Mitacs is a partner to our entrepreneurship systems at the University of Toronto and our Mitacs colleagues have worked alongside OISE graduate students and InnovED founders in support of research funding.
As an intermediary for the government of Ontario, Mitacs received funding to support small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in an innovation project to develop and implement local workplace innovations to advance their business goals. The funding meant employers could offer employees the opportunity to participate in skills training with a post-secondary education institution in a work-integrated learning (WiL) initiative. The Mitacs team contacted us with an inquiry: “Might your InnovED founders serve as employers, would they have employees, and could you use this project to implement WiL”?
Our answer was YES! We know how difficult it is for SMEs to recruit and retain employees in a tight talent market. Projects like this work-integrated learning program promote and provide jobs-grant funding sources, bring training to employees, and encourage a focus on business improvement. And they bring “all three legs of the stool” – employer, employee, and educational institution – together in a mutually beneficial relationship.
OISE CPL’s short-duration program, Learning Experience Design, was selected as the “formal” post-secondary education learning program. Seven SMEs, with 13 employee representatives, participated in the program which we adjusted to be delivered as an action-learning/experiential learning engagement to meet the needs articulated by both employers and employees.
These are the InnovED companies – all SMEs – that participated, and their inquiries:
Educator in Residence – InnovED
What are the possibilities for innovation in professional learning for educators in Ontario? Educator in Residence Jenna Marinucci Cebo is helping us find out. Jenna brings a wealth of experience to the role. She’s an OISE Master of Teaching graduate (with a focus on global competencies for teachers and teacher professional development) a certified K-12 educator, past Agile consultant in workplace learning and development, and former team member of a Canadian EdTech start-up.
Jenna’s work is central to InnovED’s member program, Innovation in Action. InnovED operates as a professional learning community (PLC) for entrepreneurs in education and provides personalized support and coaching at various stages of a member’s development, from early concept to established enterprise. In the last year Jenna co-designed and co-facilitated the PLC via member roundtables, learning labs, online learning communities, and more, alongside our administrative team. She also provided one-on-one coaching for members based on their unique professional inquiries and learning and development goals.
As a member of our learning innovation team, Jenna facilitates professional inquiry, emphasizing innovation and using improvement and implementation science frameworks and methods. She leads the development and implementation of professional inquiry process templates, assessment tools, and resources.
Last year Jenna and Learning Innovation Coordinator Samantha Presutto collaborated in an applied inquiry to develop, implement, and assess: 1) Innovation in Action Program Improvements, 2) the associated talent structure for InnovED and 3) the operational calendar. Taken together, these can effectively operationalize the InnovEDMember Achievement Framework. The team’s active project involved developing a series of member intake and onboarding assessment tools and process templates to inform the development of differentiated learning resources, personalized facilitation and coaching of members in their unique areas of inquiry and facilitating the professional learning community.
In addition to her work with InnovED, Jenna applies her expertise as a process facilitator in the Cultivating Entrepreneurship Professional Learning fellowship, a role that acknowledges her unique professional background as educator and entrepreneur. Jenna both facilitates the learner cohort and builds our talent system by selecting and coordinating our experts-in-residence (who offer field experience and perspectives to guide Fellows in their unique inquiry-improvement projects) and by advising and coaching fellow process facilitators and experts-in-residence in the delivery of fellowship programming.
Bringing Science to Society — UN Science Summit
We were invited to participate in the UN Science Summit at the 77th United Nations General Assembly in the fall of 2022. The central theme was the role and contribution of science in attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Agenda 2030 and Local2030.
The objective was to “bring science to society.” To that end, OISE CPL facilitated a series of virtual conversations in the form of moderated expert roundtables and 10-minute motivator series where we were joined by entrepreneurs, researchers, practitioners, and enthusiasts, along with colleagues from around the globe. Our goal was to help professionals from various education and science disciplines gain insight into the education communities’ work and focus. The sessions, facilitated by our Executive Director Dr. Elisabeth Rees-Johnstone, and Organizational Development Specialist and Program Facilitator Rashmi Biswas, relayed our efforts to inform and improve education policy, transform teaching and learning environments, build educator capability, empower learners throughout their lifespan, and accelerate sustainable solutions.
AI, Education, and Entrepreneurs – True Blue Expo
The True Blue Expo is an exciting way for people to connect with the University of Toronto’s entrepreneurship community. Startups, accelerators, campus-linked incubators, and ecosystem partners attended the Expo on March 9, 2022, during UofT Entrepreneurship Week. OISE CPL leaders and our campus-linked incubator, InnovED, were there in full force to represent the topic of AI in Education, along with four InnovED member edu-preneurs:
Ei Amplified – research services to study emotions, consulting, workshops for educators in diversity, equity and inclusion, and courses for students
SkoolSpot – software to change how international schools receive and process teacher applications, focusing on safer recruitment, onboarding and preparation, and reduced hiring costs
Bluekey AI – AI assessment tools and technologies to help prevent university dropouts
EduBeyond – Gamified online tutoring initiative to elevate learning efficacy and minimize educational disparity for K-12 students, using an adaptive learning system to create personalized learning plans
We introduced InnovED to many Expo participants and engaged with a diverse array of entrepreneurs, students, faculty, UofT Entrepreneurship stakeholders and the community at large. We helped them understand how teaching and learning, and the facilitated learning approach we take to scaffold the InnovED members experience, can benefit all entrepreneurs.
