Learning Materials in Instruction Study


What is the Learning Materials in Instruction study?

This study is a research project that is a part of an HRSDC funded initiative. Over the past ten years or more, the federal government has funded the development of learning materials ranging from short instructional tools to full curricula. As with any significant investment, the expectation is that there will be a return on that investment. The proposed research explores the question:

What role does learning materials play in instruction?


Who is conducting the research?

SkillPlan, the BC Construction Industry Skills Improvement Council, is initiating the research. Theresa Kline, PhD from the University of Calgary, will be overseeing data collection, doing the analysis and presenting the final report.


How can your organization get involved?

Instructors, with the support of their institutions, are invited to participate in the study as "pilot sites" sometime between September 2008 and June 2009.


What are the requirements to qualify as a pilot site?

  • Your program has an enrollment of 15 or more adults or youth (over 16 years).
  • Reading instruction is provided for a minimum of 40 contact hours. Preference will be given to programs with delivery frameworks that are ten weeks or more in duration.
  • Enhancement of employability skills or preparation for vocational training is the program objective.


What are the study conditions?

Institutions may participate as Site A, Site B, or as both.

Site A Required Conditions:

  • Instruction includes work-related materials 20% or less of the time or none at all.
    (The term "work-related learning materials" refers to instructional resources that centre on authentic workplace documents and learning activities that mimic worker tasks.)

Site B Required Conditions:

  • Instruction includes work-related materials 80% or more of the time.
  • To reduce variables, the main resource for this study is Reading at Work, Workplace Reader and Facilitator's Guide. This main resource is used at least 50% of the time but may be supplemented with other work-related resources. Please note that prior or current use of this resource is not a condition, but will be required as the main resource for the purposes of this study.


What's involved in being a pilot site?

Both A and B pilot sites will be responsible for:

  • Administering pre and post tests provided by SkillPlan (approximately 5 to 6 hours total).
    Note that the assessment tool for the study will be TOWES (Test of Workplace Essential Skills). Preference will be given to institutions that are TOWES distributors or who have access to TOWES administration service.
  • Providing data, for example attendance records, to the SkillPlan research team. To simplify freedom of information requirements, no names are required. (Approximately 3 hours).
  • Having instructors participate in a survey or telephone interview (Approximately 1 hour).
  • Identifying one or more learners to participate in an interview.


What is the Learning Materials in Instruction study?

To reliably measure the impact of learning materials across research sites the minimum for all instructors are:

  • Three or more years of professional experience as an instructor.
  • A basic understanding of Essential Skills and the assessment tool, TOWES.

Instructors in Pilot Site A need only a basic understanding of Essential Skills in order to prepare learners for the pre and post measures used in this study. The following options are available:


Why should you and your institution be involved?

For altruistic reasons

You will make a positive contribution to the field by participating in this research. SkillPlan hopes to bring national attention to this study. Findings will be reported at a conference to be held in October 2009. We will all learn more about the effectiveness of materials used in instruction and be able to make an informed case to support further funding.

For additional reasons

For data collected on 50 or more learners in any single pilot site, SkillPlan will provide your site with your choice of one of the following:

  • An invitation for someone from your site to participate as part of a presentation to share your experience and practice at the October conference (all expenses paid).
  • Reimbursement for one person (not presenting) to attend the October conference (including travel, accommodation, expenses and conference fee).
  • SkillPlan work-related materials. For example, 25 copies of the Workplace Reader and a Facilitator's Guide ($1,000 value).
  • A $750 contribution to a scholarship fund for learners in your program.


How does our organization become a pilot site?

To reliably measure the impact of learning materials across research sites the minimum for all instructors are:

Lynda Fownes, Executive Director, SkillPlan
Email: lfownes@skillplan.ca
Phone: 604.436.1126

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