As part of Entrepreneurship Week, InnovED also hosted two virtual roundtable events: “Have you tried Chat GPT? Where to next with AI in education?” and “How can founders retain talent in this market? Work-integrated learning might be the key!”
Custom programs and consultancy services
In-the-Moment Work-Integrated Learning – Norwegian IB Network
We are now in our third year of working with the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN), offering a blend of consultation and custom programming. In 2021-2022 we built a successful school professional learning community for the 14 private schools in the Norwegian International Baccalaureate (IB) Network. In 2022-2023 we continued our work with nine school teams of IB school educators and program coordinators from the Network. The USN programs epitomize work-integrated learning as they are directly related to educators’ in the moment professional development.
Our focus was on IB program development plans and strengthening IB approaches to teaching and learning (ATL) within the school environment and linked closely to the attitudes and dispositions highlighted in the IB learner profile. We worked with primary year and middle year program coordinators, teachers, and heads of school who were working together on program development plans – some for their first time, and others who have several years’ experience. This was an iteration of the previous program, adapted to address the feedback we received from learners. For example, facilitators Heather Friesen and Garth Nichols teamed up to create a multilayered program in five synchronous sessions, rather than the 10 we ran previously.
Spaced about a month apart, each session was dedicated to a specific part or stage of a project within a collaborative inquiry that the team from each school is doing together. The reduced number of sessions helped to fit within the Network participants’ academic year and build in time for planning. Most importantly, it built in some extra time, acknowledging feedback from learners who really appreciated the gathering time and guest speakers as very practical approaches to improving their practice.
Another important adaptation we made was to adjust the program’s Plan/Act/Observe/Reflect structure. This time we started with Act – to acknowledge the stage our educators were at in the present academic year – and put Plan at the end so they could plan for the next academic year. Our adaptive, continuous improvement methodology was a real success in addressing educators’ practical, specific, needs.
QA in Process – Havergal Digital Wisdom Program
Havergal’s Digital Wisdom Program develops the “future-ready skills, mindsets and approaches to safely and effectively thrive in a digitally mediated world.” The program is developed collaboratively by faculty and informed by research within and beyond the educational sectors. Students engage in the program over four years from grades five to eight, and gain skills of increasing sophistication and complexity as they progress.
The program is in its third year and in a period of growth as the topic of digital technology use among youth is increasingly relevant and important. As schools are intentionally embedding a technological focus in curriculum, they should also take part in the responsibility of students’ digital socialization. OISE CPL Lead Associate, researcher and learning strategist, Dr. Kirk Perris has been performing a quality assessment of the project that’s really an applied inquiry, an evaluation taking place simultaneously with the project’s implementation, and couched in the context of educational change. The project explores learnings about the course design after two years of the school’s Digital Wisdom Program as captured in program evaluations in years one and two, which provide a unique opportunity to scrutinize the Program with insights that will have relevance to any school using technology in its curriculum.
The following 2022-23 statistics provide a brief overview of our performance in five key areas:
These performance indicators are aligned to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and highlight how our work is grounded in equity, diversity, and inclusion while working to improve educator well-being, education quality, education work environments and operations, and education partnerships.
Supporting educators’ career pathways and professional growth
During our 2022-23 fiscal year, 5,328 learners participated in CPL courses, customized programs, and services. 5,018 enrolled directly in our courses, while 310 participated in closed enrolment (customised programs & services).
Over the course of the fiscal year, we issued 694 certificates of completion to our learners. We also provided 2,438 records of learning, used by learners to apply earned professional development (PD) credits toward further accreditation from various organisations, including the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), the Canadian Council of Professional Certification (CCPC), the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association (CCPA), and the Institute for Performance & Learning (I4PL) to name a few.
Widening opportunities for learners and making participation easier for all
Top 10 locations by number of learners
- United Arab Emirates
- Republic of Korea
- United Kingdom
Making learning engagements relevant to all educator domains and needs
Improving professional learning experiences for those who teach, guide, and educate
Our learner Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 57% indicates a likelihood to recommend our services to others. The NPS benchmark for student satisfaction can vary depending on the industry and context, but in the education sector, a good NPS benchmark for student satisfaction is typically considered to be around 40-50%, while adult learning is slightly higher 50-60%.
A Net Promoter Score (NPS) result of 87% for facilitator satisfaction far exceeds industry benchmarks, signifying an exceptionally high level of contentment and likelihood to recommend OISE CPL to peers. This outstanding score showcases our commitment to providing a supportive and fulfilling environment for our facilitators.